Wednesday, March 25, 2015


I mentioned in my 'we're buying a house' post the standards that apply to termites. They are a thing here. As in, a recognised feature of living in a house. Home owners have two choices: tent the house once a decade and have it fumigated, or have an annual inspection and spot treatment. So the sight of homes covered in tents is not unusual. Here's one on Eighth Street, near our potential new house - which was just recently treated for termites, as part of the purchase process.

I'm not sure why termites are so common here. Maybe they (like me) like the weather. I don't think New England, with its freezing cold winters, suffers them. Or maybe it's not the weather but the wood. The houses I see here under construction seem to be made primarily out of wood, not the steel frames and breeze blocks I'm used to seeing in the UK.

I'm not sure why people build houses out of wood here, either. Maybe it's to do with earthquakes. Or perhaps it's just one of those inexplicable differences which is so thoroughly woven into the fabric of the way the world works here that it takes a while to notice. And once you've noticed, you can't stop noticing. And that niggles away. Like a termite.

I wonder if there's much more like that, which after five years of transatlantic life I have yet to spot. And I wonder how long I'll live here before I stop noticing those differences.


  1. Interesting. We don't have termites, despite a similarly mild climate and lots of houses with wood.
    We do have ant-plagues!

  2. It's possible we don't have any termites (after all I've never seen one). Just a very powerful termite treatment lobby...

  3. It's kind of odd how termite infestation is a specific problem that area, so I guess it must really be about its cold weather. Anyway, regardless of the cause, the point is to get rid of them and keep them from damaging our homes. I hope you’ll be able to find the perfect solution for that.

    Kristy Harrington @ Antac Pest

  4. Isadora, thank you for imparting an entertaining and quirky revelation! While it would make sense to build homes out of "breeze blocks," (known as cinder blocks in the states) and metal; wood serves a practical purpose in American residential construction. It is easier for unskilled labor to build and less expensive as a building material. Thank you for your post!

    Alta Peng @ Liberty Pest Inc