Troubled with Termites?

Termite Treatment can not be avoided. Act FAST, the sooner you start the less damage will occur.

Did you know ?
Termites are responsible for more structural damage to property than any other insect. It’s estimated that North Americans paid over 7 billion dollars in 2016 to pest control companies for a termite treatment attempting to control or prevent infestations. This number rises extremely fast at a rate of 4.5-4.7% annually to reach 10 billion by 2020.

This figure doesn’t account for repairing the damage the pests can cause before they are found and eradicated – that one runs into the billions as well. Regular inspections by a qualified professional and rapid treatment when termite infestation is spotted are vital to protecting the investment of building owners. When it comes to termites, time is not on your side and that same time may cost you lots of money if termite treatment is delayed.

Termite Treatment Options

 Good maintenance and building practices go a long way in protecting your home from a termite infestation.  Clear any debris away from your home, fallen trees, wood piles, and construction material.  Fix any leaks or places where water can get in or pool around your home.  Have your home inspected regularly or inspect it yourself to head off any concerns or problems.

There are numerous treatments for termite infestations, and the individual homeowner must choose what is best for them.  Research what species of termites live in your area, check your home for signs of infestation, gather any evidence found, read about the different treatment options, and choose what is best in your situation.

Termite Tenting

If you are having your home tented for termites extermination, you have a massive infestation of drywood termites.  Tenting means your termite specialist will come out and put a tent up around your home and treat it for termites, the tent seals in the chemicals used for a period of time and penetrates into all cracks to exterminate termite pests.

This method of eradication is extreme, but if your termite control pros suspect most of your home to be infested the only choices you have are fumigation and whole house heat treatment. This is not a DIY treatment!  The whole house will be tented – this is not a partial intervention.

Chemicals that are used in termite fumigation are lethal, and exposure even for a short time could mean death or serious illness.  Your pest control company will post signs around your property notifying people of the hazardous chemicals and what chemicals they are using.  The fumigant is odorless, so the company will release a warning agent like chloropicrin (tear gas) when the process begins and throughout the process as a warning and deterrent to folks entering, if you smell this stay away  – they will also lock and put up barriers to entry.

After treatment with this lethal gas (Sulfuryl fluoride), the target pest will be dead or dying at the end of this fumigation process, drywood termites can live up to a week after receiving a lethal dose.  Other household pests such as spiders and cockroaches may be able to survive, as the dosage is used for treatment drywood termites.

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Preparing For The Treatment

Make arrangements to take your family and pets out of the house for several days – this is a perfect time for a ‘staycation’ which allows you go somewhere nice while still being close to home to check on your property.  You will need to have your family out of the house for three days (72 hours).  All people and pets must leave – including fish – this is a toxic treatment and is not safe – you must leave.

Bad weather can affect this process especially rain and wind – your termite specialist will let you know if the weather is too bad for tenting.  Tarps are used to enclose your entire home, and it is fumigated for up to 24 hours then tarps are removed, and the home is aerated for six plus hours.  Once this process is complete, you will not be allowed to return to your home until the air is tested and reads clear (one part per million or less of fumigant).

Subterranean termites require a different treatment in which a barrier is created between your home and their nest on the ground – more subterranean termites to come.

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Simple things not to forget before Tenting treatment

  • Food sealed in glass or plastic bottles, jars or cans can remain in your home. All opened food must be double bagged – your termite contractor should provide nylon bags.  Medicine and tobacco products that are sealed in bottles or packs can also stay.
  • Remove all food in cardboard boxes or bags like dry goods, chips, rice or cereal, and cosmetics.
  • Put all indoor plants outside and away from the house, clear any plants and trim shrubbery from the areas which the fumigation tent will sit.
  • Remove any mattresses that are sealed in plastic (baby mattresses), and take off any plastic mattress pads, chair or sofa covers. The covers slow the rate of aeration, and people will sit on chairs and sofas following
  • Have someone from the gas company turn the gas to your home off.
  • Water the perimeter of your home well – this will protect your plants and help prevent fume leakage from the bottom of the tent.

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Pros and Cons of tent fumigation

PROS:
  • Tenting is your only option for drywood termite removal
  • Large infestation or multiple infestations
  • Eradicate hidden infestations
  • Infestation reoccurrences are lower

CONS:
  • Expensive treatment
  • Leaving home for days
  • Totally preparing the home
  • Treatment does not protect from future infestations

There is no residue left behind from the sulfuryl fluoride that can react with materials found in your home.  Follow your professional’s advice about removing items and preparing your home.   This chemical is not considered a cancer-causing agent by the EPA.

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Termite Tenting FAQs

State of California Department of Pesticide Regulation Structural Pest Control Board have very helpful FAQ, and we are highlighting the most important questions below

  1. How can I tell if my house has been fumigated? Since 1961, the law requires that, on completion of a fumigation, the fumigator must post a sign with the name of the licensee, the date of the fumigation, and the fumigant used. The sign must be posted either in the attic or the subarea of a house. These tags are to remain permanently and should not be detached.
  2. What preparations must be taken before a house is fumigated? All people, pets, and plants must be removed from the structure before fumigation. (This includes fish and seeds or bulbs intended for planting). Medicines, feed, and food not sealed in metal, glass or highly resistant containers must be removed from the structure or sealed in protective bags as recommended by the fumigant manufacturer
  3. Are fumigations safe? The State of California highly regulates fumigations. To perform fumigations, companies must be registered with SPCB. Pest control companies may also be required to notify local fire departments before a fumigation takes place. If you have any questions about the safety of fumigants, chemicals or pesticides, you may call your local county agricultural commissioner. You can get the phone number and be directly connected by calling 1-877-378-5463 (1-87-PestLine).
  4. When is it safe to move back into the home? The fumigator is required to post a reentry notice on the property at the time the structure is judged safe for occupancy. The notice states the building is safe for reentry and gives the date and time the building was released, the name of the structural pest control company issuing the notice, and its license and telephone numbers.
  5. Must the structure always be fumigated? Only, hen drywood termites or wood-boring beetles are found. No, fumigation is not always a required method of treatment for drywood termites and woodboring beetles.

You may Also want to read  Termite tenting Health Risk articles here

Termite Baiting

Baiting of subterranean termites has become all the rage it involves installing plastic stakes into the ground around your home.  These stakes are loaded with bait which will lure termites to the stakes instead of the wood in your home.

The baits are made of cellulose material (paper, cardboard, untreated wood) that termites love eating, and a slow-acting lethal poison which then is consumed and taken back to the nest and destroys the entire colony.  The baits are made to be more appetizing to termites than what they usually eat; they are designed to be desert – a quick, delicious meal.

Baits are preferable to injecting large amounts of chemicals into the ground – which is the previous method used – around the home to form a barrier.  Termiticide a liquid pesticide is shot into the soil around the home, by and under the foundation, slabs, and inside foundation walls.  This method is still in use today, but people are getting smarter and greener – by deploying baits, any foraging termite will stop and eat a bit, telling other colony members about the great tasting food. Please visit for more details  https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef639

Sentricon ( a pesticide company ) made an excellent 3D video on how those baits work, please have a look below

Termite Baiting Explained – Video

Preparation

Your pest control company will come out and install the bait stations around your home.  After a couple of months, they will return to see if subterranean termites have eaten the bait.  They will then add the pesticide which the termites cannot detect, and monitor the bait every couple of months – replacing them when needed.

Doing It Yourself (DIY)

The suspecting homeowner can purchase termites baits –such as these – from pest control companies or hardware stores.  Do the research and buy what is best for your property and pocketbook.  Once the baits are purchased install them around the perimeter of your home, one about every 10 feet.  Wait for 2 – 3 months then look in to see if termites have taken the baits.  Replace baits when necessary.

Making your own baits is not advised – there is plenty of information on the web about how to construct your bait, but the fastest easiest way is to purchase them from a home store.  Do not trust non-professional information, but none work as well as getting professional assistance on what to buy and how to set bait traps.

Termite baiting is safe for your family and pets.  Constant maintenance and due diligence is the key with baits.  Leave the bait in the ground and check the trap for termites; if you have an infestation around your home, you will see termites in the trap.  Replace the bait when needed or add pesticide.

Some people put down bait traps and have not seen any sign that the bait is being eaten – no termites in the bait trap, but they still suspect termite activity in their home.  If this is the case, keep using the baits and also check for drywood termites.  Treatment baits have two components – an element made of cellulose, and a slow acting termiticide – one attracts the termites the other a slow-acting poison that will kill the entire colony. Further read here…

PROS:
  • You can use baits to detect termites without using chemicals
  • Once termites are detected a limited about of insecticide is used
  • Simple to install
  • Most eco-friendly method currently on the market

CONS:
  • Constant monitoring of baits
  • Bait chemicals are slow acting
  • Termites have to find the station

Most bait stations are positioned in the yard and inserted below the ground at intervals; others are installed inside homes where mud tubes have been found and are known to be active.  Termites forage and most times will find this new wood source; then the insecticide is applied, and the colony is exterminated.

Bait stakes with the active ingredient (sulfluramid) are incorporated in a small roll of corrugated cardboard.  This cardboard is housed in a red transparent plastic tube – this part is called the stake, and it’s about 4 inches long with holes drilled in the sides for termites to enter and exit.  Once the termites feed on the bait, they go back to their nest and transfer toxicant to the other colony members.  The insecticide takes from 3 to 14 days to affect the colony – the chemical is non-repellant, and this assists in the process because foragers cannot detect it or that they are carrying poison material back to the nest.

Termite Chemical Treatment

Traditionally the method of controlling subterranean termites was to apply a liquid pesticide to the soil around your home; this treatment erects a chemical barrier around and beneath your home.  The treatment is an attempt to block termites from entering by treating the soil and foundation of the structure.

“Termidor, Sentricon, and Premise are the safer effective alternatives. Both are water based, have virtually no smell and of ultra-low hazard to humans, dogs, cats and other mammals.”  These liquid pesticides are used to block termites and repel or exterminate these pests.

Dousing the grounds around your home can pose problems:

  • Treatment can involve using hundreds of gallons of pesticide
  • Harsh treatment which involves injecting chemicals along foundation, beneath slabs, and within walls
  • Cost of equipment is expensive
  • Numerous hidden termite entry points that chemicals may not reach

Some chemical treatments have a strong repellency action to deter foraging termites, the nature of these products means the termites can detect the chemical and will move along the treated soil areas, actively seeking a gap to gain entry into the building.

There are some that are non-repellant to the termites. Termites can enter the treated soil zone without detecting the Termidor or Premise chemical.  Active ingredients such as fipronil and imidacloprid, which are non-repellent and work to kill termites with delay upon contact – the termite does not sense the chemical and brings it back to the unsuspecting nest.

In the past termiticide products got a bad name for being unsafe and unstable in soil and subsequently were taken off the market.  The insecticides currently used are safe if ‘used as directed’ by a professional pest control specialist, and can last from 5 to 10 years effectively.

The average three bedroom home of about 1500′ will take 150 gallons of diluted insecticide, and its effectiveness will depend on the chemical nature of the soil surrounding your home.  That said, this method is very effective as a treatment or deterrent for termites.

http://www.doityourselftermitecontrol.com/chemical-termite-treatments.html

Why chemical treatment is not a DYI project!

  • Applying a liquid pesticide may mean drilling to get under the slab or concrete pad and pumping the solution into the ground
  • Handling these chemicals is not easy – diluting the solution
  • Some chemicals are stronger than others – it may get on skin and clothes, and inhalation of chemicals is trouble for some with breathing problems.

The difficulty in trying this yourself is great, but if your home has a crawlspace or is raised above the ground, you can purchase the chemicals, dig down into the ground around you home and lay your barrier.

Termites will try to return to the central colony under the ground to feed and for the essential moisture they need.  Being unable to pass the chemical barrier they perish.

PROS:
  • Tried and true treatment that has been used for years
  • Fast acting – extermination of pests takes less than a week
  • Keeps repelling termites
  • Treatment lasts five plus years

CONS:
  • Liquid Termiticide cannot be used in all situations – example: if you depend on well water this treatment is not recommended
  • If the soil is disturbed after treatment re-infestation can occur
  • Termites trapped in your home after this treatment will continue to damage the structure

Chemicals for these treatments are getting harder to purchase for the DIYer, in most cases, you must purchase from a licensed pest control company at a premium price.  People are concerned that the government will band chemical pesticides, and some are banned due to environmental concerns, but many are on the market.  Chemical companies come out with newer, safer, more environmentally friendly chemical treatments often.  Scientists on their payroll study termites and find different vulnerabilities that can be exploited which are safer interventions.

With the accelerated use of chemical pesticides since the 1940’s many pests have developed a resistance, and many other species have become endangered or extinct.  Do we want to kill off species that have been around for millions of years?  An example of a species in decline are bees, and scientists believe pesticides have a significant role in their decline.

Again we do not recommend to do it yourself; however, if you’ve decided to do so we suggest to look the video below to get an idea how it’s going to be done.

Natural Termite Treatment

Deciding to treat a termite infestation with natural termite methods is a difficult decision for a homeowner to make.  People just want them gone!  Folks feel their home has been invaded and the walls or support structures are going to collapse.

WE don’t like the idea of putting chemicals around and in our homes, and we search for natural methods of termite control.  Using natural methods will give your peace of mind, and of course, will slow the spread of termites, but it’s a trade-off.  Do all you can naturally, and if you still have a problem speak to a termite professional, they may have some additional advice for you.

Become familiar with the type of termites in your area and deplore one or a combination of natural treatments mentioned below.  Here are some methods to exterminate termites naturally and precautions to take around and in your home.

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Make Cardboard Traps

Get a few cardboard boxes and place them around your property, wet them and wait.  Termites love cardboard and will be attracted to the woodsy smell of the wet cardboard.  Check the boxes once a month; termites will group on top of or under the box.  Dispose of the box by burning it.

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Use a Natural Predator

Nematodes feed on termites – use nature to fight nature – these tiny worms will biologically control a termite population.  They are a natural predator for the termite and are a somewhat effective way of removing termite infestations.  Nematodes do their work by invading the termite’s body openings and releasing a bacteria that kills the host within days.  Studies have shown their control potential is limited in an area the size of the perimeter of a home.

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Natural Dusting

The borax powder which can be purchased at any home store is a common solution to removing termites in a natural way; it is non-toxic to humans and pets, and pretty easy to use.  Sprinkle the powder in the affected area or mix into a solution and spray or paint it on – this method is used as an elimination and deterrent for termites.

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Use Tree Oil as a Botanical Treatment

Orange oil is powerful enough to kill termites on contact because it contains the active compound d-limonene.  This oil is very effective on drywood termite colonies.  Neem Oil is another treatment which works well – the termites have to ingest the oil and repeat applications are necessary before the entire colony eliminated.

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Removal of Infected Wood

Remove damaged wood and replace it with pressure treated wood – this may be easy, or it may be very difficult.  If the infected wood is a structural beam, you will have to treat it instead of removing and replacing.  If the wood infected is a piece of furniture take it outside and leave it in the sun for few days, if you still see signs of infection replace the piece.

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Cedar Naturally Repels Termites

Scientists say Cedar wood repels and is also toxic for termites that try eating it.  The resins and sap in Cedar is a natural repellent – this does not mean to run out and get cedar chips or mulch for your yard, resins and sap run out of the wood over time, plus cedar is expensive.

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Controlling Leaks

Repair any leaks around your home inside and outside – therefore eliminating any moisture around your foundation which will make you home less attractive to termites.  The less moisture around your home the better, remove old wood that has been rained on if you smell an earthy aroma around your home inspect the wood carefully for water damage.

Additional Methods you pest control specialist may suggest, but these methods are not used as much as the other natural methods

  • Thermal pest eradication
  • Liquid Nitrogen
  • Electric Shock
  • Microwave

TADD beagle dogs are used as a natural method of termite detection – they only detect living termites, and the dogs are not fooled by an infestation that has previously been eradicated.  The dogs are trained like bomb sniffing or drug sniffing dogs, and using these dogs will avoid unnecessary treatments and limit chemical usage to eliminate termites.  TADD dog and handler teams are on call in all parts of the United States.

Do natural treatments work?  The answer, in the long run, is YES – some of these methods take longer than others, and it is recommended to use a combination of natural methods as a ‘one-two’ punch.  If going the natural way ‘Be Persistent’ and if you do not have the time or ability call a professional for assistance.  Most times a termite inspection is free (due to the implication of future business for the company), and many good recommendations are given during inspections.   Natural treatments are safe – and the infected areas determine the scope of the treatment.

Final Words

People see termites as pests, insects that destroy their homes and cost them money.  While that is true, there is also another truth.

Scientists are looking to termites in different ways to improve the human condition and to make less of a footprint on this earth. Here are some examples:  Termite stomach enzymes break down wood without using heat or other chemicals.  They are mini bio-fuel producers digesting paper waste and scrap wood and turn it into useful biofuel without using any environmentally damaging methods.  Green buildings have been built using the design features of termite mounds.  Those buildings are comfortably cool without using a single watt of electricity.

And at the end here are some weird facts about them

  • Some cultures in the Amazon eat termites boiled in sugar water to cure whooping cough.
  • Termites readily tunnel through the foam.
  • It is estimated that for every human on earth there are 1000 pounds of termites.
  • Termites eat all day, every day. 24/7
  • A termite queen can live for 20 to 50 years.
  • Termites feed on each other’s feces. This enhances the bacteria in their abdomen that allows for the digestion of wood.
  • Termites have been around for about 250 million years
  • Termite workers and soldiers are blind
  • By passing gas termites create more Methane gas then human industry
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