Got Termites? Now What?

You and/or your inspector have established the fact that you have an infestation of
termites.  Now what?  Before you can make a final decision about treating the problem, there are a few things that you must take into consideration, while dialoging with your pest control provider:

  • What type of termites is present in your home?
  • What materials have been used in the building of your home?
  • What is the condition of your home?
  • What structural features does your home have?
  • What part of the country do you live in?
  • How much moisture is present in the infested area?
  • What degree of assurance against infestation do you desire?
  • What treatments have been used on your home in the past?
  • How much time has elapsed since your last treatment?

Once these questions have been answered, it will be much easier for your pest control  provider to decide which of the newest treatments will best suite your needs.  Research in the field of termite treatment is on-going.  Researchers are constantly finding and refining new methods for the fight against termite infestation.  Because there are so many  different forms of treatment available, it is very likely that your pest control provider will combine a number of weapons to achieve the maximum results in termite control.  There are four basic types of treatment methods that are very effective in this fight:

Liquid termiticides – Being the most accepted of the four methods, liquid treatments are used where there is an active colony present.  Also, the liquid treatment will effectively create a barrier around your home.  This will keep the  termites where they belong—outside of your house and possibly prevent future  attacks.  If you are building a new home, this is an ideal time for the liquid termiticides to be applied.  If you have a slab foundation on a structure that is already built, trenching and drilling holes will be necessary to allow the pressure-injected termiticides to be introduced to the foundation and create a barrier.  To be effective, this barrier must have no breaks in it.

Foam termiticides – A foam treatment is useful because it is capable of reaching places where normal liquid treatment may fail.  Not only is the liquid termiticide present in this treatment, but the foam expands to create a barrier.  Places that this is especially effective are the base of chimneys, under porches that are dirt-filled and where as the structure settled, crack occurred.  The foam treatment is not suitable or effective for directly treating soil.  The pest control technician will usually apply an initial application of liquid termiticide, followed by foam in a secondary application.

Borate Treatments – A borate solution is sprayed directly on wood and then allowed to soak in.  This treatment has been around a long time, but they have only recently started using it as part of the line of termite treatments.  What happens is that the insects are repelled by the borates, but if the insect eats the treated wood, the liquid works on the enzymes in the stomach of the insect.  The insect will then starve to death because its body cannot absorb any nutrients for living.  Studies have shown that termites can be repelled for up to nine years with this treatment.  According to the source of this information, this treatment is good to use in new homes and one of its advantages is that this is a less toxic choice than the other methods may provide.

Bait Stations – This is a relatively newer type of treatment for termites.  This method attacks the colonies in the soil.  This method requires stations to be placed about 10 feet apart around the perimeter of the building and then diligently monitoring the stations on a scheduled basis for termite activity.  The bait is eaten by termites and carried back to the colony, where others share the food and eventually the colony is destroyed.   Bait stations are best used as a preventative measure for new infestations.  Bait stations by themselves cannot control an infestation in a home.  But, a baiting station along with another of the conventional methods will help to get the termites under control and finally eliminated from the properties.  Once the termites are under control, then you may be able to rely only on a baiting station to prevent future infestations.

With the right kind of treatment, you can worry less about your home being a meal for some pest!

Next time we’ll discuss why it’s best to leave termites to the professionals.

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The above information was derived from the text Secrets to a Pest Free Home by Richard C. Burton.   ©2003

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