It's a beautiful spring day and all of a sudden your house is covered with thousands of flying insects. You ask a neighbor what they are and he informs you that you have termites. Is it time to panic? NO! In the next couple of pages we will look at termite biology and how to prevent them from using your house as a food supply.
Termites fly in the spring. These swarmers(flyers)are the future reproductive members of a new colony. Many different species of ants also fly in the spring. These ants may be very similar in size and shape to the termite swarmers(Brown, winged, about 3/8 inch long). All species of ants, flying or otherwise, have a distinct pinched waist. Flying termites on the other hand have no waist whatsoever. The worker termites do all the damage, are seldom seen and resemble a small white maggot with six legs, about a quarter of an inch long. They work day and night, 365 days a year, and if left unchecked can cause extensive structural damage.
Subterranean worker termites live in colonies(nests) in soil where moisture is available. Even though they eat wood they do not live there. To eliminate the colony the soil under and around the house must be treated--- the colony will not be destroyed by simply treating the wood where the termites have been found.
Once you are sure that you have flying termites and not flying
ants---what next? I suggest that you do the following.
1. Call 3 different exterminators and ask for a free termite inspection. Do not volunteer that you have already seen termites.
2. Be there when your house is being inspected. Ask to see evidence of the termites and inquire as to the extent of possible damage already done.
3. After each company has given you a price on the treatment of your house and any repairs(if needed) than you may decide to contract with one of these companies or you may decide to try and control the termites yourself.
TERMITE CONTROL---WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A PROFESSIONAL?
1. Anytime you are sure that you have active termites in your home and your home is any of the following types.
a. Any house that is built on a slab.
b. Any house that has a basement.
c. Anytime that you need proof of termite treatment. Any real estate transactions have to be done by an exterminator.
TERMITE CONTROL---WHEN CAN I DO-IT MYSELF?
1. Any preventative treatment. In other words you don't have termites now and you sure don't want them in the future. The most basic approach is to dig a trench 4 inches wide and 4 inches deep flush up against the outside foundation wall, fill the trench with diluted termiticide at the rate of 4 gallons every 10 feet of trench, fill the trench with soil, and drench this soil. If this soil is not disturbed or removed this treatment will give you a termite barrier of approximately 5 years. This is the simplest and most cost effective way to avoid termites. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!!
2. You have termites but your house is a block type construction with adequate crawl space clearance.
3. Any time you are adding on to your house you can pretreat the soil underneath and around the addition yourself with a termiticide. Do not do this if you are financing this addition--the bank will require the termite pretreatment be done by a pest control operator when financing.
4. You can treat your wooden sheds, fence posts, dog houses, etc. in the yard.
Return link to index of articles
Pest Control Solutions
for the Do-It-Yourselfer
Professional Pest Control Products, Inc.
5825 Nancy Ave
Columbus, Ga. 31909
1/706-682-2314 fax 1/706-221-1918
Some termiticides are better, stronger, less smelly, safer, etc. than others. Not all termiticides can be sold in all states. If you need more information on doing your own termite control please call 1-800-887-2847.