Mr. Smith Asks the Expert About Termites
Hey, thanks for coming out. We’ve lived here for 10 years and as I said, I’m not sure if I have termites or not, and I really don’t know anything about them, or what I need to do.
Thanks for calling us out, Mr. Smith. I don’t know if you’ve lived in the South long or not, but termite infestation is much heavier down here due to the increased moisture and humidity. The southern states have what’s called subterranean termites.
Are they like ants or bees?
A termite colony is a caste system. Every member performs a specific function. The colony is comprised of a king, queen, worker, soldiers, and swarmers. A termite colony has anywhere from 250,000 to a couple of million members. The colony in the ground centers around the king and queen. Their function is to reproduce and grow the colony.
Workers are the majority of termites. They look like white maggots. Workers leave the colony and go to food and water sources where they eat, return to the colony and regurgitate for the king, queen and the rest of the colony.
Soldiers are exactly what they sound like. They protect the colony and ants are one of the biggest predators of termites. Swarmers leave the colony and their purpose is to start new colonies. They leave the nest by flying out then they fall to the ground. Their wings fall off and they burrow into the moisture line to form a new colony. The majority of them die before they can get to the moisture line, but it doesn’t take many to form a new colony.
You said termites need a food and water source. What do they feed on?
Termites feed on cellulose that is not masonry or metal. They eat things like wood, paper, fabric, carpet, sheetrock, insulation, leather and debris. Crawl spaces, cellars and external buildings are great sources of food and water for termites. Termites are active year-round. A lot of times they build mud tunnels, or tubes of dirt that run up a wall, or cinder block of a foundation and they travel to and from the colony via the tubes from the food source.
Do termites fly or look like ants?
The difference between a flying termite and a flying ant is pretty distinct. Both have four wings, two on each side, a termites wings on each side are the same length, but an ants wings are shorter on one side than the other. An ant has a head, thorax, and abdomen, but a termite looks more like one whole body with a head.
Do I need a termite bond?
Mr. Smith, the thing about the South is that pretty much every home has a termite bond or protection. What that means is that the home has been treated for termites to stop them. Now just because a home is treated doesn’t mean you can guarantee there will never be another termite in the life of the home. Nobody can promise eternal eradication. It’s important that you know that termites do more damage to homes in America than fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes combined, which is why you want to protect and treat the home for termites.
So what are you going to do today?
I’m gonna inspect your home, there’s a lot of areas on your home that we call conducive conditions. Obviously, on a home you can only visually inspect 30-35%, we can’t see within the walls and all termites need is the width of a piece of paper to get inside the home, or crawlspace. Things like stacked fire-wood nearby, or debris under the house are food sources for termites. Let me inspect and I will tell you what I find.
Inspection/Post-Inspection Conversation/What did you find?
Mr. Smith, let me show you what I found. There are some areas of concern and I have drawn a graph of your home so we can have a roadmap and know how to treat your home properly.
You have a woodpile on the left side of the house and there were a few pieces of wood with termite activity. You need to move the wood away from the house. There wasn’t a lot of debris under your house and there was no visual sign of termite activity. Your house is 10-20 years old, but today they pre-treat the house before they frame it to protect from termites. The ideal situation for treating termites is if we could attach a crane to the top of your house and lift it off the foundation and then treat the foundation and all of the soil the house sits on then put it back down we would be done. But we can’t do that, but it’s what we are going to try and accomplish.
So what will you do?
We use a product called Termidor, which is liquid gold! It’s a fantastic product! In 1987 most companies were using Chlordane, and/or Aldrin to treat termites. Both of these worked great, they killed termites and had a resilience effect. But the EPA banned both of these treatments and threw the Termite Control industry into another world. Since that time there have been numerous products on the market and the only product that’s worked like those products is Termidor.
Is it safe?
Termidor is EPA approved, as are all of our products. It’s safe and there is no odor, you won’t breathe it and it’s safe for your family and pets.
How does it work?
While Termidor is not a bait it has liquid bait-like characteristics or properties. A termite comes in contact with Termidor and its active ingredient called, Fipronil, is totally undetected by the insect. They get it on their body and return to the colony. Upon return, they groom themselves and regurgitate their food. The colony feeds on it and the Termidor spreads throughout the colony like a virus or bacteria. It starts to spread and eventually wipes out the entire colony. It isn’t a contact kill, but it is by far the best, long-lasting product to eliminate termite infestations in homes.
How do you apply it?
We dig a small trench 4-6” deep around the entire perimeter of your home. Then we place the liquid inside the trench, cover it up and apply it to the topsoil as well. We will go under your house, trench and treat all of the piers under the house that support the floor joists.
I noticed you have a concrete front porch that we can’t trench so we will drill a dime-sized hole through the concrete and inject the Termidor with a rod every 12” apart. The expansion joints and the soil below is treated. It’s the same on your driveway and back porch. We will do that with every piece of concrete that is attached to your home. We plug the holes, fill them up and you won’t even know it was done. This allows you to have full coverage protection on the house. I did notice above-average moisture reading under your house.
Why is moisture reading so important?
Well, I would recommend in conjunction with the termite treatment we install a moisture/vapor barrier. Remember, termites need food and water. They love crawl spaces and cellars. During my inspection I recorded moisture reading underneath your house. 20% or fewer moisture readings are preferred. However, moisture readings can vary between a week in the same area because moisture is constantly seeping into the ground.
What do you advise?
I would recommend we put down a moisture barrier, in an 85% coverage area and we will leave about 12-18” clearance from your outer perimeter and from around all your piers. We will cover it with poly like carpet, it’s 6 mil, nice and heavy and this just helps keep your moisture content in check. And it also prevents termites from using your house as a food source.
Once we get done treating your home you’re gonna have peace of mind knowing you are fully protected. After treatment, we will put a termite bond, insurance protection, coverage on your home.
What does that mean?
It means we will send you a termite bond in writing. It basically says that if you get termites in the future, or after treatment, we will come back out and treat at no cost whatsoever to you, and it’s our problem. The other thing that’s nice is that it’s fully transferable if you sell your home to someone. It’s total peace of mind!
Apex Termite & Pest Control has been in business since 1957 and we are up to date with the latest termite and pest control technology. The bottom-line with Apex is that we don’t just want to be the best termite and pest control company, we want to be the best service company. And by providing the best customer service we earn the right to be the best termite and pest control company.
Paul Hamilton, Owner
Greer, SC 29651