Keeping Termites Away From Your Home

Keeping Termites Away From Your Home

Termites are pesky little insects that can cause a lot of damage to your home. They need food, moisture, and warmth to survive, and if they can find a way in, modern homes are often the perfect place for “silent destroyers” to dwell. The subterranean dwellers usually come into a home through its foundation, where the wood touches the moist soil where the termites live. The wood is a tempting, tasty, and plentiful food source for creatures that eat 24/7; in fact, it’s estimated that termites cause $5 billion in damage each year [source: PestWorld.org].

A termite specialist can help you identify problem areas around your home that might make it attractive to termite colonies. Some possible trouble spots include areas where puddles form near the foundation cause by inadequate grading, or moisture run-off from air conditioning units.

Experts recommend Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control many pests, including termites. This approach focuses on making structural changes to your home that will make it less attractive to invaders, as well as treatment if signs of activity are detected.

Several different termite treatment options are available, and the best choice depends on the home and the termite species. Termiticides, including liquids, baits, or a combination of the two are commonly used.

Termiticides provide a long-lasting barrier that prevents termites in the ground from entering the wood; termites already in the wood will die because they cannot return to the moist soil. Repellent and non-repellent (which kill termites) formulas are available, and both are effective.

Another treatment is baiting. Paper, cardboard or other attractive food, plus a slow-acting lethal substance is placed in a plastic cylinder and buried in the ground. Termites consume the bait, share it with their colony, and the number of termites in the area will gradually decline.

How do you know if termites are present in your home? Signs of termite activity include mud tubes and discarded wings from swarming mature termites, most often occurring in the spring. If you tap on wood and it sounds hollow, or push it and it caves in, you might have a problem. Many infestations have been discovered by accidentally bumping into baseboards with a dry cleaner attachment or broom.

When it comes to termites, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so take a few simple steps to make your home less welcoming to termites:

  • Eliminate moisture problems around your home that make the soil around it attractive
  • Repair leaking faucets, water pipes and air conditioning units
  • Maintain good drainage around the foundation โ€“ make sure there is no standing water
  • Clean gutters and down-spouts
  • Avoid excess mulch or ground cover near the foundation
  • Seal entry points around water and utility pipes or lines
  • Keep firewood, lumber, or paper away from foundation or crawl space
  • Get rid of stumps and debris near house
  • Inspect decks and wooden fences regularly for damage
  • Prevent the wood on your home from contacting the soil

Homeowners are wise to continuously monitor and maintain their property to prevent termite damage. It’s smart to schedule a regular inspection by a termite expert who can identify trouble spots as well as signs of activity.

home.howstuffworks.com

Does termite damage worry you? If so, you are not alone. Every year termites cause billions of dollars in structural damage, and property owners spend over two billion dollars to treat them. This fact sheet focuses on how you, as a consumer, can identify and help protect your property from termites through effective prevention measures and appropriate use of termite treatments.

How do I Know if I Have Termites?

The first step in prevention is to be on the alert for termites. Termites rarely emerge from soil, mud tubes, or food sources through which they are tunneling. Most people are not aware they have termites until they see a swarm or come across damage during construction. Some of the ways to discover if you have termites are listed below:

  • Examine, by probing, exposed wood for hollow spots (using a flathead screwdriver or similar tool).
  • Identify termite swarms (sometimes ant swarms are mistaken as termites).
  • front wings longer than the hind wings
  • antennae bent at ninety degree angle
  • wings are roughly equal in length
  • antennae are straight; may droop

The most common form of termite in most of the United States is the native subterranean termite. Exit Other, less common, types of termites include the smaller drywood termite Exit and the invasive Formosan termite.

How Can I Prevent Termite Infestation?

Make the Structure Less Attractive to Termites

During construction, use a concrete foundation and leave a ventilation space between the soil and wood. Cover exposed wood surfaces with a sealant or metal barrier.

Maintain the Termite Prevention Features

  • After construction, keep the soil around the foundation dry through proper grading and drainage (including maintenance of gutters and downspouts).
  • Reduce openings that offer termites access to the structure (filling cracks in cement foundations as well as around where utilities pass through the wall with cement, grout, or caulk).
  • Fix leaks immediately.
  • Keep vents free from blockage, including plants.
  • Ensure that trees and shrubs are not planted too close to the structure and do not allow them to grow against exposed wood surfaces.
  • Do not pile or store firewood or wood debris next to the house.
  • Inspect periodically to help ensure that termite colonies do not become established.

What are the Different Types of Termite Treatments?

Non-Chemical Treatments

Some ways to keep termites out do not involve the application of insecticides. For example:

  • One such method is a physical barrier, typically incorporated during construction.
  • Steel mesh and sands of particular sizes have been shown to perform effectively as physical barriers.
  • Biological control agents (nematodes and fungi) have demonstrated some success, particularly in laboratory settings.

Because these methods do not involve the application of an insecticide, EPA does not regulate them.

Chemical Treatments

Before a company can sell or distribute any pesticide in the United States, other than certain minimum risk pesticides, EPA must review studies on the pesticide to determine that it will not pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment. Once we have made that determination, we will license or register that pesticide for use in strict accordance with label directions. The pesticides used for the prevention or treatment of termite infestations are called termiticides and must demonstrate the ability to provide structural protection before we register them. In most cases, termiticide application can only be properly performed by a trained pest management professional.

Approved treatments include:

  • Liquid soil-applied termiticides.
  • Termite baits.
  • Building materials impregnated with termiticides.
  • Wood treatments.

Two common forms of treatment are conventional barrier treatments and termite baits.

Conventional Barrier Treatments

The most common technique for treating termite infestations is the soil-applied barrier treatment. Termiticides used for barrier treatments must be specifically labeled for that use.

If conducted improperly, these treatments can cause contamination of the home and surrounding drinking water wells and will not protect against termites. For that reason, it is important to hire a pest management professional who is licensed and trained to take proper precautions. The most common active ingredients found in conventional termiticides are:

Also see our Web page on pyrethroids and pyrethrins for general information on the pesticides in this class and our reevaluation process for them.

Termite Baits

In recent years, several bait systems have been introduced to help reduce the overall use of insecticides and their impact on human health and the environment. These systems rely on cellulose baits that contain a slow-acting insecticide.

The most common active ingredients found in termite baits are:

  • Diflubenzuron – inhibits insect development.
  • Hexaflumuron- first active ingredient registered as a reduced-risk pestic >(3 pp, 248.46 K) Exit
  • Hydramethylnon (PDF) (5 pp, 150.66 K) Exit- insectic >(6 pp, 97.8 K) – disrupts termite growth and activity.

Wood Treatment

  • Borates – commonly used as a spray on application during new home construction to protect wood.

Are Pesticides Used Against Termites Safe?

As the federal agency responsible for regulating all pesticides, including termiticides, sold, applied, or distributed in the United States, EPA must ensure that the pesticide, when used according to label directions, meets current safety standards to protect human health and the environment. To make such determinations, we require more than 100 different scientific studies and tests from applicants. Most states also review the pesticide label to ensure that it complies with federal labeling requirements and any additional state restrictions of use.

Many termiticides are highly toxic, making it critical to follow label directions with added care. Pest management professionals have the knowledge, expertise, and equipment as required by the label, which minimizes risks and maximizes effectiveness.

How do I Handle a Termite Infestation?

  • Choose a pest control company carefully – Firms offering termite services must be licensed by your state. Ask to see the companyโ€™s license and, if you have any concerns, call your state pesticide regulatory agencyExit. Please read our Citizenโ€™s Guide to Pest Control & Safety for more tips on how to choose a company that will do a good job.
  • Read the pesticide product label – The label tells you exactly how the product is to be used and provides information on potential risks. If the label does not include directions to control termites and protect the structure, then the product is not intended to protect the structure against termites and should not be applied. If you wish to see a copy of the product label, ask the company representative for a copy.
  • Be aware of the how soon you can return to the treated res >Top of page

What if Something Goes Wrong?

To register a complaint concerning a pesticide misapplication, contact your state pesticide regulatory agency Exit . You may also want to call the National Pesticide Information Centerโ€™s (NPIC) Exit toll-free hotline at 1-800-858-7378. NPIC provides experts who can answer a broad range of questions concerning pesticide-related issues, such as product use and health effects.

www.epa.gov

How to get rid of termites

A termite infestation in your home can be a stressful experience. Are you concerned your house may be experiencing a termite infestation? The best way to get rid of termites is always to contact a pest control professional like Ehrlich.

Below are just a few of the reasons why it is best to hire a termite control professional:

  • Do-it-yourself termite treatments are mostly ineffective and will not prevent termites from re-infesting your property.
  • Termites are highly secretive creatures that are difficult to identify without specialized training.
  • A properly trained pest control professional will ensure that the termite treatments are applied in the safest manner possible.

The method of treatment an Ehrlich technician will employ to rid a property of termites will depend on the species of termite.

How to get rid of termites in homes

Of course, the last thing you want is to find termites infesting your home. Termites are not dangerous to people as they are not venomous and they do not usually bite people. However, the cost of termite damage can be extensive and can require a lot of money on the part of the homeowner to repair.

Ehrlich’s termite control specialists advise that the best way to get rid of termites in a home is for a homeowner to make preparations around their home to stop termites from finding your property attractive in the first place. This includes:

  • Repair the roof – broken roof tiles can let in moisture and create the perfect environment for termites to start chewing away and setting up their nests.
  • Watch the air conditioner – if you have an air conditioner unit in a window, keep an eye on it. The moisture that drips from an air conditioner can cause the wood around windows to get damp and create an attractive area for a termite infestation.
  • Check the wood around your house – during the spring and summer seasons, termites get the most active and you, as a homeowner, need to get proactive. Take the time to check the wooden beams and exposed wood areas around your house. Press your thumb or fingers against exposed wood and if the wood crumbles, you probably have termites. Catch it early and you can get rid of termites and stop the damage
  • Get rid of boxes – termites love to chew on things like cardboard boxes. If you have a lot of them around your house, you increase the risk of termites finding your home. Store things in plastic boxes instead of cardboard, so if a termite gets inside the attic, they don’t start chewing on the boxes.
  • Get rid of wood – you can keep stacks of wood for your fire, of course, but be careful about where you store it. Stacking wood against the side of the house can be a problem and can attract termites to your home.
  • Tend the garden – watch the type of mulch you use in your garden. Use a mulch made from alternative materials like gravel or rubber instead of wood. Make sure mulch is not abutted right against your house.
  • Get rid of moisture – watch for leaking pipes, or any place where there is damp wood.
  • Seal up windows and doors – when termite swarmers come out, they can get inside through broken window screens and doors with cracks and openings. Seal those places up.
  • Inspect wood floors and furniture – termites will chew on any wood they find and not just wooden beams. Check for sponginess on hardwood floors, inspect wooden patio furniture. Check decks and other wooden structures on your property.
  • Get rid of piles of clothing – termites are looking for cellulose and certain fabrics can be just as attractive as wood to termites. Pick up piles of clothes and store them properly and avoid a termite invasion.

How to get rid of subterranean termites

Subterranean termites live in the soil and enter properties from the ground. Therefore, the soil around a home or business will need to be treated in addition to the termite galleries found inside and outside the structure.

Conventional treatments and termite baiting/monitoring programs are the two primary methods Ehrlich utilizes to get rid of subterranean termites.

Conventional termite treatments

A conventional termite treatment is the application of a liquid termiticide to the soil down to the footer depth around the perimeter of the structure.

Conventional termite treatments will eliminate colonies when worker termites forage into the treated zone in the soil and unknowingly come in contact with the termiticide. In addition to the soil treatment, all termite galleries on the exterior and interior of a home will receive treatment.

Do-it-yourself termite treatments are mostly ineffective and will not protect your home from termites re-infesting the structure in the future.

Termites are highly secretive creatures that are difficult to identify without specialized training.

A properly trained pest control professional will ensure that the termite treatments are applied in the safest manner possible.

Sentriconยฎ termite baiting and monitoring

Your Ehrlich technician will install termite bait stations into the soil around your home and in areas inside your home where termite activity has been identified.

It is highly recommended that customers keep termite bait stations in the ground after the termite infestation subsides. This will protect your home from future infestations. Once baiting stations are removed, there will be nothing deterring termites from re-infesting your structure.

Service offers customers continuous peace of mind knowing their property will be monitored and periodically inspected for new evidence of termite activity.

Service is less invasive than conventional treatments and does not involve extensive drilling of holes into property.

Service is environmentally friendly as it uses less termite product than other treatment options.

How to get rid of drywood termites

For drywood termites, the two most commonly recommended termite treatment options are Ehrlichโ€™s fumigation and spot treatment services.

Fumigation – Fumigation is often the most effective way to treat drywood termites. After a fumigation service is carried out, customers can rest assured knowing that the property has been completely cleaned of termites.

It is a fairly invasive treatment option that will require homeowners to leave their property for a few days, pack up food and medicines and arrange for a place for any pets to stay until the treatment is complete.

Spot Treatment Service – The alternative to treating drywood termites with fumigation is a spot treatment service. To conduct a spot termite treatment, a technician will drill into the termite galleries in a structure and inject the application directly into the galleries. A spot treatment will sometimes require the use of a borescope to identify signs of termites in inaccessible parts of a home.

Spot Termite Treatments are less invasive than fumigation but will likely involve the drilling of holes into walls.

To setup a FREE termite inspection, call Ehrlich today at 1-800-837-5520 or contact us online.

Termite fumigation

Fumigation is often the most effective way to treat drywood termites. After a fumigation service is carried out, customers can rest assured knowing that the property has been completely cleaned of termites.

It is a fairly invasive treatment option that will require homeowners to leave their property for a few days, pack up food and medicines and arrange for a place for any pets to stay until the treatment is complete.

Termite spot treatments

The alternative to treating drywood termites with fumigation is a spot treatment service. To conduct a spot termite treatment, a technician will drill into the termite galleries in a structure and inject the application directly into the galleries. A spot treatment will sometimes require the use of a borescope to identify signs of termites in inaccessible parts of a home.

Spot Termite Treatments are less invasive than fumigation but will likely involve the drilling of holes into walls.

To setup a FREE termite inspection, call Ehrlich today at 1-877-462-1288 or contact us online.

www.jcehrlich.com

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