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Termites
Old 08-12-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
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Termites

Anyone have any termite advice they would like to share? A few days ago I found 2 termite tubes running from the ground up the side of my concrete slab (about 4 inches long). I'm almost certain they weren't there 2 weeks ago so I cant imagine much damage at all has been done. I knocked off the tubes and there were maybe 10 termites in each one. For now Ive decided just to use termite spray and spot treat the areas. I havent seen anymore tubes or termites since I sprayed.

I believe Ive been over watering around the foundation with a soaker hose which Ive read can be an invitation for termites so Ive cut back so the ground isn't so damp.

Thoughts?
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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We paid a bundle for several termite treatments, until our termite exterminator guys had an inspiration to drill down through our slab and spray poison out radially, under the house. (Does that make any sense?) It seems to have worked --- no termites now for a decade or so.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:18 PM   #3
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If you have termites at your house, spot treatment will not work... they will find another way into your house...

I suggest that you do a whole house treatment... that is around the whole house foundation and any places where they can get through the slab... also means drilling through any patio that you have out back that is touching the house...

At my old house, they came up through the hole where the toilet sewer line went through the slab... went under the floor to the closest wall and then went up from there... did not find them until we were tearing out the bathroom for an update and lo and behold.... termites...

It usually takes years for them to do any kind of real damage...


Edit because of GregLee.... if you have cracks in your slab, that is another reason you might have to drill through the slab... any kind of small hole is big enough for termites...
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:28 PM   #4
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Ive done a lot of research the past few days and here's what Ive learned.

1) termites are blind and just wander around underground looking for food
2) Termites dont live in wood. They live in the ground and come out to eat wood.
3) They have to travel back and forth to their underground nest

Assuming these are true and assuming that I have a small number of termites since I caught it early, wouldn't that mean that unless I see more tubes at some point, that no more termites are going into the house than what are already there? The few who came back out already, died by walking thru the poison I sprayed.

There's no doubt that there are more underground. There's more underground all over the place, but with a concrete slab, I'm hoping that if I dont see more tubes, Im OK. They dont just walk out of the ground and up the side of the concrete. They only travel in the tubes.

PS..I'll only be in this house another 3 years so I dont know if I'll ever see damage even if there are more eating away right now. If theres no visible damage inside and no sign of termites outside, I'm thinking I shouldn't spend $1000's just because I saw a few of them.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:29 PM   #5
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I had my foundation drenched....holes drilled...etc. ..mainly because it can be moist and humid here. That was about 12 years ago and have been thinking about doing it again.

I don't trust Terminix.or companies like them. Wasn't impressed with the guy doing the yearly visual inspection. I'd rather ..prevent it from happening than deal with a company ...after...it happens.

I haven't seen any tunnels....and have someone I trust to tell the truth...when he does his inspection.
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Old 08-12-2011, 03:54 PM   #6
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PS..I'll only be in this house another 3 years so I dont know if I'll ever see damage even if there are more eating away right now. If theres no visible damage inside and no sign of termites outside, I'm thinking I shouldn't spend $1000's just because I saw a few of them.
I don't know how it is elsewhere, but here it is a big "plus" when selling your house, if you can advertise that it has a termite contract in place. So, your cost may be partially or completely allayed, and having a termite contract in place may make your sale go through more smoothly as well.

I would not have made an offer on my present home at all, had the owners not said that it had an ongoing termite contract. It turned out that they were mistaken, and one of my requirements after the inspection was that they get a contract in place since the house was supposed to have one.
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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I had termites in my house here in Dallas about 10 years ago. The had infested the entry way to my house which is right next to my kitchen where I spotted them. They were bad enough that they swarmed in the spring and were flying around the house....pretty gross. Anyway, I hired an exterminator who dug trenches around the house and drilled holes in the foundation inside the house...around any possible openings in the foundation like plumbing, etc. They pumped a chemical called Termidor into the trenches and holes in the foundation. I haven't had any more termites since, so the treatment has been effective so far.
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Old 08-12-2011, 05:13 PM   #8
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The termites I had in Arizona are subterranean. I had tubes going up the foundation wall in the garage of my condo. I called the condo exterminator who drilled about 8 holes in my garage slab. He then shot some liquid in and grouted the holes. He explained that the subterranean termites have to return to the ground every 24 hours to feed the queen. That's when the poison that's injected below the garage slab gets them. It's been a few years since I had a treatment. They seem to be more active in the summer.
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Old 08-12-2011, 07:03 PM   #9
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Just because you do not see termites does not mean you do not have them.

Just because you have a termite contract does not mean you do not have them; they cannot read.

When we moved into our house in a very wooded area, we always saw termites: in old stumps, in tubes up the slab, in the wooden fences, etc.

When our house was built, the area around the foundation was treated. That did not prevent the tubes from appearing. I simply knocked them down, spot treated, and maintained vigilance. Once I called for a free inspection and pointed out the tubes I had knocked down. The inspector did not believe me and his inspection result was "No termites."

Everybody that I know who had termites in their home had had a contract. Guess what? That contract did not prevent termites. In other words, paid inspections are useless. The first time you will know you have termites is when they chew through the paper wallboard or when you renovate your bathroom.

You can also hope that your immediate neighbors set up a bait system that kills the queens. Other than that, good luck!
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:54 PM   #10
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I read that most termites infest a house near the front entry way because the builder sweeps wood chips and saw dust out the front door and then cover it with dirt and a concrete sidewalk. This creates a perfect underground termite terrarium.

DallasGuy's experience bears this out. My termites are also near the front door.

I wouldn't call my problem an infestation though. So far there no damage anywhere, no termites inside or anything like that. I think I'm going to keep spot treating until I see evidence of a bigger problem. If I had a friend who was an expert it would be different but I know full well if I call an exterminator they will tell me I have a serious problem whether I do or not.
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:55 PM   #11
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My house is on a conventional crawl space foundation. I inspect the foundation inside and out at least once a year. I spot treat the soil under any termite tunnels. Most years I don't find any tunnels. Our house is 27 years old. So far, so good.

Do not trust an exterminator who inspects your house foundation without getting dirty.

If you live in the woods as we do, termites are everywhere. For the most part they do good work breaking down dead wood. Termite swarms are normal at certain times of the year in the woods and do not necessarily mean you have a termite infestation in your house.

Around here you have to have a negative termite inspection report as part of the paperwork when you sell your house through any mortgage company, so I don't think it has any effect on the selling price.
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Old 08-12-2011, 11:41 PM   #12
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I just sold a house. Curiously, the buyer stipulated no termite/pest inspections but did require a Phase 1 environmental inspection.

As I understand, there are two types of termites. One that is in the Southern US is more voracious and destructive.
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:32 AM   #13
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My house is on a conventional crawl space foundation. I inspect the foundation inside and out at least once a year. I spot treat the soil under any termite tunnels. Most years I don't find any tunnels. Our house is 27 years old. So far, so good.

Do not trust an exterminator who inspects your house foundation without getting dirty.

If you live in the woods as we do, termites are everywhere. For the most part they do good work breaking down dead wood. Termite swarms are normal at certain times of the year in the woods and do not necessarily mean you have a termite infestation in your house.

Around here you have to have a negative termite inspection report as part of the paperwork when you sell your house through any mortgage company, so I don't think it has any effect on the selling price.
What do you use to spot treat the soil nears the tunnels? Liquid spray or something else?
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:33 AM   #14
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What do you use to spot treat the soil nears the tunnels? Liquid spray or something else?
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:36 AM   #15
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Old 08-13-2011, 08:53 AM   #16
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If you live in the south, you really need to check that they are not formosan termites.

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One variety of subterranean termites, which presently cause a great deal of damage in the southern United States are the Formosan termites. These termites came from Eastern Asia, but they have transplanted and spread to many parts of the world including the U.S.
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In the U.S. 14 states now have Formosan infestations: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas with outbreaks in Arizona, New Mexico, Virginia, and Tennessee
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:09 AM   #17
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Thanks for the link. Those dont look like the termites I saw outside my house.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:31 AM   #18
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Thanks for the link. Those dont look like the termites I saw outside my house.
Good news.

When we had termites in our house in Baton Rouge the Terminx guy broke the tunnel on the slab I'd seen and caught a glimpse of them and said they were definitely not formosan as they didn't come rushing out to attack.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:37 PM   #19
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What do you use to spot treat the soil nears the tunnels? Liquid spray or something else?
I use liquid spray. Sometimes I use a pressure sprayer and sometimes I pour it from a plastic bottle.

Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart have a variety of EPA approved termite poisons. The county CO-OP has professional grade poison. My guess is one is as effective as the other. It seems to me that any poison I bought a couple of years ago is now banned by the EPA.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:11 PM   #20
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I found this very informative article which also gives some good ideas at the end for elimination.

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/alte...%20Control.pdf

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