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Termites
Old 12-21-2011, 06:20 PM   #1
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Termites

We found a couple of piles of what looked like sawdust and some funny marks on the wood floor. Dry wood termites. The pest control suggested "tenting" the house, but DW says no way, so his second choice is to do spot treatments. The floor needs to be repaired near where the termites are so the plan is to tear out a piece of the old floor, repair any underfloor that's been eaten or rotted, apply Premise foam, then repair top floor and hope the termites do not appear elsewhere.

I read this thread Termites and a couple others and don't think I'm missing anything. Tenting is out of the question so is there another option to spot treatment?
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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Termites are something I wouldn't mess around with. I'd urge you to tent the house despite everything.

People tent their houses all the time (in the tropics) and it really isn't a big deal. Having bad termites is a big deal.
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:35 PM   #3
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Termites are something I wouldn't mess around with. I'd urge you to tent the house despite everything.

People tent their houses all the time (in the tropics) and it really isn't a big deal. Having bad termites is a big deal.
Thanks. I know, understand and acknowledge - but tenting just isn't going to happen, so we need to pursue the plan B.
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:38 PM   #4
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... we need to pursue the plan B.
Maybe plan B.1 - repair, spot treat and move...
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:52 PM   #5
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Maybe plan B.1 - repair, spot treat and move...
Don't forget this part, or to at least leave that option open...
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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Several companies now have a non tent treatment . I think I 'd try that and then spot treat . We put boric acid around and that seems to keep them at bay . It may also be carpenter ants . Another Florida pest and just as destructive . I've had the tenting and it was awful . We had to leave our house for two days twice . The first day there was too much wind so they could not do it .We also had to pack up everything . What a pain !
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:11 PM   #7
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Michael,

First please make sure it's termite, not carpenter ant you're dealing with. From what I learned, termites have to go outside of house premise to get water on regular basis (while the carpenter ants don't), and that's how trench termite treatment works. I would try a hybrid DIY treatment approach at first, before considering the tenting house option.

For outside house treatment, mail order some Bifenthrin and following the dilution instruction for termite trench treatment around your house perimeter. Bifenthrin is an excellent choice because: <1> insoluble in water; <2> low mobility in soil; <3> moderate toxicity (neither acute nor too weak); <4> will not translocate and <5> long lasting (up to 3 months). Bifenthrin also works wonderfully for carpenter ants prevention.

For inside house local treatment, mail order some Delta Dust and a good quality bulb duster with long brass neck and tip nozzle. You also need a good cartridge gas mask while filling and using the duster as precaution since Delta Dust is super fine. Dust voids and crevices where termites are found or suspected to travel through. Delta Dust will get attached to termites' body and kill them. It also works wonderfully for carpenter ants because worker ants will bring Delta Dust back to their queen and kill her subsequently. Once the queen is dead, the whole colony will collapse.

There are a lot of DIY pest control you can do, as long as you strictly follow the safety instructions and good common sense.
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:12 PM   #8
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Dry wood termites are considerably different from the subterranian kind. Their colonies (and the damage to your house) tends to be more localized. If the exterminator believes he can spot-treat the area and get all the critters, that may be a good solution.

Tenting: I know you said "no way", but you might need to go down this road if the infestation is severe. The good things about tenting are: 1) it will kill every termite and 2) it will leave no residue (none) in your home. It's a gas and the gas dissipates when the tent is removed and the place is aired out. The bad things are that it is expensive and it is inconvenient.

Penetrating boric acid solutions will protect your wood, deter termites, and have very low toxicity to humans.
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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First please make sure it's termite, not carpenter ant you're dealing with. From what I learned, termites have to go outside of house premise to get water on regular basis (while the carpenter ants don't), and that's how trench termite treatment works.
No, if these are dry wood termites (like the inspector said) then they don't need to stay in contact with the ground. They get all the moisture they need from the wood--no mud tubes, etc. They can enter from high up when they swarm, and so it's a lot harder to prevent them from entering your home (trenches, baits, and perimeter chemicals/trenches don't work).
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:38 PM   #10
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Tenting is out of the question so is there another option to spot treatment?
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Termites are something I wouldn't mess around with. I'd urge you to tent the house despite everything.
People tent their houses all the time (in the tropics) and it really isn't a big deal. Having bad termites is a big deal.
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
Thanks. I know, understand and acknowledge - but tenting just isn't going to happen, so we need to pursue the plan B.
You're in luck-- tenting is a waste of time & money. It's a good deal for the guy who owns the tent, and it kills dry wood (flying) termites, but there's no lasting effect. The next day a new termite (and more ants) can take up residence in the old nest. I have no idea why people pay for it around here, except that they grew up with it and have never questioned why they're doing it in the first place. "Gosh, honey, look at the cool postcard photo we got in the mail-- this company tented Kawaiaha'o Church, so I know we can trust them!"

I won't get into having to move all the food (or throw it out) and the people whose houses are broken into by crooks wearing scuba gear (hoping that they don't have a facemask leak).

Dry wood termites still need a source of water, so you'd want to see if you have an oozing water pipe or sewage leak somewhere. Carpenter ants-- same situation, although you'll see them scampering around much more than the termites.* If you don't actually see carpenter ants inside your house, let alone near the damage, then you're probably OK.

The spot treatment sounds good. You could also liberally spray the area with a 10% boric acid solution-- either commercial from a lumber store or DIY from Borax. I know I just mentioned that termites & ants need the moisture, but spraying the boric acid solution allows the water to carry it in solution into the wood. You'd have to let things dry out for a day or two before you made the hole airtight again.

* Funny story. I was wedged into the sloping corner of an attic once drilling a hole in the wall's top plate for a coax cable-- when my drill bit disturbed the carpenter ant nest inside the drywall. They came boiling out of the freshly-drilled hole like a scene in an Aliens movie. I backed out of there at about 200 MPH, dancing across the joists and shaking ants off my anatomy without actually falling through the drywall ceiling. I still have nightmares.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:03 AM   #11
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Thanks for the feedback. We will know in a few weeks if it is carpenter ants or termites because they leave a little pile behind. The inspector asked us to collect a sample and give to him. Definitely not subterranean termites, though. I haven't seen any carpenter ants and we have regular pest control. I'll not attempt a DIY, DW much prefers a professional, and I've learned not to challenge her requests when made a certain way.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:00 AM   #12
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I can't ever recall seeing, or even hearing about tenting in N IL. I don't think I've ever even known anyone around here to ever have termite problems.

Is there something specific about your house to make it susceptible (moisture?). I'd want to look into correcting that situation, or I suspect you will be fighting an uphill battle.

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Old 12-22-2011, 10:46 AM   #13
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I can't ever recall seeing, or even hearing about tenting in N IL. I don't think I've ever even known anyone around here to ever have termite problems.

Is there something specific about your house to make it susceptible (moisture?). I'd want to look into correcting that situation, or I suspect you will be fighting an uphill battle.

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Termites don't like the cold.... nor do a few other critters that we have down here...
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
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We found a couple of piles of what looked like sawdust and some funny marks on the wood floor.
Seems like carpenter ants to me. I had this before, found little saw dust piles, then found little ant trails in the wood. Once I removed the old wood cladding, the ants never came back. Just used a concentrated ant killing spray solution and doused all the walls with it before I redid the siding.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:42 AM   #15
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Several companies now have a non tent treatment . I think I 'd try that and then spot treat . We put boric acid around and that seems to keep them at bay . It may also be carpenter ants . Another Florida pest and just as destructive . I've had the tenting and it was awful . We had to leave our house for two days twice . The first day there was too much wind so they could not do it .We also had to pack up everything . What a pain !
Carpenter ants are bad, but not as bad as termites. For one thing, they don't eat wood - they tend to take advantage of decaying wood (often caused by moisture) to build their galleries and tunnels. Termites, however, will eat all of the wood in your house - decayed or sound.

It's really important to know which critter you are dealing with, and that is a fairly easy task. If your pest control company can't tell you, I'd look elsewhere.
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