Possible termite problem (long post)


I started to clean up my basement and found some issues. There is a place by my foundation that I can see light through and is filled with spiderwebs. Its on my to do list to fill with some of the minimum expanding foam. Its a "partially exposed" basement and the area I am talking about is where the foundation turns into a short wall with the rest being the wood part of the house. While someone else was over I asked what this funky looking stuff on my basement wall was. I thought it was saw dust and mud or some kind of construction goop that was spilled. He was like that looks like something the bugs did.
So I get online and start doing research about termites and sure enough thats what it is. They are the little mud tunnels that they build to get places. Most of it looks like "exploratory tunnels". There are a few paths going up to the floor above but they are very small. There was also a few running up the partially exposed wall. We discovered a few more tunnels by pulling out the insulation. Some of the boards do have mud and dirt splattered on them which I still assume is most likely from construction. The good news is that I broke a few chunks in different places and they appear to be in
The house was built 6 years ago. The realtor had mentioned termites have been found in the area. I also found out recently that termites were found in a house down the road. I'm a bit spazzed that these little bastards are or were chewing on my house. The good news is that I checked little places in the different tubes and they are totally dry and appear to be inactive. The boards around the foundation are treated so thats a good thing too.
If they are active or not I want to get the treatments anyway. Termidor sounds like the best solution. I guess it last for years and does truly get rid of the problem. Will stop other bugs too? I do wonder how safe it is for pets though. I called orkin but hear reviews that go both ways. I just want a proper treatment and get a idea on if they have done any major damage.
thanks
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I dont know if this in any way relates to your situation but many people dont know and the exterminator wont tell you that ants eat termites. In some places where a house was treated for termites the ants were killed as well which made it easier for termites to re- infest.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Will those termite stake people put around the house kill ants? If they do not, they might be a better option. There are a few DIY sites on the Internet.
Frank Lardino
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I learned this when doing research. They are mortal enemies. The worker termites are no match for a ant however the soldiers hold the ground. For the most part termites are able to stay completely hidden but when one of their mud tunnels is busted open the soldiers run up to defend until its repaired.
I wouldn't count on ants taking care of a termite problem. Thats why I'm going to request termidor which is most likely what they use anyway. Its carried back to the nest and takes out all of them and will keep any new ones from coming in.
It appears they have gone. I may have found a place in a floor joist with some damage. I will just have to see what the pest control guy says. They have a better trained ear for tapping wood to see if there are hollow places. I'm confident they can get rid of any that may be in the house. I'm just worried about any damage that may have been done and how it could affect a house sale.
thanks again for responding
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
clipped

You can often tell by looking at exposed wood that there are termite tunnels...it sometimes has a little bit of wrinkled appearance on the surface. Termites build mud tubes to avoid sun exposure, but where they connect to wood would be the place to start poking around.
The extension service for your area might know which termite species are predominating and what treatment is most effective for those.
Wallboard and baseboards also often have a wrinkled appearance because termites burrow close to the surface...just tap around on baseboard near where the tubes communicate.
The professional inspections I've seen aren't as thorough as my own, but need to know what to look for. We just had inspection of our condo and the guy didn't even look at the areas where old damage is still evident :o)
The "funky stuff" you referred to sounds like termite poop...there should be pin-holes near that where they push the stuff out of their tunnels. Their poop looks granular, brown, red to dark blackish.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Spork wrote:

Termidor is applied underground. The only other bugs it might affect are grubs that happen to blunder into it. Further, since ants are surface critters, it won't affect them.
It is safe for pets, unles you have a pet mole.
You can get the Termidor stuff on Ebay - about $300. It is applied by digging a 6" trench around the building, slathering the ditch with the stuff, then recovering the trench. It's not brain maths.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

try www.domyownpestcontrol.com These guys will sell you just about anything the pros can get. A lot better than buying that watered down "safe" crap at the big box stores. But you need to be serious about following the instructions and reading the data sheets.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Orkin came out and looked things over. It was the branch manager along with a new guy. The manager seemed to know his stuff but I think I was more knowledgeable than the new guy. Anyway they didn't do a real good inspection. Mostly just looked over the basement and around the foundation. Once they find the evidence I guess they figure its not needed to go around and tap the baseboards and check the attic. They did also find carpenter ants though! Maybe they could be the reason that every tube I'm finding is inactive.
They are coming out and going to use termidor. I realize the guy is just a salesmen but it sounds like to be done properly the stuff needs to be measured out. They are also filling the ground by the support posts of the house. They are spraying something on the surface outside as well for the carpenter ants. Will this work as well to get rid of them?
So now for a few more questions. Even though they are treated wood the guy suggested using metal supports in the house and removing the wood ones. How necessary do you think this would be? He also said its better to pull all the insulation from the area between the foundation and the floor above and leave it open so it can dry easier. The other thing he noticed in the room we are finishing was the foam board. He said foam board is a no no for bug prone areas. Its hard to treat behind if there ever is a problem and makes a good hiding place for bugs.
I'm still concerned about the possible damage that could of been done. My cousin who builds homes said my floor joists are probly ok. It would take several in a row with serious damage to cause problems. After poking around it appears they may have just made some small paths through it. It didn't sound hollow to me nor was I able to poke into the wood on either side. Once the carpenter ants are gone I'm going to do some more poking around in the outside sheeting that I can get to to see if there are any more problems. Its driving me nuts that I can't see inside the wall above this area.
Just wanted to give everyone a update and see if the advice checks out.
Spork
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Spork wrote:

You may find carpenter ants in any damp/damaged wood, which includes termite tunnels. I would not give any confidence to any other pest eating the termites...it is give and take among rather massive populations. What helps keep out termites also helps keep out carpenter ants...wood no closer than 6" from ground, all wood kept properly finished/painted, all gaps betw. structural components closed up and caulked, including plumb./elec. entries. Check your plumbing access panels. Keep shrubs and trees from contacting wood structure. Crawl spaces should be inspected inside and out...one bad practice that almost guarantees termites is to extend stucco or siding to the soil...they don't even have to bother with mud tubes, as it is "laying out the welcome mat".
When my husband and I were making repairs around our condo, there was an outdoor wood partition badly damaged by misdirected sprinkler and then by termites...neglect that had taken place before we lived here...and there was about a 1 foot length of 1x12 board that had nothing left but the coat of paint...rather amazing to see every particle of wood cleaned out of it. They also favor the paper coating on wallboard....it was interesting to learn about all the critters and conditions that had affected our condo for a long time...to watch carpenter ants evacuate nests when disturbed by applying insecticide. After a few large bags of insecticide did nothing for our carpenter ants, we eventually got things cleaned up so that they went away...pruned dead wood from hedges, repaired damaged wood, caulked, etc. Trying to spray and entire foundation for carpenter ants is foolish...they forage beginning at dusk and it is easy to find their trails and put out baits.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.