Hi, I just noticed a bunch of insect wings
shedded off near 2 windowsills in the house.
This is usually a bad sign isn't it ??
Do I have a termite problem ?
I don't see any "mud tunnels" outside the
foundation. The exterior of the window sill
is brick (veneer), and the foundation is of
the poured concrete variety (no blocks).
If I have a termite problem - how would
they treat it ? Since no way am I going
to have them drill into my brick veneer !
There are "weep holes", but punching a larger
hole into there and into the insulation/wall
I would think is a very bad idea.
Absent any drilling into the exterior, is
digging a trench around the perimeter of the
foundation and pouring in the right amount
of, say Termidor - an effective treatment
When I first realized I had termites, I found the dead ones inside,
in front of my sliding glass door. They had come in through a crack
in the concrete floor (got stirred up when we put in a swimming pool
and disturbed the soil around the foundation with all the digging) and
were in the carpet tack strips in front of the door. Only place they
were found. We had the house treated. They did drill holes in the
foundation outside and inside (in front of the door) and in the
garage. That was 10 yrs. ago. We had the house re-treated 5 years
ago (this is FL) and they used the same holes and same treatment.
This spring it was time for another treatment and they used Termidor.
This time they dug a trench around the house (same company as before)
but in the garage they drilled holes ... also drilled holes outside in
front of the sliding glass door. They mostly used the trench method.
Termidor is guaranteed for longer than whatever they used before.
have to see mud tubes - mud tubes just allow termites to get from soil
to wood; with veneer or stucco that goes all the way down to soil, they
simply go up the inside of it. If you have a crawl space, they can also
go inside of it. If you tap around on wood around where you found
wings, you may find hollow sounding spots on wood trim, trame, or
baseboards. If window is wood frame, check the outside as well.
Our condo was tented twice, before we lived here, and there are old
signs.....blistery or uneven surface of wallboard where they have eaten
the paper coating (they don't generally eat through paint, and avoid
daylight). A neighbor had really eaten up baseboards around his patio
Yes, the brick veneer goes right to the ground.
So I think i'm screwed :(
Researching the treatment options, it looks like
the DowAgro "Sentricon" bait system is the best
option to completely eliminate the colony (vs. the
Termidor barrier method).
Has anyone used the "Sentricon" system ?
Thanks to all that have replied so far.
In our industry Sentricon is often referred to as Simple-Con. Even
Terminix has dumped them and gone to other treatment options...many of
their customers are getting letters stating they can have a Termidor
perimeter treatment for around $500 additional to the amount of cash
they already have thrown away with them. I get these type of jobs every
in the pic where the
flashlight is shining is the original mud tube. I bid on this job in
2000 but they chose to go with a large company and the salesman sold
them on baiting. The picture I took in '05 shows the company apparently
just treated where the termites were and then baited..all the termites
did was just move over a foot or so and continue on... a tube that size
is definitely 4-5 years old.
the opposite side of the tube. The main downfall of baiting is that you
now have to rely on the tech to actually do his job rather than get lazy
about it and just collect the check. Comparing Sentricon to the
termidor, with S you have to wait for at least 40 termites to show up in
the station before you stock it with bait and they may find the
station in a week? a month? ever?, with T the foraging termite just
wanders into the treated zone and it will die within 3 days but it will
contaminate all that it comes in contact with so they now will die so
termites never get an established track to the home. S asks for 18-24
months for colony elimination, T does it within 3 months. Every part of
the country has different pricing, the house with the pics paid $3000
for the bait system along $435 a year for monitoring (that apparently
wasn't being done).. my cost using Termidor in '05 was $1450 with $135 a
Sentricon is, if I recall correctly, for subteranean termites only. It
was the result of research by U of Florida, and last I checked they
didn't have any long-term stats on effectiveness. It's been 4-5 years
since I did any looking for controls for termies. Your best bet is to
check with your county or state extension service for info on the
dominant strains in your area and the recommended controls. Any
homeowner can, probably, do as well or better at inspecting for termite
signs as a pest control person. Ther termite inspection done when I
sold my house was a joke....
When I was researching termite control, the consistent story was that
subterranean and other types needed very different treatment. Tenting
was standard for other than subterranean, and still see it all the time
in my neighborhood in Florida. Formosan, which were devastating to New
Orleans, have been found in Florida as well.
Our condo has been tented twice, about 40 y/o. Condos on either side,
no more than 10 years old, have both been tented within past 2 years or
so. Expect termites in Fl....it isn't "if", it is "when" :o)
If you locate any, take them to your extension service for ID. They may
also be able to tell, within range, by the wings that you found.
If you have a on grade concrete floor they probably are entering
through a crack in the flor under a wall that you cant see. I vave
never known a house that had a concrete floor on grade that did not
have a termite problem unless it was heavly treated at time of
building. A dry crawl space is your best safeguard. Termites need
moisture to build their tunnels with.
They get their moisture from the water table..the mud tubes hold 100%
humidity for them to carry on above ground..there are termites even in
the dessert. There are two types of house...homes that have had termites
and homes that will get termites, the type of foundation has nothing to
do with it.
Get several estimates from exterminators. They are usually free (because
they always find something that needs to be treated.
Probably you will need perimeter treatment via trench and/or injection on
the outside of the foundation. You will also need drilling in the interior
slab (you mentioned a crack?) and injection in areas where they are active
inside the house.
Make sure you know where your pipes and conduits run under the slab.
Otherwise it's like playing Russian roulette.
what totally puzzles me is, the window sill where they
were found, the window itself is closed very tightly -
so no wind gets in.
the sorrounding window frame is painted with no cracks
or crevices for them to sneak into, but yet there are a
lot of wings just laying on the sill.
never saw ants in the house, so i can only presume
anyone have experience w/Dow's "Sentricon" system ?
Look for tiny exit holes in sheetrock walls around the area -- certainly
no larger than 1/16", probably more like 1/32". If there's a
nest/infestation in a wall cavity around the window area, they can
remain completely hidden until the spring swarm. Often they will then
burrow through wallboard leaving inconspicuous exit holes.
I agree best to assume/act as if there may be a problem rather than hope
it goes away--it won't.
I'm sure there's someone who fits the question as worded, but not I. :)
One difference between the wing termites and winged ants is the termites
shed their wings in a mass..ants don't.
then were attracted to light of that window.
Depends on the type of foundation the home is built on...in Texas most
slabs are monolithic slabs. Just treat the exterior and drill through
the slabs around all the penetrations (not really needed if using
Termidor). Open the wall at bath traps and treat around the tub drain.
Other parts of the country have different type of slabs where more
drilling may be an option.
It would be a 1/2 inch hole and would be treating downward towards the slab.
Termidor has changed the way that termite work can be done. Most homes
now i only treat the exterior, the bath traps and areas of activity and
still warrant the whole house even where treatment has not been done. I
have yet to have a home that I have treated with Termidor since it came
to the market be in need of a retreat. It's the only product out there I
have seen that with.
Lar, thank you for replying.
Dumb question, but what is the purpose of drilling
into the slab ?
To me, when you drill a hole, it's to get something
into something (ie. hole for a screw, hole for a wire
thru a wall, etc). I don't see the reason behind
drilling holes in a slab.
(now, I presume "slab" means concrete foundation
walls ?) ..... what i have is a poured concrete
foundation wall, with a poured concrete crawlspace
(no dirt), and a poured concrete full basement in
another part of the house. drill a hole in the
wall, and you're in the crawlspace or basement.
there is a brick veneer on the outside wall where
the window sill i saw the wings were at. it wasn't
a huge pile of wings, just enough to set off my
alarm bells that something is going on i need to
i'm not comfortable with anyone drilling holes
into the brick veneer or poured concrete walls.
now, just digging a trench and laying down a
Termidor moat of sorts around the castle - that
i can live with.
would that be an effective treatment ?
Subterranean termites live in the soil coming up to get to the house. In
slab situations it can be an opening no wider than a pencil mark, many
times where the plumbing penetrates the slab, so we drill near these
areas to inject the termiticide in the soil under the slab. The old
termiticides were basically a chemical shield, so area where you did not
treat had the possibility of having the termites pushed to these area.
Termidor works different, the termites do not detect it so if you are
not able or don't treat every area you still will get results due to the
nature of the termite foraging all around a home.
There are pictures here that may help you see how termites gain access...
Well, depends on the termite pressure...if the termites happen to start
on the perimeter of the home while foraging, yes.... if they happen to
just pop up from under the house they have a chance to get established
since they are not contacting treated soil, now over time they will
forage further away from the first trails and will probably get into the
treated zone, probably killing them out before you have a chance to know
they were ever there but no way to guarantee that will happen.
Just wings doesn't necessarily mean a termite problem. They may just be
flying ants. We had an infestation of ants that got into our attic, and the
next spring we had the same indicztions you've reported. We were also able
to catch a few of the insects and confirmed they were ants. In our caes,
the fliers had found a way to get down from the attic, into the wall, and
found a path that brought them into the interior through a hole in a window
Once we learned all of this we were able to eliminate the colony by using
insecticide bombs in the attic.
I'd suggest you watch the window area carefully, at dusk and before dawn,
and see if you can catch some of the insects to make a positive ID, before
you spend hundreds or thousands on a termite treatment you may not need.
You may also want to have a professional inspector look through your entire
house, especially once you've got samples of what's bugging you --
Actually a pile shed of wings is an indication of termite. Ants lose
their wings after they have mated, but they tear them out themselves so
seeing even two wings close together is rare.... termites on the other
hand can mass in numbers and the losing wings are just part of the
I'd keep an eye out to make sure you don't have two different issues
going on, after all termite damaged wood is ready made condos for many
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