Should I proactively try to prevent termites, and if so, how?
I live in NE Kansas - partially wooded area with about 35" of rain a
The house was built in 2000. Original owner has a pest company come
out and spray, set bait traps, etc. I'm inclinded to do as much as I
can myself. I'll spray a perimiter pest spray to keep down spiders,
etc. But what about termites? Is this a serious threat -- one worth
hiring the pros to prevent?
I do it myself. Spray around foundations and keep clear of debris. Few
years ago they hit my neighbor and treatment killed area colony(s).
Termites are fairly easy to spot by tunnels, swarming or infested wood.
The neighbor had done nothing, had an infested wood pile on dirt next to
house and did not notice problem until they swarmed in his basement.
I had spotted termites in the area as stumps close to house were
infested. My spraying and baiting kept them away.
Is there any particular "debris" that is worse than others? We have
shrubs around the house - next to it - touching the house in places.
I'm all for pruning them back as far as I need to - even riping some
out. They are "mulched" with fabric and gravel, which I presume is
good vs wood mulch. We have 20-30 good sized cedar trees about 50'
feet away and in and around them of course is some fallen timber,etc.
Otherwise the area around the house - other than the smaller shrubs -
Stuff I'm using now is more designed for ants. I assume it would kill a
stray termite. Ants coming in, I just ringed the house with Spectracide
and sprayed base of foundation with Termite and Carpenter Ant Killer.
But when I had seen termites in the neighborhood, I put out poison
stakes, forgot brand.
By debris, I generally mean wood on ground and you want to be able to
see termite tunnels on foundation so you don't want things like
woodpiles on dirt next to foundation. They are not going to climb up
bushes and attack from there. Tunnels to get over barriers like cement
keep out light and supply moisture. The mud tunnels are easy to spot
but you won't see termites unless you break tunnel or infested wood.
If you live in wooded area, check stray logs or stumps to see if
infested. As others said, and I observed colony can attack areas
hundreds of feet away. The juvenile hormone that my neighbors treatment
company used wiped out the termites attacking woodpiles and stumps on or
near my lot so my concern level is far less at this time.
Those are only SUBTERRANEAN termites. Dry-wood and damp-wood termites
do no build mud tubes.
unless the tubes are behind overgrowth, on the inside of walls where
pipes penetrate slab, inside of crawl space, etc.
It would be abnormal NOT to find termites in a dead stump. They BELONG
Come May-June, termites swarm. Good reason to keep home in good
condition (caulked, painted, wood repaired, landscaping not touching)
and to understand termites active in one's area, means of preventing
infestation and signs to look for. They are not all treatable with the
same remedies - good reason to check in the local or county extension
1. No wood on or in the soil. House builders often leave stumps or
scrap wood buried.
2. No mulch close to the house. The loose, damp soil underneath makes
it easy for termite scouts to tunnel to the house.
3. Boron treatment for most vulnerable wood, such as what lies on the
foundation. The preferred chemical is like borax but penetrates better.
It's harmless to mammals but stops insects and rot. It comes as a
powder or a honeylike liquid. You add water and apply with a sprayer or
brush. Because it's a mineral, it remains in the wood indefinitely.
The termite who takes a bite will go home and poison his colony.
4. Termidor. It uses the same insecticide found in dog shampoos. It
lasts indefinitely in soil. The termite who crawls through treated soil
will go home and poison his colony.
Second the Termidor product. It's available on Ebay and it ain't cheap!
It is, however, FAR cheaper than a commercial application.
You might use the web to familiarize yourself on the science behind the
product and the studies done.
A termite nest may be a long way from your house - maybe several hundred
feet - and a single colony can be simultaneously attacking several homes
within its range. Typical barrier methodologies just keep the critters away
from your house (temporarily) while they wait for the chemicals to degrade.
Then they're back with a vengence! Termidor and its cousins eradate the
Your neighbors will thank you. May even give you a fruitcake.
"I used Spectracide baits and got rid of termites, about maybe 70-100$
at HD. You can with bait identify if they are there."
I have been using baits on a town home we own.
So far we have gone through 3 or 4 "kits" (I have lost count) of 20 baits.
There is no question that "something" is eating the baits but there isn't
any signs of termines in the house or of termite swarms (wings, etc.).
Insofar as I have had accesss to basement wood I have sprayed and put down
Still crossing my fingers.
You cant go wrong with Termidor. I paid $850 rto have my house
treated. They had to drill holes in the foundation then fill them in
when they left. They really did a good job treating not only my house
but my storage shed and the ground where I had a woodpile and an old
rotting stump. 8 years latter I did it myself. I had a friend in the
business get the Termidor for me and I reapplied it myself. The
Termidor cost about $100.The Termidor not only got rid of the termites
but also all the other creapy crawlies including ants and crickets and
Super roach motel, Spray(soaking wet) a paper mache egg carton with
Termidor and place it where the roaches go.
What system do you mean?
I'm a satisfied customer of that business.
My mother ordered several changes to the 19th Century house where she'd
1. Loads of earth to raise the lawn, making the foundation and
2. Vinyl siding. The installers blocked some vents.
3. Mulch and tall, thick shrubbery against house, keeping the soil
moist and loose.
4. Ivy around house.
5. Padded carpeting, including under the washing machine.
6. Remodeled kitchen. In the crawl space, a carpenter heaped dirt
around an old support post on a cement block.
I inherited the house. A year later, a couple of hundred "flying ants"
appeared in the front bedroom. There were no swarms in the following
years. At the time, I didn't realize they were termites. It takes a
colony at least five years to produce a swarm. Then there should be a
swarm each year. Apparently a dry year wiped out that nest.
A couple of years later, I discovered that the old washer had seepage,
which kept the carpet wet. The plywood floor was wrecked. I thought it
A year later, I began finding termite tunnels where the ivy climbed the
underpinning from the mulch. I assumed they were coming from the
mulched soil. I began pulling ivy, destroying tunnels, and spraying
with diazanon. I set out bait stakes but never got a bite. Apparently
they were coming from the house to the mulched soil to get moisture.
A year later, thousands swarmed in the three rooms by the interior
corner where the washer was. The floor was dry but had been wet enough
years for a colony to thrive. To get to the ground, they were using the
post against which somebody had heaped dirt.
I checked with friends and relatives. All were blissfully ignorant
about termites and nobody could give a solid recommendation for an
exterminator. Decades earlier, my grandfather had saved an infested
parsonage by crawling underneath to remove scrap wood and destroy
tunnels. I destroyed their tunnels and sprayed with diazinon.
Each time it rained they would attack cellulose ceiling tiles in two
rooms. They must have been bringing water from a roof leak, and I
couldn't find it. Diazinon repels termites, so it could protect only
where I was able to spray. It's useless in soil, where it breaks down
A year later, thousands more swarmed, but not as many as the first time.
Besides the ceiling, they were in the kitchen floor, getting the
little water from my occasional mopping of the linoleum.
That's when I discovered Borrada online. Convinced by the MSDS that it
was harmless to humans, I used my hands to mix it with water, then
sprayed ceiling tiles. The termites loved it. As I sprayed, they would
pop their heads out to get a drink of it. Under the house, I sprayed
sills and beams where I had found tunnels on the underpinning.
I've had no trouble since I used Borrada, but I was fearful because
heating ducts made much of the crawlspace inaccessible. I bought
Termidor and was able to spray streams 15 feet to soak the soil at
cracks in the underpinning. I assumed that if there were termites now
or in the future, they would sometimes use those cracks to tunnel
outside for water.
I have found Termidor effective against fire ants. Some poisons require
you to soak the mound. With Termidor I mix a teaspoon of concentrate
with a quart of water, and put a tablespoon of that on a mound. They'll
be dead in a week.
The pressure-treated sills of my cellar hatch became rotten and
bug-infested. Borates are said to stop insects and rot better than
pressure treating, so when I rebuilt the hatch, I painted the wood with
Borrada. My primary concern was termite prevention.
I will be getting one of these kits.
Talked to them on the phone and they will make some additions for my situation.
(very swampy area)
Bait meant a loss of time and money for me. I bought a kit of 20. The
instructions said not to touch them because human odor could keep
termites away. That was hard to believe, but I complied carefully. I
set four, each with 2 feet of where they kept making tunnels. I checked
every few weeks and never saw any sign of termites or eating.
After a year, a swarm of thousands showed that the nest was going
strong, but none had bothered the bait. If they don't touch the bait, I
think it's not because somebody touched it but because they aren't
hungry. Years ago, my termites had probably swarmed to damp wood under
the house. Now all they wanted outside was water from the mulched soil.
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