I was vacuuming behind a sofa when I noticed chipping paint on the window
sill apron. I put the vacuum hose up to it and to remove the loose paint and
it revealed a tunnel in the wood about 3/16" wide - pretty much termite
sized. I have to explore further. I did inspect in the craw space and saw
What are good methodes to self check for an infestation or past damage? I
was hit with a large bill and I'm not quite ready to afford the pros now.
Are there any good treatments available the homeowner can use?
None I know of. Drywood termites are generally destroyed via tenting the
house and gassing. Subterranean ones - the most destructive - by injection
into slab/ground of special chemicals.
A tunnel 3/16 seems rather large for termites; additionally, I think it
unlikely that there would be only one as they'll riddle wood rather quickly.
Drywood termites live within the wood and create multiple "tunnels".
For drywood termites, look for droppings...they look like little piles of
dark brown, fine sawdust. For subterranean ones, walk around your house and
look for mud tunnels coming up from the ground and attached to the house.
The subterranean termites live in the ground and use the tunnels to go to
and fro from the food source (wood in house) if there is no wood directly in
What you describe is a very common symptom of drywood
of wallboard and trim around openings. If you tap on the wood, you can
often hear a hollower
sound over the infested areas. Wallboard can be blistered from termies
eating the paper coating
under the paint. Termites avoid sunlight, but if you pick away some of
wood you can probably see some before they retreat. Other signs are
shed wings around openings
Some county or state extension services have lots of material online to
help ID problems, give info
about detection and prevention. They also would be likely to know which
species are predominant
in your area and have info as to the current and most effective
treatment. Ours has an entomologist
who can ID the species if samples are brought in.
You should also examine foundations and crawlspaces (inside and out) for
mud tubes, which are signs
of subterranean termites. Homeowners can be just as skilled as pro's at
doing inspections, but get a
couple of reputable companies to do insp. Check exterior for gaps
(around pipes, doors, windows),
for damaged wood, roof/fascia leaks, inside plumbing access, etc.
Termites don't eat paint, so sound exterior helps keep
them out. Keep landscaping off wood exterior. Ground to wood should be
at least six inches.
Plenty. Termites are easy to kill, if you reach them. It's more
important to know how to use what is available. Talstar One is
available many places online, but IME eBay is the cheapest place (for
a HO) to get it.
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