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Termite Questions


Jerry Simon
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Inspected a 1950's era house last year. No signs of termites in the house. Owner/my client calls today...he was clearing away mulch from outside around the house and found bugs underground. Local pest guy says they're termites. Local guy didn't find any infestation signs in the house.

Should owner do anything?

Would poisoning soil potentially drive termites into house?

Would removing mulch help eradicate soil infestation?

What's a mother to do?

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Tell him to ensure there isn't any earth-to-wood contact or vegetation touching the house, remove any firewood that's piled up against the house, fix any rotten exterior components by replacing them - not sistering them - and then to put in some Termite bait stations around the house. He can get a pest guy to put in a Sentricon system or he can go online, google "termite baiting systems" purchase his own stuff and do it himself.

There's a Do-it-Yourself Pest Control place down the street from me that sells all kinds of cool stuff one can use to murdalize those little suckers.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Jerry,

Every region of country is a little different, so our advice may not be correct. In Mid-Michigan mulch is often referred to as "termite candy". That said, I have never discovered actual termites within the mulch upon inspection. I do own and operate a pest control business for the past twenty + years. Mike gave you some good advice.

There are barrier chemicals that some folks use and it is required for most federal buildings at the footing stage. Since DDT is gone doing pre-treatments has gotten very expensive so is seldom done at the residential level in Michigan. There used to be a requirement to pre-treat for all FHA funded new construction.

I guess I am a little skeptical about actually finding termites in exterior mulch in Il at this time of year. Not impossible. I know there are some "cockroaches" in Illinois!

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Now he can do it himself. The orange big box store sells the bait system. Have the guy put the containers with the wood bait right where he found the termites. When they are aggressively in the wood bait then put the poison bait in. The key is to get to the colony before it gets to the house. Way cheaper than a professional chemical treatment.

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What species of Termites were they? Subterranean? Dampwood?

If they were Dampwood Termites they may not enter the structure as they live in/eat only damp/rotted wood. Remove the rotted material and the Termites will go away, no real need for toxic stuff.

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I'd just use some Termidor and call it good.

I am putting on my other "hat" for this comment.

A pest control operator finds active termites in the mulch around the house and the inspector says the above?* As an inspector in Illinois I would get out of the loop except to report damage, if any.

BTW, we choose to not use Termidor (actually the applicators helped me make that choice).

Let the bug guys do their job.

*as a non-pest control operator I may say that myself when talking with friends.

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*as a non-pest control operator I may say that myself when talking with friends.

Les

My bad. I shouldn't have written that on a professional inspector forum. I don't go around telling clients how to treat for pests. I would mention to my clients that it is an option they should look into...

Of course, I keep a bottle of Termidor on hand and it works great for personal use.

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