It’s Termite Time!

In the North Texas region (and in many other areas) spring weather is a WELCOME PARTY for many pests. The warmer temperatures and spring rainfall create an optimum atmosphere for insect populations to explode.

One of the most prevalent challenges in this region is subterranean termites. It is mating season for them and a great time to explore for new food sources. Depending on humidity and temperature, the mating season usually occurs during the month of April, which is the unforgettable season of Income Tax! The mating season is normally identified by large swarms of winged critters about the size of ants, but the body is not jointed. They are a dark grey to blackish color and the wings fall off easily. You may also find clear wings laying around. If they are active in your area, they will stay busy chewing on your house or other wood sources such as fences or trees all year long, but we always see a peak in activity in the spring.

Subterranean termite colonies must have moisture to survive. Their thin skin will allow them to die from dehydration if they do not have a damp place to host the colony. This place may be in the soil, or in a damp place inside your wall caused by a plumbing leak. The workers will feed on the wood in your house for several hours in a dry atmosphere, but they must eventually return to a moist place to get rejuvenated, and then return to your house to gather food for the rest of the colony.

A termite colony may grow to contain about one million termites. They have one of the longest life spans of any insect and a queen can live several decades. They are aggressive foragers and will work around the clock and never sleep. It is common for there to be several colonies on your property and they may not leave any visible signs of there presence. One colony can easily attack several houses in a neighborhood, because they can travel more than 300 feet by building tunnels through the soil looking for food.

They may have to search to find access to your home, but if they find a crack in your concrete floor as small as one-sixteenth of an inch, they will explore for food there. They seem to prefer a hidden area. Entry points this small may be from a small crack in the foundation or through the concrete next to a utility line that did not have the cement settled tightly around it. A very common spot for them is the area under the bathtub where the tub drain is. These are usually left open to allow proper alignment of the tub drain. When the foraging workers discover these entry points, they will build a mud tunnel to travel in, so it will limit their exposure to a dry atmosphere. The tunnels are secure enough that they will also protect the termites from natural predators such as fire ants. These tunnels may be visible if they are along the outside foundation. The tunnels can enter through a weep-hole between bricks, or onto an exposed door jamb or wood support beam.

There are options for treating for termites. One is to use a liquid treatment and treat plumbing areas or any other places identified as possible entry points. These are effective but may leave small visible spots where drill holes were made to apply the product. Another effective option is to have a termite baiting system installed.
ALL PEST SOLUTIONS has recently started using the Sentricon baiting system as an option. This involves placing small round stations at 10 to 20-foot intervals around the house within a few feet of the foundation, as well as place an above-ground station on any known entry points where visible termite tunnels exist. They will normally discover the stations, because they search for multiple food sources. Sentricon has a long history of being an effective product. During its 20 plus years of history, it has evolved into a very commonly used product. Under the direction of Dr. Nan-Yao Su, an entomologist with the University of Florida, it has developed into the best viable bait product for termites, and in 1991 Dow Agrosciences decided to pursue bringing the original active, Hexaflumuron and its delivery system to market. Currently there are approximately 1,000,000 homes protected by Sentricon Systems.

The stations contain an improved active ingredient called noviflumuron which is mixed into the wood pulp inside the station. The bait is referred to as Recruit HD. Termite colonies have three primary castes; the reproductives, which are the king, queen, alates, and supplementary reproductive, and the workers and soldiers. The workers and soldiers have the responsibility of collecting food for the rest of the colony and when they eat the bait, they consume a toxic dose of the noviflumuron that prevents them from molting. When the workers and soldiers can’t molt, they die and eventually the larvae, nymphs, and queen no longer have a support system and they will die, too.

When a product is used as a pesticide, the EPA requires that they have a signal word on the label to indicate the safety range they fall into. These are Caution, Warning, or Danger. Caution is the category with the lowest risk. Recruit HD falls into a category that is better than Caution and therefore, no signal word is listed on the label. In 1994 it became the first product to be registered in the new EPA category known as Reduced Risk Pesticide Initiative. This proves it is a very environmentally friendly product to use in virtually all settings.

Conventional soil treatments with a liquid product are also very good. ALL PEST SOLUTIONS applies Termidor, which is the most commonly used liquid product in todays market. It is labeled with a Caution listing, so it is also a good product to use. It is a non-repellent so if termites encounter it, they cannot sense that it is a pesticide and therefore will spread it throughout the colony. It will soon be distributed to many others and they will die from it. It is equally as effective as the baiting system, but may work a little quicker, depending on the amount of activity within the colony.

It is normally applied to the soil around the exterior of the building within a few inches of the foundation and about twelve inches deep or to the bottom of the footing if it is shallower, as well as any locations inside where a plumbing pipe comes through the concrete. If there are adjoining slabs connecting to the structure, the expansion joint may also need to be treated by drilling small holes through the concrete and injecting Termidor underneath it. If it is a pier and beam structure, the Termidor is applied underneath it around each pier and along the exterior beam and around plumbing or other utility lines, so termites cannot build tunnels on them.

Sentricon Baiting systems can be used with a liquid treatment. In certain instances, the Termidor is used where activity is located inside the structure to eliminate activity quicker than the bait alone would do. Turning the liquid into a foam is normally a great way to use the Termidor in some areas such as wall voids, because of the greater spread and distribution of the product.

If you are building a new structure, installing a Sentricon system is a fantastic way to prevent termites. If a property had an older building, or established mature trees, then an established termite colony may there and waiting for you bring it fresh wood to eat.

If you are interested in a termite treatment, please contact us. We have an in-house plan we have developed that will combine termite control and pest control. It is very cost efficient and quite popular with our customer base.
envelopephone linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram