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According to NPMA termite created damage in the Unites States cost approximately five billion dollars annually, and no wonder just a thought of having termites on one's property strikes fear onto property owners heart.

No place in the U.S. with exception of Alaska is immune to termite damage. Termites live in urban, suburban and rural areas of the country and were found recently on a White House property in Washington DC and  
and Statue of Liberty  on Liberty Island in NJ

Below we will outline how to identify and treat termites and also how to keep them at bay for good (hopefully)

Termite habits and biology

Termite colony can include 10,000 to over million insects and spread underground from your neighbors yard of more than half an acre away. Termite colony have decentralized structure, which means parts of the colony can function on their own. There are three major groups of termites that live in the U.S. they are subterranean termites, dampwood termites and drywood termites. Subterranean and drywood termites tend to cause most damage to wooden structures. Drywood termites live mostly in the southern state's coastal area and are not likely to be a problem in the states like New Jersey or New York. We will focus our advice to subject of subterranean termites.


How do we find out if termites are present?

Below are the list of signs to look for
It is recommended for a homeowner to engage a professional termite control company to evaluate suspected property. Most inspections are done free of charge and Bug Bust Pest and Termite Control will provide a free estimate for any potential termite issue. However there are signs a homeowner can look for to see if there are termites present on their property.

1. Shelter tubes. Due to it's fragile exoskeleton termites need a lot of moisture to live and function. They build mud tunnels with a diameter of about 5 millimeters (size of a pencil) to protect themselves from heat and drying out. Those tunnels are usually in the exposed area of a building and is fairly easy to spot. To find out if those tubes are active, damage one and watch if it's rebuilt in the next day or two
2. Actual termites. Check mulch or any rotting wood near the structure. If termites are present it will be self evident by insect activity
3. Hollowed wood. Once termites damage wood, it's structure changes and by knocking on suspected damage, wood will sound hollow. It also can be probed by a  screwdriver or an ice pick, and if wood easily breaks, most likely its already been damaged by termites
4. Pieces of dirt in the wood. Quite often wood gets damaged by a leak that is not always evident, so how do we determine if this is a damage caused by termites or leaking water (most of the time both problems are related). If termites are present, there will be small pieces of soil in the damaged wood, which is a sure sign of termite presence. Timely repair of leaks goes a long way in termite infestation prevention.
5. Termite swarming. When termite warm, it's a sure sign if present infestation. By swarming termites try to establish a new colony, due to a fact that too many termites populate present colony. This process usually happen in the spring and their bodies can be located near windows as termites try to exit  a structure.


Places to look

As termites are foraging for moisture and food in a rather random search, they can stumble on food (wood) they like. It could be a foundation beam, window or a door frame or a buffet in your dining room. Most of the time it;s just a luck for a termite to find wood, but once this food source is discovered, information is relayed to the rest of colony and infestation begins.  Termites can be in any part of the building, but usually they enter near the foundation through some water damaged lumber


To fight the termites, its good to know where they're coming in:


Termites will find variety of cracks and crevices near foundation, where wood is touching the ground, pipes and conduits entering home, cracks in the foundation, entry and garage doors, etc, Specially susceptible are the hollow block foundations, which allow termites multiple entry points into a building. Look for water leaks in and around the house, besides exterior but also under leaky faucets, AC ducts or anyplace water may pool near the foundation. It is always a good idea that a rain water spout is away from the foundation.
Check your fire wood pile (termite's favorite restaurant) and move it away from the structure, remove any black mulch that touches your building
 
   
How to get rid of termites

Most important do not panic if you found termites. Although termites feed on wood 24 hours a day 7 days a week, they are slow eaters and your building will not collapsing just yet. After taking a deep breath you have to figure out a course of action. A qualified termite control professional will be able to identify damaged area and give advise whether it's a structural or cosmetic problem. Damaged carrying beam is more serious than baseboard molding.  Once severity of termite infestation is identified it should be followed by a proper treatment. Termite treatment and remediation should be performed by a licensed pest control specialist. Its not enough to kill termites, but most importantly prevent them from coming back to your house for good. So how do you get rid of termite infestation completely?

There are two main choices available. Liquid termiticide and baiting system

Liquid: A termite exterminator  digs narrow tranches around a foundation and injects liquid termiticide like Termidor® into soil around a house. Buildings with full basements may require concrete drilling in the floor and walls to inject liquid under the house. This suppose to create a termite barrier and prevent termites from entering treated structure. Termites may carry residual termiticide back into a colony and possibly kill other termites. This process designed to create a termite exclusion zone and repel termites. But just like any process this process is not perfect and if possibly there is an area that did not get treated completely, given the fact exterminator cannot see under the slab or concrete floor of the basement, termites may eventually find this opening and re-infest the building. Another drawback is contamination of soil in the immediate vicinity of the house. Lab rats fed large doses for a prolonged period of time have developed thyroid tumors, which possibly makes this insecticide a human carcinogen.

Pros: Offers quicker results .
Cons: Initial high cost, possible soil contamination

Baiting System: This process functions on entirely different principal. Unlike termite repellent, bait stations placed around perimeter of the building actually attract termites to them self.  So instead of looking for your house termites find wood pellets, that are specially treated to attract termites. Once consumed this product  allows enough time for termite to carry this treated wood back into colony. Worker termites feed solders, queen and larva with regurgitated wood and thus killing entire colony. This termite elimination process has a lot smaller environmental footprint than liquid application. Proper monitoring by a termite pest control specialist will guarantee termite free environment without undue burden of large quantity of termicide.

Pros: Lower initial cost, low pesticide contamination
Cons: Somewhat slower start.

TERMITE Q and A

Q: Why do I have to worry about termites?

A: As described earlier termites cause billions (with the B) of dollars of damage each and every year in the United States. As termites primarily feed on wood, other wood products, like books, cellulose insulation, paper products also can sustain damage. Termites mostly attack vegetation in decline, but can also injure living trees and other vegetation. Buildings and houses constructed out of wood can become infested and sustain termite damage at any time. It is particularly important when purchasing home that a proper termite inspection be performed and and should become a condition of sale. Financial aspect aside, no one wants toe thousands of swarming insects flying inside one's home and knowing of termites quietly feasting on something you work for all your life.


Q: Anyway for me to know if my home is infested?

A: If you discover swarming (winged) termites inside your home, most certainly your home is infested with termites. At this point proper treatment is warranted. Homeowners often confuse termites and ants, both of whom will develop wings and swarm in the spring. Termites have a straight body, unlike ant's slender waist and straight antennae, unlike ant's curved or elbowed antennae. Termite wings are of equal size, but ants have a smaller second pair of wings. Most swarming termites like other insects are attracted to light and can often be seeing around doors and windows. Check for old tree stumps located near the structure in if swarmers are present have them treated

Q: When is a likely time of the year for infestation to occur?


A:
Termite infestation usually occur in the spring, when termites develop wings and swarm in search of a new colony.
As temperature rise and with sufficient rainfall, those conditions are perfectly suited for termite expansion.

Q: I found mud tubes, how do I find out if they are active?

A: Tubes are the signs of termite presence, current or past. They will run up over foundation walls, and other parts of the structure. As discussed earlier those mud tubes are for the termite protection and even if tube is currently abandoned it is not a guarantee that termites are no longer there. They can be feasting or foraging elsewhere in the building. When breaking mud tubes, look for presence of small insect with a very delicate exoskeleton. Termite are highly cryptic insect and it's presence in the house may go undetected for many years, well hidden behind insulation, Sheetrock, wall and floor coverings, etc,.  

Q: Can house be treated by myself?

A: Eradicating termites from your property should be done by professional. Treatment requires special skills, knowledge of a building structure, complete understanding of a termite behavior,  ability to locate entry points that may be hidden. If liquid application is warranted it would require specialized power equipment such as pumps, large capacity solution tanks, masonry drills, treatment rods, and closing of drilled holes in the foundation. If baiting system is preferred method of application, it requires precise installation, extended experience to be able to identify termite presence. Both treatments will warrant restricted products that are only available to a licensed pest control professional. Most termite control products sold at home improvement stores or over the internet, most likely will not have a desired result. For a proper result treatment for termite infestation should be left PC Technician with experience. 


Q: Should the whole house be treated if termites are found only in one area?

A: We already know that a colony can contain more than a million of individual termites, who continuously searching for food in every direction possible. If only a specific area is treated, there is no guarantee termites will not find other parts of the house. Most companies will not warranty spot treatment for this exact reason. A spot treatment may be warranted if it's done in conjunction with other treatment, or is being retreated after initial liquid treatment. Only trained pest control professional can properly asses and prescribe proper termite treatment. Service contract usually state that Pest Control Company will return and re-treat the property if termites return. Customers should look for companies that do not use heavy sales tactics or try to force a long term contract. Since it is not possible to predict how infested grounds around the house are, it's best to go with a pest control company that offers short term agreements that will base future treatments on prior results. Avoid sales pitch and "Today Only" specials - they usually cost a lot more

Q: Are those pesticides harmful to my family or my pets?

A: Based on current knowledge there are no long term adverse effects on human or pet health. Termiticides go through rigorous safety process, before its independently evaluated by the U.S. EPA. And if applied  properly and according to manufacturers label, should not pose an undue risk of hazard to humans and animals. Those still concerned about use of pesticides should consider baiting system

Q: If termites return after treatment, does that mean treatment was a bust and I've been cheated?

A: It's not always the case. Working with termites or other living pests and creatures that always try to get around a perimeter set up by a treatment. In this respect pest and termite control is different from any other home services, like electrical, plumbing or painting. Even the best PC company will occasionally have a failure. How they respond to this problem is what will sets a good service company aside from others. Good pest and termite control company will return and work on the issue until problem is solved 

For a free and courteous evaluation of your termite problem please contact Bug Bust Pest and Termite Control at (732)930-1217

 

 

   
   

    

    
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