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Termite Prevention by Homeowner

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by mikegbuff, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. mikegbuff

    mikegbuff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    I live in Upstate SC where termites are a problem. I live in a home built on a slab foundation. I had some minor damage in the home last year that was taken care of by my previous termite bond - just minor damage on a baseboard. The initial termite treatment when the home was built has now expired (over 5 years ago), so this bond is no longer valid. I'm looking for a product and method of application to prevent/control termites in the future. From what I have read, the best way is to put liquid termiticides in a trench around home and drill holes into the garage/porch areas and into every other brick on the slab to get chemical in behind there.
    The do-it-yourself store here sells "Surrender" termiticide and it's about $90/gallon. My home is around 200 linear feet, so I will need around 4 gallons of this stuff according to the instructions. That would cost me $360 to treat my home. The pesticide company in town wants to charge $625 to treat the home. If anyone can recommend a termiticide that is the same price as the one above or cheaper, would it be worth it to do this myself or should I just bite the bullet and pay to have the company treat my home? The company offers a bond/warranty for 5 years at an additional cost of $125/year. That puts my five year total cost at $1,250 with the pest company. This includes any retreatment for infestation of the damage and damage repair. Any damage repair requres a $150 deductible.
    Also, would it be wise to use pine needles instead of mulch around the base of my home? Is mulch a risk even if the home is treated for termites?
    I am not a licensed applicator, so I assume I am limited in what I can buy.
    I appreciate any help anyone can give. I have already gotten very helpful info on how to care for my lawn, plants, and equipment from this site. This user community is great!

  2. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    1st Let me say I dropped my Termite license years ago and may not be as up to date as you or I would like.

    Surrender is old school termite treatment and is just another Name for Dursanban Termiticide. The big difference in Dursanban TC and Dursaban Pro that was used on lawns is the Percentage of Active ingredient. Many guys would buy the Termite Dursban and water it down for lawns illegally at a great cost saving. One of the Problem with retreating with Dursban TC is the second application may cause the first to be less effective. I will cover this later.

    The big problem in termite control is it can be a guessing game and knowledge of the Construction of your home is invaluable when dealing with Termite. Slab homes today have a problem in the fact the slabs crack before the Framing is finished. Cheaper grades of cement because of the high cost of cement is one of the big problems. these cracks along with Pipe chases leave opening that Termites can get in. Today because of pressure from Tree Huggers and poor performance of Ground poisoning along with cost, most homes are now being treat by spraying boric acid on the wood framing long after the slab is spored. Timbore is the product used most if you wish to look it up. But it is best only used in construction and even helps with general house hold pest control. Boric acid is a stable compound and will last the life of your home hopefully.

    You don't need to panic yet. You treatment from last year should be still good. To retreat too quickly can also cause you more problems as stated before. What you need is a way to monitor. Senticon was the first big product to gain a large market share in Termite monitoring. There are many products on the market now but the brand name of Senticon is like that of Bobcat is to Skid Steer. People will say I have a New Holland Bobcat not a New Holland Skid Steer. This is called Branding a Name.

    Just Saturday night I had a similar conversation with a guy who use to spray slabs before the cement truck arrived. He unfortunately is a complete idiot who did it for 5 years and only knows to fill the tank with water and pour this junk in it and get the slab soaked before the cement ruck arrives at 10 o'clock. Several other were part of the conversation and I suggested he go to Home Cheapo and get the Monitoring stations and install them himself. Someone else jumped in a said they where very high priced. Next we talked about making your own because they are so simple. A length of 1.5 PCV pipe and a box of PVC 1.5 Caps a long with some Loblolly pine is all that is needed.

    Cut the pipe 9 inch or so long and bury it in the ground about 8 inches deep every 5 to 10 feet around you home. Next insert a 3/4 X 3/4 by 6 inch block of Loblolly pine and put a cap on top to keep the water out but easy to remove. 4 times a year or every 3 month check each of these to see if you have any Termite activity. It should be easy to spot since termite will build Mud tunnels up the side of the wood before eating it. Loblolly Pine is in fact like candy to a kid for termites. If you have activity it doesn't mean Termite are in your house but close by. Treatment can be done using termite baits in the same 1.5 PVC pipes.

    I hope this helps it took me long enough to type it one finger. If you have more question maybe some else will reply for I will be gone the rest of the evening.
  3. Prolawnservice

    Prolawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 612

    WOW, great post ric, I like the homemade bait station idea, man you could charge for advice like that. Maybe you should write a book. Thank you!
    Why don't you like boric acid?
  4. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,873

    Ric, thanks! I have thought the the Senticon was a great way to monitor, and bait the stations to kill the colony, and have seen the kits at Lowes which do essentially the same thing, but much cheaper.
    However, your homemade stations sound like a good idea as I have not had anything done for a while and need to see if any activity is close. No swarmers that I have seen either, inside or out, so that is good, and I do check regularly for any tubes in the crawl space.
    Again thanks.
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Nothing wrong with Boric acid Just treating with Trimbor is more or less limited to new construction.


    Making your own monitoring stations is the easy part. Checking them faithfully every 3 months is the problem.
  6. mikegbuff

    mikegbuff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Thanks for the great answer, your idea makes perfect sense to me to monitor/treat any activity around the perimeter of the home. According to my inspector and others I called, the problem is that my home was fully treated about 7 years ago when it was built. It was only spot treated when I had damage recently and that's when they said the whole home needed to be retreated due to the chemical is only effective for 5 years. The method of treatment they recommend - trench, drilling - is described in my first post. It sounds like from what you are saying, I should just monitor for termites with your method and treat them in the same area with your treatment method. That sounds great if it would work in my situation. Let me explain a little futher to be sure your method could take care of my problem.
    Before when I had damage, there were no tubes on the brick on the outside of the home below the vinyl siding. I keep a close eye on this. The person who treated the home said they came up in behind the brick, between the slab and something else, so I didn't see tubes. Thus, their method of drilling holes in the cement holding the bricks together (about every 24 inches) and shooting chemical in there. They also said digging a trench and treating the entire perimeter of the home would keep termites from coming under the slab and up through any openings there. I assume this means you cannot do anything about any termites already under the slab?
    Your method sounds great and I appreciate your input. I 100% respect what you are saying. My question is that the inspector seems to think the termites have gotten beyond the permeter of the very exterior of the home and past the brick below the vinyl siding. Should I be concerned about this? I am adamant every few months about checking all my baseboards and walls in the house and looking for tubes outside. As explained above, since there were no tubes outside the home, I only figured out I had termites after pressing on the baseboards and feeling that the wood was damaged. The inspector showed me live termites in the mulch around my home, so they are definitely there. I do not know exactly where you live but termites are really bad where I live. They say there are two kinds of houses in SC, "ones that have termites and ones that will get them." I did not have this issue in NC when I lived there, so I'm new to this. Again, I respect anyone's input or ideas and would love advice from you guys who have more knowledge and experience than I with termites. I'm just not sure if the threat is over-hyped here or if it's real. I have talked to at least 10 people and they all have termites bonds covering their homes and all say I should have one. But again, those are regular homeowners, and not industry-knowledgeable folks like you guys. I just want to be preventative, rather than reactive to damage like I was this last time.
    Thanks so much.

  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I actually have to do some work today so I will try and make this short. Yes gone are the days of Chlordane and 50 years half life residual for termites. And Chlorpyriflos (Dursban) is old chemistry that sometimes doesn't last a year. But the Newer bait system and neutrals instead of repellents have made Termite control easier. As stated before Slabs crack before the framing is complete and this allows Termites to get in the inside without passing the Perimeter barrier. However baits systems on your house can in fact control Termites in your neighbors house. The Queen may in fact be 100 ft from your house and the workers will carry the bait back to her. One of the problem with bait systems is previous treatments of Repellents that negate their effect.

    BTW I am in Termite country here in Florida. There are several species here but it is the Formosan Termite that is heading my way that is the real problem. Google the Formosan Termite and see if it is in your area YET.

    PS Product of my choice for Termites you can not legally buy. However I have seen it on E Bay.
  8. mikegbuff

    mikegbuff LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Thanks for your quick reply again.
    So are you saying in your opinion, paying a company to treat it and paying for the bond yearly to insure it is a waste? That's really what I'm trying to decide on....if it's worth it to pay to have insurance on damage, which requires payment for the treatment.
    Anyone else reading this, what is your opinion on have the safety of a bond vs. saving some $ upfront?

  9. A.T.A.K

    A.T.A.K LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    I disagree with this post, you need to have termite insurance (notice I used insurance instead of bond). I am in Florida with Ric and I also have a full ticket in pest control. My company offers termite protection. It will take you longer to understand WDO's than lawn pests these insects will eat and destroy your biggest investment your home. You will pay astronomical prices for auto insurance but are hesitant to pay a professional to do it correctly I do not understand why this is even a question. You are asking for advice on how to treat your home for termites first you need to have a construction back ground to start. There are a lot of questions to be asked what type of slab do you have what is the exterior sheeting do you know the entire pipe and wire entries on the home. Second what species do you have in your area what is there pressure like this will determine the product to use the % and the treatment. Has anyone explained to you it can take a full day to treat it correctly even with an experienced tech. I do not want this to be a mistaken as one of those I know more than you type posts. We clean up after people all the time and depending on the amount of damage the homeowner did themselves the more I charge. When I get told, my buddy owns a landscape company and he told me I charge the crap out of them. Just remember one thing if your termite company screws up they pay for their mistake if you do well you get the point. You mentioned if you had a claim the termite company charge $150.00 deductible never heard of this shop around. I hope this was not to negative and help you understand not to try it on your own. PM me if you have any questions.
  10. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    I've always have been interested in termites. However, I suppose it's the "big secret" that pest companies adhere to that makes us leary of what exactly the scope of the work to be done is.

    I feel you as an industry need to explain to the client WHAT it is your going to do. In the lawn application field....there are no smoke and mirrors. In pest control, it's seemingly kept quiet.

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