So your home has termites?

First, don’t panic!

If you’ve found what you suspect to be termites or termite damage, have your home checked by a qualified pest management professional licensed to inspect for termites. This professional should be a Pest Management Consultant or Commercial Pesticide Applicator certified in Category 7D, Wood Destroying Pest Control, or a Termite Technician. You can contact NMDA to verify any individual’s license and certifications.

For more detailed information on termite inspection, click here.

If Treatment is Necessary

You should get at least three bids from licensed termite control professionals. Bids should be in writing and clearly explain what kind of treatment will be done, what methods and what termiticide will be used, and what kind of guarantee will be offered. Costs can vary widely; and to compare bids, you must know what you will be getting for your money. Ask for a diagram of the area(s) to be treated. Find out what product will be used and how it will be applied – will there be trenching, drilling, or rodding? You want to make sure that not only the place where termites were found is treated, but also any vulnerable areas where they may occur in the future, such as plumbing penetrations, cracks and expansion joints in the slab, etc.

Don’t just use price as your deciding factor; compare what each company says they will do for the money they want. Take time to review the bids and don’t let anyone rush you into a decision. Termite damage takes time and a few more weeks will not make any difference.

Treatment Options

Conventional soil treatment with a liquid termiticide is the most common. A termiticide is injected into the soil using low pressure to provide a barrier around your home’s foundation. The type of foundation (slab – either monolithic, floating, or supported; crawl space; basement) will determine the areas and methods of treatment. Techniques may include trenching and rodding into the soil and drilling holes through the floor to inject termiticide under the foundation. Areas treated may include the perimeter of the foundation, all plumbing penetrations, pier supports, cracks in the slab, expansion joints, or any place where termites might enter the home. Treatment methods and areas will vary from home to home.

Another treatment option is baiting. This involves placing monitoring stations in the ground around a home. When termites are detected in a station, its attractant bait is replaced with an insecticidal bait. Termites bring this bait back to their colony where it begins to kill other termites who consume it. This method is still relatively new compared to conventional liquid treatments but provides an alternative under some conditions.

In conjunction with treatment, conditions around the home that are conducive to termites should be fixed. Things like wood in contact with soil next to the home (like firewood stacked against the house), stucco that extends below the soil grade, brick veneer that has separated from exterior walls, excess moisture in a crawl space, leaking plumbing fixtures, and heavy landscaping right next to the foundation all provide avenues for termites to invade your home. You may be able to fix some of these problems yourself.

Remember…When considering your termite control options:

  1. Take your time
  2. Gather as much information as you can
  3. Find a licensed pest management professional you feel comfortable with
  4. Make sure they explain their procedures so you understand what they will do
  5. Get bids and warranties in writing
  6. When the treatment is finished get a complete record of it, including what chemical was used, how much was used, and exactly where it was applied.

Once you have several bids, look at each one carefully.  Don’t’ let anyone push you to decide immediately.  If you have questions about the recommended treatments, please feel free to contact NMDA. If available, an inspector can be on-site during a treatment to ensure it is proper and according to label directions.