Termite treatment is the process of eliminating or controlling termite infestations in structures or other areas. It can involve a combination of methods, including pesticide treatments, baiting systems, and preventative measures. The type of treatment used depends on the specific species of termite and the extent of the infestation.
Termite Treatment Options
- Bait Station Systems, what I think works best for Houston.
- Pesticide Barrier Treatment. Works, but labor intensive and invasive.
- Fumigation, expensive and inconvenient.
Termite Treatment Process and Cost
- It starts with a thorough inspection to identify any active infestation. The inspection fee can be applied to the cost of treatment.
- I then provide an estimate that clearly explains the proposed treatment and cost, based on your home’s condition and needs.
- If you decide to proceed, you sign the treatment contract and make the payment. Treatment is performed and starts providing protection.
- At the end of a year you can renew the treatment of bait systems or extend the warranty on soil treatments.
Why use me for your termite treatment?
- I take the time to identify your issue and develop an effective treatment plan.
- When you hire me you are not paying for TV ads, fancy vehicle graphics, middle management, or other fluff… none of which kills your termites.
- I stay up to date on the latest research and techniques for treating termites. The method I usually recommend is baiting systems that have been shown in research studies to clear termites from the area where they are used. New Orleans and Texas A&M have both done studies showing the effectiveness of bait stations in eliminating and suppressing termite populations.
Does Termite Treatment with baiting really work?
Termite baiting is more effective for treatment than liquid termiticide because it targets the entire colony, rather than just the individual termites that come into contact with the liquid. Baits contain a slow-acting toxicant that is spread throughout the colony by the workers, ultimately leading to the elimination of the entire colony. Additionally, baiting allows for ongoing monitoring of activity, so that if termites are still present, additional bait can be placed. In contrast, liquid termiticides kill only the termites that come into contact with the chemical, and they do not provide a way to monitor ongoing activity.
Don’t take my word for it though…. read the studies:
Is one Bait Treatment System Better than the other?
Not really. The chemicals, also called termiticides, vary from one product to the next, but they are all in the same class of chemicals. This means they all have the same mechanism of action. Another way to look at this is that while each toothpaste brand would have you believe it is somehow better than the next, they all do approximately the same thing, using the same method. You put it on your toothbrush, add a little water, and scrub the nasties off your teeth.
Baiting systems use chitin synthesis inhibitors. Termites eat the bait, share it with their nest and then are unable to molt. All termites molt every 6 weeks. When they can’t molt they die an unpleasant death.
There are some technical details regarding how much bait is in each manufacturer’s system, the amount of research behind it, and similar factors. I’m happy to discuss this with you, give me a call.
Chemical systems are either repellant, or non-repellant. Repellant systems either kill or harass the termites and they avoid them. An example would be boric acid. It’s a stomach poison. Termites eat it and die. Non-Repellant systems get on the termites and are taken back to the nest and shared, killing more termites.
All Chemical termiticide systems rely on complete coverage in the soil. This is achieved by digging a trench around the house or by drilling holes in the concrete and filling the holes and trench with liquid solution. This is often more complicated than it sounds. It’s time consuming and hard work- that translates into a cost to you. It can also be rendered void by trash buried next to the house, or being disturbed by work around the house. The chemicals break down over time and some of them are extremely toxic to aquatic life such as fish. In my opinion they are best suited to new construction in combination with additional techniques that protect the house while it is being built and for a while after construction.
Research studies have shown that the most popular termiticide, Fipronil, found in Termidor and Taurus SC reaches a level where it is ineffective after about 5 half-lives. This occurs in about 4 years depending on some conditions I won’t get into. Shielded from UV, water, and being disturbed it can last longer, but that’s rarely the case for most homes.
Termites can breach a termiticde application with a hole as small as a pencil lead (1/64th of an inch). So the question I would ask you, is do you think you can dig a 6 inch trench and get *complete* coverage 2 feet down in the soil by putting 4 gallons of liquid per foot in the trench? Complete meaning no gaps. If you can then liquid termiticides will work provided they remain undisturbed. If you can’t, termites will get through and damage your home.
Bait stations by contrast draw the termites in and feed them the poison. They then take it back and it kills them and their colony. Consuming less than 1/2 of one bait cartridge is enough to eliminate a colony. Read the studies that confirm this, don’t take my or anyone else’s word for it.
Traditional Termite Soil Treatments
Referred to in the industry as Trench and Rod treatment. This treatment method involves excavating a small trench around the home. Areas that can’t be trenched such as driveways, patios and sidewalks are drilled and a rod is inserted to inject termite pesticide (termiticide) below the concrete. The crux of this method is getting an even distribution of the termiticide. Gaps or uneven coverage can result in re-infestation.
When you are trying to choose a provider it’s important to understand what affects the price. Pest control companies have to perform essentially the same labor no matter what. A stronger formulation of the pesticide allows for fewer holes and a smaller trench, but the same basic work has to be done no matter what. What can be changed is the type of termiticide and the concentration it’s mixed at. The best way to think about this is to compare it to a bar. You can order a drink with a half-shot, a full shot, or from a bartender who pours “heavy.” From the bar’s perspective the half-shot saves on alcohol, the expensive ingredient in most drinks. Similarly, most pesticide labels support 2 or more strengths. There are two predominate termiticides used for treating the soil around a house. One has a 5% and 10% label rate, the other has 6%, 9%, and 12.5% label rates. The two pesticides break down at different rates. The 12.5% pesticide provides the best protection, but the pesticide itself is more expensive. The other pesticide works fine at 5% but won’t last as long.
I’d love to put an online estimate tool on my website for treatment, but TDA rules require inspecting the house before providing an estimate. In addition every house has factors that complicate the treatment. Some houses are easy to get to the sides of, have a minimum of patio/driveway/sidewalk and are easy to treat. Other houses have 2 feet of rock that is 9 inches deep around the whole house where it’s not a patio or driveway. Still others have heavy landscaping against the house. The last two examples mean alot more labor to perform the treatment. They are great candidates for a baiting system which is what I use on my own house.
There are a couple of really good reasons to use a soil treatment over a baiting system. The first is because you are selling the house and the lender is requiring it. Yes, some banks are set in their ways and require a soil treatment. Where it’s a prior infestation with no active activity the 5% strength is a good way to “check that box” so everyone can move forward. The other reason to use a soil treatment is a severe infestation of invasive Formosan Termites. Formosan termites normally attack several wood sources (homes, trees, etc) at once. If caught early, bait stations are effective at treating the home and getting rid of the colony. There are times when the house has a heavy infestation. That’s a good reason to use a higher rate and a soil treatment to kill termites right away and stop the damage.
As for which soil termiticide to use? That’s really a question of what you want to spend and how long you want it to last. One pesticide will probably last 2 to 4 years. The other 3 to 10 years. The variables for both are the same, how much was applied, how much water was it exposed to, and how much sunlight? Sunlight breaks the pesticide down, water dilutes it and washes it away. It rains alot here in Houston.
Can I Perform Termite Treatment Myself?
There are several reasons why it is generally not recommended to treat for termites yourself:
Identification: it can be difficult to correctly identify the type of termite and its location, this is essential for effective treatment. An experienced professional has the knowledge and training to accurately identify the type of termite and locate the areas of infestation.
Safety: Some termiticides are highly toxic and can be dangerous to handle. Professionals have the proper equipment, safety gear and knowledge to safely apply the products. Some of the equipment is really expensive and requires regular maintenance. A gas powered pesticide rig can easily be $4,000 and the tools to do the injection can be another $500. That’s more than most treatments cost for homes.
Legal and support issues: Most states require that only licensed professionals are allowed to apply termiticides. Treating for termites yourself can lead to legal issues and fines. While you might be able to find someone to sell you the professional products online, the companies that make them clearly label them “Professional Use Only” and do not provide support to unlicensed persons. You’ll basically be on your own with support from YouTube and whomever sold it to you.
Effectiveness: Professionals have access to more advanced tools and methods that are not available to the general public. This can lead to a more effective treatment.
Guarantee: Most professional companies offer a guarantee for their work, which means that if the termites return, they will come back and retreat the area at no additional cost. Houses in excellent condition qualify for an optional damage warranty. Older houses rarely meet the conditions needed to be able to offer a damage warranty.
In summary, treating for termites yourself can be dangerous and may not be as effective as treatment by a professional. It is recommended to hire a licensed pest control professional to take care of termite infestations.