Understanding Termite Treatments and Contracts

In most cases in Southeast Florida, you will either be dealing with a Drywood Termite or a Subterranean Termite. And to complicate Subterraneans a little further, you may either be dealing with a Native, Eastern or Formosan Subterranean Termite.

Drywood Termites

Drywood Termites generally fly into the structure or they can be brought into the structure in furniture, flooring and commonly, in new kitchen cabinets. The queen, king and the entire termite family (called a “colony”) spend almost their entire life cycle inside sound, dry wood. Only during brief swarming flights do young adults leave their homes to begin new colonies, usually pretty close to their previous home.

Drywood colonies are not large, only about 4,800 members. The problem occurs when they start multiple colonies inside one structure. These colonies may be located inside the walls where we cannot get to them to eliminate them.

If you have one or two places with Drywood Termites, and we can get to them, we recommend a “spot treatment” using an undetectable product. This is where the product is injected directly into the galleries, which is where the termites live. The termites pick up the product on their bodies and it is passed throughout the colony until they are all dead.

If you have several areas where there are Drywood termites, or if we are unable to locate the galleries, we recommend that you have the entire house “tented.” With tenting, you must leave the home for two or three days while tarps are placed over the home. Fumigation gas is injected inside the tarps and the gas creeps into every little nook and cranny in the home, killing any termites that may be living in there, even inside the walls. Once the tent is removed and the home is aired out, there is no more gas or residue left inside the home and it is safe to go back inside. The only drawback with tenting is the fact that once that gas is gone, termites can come right back again and infest the home. There is nothing to stop them.

Subterranean Termites

Native and Eastern Subterranean termites are different. They, for the most part, live down in the soil. The king, the queen and the entire colony live down in the ground. They have to come up through the soil to get to the structure. The best way to control them is to treat the soil. These colonies can be quite large and sometimes contain up to 1 million termites. Not only are the colonies large, it is estimated that there can be up to 10 colonies of termites in one acre of soil.

How do we protect our structures from Subterraneans? We recommend hiring a reputable company to perform an “injection treatment” to the soil using the Termidor® HP High Precision Injection System. This treatment consists of applying an undetectable barrier around the entire home. Termites will walk right through it, pick up the Termidor® and pass it throughout the colony. In about 3 months, 100% of the termites will be dead.

We recommend not using any other products to do soil treatments because some of the other products are detectable to termites and they stay away from the barrier. Meanwhile, the colonies are still out there, growing bigger and bigger. When the treatment wears off, they go back into the structure. With the Termidor® treatment they are dead, so when the treatment wears off they are not around to go back.

We also mentioned the dreaded Formosan Subterranean Termites. They are pretty common in southeast Florida. These termite colonies can live in the soil and/or inside the walls. Formosan colonies are huge and may contain as many as 7 million members and can span over several pieces of property. Formosan Termites are larger than the other species and consume structures much faster.

To control Formosans, we recommend a soil injection treatment and a tent fumigation because these types of termites live in the soil and inside the structure.

Now that you know what type of treatment you need, how do you know which company to hire?

When comparing bids you should look at the linear or cubic footage. How many linear feet or cubic feet is the company claiming that you have, and how did they come up with that number? For example, in this area the linear footage for an average home would be around 250. The average cubic feet would be 45,000 – 60,000. When comparing bids, choose the ones that have around the same linear feet or cubic feet. If the measurement on one bid is a lot lower than the others, the company may be trying to rip you off (unless they just made an honest mistake). The lower the number, the less materials they will be using. “Less materials” is not legal, and you will not get a good kill if the proper amount of materials is not used on the structure. But watch out, because sometimes a salesperson may do this to try to underbid other companies and get the job. It happens a lot.

What about the guarantee? What type of guarantee are they going to give you? A termite guarantee typically runs for one year with the option to renew the guarantee for another five years thereafter by paying an annual fee.

Eastern and Native Subterranean Termite guarantees can be for “retreatment only” or “retreatment and repair.” Some companies will give a “retreatment guarantee,” which means that if you get termites any time during the warranty period, the company will come back out and treat that area for you at no extra charge. Some companies give a “retreatment and repair guarantee” which is best because if termites damage the structure while under warranty, the company giving the guarantee will not only retreat the area for free but they will repair any damage that the termites did to the structure.

Drywood and Formosan termite guarantees are typically “retreatment only.” It is very difficult to tell if Drywoods or Formosans are inside the walls, under the insulation in the attic or under the flooring without tearing up the structure so it is a risk for the company to give a repair guarantee for these types of termites.

Finally, are they using Termidor® which is America’s number one termiticide or some other cheaper product? Do they use the High Precision Injection System or are they going to dig trenches and disrupt the landscaping in your yard?

Hometown Pest Control offers expert advice about your particular termite situation. We also offer a 1 million dollar retreatment and repair guarantee on Subterranean termites when you purchase the service using the Termidor® HP High Precision Injection System . Give us a call for your free inspection and quote. For more information about termites, click here.