Understanding Termite treatments

Termites can cause billions of dollars in damage each year. They primarily feed on wood, but they also damage paper, books, insulation, and even swimming pool liners. Although buildings may become infested at any time, termites are of a particular importance when buying or selling a home. A termite inspection (Wood Destroying Insect Report) is normally a condition of sale. The possibility of thousands of winged termites emerging inside one’s home is an emotionally trying experience, not to mention the thought of termites feasting on one’s large investment.

Spring is typically when large numbers of winged termites can emerge inside homes. These are called swarmers. Termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies. Due to warm temperatures and rainfall, the winged termites emerge from their colonies and fly into the air.

The swarmers will drop to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a mate. They attempt to begin new colonies in the soil. Very few swarmers that emerge outdoors survive to start new colonies. Although swarmers found indoors are incapable of eating wood, seldom do survive. It’s best to remove them with a vacuum cleaner. Swarmers found inside a home does indicate that an infestation is present. Finding winged termites indoors almost always indicates that an infestation is needing treatment.

People often confuse winged termites with ants, which swarm at the same time of year. Termites bodies are different from those of an ant. Termites have straight antennae, a uniform waist and wings of equal size. Ants have elbowed antennae (bent), constricted waists and top wings that are longer than the bottom wings.

Termite swarmers are attracted to light. They are often seen around windows and doors. They can also been seen coming from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations in the yard are not necessarily cause for a concern. This also does not necessarily mean that the house is infested. Although, if winged termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there is a potential of an infestation. Termite treatment may be needed. Other signs of infestation are mud tubes extending on top of foundation walls, support piers, floor joists, etc. Mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker. Termites make these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker termites. If a mud tube happens to be vacant, it doesn’t mean that the infestation is inactive. Termites will often abandon sections of mud tubes while foraging elsewhere in the structure. Sometimes termites create tiny holes in the plaster or drywall. Ripples or sunken traces behind wall coverings can also be indicative of termites tunneling underneath. Usually there won’t be any visible indication that a home is infested. Termites are mysterious creatures and their infestations can go undetected for years. They can be hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termites feeding and the damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact.

Termite control utilizes specialized equipment such as masonry drills, large-capacity tanks, and soil treatment rods. A typical treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide. Termiticide is injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, as well as foundation walls. To be quite honest with you, termite treatment is a job for professional pest control . There are TWO general categories of termite treatment: liquids and baits. Soil-applied liquid termiticides have been around for decades. The purpose of a liquid treatment is to provide a long lasting chemical barrier that will keep termites in the ground from entering buildings. In most cases, termites already in the structure die off as well because they cannot return to the soil. The chemicals used are non-repellent, therefore, termites tunneling into the treatment area are unaware that they are being killed. The non-repellent products are proving to be more reliable in their ability to resolve termite problems in the first attempt.

The other broad treatment category is Termite bait treatment. Termite baits consist of paper, cardboard, or other palatable food, combined with a slow-acting substance lethal to termites. Termite bait stations are installed below the ground in the yard, in cylindrical plastic stations. Foraging termites will consume the bait and share it with other termites in their colony, which will result in a gradual decline in the termite colony. On some properties, baits may constitute the only form of treatment, while on other property, they may be combined with liquid applications to areas where termites are being observed.

All liquid termiticides are supposed to control termites for at least five (5) years when applied according to label directions. The actual length of control on a given structure will depend on various factors such as: thoroughness of the application; environmental conditions; and the density of termite colonies in the area. If termites swarm again and continue to be a problem the year after treatment, it’s usually not from degradation of the termiticide but because termites have found an untreated gap in a chemical barrier.

Let’s be clear, termite control involves LIVING CREATURES. The best treatments performed by knowledgeable pest control firms may fail at times because the ground where a chemical barrier had been applied was disturbed. (Ex: digging up the soil to plant flowers or removing shrubs, plants, etc)  Also with the use of bait stations, if they are dug up and not replaced properly due to creation of flower beds, porches, etc, there will be a large gap between the stations to help with the control of termites as well. Therefore, termites can find their way through tiny, untreated gaps in the soil.

 

The PROBLEM with Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are a problem. They are actually considered a public health pest, but they are not known to spread diseases. Bed bugs do, however, cause a variety of negative physical and mental health consequences. The bites from bed bugs can cause allergic reactions that range from a small bite mark to welts. Also the impact of living in a home with they pesky suckers could lead to anxiety and insomnia, which has been reported by the CDC.

Let’s address what’s on everyone’s mind. How do you get bed bugs? You can get them in your home a number of ways. It could be from traveling and you brought them home in a suitcase, or on you. You could have purchased an item such as furniture that may have already been infested. You could have had someone visiting you who may have picked up the pesky bug from their travels. Any way we approach it, bed bugs can sometimes be difficult to pin down exactly where or how you could have picked them up.

What can you do if you find bed bugs? First thing is first. Make sure that you indeed have bed bugs. Don’t panic! Although it can be difficult to eliminate them, don’t give up. There are things you can do to help with the control and elimination process. Start by reducing the number of hiding places for a bed bug. De-clutter your house. Get bed bug rated mattress cover for both the box spring as well as your mattress. These need to say “Bed Bug rated” or else you will be wasting your money. Reduce the number of bed bug eggs by washing and heat drying your bedding, blankets, bedspreads, and clothing. Carefully and thoroughly vacuum your home. That means Rugs, Floors, upholstered furniture,  your beds, under the beds, bed frames, headboards, etc. Be sure to remove the contents that are in the canister or vacuum bag outside in a sealed trash bag. Do NOT, let me repeat this. DO NOT leave the vacuum cleaner canister or bag full inside of your home. The bed bugs can and will crawl out of there and re-infest your home.

Be sure to call a pest control company an ask them how they treat for bed bugs. If you have any questions about bed bug treatments, please be sure to leave a comment or email us. We’ll be glad to answer any and all of your questions.

Protect yourself from the Zika Virus

On February 1, 2016, The World Health Organization declared the Zika Virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Recently, the CDC activated their Emergency Operations Center to monitor and coordinate the emergency response to the Zika Virus.

Here is some information from the CDC:

Zika virus is a disease spread primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die from Zika. However, Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause a serious fetal brain defects. It can also cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly. Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.

To help prevent mosquito bites, take the following precautions:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are overseas or outside and are not able to protect yourself from mosquito bites.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or para-menthane-diol. When choosing an EPA-registered repellent be certain that the EPA has evaluated the product for effectiveness. EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women when used as directed. Be sure to follow product label instructions. Reapply the insect repellent as directed. If you are using sunscreen, apply the sunscreen BEFORE applying insect repellent.

Check out Mosquitoes, the diseases they carry and your back yard. Be sure to treat your yard for mosquitoes regularly. Remember, PREVENTION is key!

Mosquitoes, the diseases they carry and your backyard

Warm weather is just around the corner. As they say, April showers bring May flowers and mosquitoes. Ah yes, Mosquitoes. Those annoying things that fly around you with their whining hum of their buzzing wings. Very few animals evoke the deep-seated feeling of hate that mosquitoes do. The itchy, irritating bites and their uncanny ability to be everywhere, all at once, can ruin a backyard barbecue in minutes.

Mosquitoes are carriers for some of the most deadliest illnesses. Mosquito-borne diseases cause millions of deaths worldwide every year. Although there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes, only three species are responsible for carrying the deadliest diseases. The Anopheles mosquitoes are the only species known to carry Malaria. They can also carry encephalitis. The Culex mosquitoes carry encephalitis and the West Nile virus. While the Aedes mosquitoes, of which the Asian tiger is a member, carry yellow fever, dengue, encephalitis, and the Zika virus.

The only silver lining to all this, is that cloud of mosquitoes in your garden or backyard are a reliable source of food for quite a few animals. Birds, bats, dragonflies, and frogs love mosquitoes! Eradication and population control of Mosquitoes usually means spraying insecticides and removing standing water or proper treatment of the standing water. You can plant lemon grass, citronella, lemon balm, cat nip, horse-mint, marigolds, and lavender plants throughout your yard. These plants have a strong smell that can deter mosquitoes, helping to keep them away from you.

Termites

Bug Police

Did you know that there are four types of termites? They are Dampwood, Drywood, Formosan, and Subterranean.

1. Dampwood Termites: These termites are normally larger in size than other termite species. Dampwood colonies don’t have workers. Younger termites called “false workers” do all the work for the colony. Dampwood termites like to live and feed in very moist wood. Because theses termites need a lot of moisture, they usually live in damp, dying trees or in houses with leaking plumbing that will keep wood wet. Dampwood termites don’t usually bother buildings if there is not enough water in the wood. To avoid Dampwood termites, make sure all water drains away from your house and keep damp wood away from your home as well.

2. Drywood Termites: They form colonies of up to 2,500 members. Drywood Termite colonies, like the Dampwood termites, don’t have workers. Younger termites, called “false workers”, do…

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Ants!

Ants are very common insects. There are more than 10,000 known ant species around the world. Ants are especially prevalent in tropical forests and may make up to half of all the insects living in some locations.

Ants look like termites and the two are often confused, especially by homeowners who are worried about termites. Ants, however, have a narrow “waist” between the abdomen and thorax, termites do not. Ants also have large heads, elbowed antennae, and some powerful jaws.
Ants usually live in structured nest communities that can be located underground, in ground-level mounds, or in trees. Carpenter ants nest in wood and can be very destructive to buildings. Some species of ants do not have permanent homes, instead they seek out food for their enormous colonies during periods of migration.

Ants communicate with each other by using chemicals that can alert other ants to danger or lead them to a promising food source. Ants typically eat nectar, seeds, fungus, or insects. However, some species of ants may prey on reptiles, birds, or even small mammals.

So what can you do to prevent Ants from invading your home? First, ants can enter through the tiniest of cracks and crevices seeking out water and food sources. So be sure to seal up those cracks and crevices. Secondly, ants leave scent trails so other ants can be lead to the food source others have found. Be sure to clean up the sugar and creamer area around your coffee makers. Ants really love those areas. Also, clean off the counter tops and behind the faucets on your sinks. Sometimes food particles will get behind there and can become a good food source for ants. Lastly, look around the perimeter of you home and in your yard. Do you see any mounds or old tree stumps? If you do, make sure to remove the old tree stumps. Treat the ant mounds directly by sprinkling ant bait around the mounds, not on top. Prevention is the key to all your pest problems, even ants.

Termite Bait Systems

This is a picture of a cartridge from a termite bait system. These bait systems work to monitor termite activity around your home. As you can see, the termites are very much alive and active, constantly foraging, and looking for food. This picture is even more interesting because these bait stations were placed around the dwelling only 30 days prior.

If you’ve ever thought that Termite Bait Stations don’t work, think again. They do! This is a picture of a cartridge from a termite bait system. These bait systems actively work to monitor termite activity around your home. As you can see, the termites are very much alive and very active. Termites are constantly foraging, looking for food. This picture is even more interesting because these particular termite bait stations were placed around the dwelling only 30 days prior. Active management to prevent termites from entering your dwelling is key.

Wood Siding and Termites

This is what wood siding does when it's in contact with soil. It absorbs the moisture from the soil, causing it to rot. This can attract termites.

This is what wood siding does when it’s in contact with soil. It will absorb the moisture from the soil, causing it to rot. This can and will attract termites. The soil grade is too high. Our recommendations are to remove to soil off the siding to where at least 3-4 inches of the slab line is showing. Any time that wood comes in contact with the soil, the wood will absorb the water. This is not good because termites now have an easy access to your home.