How Does Professional Termite Treatment Work?
While many types of pests are simply a nuisance, termites are actively destructive. These wood-munching insects can literally chew their way through thousands of dollars of lumber and cause billions of dollars in damage to American homes each year!
As with most things in life, prevention is the best solution, but sometimes we find ourselves in a situation which has already gotten out of hand. Today we’ll look at what you can expect from a professional termite treatment plan, as well as discuss what you can do to avoid ever getting a termite infestation in the first place!
The first step for solving a pest problem is always the same: assess the situation. Pest control professionals have the training and experience to identify pest infestations that a homeowner may miss.
While it is possible for termite swarms to arrive by air, 95% of the time they simply walk into our home. A large subterranean termite colony may forage over an area the size of a football field, and a trained expert can detect signs of their presence.
It is important to note that termites in or near your yard do not necessarily indicate an active termite problem in your home. However, the level of termite activity around your home may lead your pest control company to recommend different treatment options.
The next step in the inspection is to check your home’s perimeter. This process is one that homeowners can learn to perform and for peace of mind you may wish to do this on your own every few weeks.
Essentially, the inspector walks around the exterior of your home and is looking for foraging tunnels. These are small mud tubes that extend from the ground and lead into your home. Termites are very sensitive to drying out, and so use these tunnels to protect their workers as they travel from their underground colonies into your home.
If your home is protected by bait stations, like those made by Sentricon, your technician will inspect these at this time. It is not recommended for homeowners to open these bait stations – and they should only be serviced by Sentricon-certified pest management companies.
Even if no signs of termite activity were found during a yard or perimeter inspection, an interior inspection is still advisable. While termites generally enter our homes from the ground, sometimes they are able to find cracks in your home’s foundation that allow them access without leaving behind tell-tale mud tubes.
Additionally, termites can establish colonies without any access to the ground – arriving via airborne swarms. The Formosan termite is notorious for this behavior and is becoming more common in South Carolina.
At the same time as inspecting for termites, your technician will keep an eye out for other infestations and advise you whether or not you may need additional pest control services such as rodent control.
Moisture Damage Inspection
While inspecting your crawl space and basement, your technician will keep an eye out for the conditions that termites find appealing. Termites, and many other household pests like cockroaches, silverfish, and centipedes, are moisture loving critters.
If signs of excessive moisture are found they will take note of it and inform you so that you can get this fixed before it turns into a serious problem like mold, rot, or a future termite infestation. Oftentimes, a simple vapor barrier installation is all that is required to reduce crawl space moisture to safe levels.
After completing your pest inspection your technician will provide you with a full report of their findings. Based on what they’ve found they may recommend a treatment plan, or if no termites are detected then the best course of action is to continue whichever year-round termite prevention plan that is currently keeping your home pest-free.
If a termite infestation is detected the next step is to schedule a follow-up visit for the extermination procedure. Depending on the severity of your infestation, your technician may recommend one or more of the following termite control services:
Note: The most effective termiticides are not available to the general public, and so DIY methods of termite control are unlikely to be effective and are not recommended.
Bait Systems: Strategic and Long-Term Control
Bait systems involve placing bait stations around your property, particularly near active termite areas. These stations contain a slow-acting pesticide that termites feed on and carry back to their colony. As the poisoned bait is spread amongst the colony, it gradually diminishes the colony’s population.
This method is effective for long-term control and monitoring, as it targets the colony itself, reducing the likelihood of future infestations.
Liquid & Foam Sprays: Immediate Barrier Protection
Liquid termiticides are applied to the soil around your home, creating a protective barrier against termites. These termiticides are specially formulated to be undetectable by termites, allowing them to come into contact with the toxin without realizing it, and then transfer it to other members of their colony.
Foam sprays are used for specific, hard-to-reach areas such as wall voids and spaces between wooden structures. The foam expands to fill these spaces, ensuring thorough coverage and elimination of termites in concealed areas.
Fumigation: Total Eradication in Severe Cases
Fumigation is a more intensive treatment, typically reserved for severe, widespread infestations. It involves enclosing the affected structure in a tent and introducing a fumigant that permeates all areas, including wood, to eliminate termites completely.
This process requires homeowners to vacate the property for a few days. Specialists ensure that the fumigant is safely and effectively dispersed and that the home is ventilated and safe for your return upon completion.
Termite Damage Repair
Once the termite colony has been eliminated, it is time to repair the damage they have caused. In general, the longer a termite colony has been in place, the more damage it will have caused. Depending on the severity of the infestation, your pest control company may be able to perform the repairs or may refer you to a general contractor.
Regardless of whether or not a termite infestation was detected, it is absolutely essential to use a preventative treatment. Here in South Carolina, all wooden structures will eventually become infested with termites if left untreated! Bait stations and liquid termiticides are the most popular preventative treatments.
Many professional pest control companies offer termite bonds, which is essentially a warranty that covers any costs associated with an infestation that occurs to a protected home.
How long does a preventative termite treatment last?
Termite treatments can last anywhere from 1 year for bait stations up to 10 years for certain types of liquid termiticides, like Termidor. It is important to have regular inspections performed to ensure that your treatment is still protecting your home. This is particularly true in areas where the Formosan termite are common, as these termites can establish aerial colonies which bypass most common termite defenses.
Choosing a Company for Professional Termite Treatment
Protecting your home from termites is essential as the cost of treatment and repair far exceeds the cost of prevention! When choosing a residential pest control company, we recommend being picky about who you choose. Check with your friends and neighbors, as well as read reviews on Google.
You want to find a company which shows up on time, is pleasant to work with, and has highly trained technicians who are able to use the best treatment methods like Sentricon and Termidor. Finally, be sure to choose a termite prevention service that includes a termite bond – as this will give you peace of mind your home’s termite protection is guaranteed! At Jeffcoat Pest Control we have worked hard to check all of these boxes. If you want to get your home protected from termites, or want a termite inspection, let us know!