BUYING OR SELLING A HOME ?
Wood Destroying Insect Inspections for Real Estate Transactions: which are sometimes required before a home or building is sold or refinanced. Commonly called a “Termite Inspection”, its purpose is to inspect for any signs of visibly accessible evidence of termites, carpenter ants, wood infesting beetles, or carpenter bees that may be present in and around the structure. Inspections are performed by a Certified Wood Destroying inspector in all cases. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO HAVE YOUR HOUSE INSPECTED BEFORE SELLING OR PURCHASING
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THE FACTS ABOUT TERMITE SWARMS
In the insect world, the word “swarm” has different meanings that conjure up different images. Killer bee “swarms” that rush out of their hive to attack are acting aggressively and defensively to protect their hive. In contrast, a honey bee “swarm” looking for a new nest site for their queen is very docile and not likely to sting. They also stay tightly grouped together. Termites “swarms,” on the other hand, are neither aggressive nor tightly grouped. A termite swarm is an event in which certain environmental conditions trigger a great number of winged termites to simultaneously fly from their nest (about 600-900 feet) to mate and locate new nest sites and food sources. Once matched, a “royal couple” burrows into the ground where the queen begins to lay eggs.
Behavior and survival:
When a swarm occurs, winged termite swarmers called alates emerge in large numbers from cracks in buildings or holes in the soil through swarm tubes made by worker termites. Only a small percentage survive to form new colonies. Many are eaten by predators like birds, bats, and other insects. Or they die from natural causes and environmental conditions before they can locate a mate and nest site. Researchers generally agree that it takes years before a newly established colony will produce termite swarmers. With favorable conditions, it may take 4 years before a colony produces swarmers; with less favorable conditions, it will take longer.
Other factors that trigger a swarm:
A side from natural swarm cycles, other environmental conditions can trigger a termite swarm. A swarm can be triggered by a diminishing food supply, lack of water to support a colony and, in some cases, application of regular pesticides. Synthetic pyrethroid-type termiticides work by repelling termites from a structure and can cut off termite movement from a structure to required moisture sources in the soil. Under these circumstances, the termites–whether located in the soil or within the structure–would be stressed from either a lack of food or water and swarming may be the response to ensure survival.
When and where swarms occur:
Swarms occur at different times of year–and day–for different termite species. Most of the native subterranean species swarm in the spring and to a lesser degree in the fall, usually after a rain. In Louisiana, peak swarm season for the Eastern subterranean termite occurs from February through April. Both the Eastern and Western subterraneans swarm during daylight hours, but the Formosan subterranean termite prefers warm evenings in late spring to early summer, especially after a rain. Swarming for Formosans starts at sundown and ends before midnight. Residents of the Greater New Orleans area can attest to this termite’s prolific activity during their peak swarming period when large numbers of swarmers are seen around city lights as they are attracted to lights. One recommendation is to turn off all exterior lighting during these Formosan swarms to avoid them from entering your home or business. Remember that all swarmers cause NO structural damage to buildings, they are an indicator that there is a termite colony near by.
Inspecting for swarms:
Swarmers that appear within a home after a termiticide treatment do not pose a threat for a new infestation. Homeowners may contact their Pest Management professional (PMP) to control the swarmers so they’re not a nuisance, but in most cases, vacuuming the dead swarmers is all that’s needed. If a swarm occurs before a termiticide treatment, a PMP should perform a thorough inspection of the structure to recommend the best method of control.
The presence of many swarmers (hundreds) in an untreated structure indicates a termite infestation. In some cases, though, the presence of a few swarmers, or only their wings around windows and doors, etc., may not necessarily mean that the structure is infested. It may simply indicate the presence of an outdoor colony near the structure; swarmers are attracted to a structure’s lights. What’s more, even heavy swarms outside and near a building may not indicate an infestation at all. But in all of these cases, it’s prudent to have a PMP thoroughly inspect the structure.
Termidor and swarms:
Termidor termiticide is a non-repellent chemical. Termites can’t smell it, see it, or feel it. Since they don’t know it’s there, they forage freely in a treated area. Its toxic effect to termites is slow compared to many other termiticides, so no immediate threat is realized by the colony and swarming is not triggered by a Termidor treatment. Termidor kills termites through ingestion, contact, and through “The Transfer Effect™.” The active ingredient in Termidor–fipronil–is slow acting and allows the termite to continue its normal routine. But the termite remains active long enough to transfer the termiticide to a large number of other termites in the colony before dying itself. This combination of ingestion, contact, and “Transfer Effect” (which is unique, puts Termidor in a category by itself) routinely provides 100% termite control in 3 months or less.
Swarms after treatment:
Occasionally, homeowners report swarms after a Termidor treatment. These are probably coincidental and have less to do with the treatment and more to do with the time of year, environmental conditions, and the termite colony’s size and health. The colony may have been in a “biological mode” to swarm at that time, which happened simultaneously with the Termidor application. Swarms occurring soon after a termiticide treatment may or may not be linked to the treatment, but in either case the swarm would not indicate a failed treatment.
Termite pre-treatment to new structures RESIDENTIAL, COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL TERMITE CONTROL is one of the things that everybody should do. It is so inexpensive compared to a post treatment, and very effective, you would be surprised as to how few building are actually pre-treated. Wise and savvy architects always specify pre-treatment, knowledgeable builders include it in every structure they erect, and prospective buyers should demand it for any new house they buy or build. With proper pre-treatment, the soil next to the foundation is treated with termiticide and is sealed in after the foundations are in place. Termites love wood and water, and need both to keep subterranean colonies – which can be hundreds of feet from the home, deep beneath the ground – alive. That’s why we use an innovative two-step termite pretreatment process to protect homes from voracious termites.
TERMITE PRE-TREATMENT IN EXISTING STRUCTURES
Don’t forget additions. Additions to your home, especially, should be treated during construction. If you don’t, the margin between the new and the old is certain to develop a termite problem even though the rest of the house has been treated. The price is reasonable, considering your spending all that money on the addition.
Call us prior to the workman showing up at the job. Then, after the footings are poured and in place, and just before any concrete slabs are poured. The exterminator comes in to do his thing. It only takes a few minutes, but it is the absolute best way.
TERMITE FACT SHEET
Ant swarmers are distinguished from termites by their pinched waists and elbowed antennae. Swarmers may or may not have wings.
As one of your biggest financial investments, protecting your home should be a high priority. Termites cost Texas homeowners hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Everyone who owns a home owes it to themselves to be able to recognize a termite problem and know what to do about it. The following provides answers to the most commonly asked questions about termites and termite control.
Q. What are these black, winged insects in my home?
A. Adult reproductive termites are dark-brown to blackish insects, about 3/8 inch-long. Commonly referred to as “swarmers”, the job of reproductive termites is to mate and start new colonies. Termite swarmers may or may not have wings, as their wings often are shed shortly after flight. Swarming termites are often confused with ants but can be distinguished by two simple characters. Termites lack the “pinched” waist of ants. Also, termite wings are equal in length, compared to ants that have distinctly longer front wings. Although termite swarmers can, occasionally, enter homes through open doors or windows, finding termite swarmers indoors is a reliable signal of infestation. Termite swarms can occur throughout the year, but are most commonly seen between the months of February and May in Texas.
Q. I just found termites in my yard. Does my house need to be treated?
A. In Texas, termites abound in the soil wherever wood is to be found. Most yards, especially those in older, established neighborhoods, support termites.
Hollow tubes constructed from soil, climbing up a foundation is a sign of termite activity.
Should you find termites in your yard; a few simple steps can help reduce your risk of becoming infested. First, familiarize yourself with what termites look like so that if you notice swarms of any unusual indoor insects, you will know whether your house should be inspected. Second, examine the foundation of your home to see whether mud shelter tubes are present that might indicate termite activity. Termite shelter tubes are hollow soil tunnels extending from the soil to your house, and provide runways for termites to travel between their underground nest and their food supply (your home). If you find any suspicious mud structures, leave at least part of the material in place for a professional termite inspector to examine. Finally, keep soil and debris, such as stacked wood, away from the foundation of your home. This reduces the chance of termite entry and makes it easier to inspect your home for termite signs.
If you suspect termites, it’s a good idea to have a professional inspect your home. Termite inspections are often free, unless you need a formal report for use in a real estate transaction.
Q. Can I treat my home myself?
A. Because of the specialized equipment and chemicals needed to effectively and safely treat your home, it’s nearly always best to hire a professional..
Q. How dangerous are these termite control chemicals?
A. All pesticides should be considered potentially dangerous; however, when used properly, termite control products can be applied quite safely. Your chance of being exposed to trace amounts of pesticide after a termite treatment is low–less than the exposure risk following a spray treatment for cockroaches or fleas. This is because a termite treatment is generally directed into the soil under and around the home, rather than to indoor portions of the house. As an added precaution, children and pregnant women should plan to leave the home during an application and the home aired out for 1-2 hours following treatment. If these precautions are followed, risks are minimal and you should notice no unusual odors.
Q. Does my whole house need to be treated? I’ve been told that a partial treatment will be much cheaper.
A. “Spot” or partial treatments for termites can be very attractive because of their lower cost. Whether this is a good idea depends on many factors including future plans for the house, your willingness to take risks and the size of your pocketbook. Spot treatments can be done successfully; however, it’s important to know that termites frequently enter structures at points far removed from the site where they are discovered. Spot treatments frequently come with limited warranties, which may require you to pay for additional treatments should termites reappear in another part of your home. Compared to a spot treatments with a limited warranty, a complete treatment may be a better value. New home buyers, in particular, should be wary of purchasing a home that has recently been spot-treated for termites.
Q. I’m confused. One company uses baits and one company uses liquid insecticides applied under my house. Which is better?
A. This is the most common question we receive about termite control. Unfortunately there is no simple answer. Both techniques have advantages. Unlike conventional liquid termiticides, which provide a chemical barrier to termites, baits are designed to suppress or elimininate the termite colonies. Baits incorporate a slow-acting toxicant or growth regulator into a suitable termite food. The toxicants in baits are delivered to the colony by foraging worker termites, who share their food with other colony members.
Because of their precise delivery system and the small amounts of actual pesticide used, termite baiting systems are generally perceived as the “safest” of the available termite treatment methods. Drawbacks of baiting systems include a higher price tag on average, the unpredicatable time delay between installation and termite feeding on baits, and the lack of ongoing termite protection once the baiting service is stopped.
Soil-applied liquid insecticides provide the fastest, most economical termite control. However, if you are looking for the “greenest” termite control approach, or if your home has proved difficult to treat using standard methods, you should consider baits. Many companies today use a combination of baiting systems and “spot” or partial treatments as part of an integrated termite management system.
Q. How important is the warranty?
A. The warranty is one of the most important parts of your termite contract. The warranty spells out the conditions and time limits under which the company will assume responsibility for continued termite activity. You should compare the warranties offered by different companies carefully. In addition to the standard one-year warranty, you should be offered the chance to extend your warranty for one or more years. Extended warranties are a good idea, at least for the first one to five years after treatment.
Q. Do I need a warranty that covers Formosan termites?
A. The most common termite pest species in Texas are subterranean termites in the genus Reticulitermes. Another termite species, the Formosan termite, Coptotermes formosanus, is a foreign pest that has become established in California, Hawaii, and parts of the southern U.S. including some areas of Texas. This species is more destructive than our native termites. Unless you happen to live in one of the few communities along the upper Texas Gulf coast where Formosan termites are established, there is little need to purchase a pest control contract solely because it includes coverage for this species. The few isolated cases where Formosan termites have been detected in central and north-central Texas appear to be related to use of recycled railroad ties used as landscape timbers. If you are aware of one of these infestations in your immediate neighborhood, discuss your options with your pest control inspector prior to purchasing a contract.
THE BITING TRUTH ABOUT TERMITES
Consumer-Friendly Facts and Tips to Protect Home and Family from Damaging Pests
Termites cause more than $5 billion in damage to U.S. homes each year- that’s more than fire, storms and earthquakes combined!
A Deep-Wooded History…
Termites have been around for more than 250 million years. In fact, in ancient Roman times, the termite was referred to as “termes,” meaning woodworm.
Road Map for Disaster…
Termites are found in 49 of the 50 states. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 40 different types of termite species; 2,000 worldwide.
Chew on This…
Worker termites will travel up to 250 feet away from the colony, eating through plaster, plastic and even asphalt, to get to a wood food source.
There’s No Beating the Odds…
Fifty billion termites infest about one million U.S. homes (one in every 30 U.S. homes) each year.
These Critters Love to Carve Up the Nation’s Housing…
A small colony of approximately 60,000 termites can eat a linear foot of a 2-by-4 in about five months.
A Welcome Ray of Sunshine…
Termites can actually die from exposure to open air and Termites never sleep; they work 24 hours a day. However, as silent invaders, termites may go undetected for years causing thousands of dollars in damage.
Innumerable Ground Forces…
Several termite colonies could be present in as little as one acre of land and contain more than one million termites.
Call FX Pest Control 281-256-2600 or 979-647-1521
Your Cypress Texas Termite Control Service
[one_third_last][titled_box title=”Tips for the Homeowner…” variation=”silver” textColor=”#ff0000″]Things you can do to help protect your home from termites:
Trim all shrubs, bushes and other dense greenery away from the foundation of your home. Move mulch away from the foundation as well.
Don’t leave firewood near your home. It’s a magnet for termites. If you do keep firewood outside your house during the winter, keep it raised off the ground.
Remove all lumber, tree stumps and other kinds of loose wood from the perimeter of your home.
Fix any leaky pipes and eliminate any standing water near your home. Termites cannot live on wood alone.
Keep gutters and downspouts free of accumulated leaves and debris. Clogs and obstructions can attract termites.
Seal all cracks and holes in your homes foundation, which may provide a handy access point for termites.
Have a professional inspect your home annually for signs of termite infestation.
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