Common Questions and Answers For the Consumer Regarding Termites
should I do if I have termites in my home or if I think termites are damaging my
Do not panic. Most
types of termites do their destructive work very slowly, so your house will not
collapse overnight. If your house
has never been treated for termites by an exterminator, contact several local
pest control companies and get estimates for their termite control services.
These same companies can inspect your house to see exactly what types of
pests are attacking your home. If
you are not sure you have a termite infestation, an inspection will reveal if a
visible termite infestation is/is not present.
If you have termites swarming (flying around) in your house, the swarmers
can be combated using a variety of over-the-counter pesticides designed for
flying insects that are available to homeowners.
Termites generally swarm once a year for a period or about twenty-four
(24) hours. The swarmer is the
reproductive form of the termite, and does not do damage to wood.
It is helpful to save several of the swarmers in a plastic bag for the
inspection by your local pest control operator before a termite treatment is
chemicals or techniques are commonly used for termite control, and how safe and
effective are those chemicals?
several chemicals on the market are commonly used for termite control.
Additionally, some companies use a technique called “ termite
baiting”. The baiting technique
involves the installation and monitoring of bait stations intended to attract
termites. Once the termites have
been detected in the stations, the bait is changed to use a bait that has been
treated with a termiticide which, when carried to the colony or nest and fed to
other members of the colony, will kill the individuals that receive the bait.
Termiticides are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA). Termiticides are considered
an acceptable means of termite control. A
consumer should receive disclosure information, including a label of the
termiticide that is being proposed for use and warranty information, from the
pest control operator at the time of bid. A
consumer trying to determine which company to employ should review the
disclosure information. Termiticides
alone will not guarantee elimination of a termite infestation.
Inspection methods, procedures and application techniques all contribute
to a successful treatment. If you
have a health-related question concerning the termite measures to be used on
your home, or that has already been applied to your home, you may obtain a copy
of the chemical's package label from your pest control operator and take it to
your family doctor for analysis. ALL
PEST CONTROL OPERATORS ARE REQUIRED TO GIVE A COPY OF THE LABEL OF THE
TERMITICIDE TO BE USED TO THE CONSUMER BEFORE THE TERMITE TREATMENT IS CONDUCTED.
Any health related questions can also be directed to the Epidemiology
Department of the Texas Department of Health, (512) 458-7269.
Questions on treatment methods and procedures should be directed to the
Structural Pest Control Board (SPCB) at Fax Number (512) 451-9400.
treatment methods are commonly used to combat termites?
termites are treated using the methods and procedures listed on the product
label. Drywood termites are
commonly treated using fumigation, wood removal or borate products for spot
applications. When fumigation is
performed, a certified applicator for the pest company must be present at the
time the gas is released into the house and when the house is released for
occupancy following the fumigation and proper aeration.
A technician licensed to do termite work with the advice of a certified
applicator can perform a treatment for Subterranean termites without the
Certified Applicator being present.
and how do termites live?
subsist on cellulose, which termites get from wood.
Termites are social insects with a highly organized caste system, much
like ants or bees. Subterranean
termites usually live outside the house in underground nests. Subterranean termites use moisture in the earth to survive.
Since subterranean termites also need cellulose, they often tunnel into
nearby homes to get it. Drywood
termites, on the other hand, need no contact with the earth.
Drywood termites live right inside the homes that they devour.
is the difference between Subterranean and Drywood termites?
termites usually return to the soil to live and reproduce, and are found
throughout Texas. Drywood termites,
found more commonly in coastal areas such as Houston and Corpus Christi, do not
have soil contact but can live inside walls or other wooden building materials.
had a pest control company treat my house for termites last year, but now I have
What should I do?
for subterranean termites can only be performed if there is clear evidence of
reinfestation or disruption of the barrier due to construction, excavation or
landscaping and/or evidence of the breakdown of the termiticide barrier in the
soil. These vulnerable or
reinfested areas may be retreated in accordance with application techniques
described in each individual product’s labeling.
The timing and type of these retreatments will vary, depending on facts
such as termite pressure, soil types, soil conditions, and other factors, which
may reduce the effectiveness of the barrier.
Annual retreatment of the structure is prohibited unless there is clear
evidence that reinfestation or barrier disruption has occurred.
Keep in mind
that termite control is as much an art as it is a science. Many factors can affect the adequacy of a treatment,
including the construction of the house, and re-treatments may be necessary.
Termites can still be in the walls of the house six to eight weeks even
after a proper termite treatment. If
you have a re-infestation and are under contract with a company, contact the
company so licensed individuals may identify and address the problem.
the pest control company required to give me termite treatment disclosure
documents before performing a termite treatment on my house?
the time a bid is submitted and prior to treating, the pest control company
proposing the treatment is required to give the prospective customer termite
treatment disclosure documents. The
documents must include, but are not limited to, the following items:
(1) A diagram of the structure or structures to be treated; (2) A label
for any pesticide recommended or to be used, and the proposed concentration of
the termiticide to be used; (3) The complete details of the warranty provided;
(4) Definitions of the types of treatment; and (5) The signature of approval of
the certified applicator or technician licensed in the termite category employed
by the company making the proposal.
warranty does not include the entire structure treated, the areas included must
be listed. The warranty information
must also include the time period of the warranty, the renewal options and cost,
the obligations of the pest control operator to retreat for termite infestations
or repair termite damage caused by termite infestation during the warranty
period, and conditions that could develop as a result of the owner's action or
inaction that could void the warranty.
I receive compensation for an improper termite treatment or Wood Destroying
The Structural Pest Control
Board does not have the authority to compel a pest control company to pay
damages. The Structural Pest
Control Board cannot settle disputes arising from a contractual disagreement.
The Board can communicate offers of settlement between parties.
If you have any further questions concerning termite control or pest control in general, contact your local pest control operator or contact the Structural Pest Control Board at 1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 100 LW, Austin, Texas 78723, (512) 451-7200. If the company's response is unsatisfactory, then contact the Structural Pest Control Board.