Termites as Pests

Sometimes termites find great places to live and good food to eat in the things we make.  Around the world, this costs us several billions of dollars each year.  Many companies take advantage of this market, usually adapting the use of poisons they've developed first for agricultural pests, like the little things that eat cotton.  That means that there are a lot of people interested in your pest problem and hoping to profit from it.

Before you do anything, it is important to know about your pest problem.  Hopefully, this section will help.

Pest termites are either of the type known as subterranean, drywood or less often dampwood.  You must know for sure which type you have as the management of each is quite different.

What to do first is usually straightforward. If you have drywood termites, the infestation is usually limited. Sometimes they are in a single piece of furniture, sometimes just one framing member but, if they've had long enough, lots of colonies can infest the whole house. For the subterranean termites that usually attack from below and will work through the whole building, management should first aim to either exclude the termites (such as by repairing a physical barrier) or kill off the offending colony. Colonies can most often be killed by nest destruction, nest poisoning, by baiting or by judicial use of a non-repellent termiticide into the soil where they are active. Repellent soil poisons are best (not used, or) saved for new construction when you can be sure of a complete barrier.

In the ideal world, your pest management technician will do a full timber pest inspection of the building and grounds and present you with a written report and (separately) a management plan (hopefully with a range of options). Again, ideally, remedial soil poison barriers would not be used (i) unless necessary and (ii) generally, not until the offending colony has been controlled. Repairs (unless for safety) should not be made until the colony is controlled as early disturbance can make management difficult by breaking up or concealing the termite activity. If baiting or usin a non-repellent termiticide for colony control, you want to keep them feeding at full tilt until they have consumed enough poison to kill the whole colony.