TERMITE / CARPENTER ANT & CARPENTER BEE INFORMATION

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TERMITE SHIELDS VS CHEMICAL SOIL TREATMENT

Pretreatment for termites is cheaper and more effective in preventing termite infestation. Some may think exterminators simply urge pre-treatment in order to increase their income. In reality, post construction treatment is considerably more expensive.

Physical shields alone have been proven over time to just DO NOT work. The termites find ways around them, as they only need 1/64 of an inch to enter. Because the shields are not continuous, due to joints or piercings with nails during installation, termites are allowed to cross this barrier.They don't keep the termites out, however they can make them easier for trained technicians to find.

We have treated multiple homes in the area that have had these "shields" in place. The termites infested the homeowner's investment and destroyed beautiful hardwood floors. Termites can cause considerable costly damage which you will find is NOT covered by Homeowner's Insurance.

Protect one of your biggest investments by pre-treating the soil during construction even if you also install a termite shield. The long-term savings vs up front protection is tremendous! A preventative treatment or monitoring system can be done even post-construction to help protect your valuable property.

 

We use only the best chemical on the market today such as, Premise 75 & Termidor. These manufacturers, unlike others, require technicians be trained, tested & authorized to purchase & use their chemical.

 

TERMITE BIOLOGY & INFORMATION

            The Subterranean termite is the most destructive & widely distributed wood destroying species on the North American Continent. Termites live in social groups called colonies, their nests are in the soil. They are very secretive & often overlooked, yet within a termite colony there may be millions of individuals. The great destruction termites can cause is related to their unusual talents of converting cellulose in wood & paper to sugar. There are over 45 species of termites found in the United States.

 

IDENTIFICATION:

            Termites & winged ants look similar but are rather easy to tell apart by the trained eye. Ants have elbowed antennae and a constricted midsection, while termite have neither of these features. The front wings on ants are longer than the back, whereas, both pairs of termite wings are the same size.

 

SWARMERS:

            Winged “swarmers”, also called reproductives, are usually dark brown or black, flattened, and about 3/8 of an inch long with big compound eyes. Large numbers of winged individuals emerge on warm sunny days, sometimes after a rain, as early as March or April. This is often the homeowner’s 1st indication of a termite infestation. After taking flight & finding a mate, they loose their wings. They often die in 3-4 days and dead termites & piles of wings can be found in windowsills or along baseboards.

 

WORKERS:

            Worker termites are the most numerous and are white or cream colored, soft bodied, ¼ inch long. They have no eyes or wings and are very sensitive to heat, light & dryness. Their need for moist humid environments require them to live within the ground or in mudlike tubes that they construct into the wood they are attacking. Termites leave little sign on the outside of the wood they infest. Tapping infested wood with a screwdriver will produce a dull & hollow sound.

 

CONDITIONS FAVORING TERMITE INFESTATIONS:

 

            Subterranean termites become most numerous in moist, warm soil that contains an abundant food supply in the form of wood or other cellulose material. Such conditions are often found in poorly ventilated crawlspaces beneath buildings, and where scraps of lumber, form boards, grade stakes, stumps or roots are left in the soil. Most termite infestation in buildings occur because wood is in close or actual contact with the ground, as is often the case with porches, trellises, or steps. In addition, cracks or voids in foundations and concrete floors, make it easy for termites to reach wood that is not in contact with the soil. Termites can enter through cracks as small as 1/32 of an inch, roughly the width of a piece of paper.

 

METAL TERMITE SHIELDS:

            Properly designed, constructed, installed, and maintained metal or copper shields will force termites into the open, revealing any tunnels constructed around the edge and over the upper surface of the shields. However, experience has shown that good shield construction & installation is rare. Also, no termite shield has yet been developed that is absolutely effective in preventing the passage of termites. Shields are primarily used to

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

protect portions of buildings above the ground. They are not effective in safeguarding finished areas of basements. They can enter these rooms through expansion joints, foundation wall crevices, or cracks in floors.  Termites can construct tubes on the lower surface of the shields. Frequent inspection for these tubes is essential.

 

TREATMENT:

            Chemical treatment of the soil under and around the foundation is one of the most important ways of protecting a building from termites. It can provide protection from termite infestation for many years.

 

TERMITE FACTS:

> Termites cause over $5 billion in damage to U.S. homes each year (source: National Pest management Association)

> One small termite colony of approximately 60,000 termites can eat a linear foot of a common 2" x 4" in just 5 months (Source: Haverty, MI- 1976)

> Subterranean termites cause over 90 percent of termite damage in the U.S.

>Termite swarming can begin in January in the South and May to June in the North

> Colonies can contain anywhere from several thousand to more than one million foragers

> Some termites can tunnel through lead, asphalt, plaster or mortar to find wood

> Nearly 4 million homes in the U.S. are infested by termites each year and are found in nearly every state

> Termites have been here for about 250 million years

> Termite queens live 15 to 25 years and can lay an egg every 15 seconds

 

TREATMENT OPTIONS:

Only the best chemical on the market, Premise 75 (liquid, foam & gel) and Termidor is used. We have been certified & tested by the manufacturers to be athorized users of these chemicals. Although there is a wide range of less expensive chemicals available to us, we prefer to use only the ones we would use on our own home.

We also use Halo Electronic Termite Detection Monitors manufactured by Dow. They are accurate, proven and environmentally sensible. They do not attract termites, but rather, signals when termites are present in the stations placed around your property. Monitoring systems are ideal when the house is on slab construction or on a finished basement, because termites are much more difficult to detect inside the home due to wall coverings, floor coverings and ceilings.

We taylor each treatment to the specific problem and usually are able to offer a choice of treatment types. Although we generally recommend what our professional knowledge & experience feels is best for your property, we want you to feel secure in your decision. Our goal is share termite information, habits, and treatment methods, then help you decide the best option for your situation.

We offer interest free payment plans and accept most forms of payment including all major credit cards and payments from closing if the property has been sold.

TECHNICIAN BEHIND A FREE STANDING TERMITE SHELTER TUBE

 

TERMITE DAMAGE

 

 

 
Ants Love Hot Tubs, Too

BY: Phil Allegretti

Carpenter ants are one of the toughest insect pests to manage because of the various harborages where they choose to nest, including trees, stumps, wood piles and landscape timbers on the exterior of the account. In addition, residential interiors can provide foam insulation, fiberglass insulation, moist wood, hollow core doors and constant heat year-round.

One of the most overlooked places in which I have continually found large infestations of carpenter ants that has all the aforementioned nest conditions, is the hot tub. Consider, if you will, that a hot tub has everything a carpenter ant colony needs to exist and thrive-nesting material, moisture and constant heat.?

A hot tub is usually a self-contained unit consisting of a weatherproof box. The box contains a fiberglass or wood holding tank, with several hundred gallons of heated water surrounded by rigid foam or fiberglass insulation. This entire apparatus is usually resting on soil or concrete that is moist, due to small leaks, condensation or water splashed around.?

During my past 20 years of practicing pest management in the Pacific Northwest, I have discovered some incredible colonies of carpenter ants in hot tub units. Many times I have solved a problem that other pest management professionals (PMPs) have given up on, simply by checking the indoor or outdoor hot tub that was overlooked.?

In order to determine whether a hot tub is infested, check for ant activity around or inside the hot tub pump and heater compartments. Look for live or dead workers, wood frass, insulation particles or insect parts expelled by the colony. I have seen ants actively throwing out frass through small windows they have chewed through the wood panels on the outside of the units. More often, though, you have to look inside the panels. ?

Once it has been determined that a hot tub is infested, you must decide whether you are confident enough to disassemble the panels yourself, or enlist the aid of the homeowner's hot tub service technician to do it for you.?

What Lies Beneath

Hot tub panels are easily unscrewed and removed. This will expose the insulation that covers the holding tank. Once exposed, the ants are easily treated. Personally, I like to inject the galleries, following up with a residual spray or dust-being careful not to spray where people using the unit will come into contact with the material. If the unit is sunk in a deck, I like to treat under the deck as well.?

Certain hot tubs are built on two-by-two boards, which create a void between the floor and ground. This area can also be drilled and treated.

 
 

I have discovered carpenter ant infestations a few times in the early spring in brand-new hot tubs that had been installed the previous winter. This has led me to believe that some units are probably infested prior to shipping, most likely at the factory storage yard or local suppliers yard.?

 

I've got those old carpenter bee blues

by: Larry Pinto

Carpenter bee customers call for two reasons: either they are being “attacked by giant bees,” or their house is. Either way, they want their problem solved — today.

Of course, it’s not that easy. Your first job is to explain a little about carpenter bees. Customers are always amazed to learn that the “attacking” bees are all males and pose no risk. It’s the equivalent of Friday night at the local singles bar. Male bees are competing for females, who are looking for a nice place to raise a family.

The male advertises his maleness with a marker — a yellow spot on his face. He’s the aggressive sex, even aggressive toward people, and he can get right up in your face. But he’s all bluff and bluster. Like all male Hymenoptera, he has no sting.

The female carpenter bee does, and she packs a pretty good punch. But she is mild-mannered, as a rule. If you stand still, she will sometimes fly slowly around you, sizing you up. Perhaps she thinks you’re a fence post?

Structural damage from carpenter bees is usually cosmetic and of little consequence — but try telling that to a homeowner watching his ornamental redwood trim turn into Swiss cheese. The large nest holes and the yellow fecal staining beneath the holes are unsightly, especially if woodpeckers have been pecking at the galleries.

Carpenter bees will often reuse and enlarge existing nest sites and will reinfest wood in the same area. The amount of damage that can occur is proportional to the amount of suitable wood available for attack. When siding or other thin wood is attacked, it can be completely penetrated, leading to rot and moisture problems in the structure itself.

It takes a large infestation and several years of neglect for serious structural failure of the wood to occur. It does happen, on occasion, in uninhabited and little-used structures.

An interesting lifestyle
Adult carpenter bees overwinter in abandoned nest tunnels, emerging in the spring to feed on nectar and mate. Females may either excavate a new tunnel in wood or clean out an old gallery. Several females may share a common entry hole, although they are not true social insects. Several carpenter bees may nest in the same general area, and they tend to reuse favorable nest sites year after year.

The larvae of carpenter bees do not feed in wood. It is the tunneling of the adult female to create nest sites that causes the damage to wood. The female bee will tunnel approximately an inch across the grain of the wood, then turn the tunnel at a right angle to follow the grain of the wood in a straight line. The exception is when the entry is through the end of a board.

The entrance holes and the gallery tunnels are perfectly round and approximately 1/2 in. in diameter. The walls of the tunnels are smooth. A new tunnel usually extends along the grain for 4 to 6 in. An old gallery that has been repeatedly used may extend 6 to 10 ft. along the board. When several generations of bees have shared a common nesting site, the galleries may become quite branched and interconnected.

Once the female has excavated her brood gallery, she provisions it with a mass of pollen and nectar, lays an egg on it, then seals the cell with wood pulp and saliva. She then repeats the provisioning and egg laying until she has completed six cells. The development time from egg to adult is five to seven weeks.

Newly developed adults usually emerge from the gallery in late summer, hibernate over the winter in existing nests (some believe in the same galleries from which they emerged), and mate the following spring. Most carpenter bee calls come in late spring and early summer, but there is a second period of activity in late summer and early fall.

Control and prevention
Carpenter bees prefer to tunnel in weathered, bare wood. They will, however, attack wood that is stained or has only a thin coating of paint. The bees prefer California redwood, Douglas fir, cypress, cedar, white pine and southern yellow pine, but will attack other woods.

Homeowners can help prevent carpenter bees from nesting in wood on their home by keeping the wood painted, varnished or otherwise coated. Moisture barrier treatment has some preventive effect, but it’s not nearly as effective as paint. Where carpenter bees are active year after year, wood attractive to carpenter bees can be replaced with pressure-treated lumber or hardwood such as oak.

To control existing populations, you have to find and treat each nest site. And there’s the rub — the nests can be hard to find, and may be found all the way up to the roofline. Look both above your head at natural wood siding and trim, and below on decking and railings.

Technicians commonly overlook evidence of carpenter bees entrance holes on the underside of wood decks and the unpainted back side of fascia boards, gable ventilators and shutters. Wooden lawn furniture, unfinished siding and trim, wood shingles, decks, porch ceilings and railings, windowsills and ornamental woodwork are common infestation sites.

Other signs to help you find the nests:
• coarse, sawdust-like frass that is the color of freshly sawed wood on surfaces below the entry hole;
• yellow-brown fecal drips on the wood just below the entry hole;
• woodpeckers trying to reach the larvae in the galleries;
• burrowing sounds from the female bee that sound like a vibration on the wood surface.

As you find each nest, treat it with an insecticide labeled for carpenter bees. You do not want the insecticide to be absorbed into the wood, so choose a dust, wettable powder or microencapsulate. The purpose of the application is to kill the bees as they travel in and out of the entrance hole. You are not likely to kill the eggs or larvae sealed at the back of the gallery.

Wait at least two days after treatment, and then either you or your customer should fill the holes with a color-matched wood putty or a dowel, coating the filler with a sealer. This not only extends the residual life of the insecticide, but more importantly prevents adult bees from overwintering in the holes and reusing them the following year.

 

 

 

 

We Leave 'em The Way You Want 'em- DEAD!

WORKER TERMITES