Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

Termites begin yearly attack

April 25, 2004


I jokingly like to start talks about termites with the thought that there are two types of homes in Kansas: those that have termites and those that are going to get them. Unfortunately, termites are no joking matter. As the warm days heat the soil while rain increases soil moisture, termites are spreading their wings and taking flight to find new habitats. Often the winged reproductive termites are the only evidence of the wood-destroying insects. So, if you are finding winged termites, you may have the bugs eating you out of house and home and not even know it. Here are some tips to help you identify and control wood-destroying termites.

Control begins with proper identification. Termites are often confused with ants. Both insects are roughly the same size, have similar color and have wings when ready to reproduce. However, there are three key differences that can help you decide which one you have. The first difference is the waist. Termites have thick waists whereas ants have thin. Next is the antennae. Termites have straight antenna compared to ants that have antennae that are elbowed or start strait then bend 90 degrees. The third difference are the wings. Although both are sexually mature and ready to reproduce, termites have two pairs of wings of equal size contrasted to ants that have one pair larger than the other.

Once you have concluded that you do have termites, the next step is to take a deep breath and relax. Termites are not the end of the world so there is no need to panic or make hasty decisions. Next hire a pest control company. I do not recommend that homeowners try to treat for termites on their own. Trained professionals have the knowledge to find the infestation and treat properly to ensure good control.

Contact at least three reputable dealers in our area. Talk with friends and neighbors to see if they have had good luck and would recommend anyone in particular. Set appointments with each to have them come to your home and evaluate the situation.

Next, inquire about treatment options. Over the past several years treatment methods have changed. Currently the most effective chemicals include fipronil, imidacloprid, permethrin and Termador. Also available are three baiting systems, Centricon, Exterra and First Line. Each control has different strategies and costs. However, ask how and where they will be applying the treatments and how effective they will be.

Finally, ask the cost. This is where you will see the most variation. I have seen bids from $550 to $1,400 for the same job. Once you have all the information, line up the bids and compare the processes and begin making some decisions.

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