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Drywood termites stopped swarming in Los Angeles and other cities in SoCal. This does not mean they disappeared! Unless you had a swarm and termites were completely treated, your property may have issues, especially if you see evidences of termites and / or damage. Luckily now after the highly hectic swarm season is gone you can schedule no rush inspections and termite treatment. This entails better pricing and higher quality of work.

Most Homes And Other Structures Qualify For A Complete Wood Destroying Organisms (termite) Inspection

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Termite Control vs. Termite Extermination

Termite control and Termite extermination are part of Wood Destroying Organisms Control and Extermination.

Termite control is often compared and even confused with termite extermination. Complete or partial termite extermination is one of the tools to control termites. The main goal is not eliminating all termites, but controlling and possibly prohibiting any damage they cause to structures.

Termite control is put in place to stop or minimize damage to wooden parts when structures become infested by subterranean termites or drywood termites.
Termite extermination is eliminating live termites either in the structure or other places to prevent them causing damage to the structures.

Any type of termite extermination is part of termite control. In other words, termites are exterminated to control, minimize, or eliminate damage to structures done by them.

However, termite control is not a part of termite extermination. For instance, preventing termite infestation on exposed wood in an attic when there are no termites is a type of termite control. However, no termites are being exterminated, and therefore it is not a type of extermination.

There are several types of termite control.

  1. Complete extermination of one or more types of termites.

This is usually done by a professional termite control company that exterminates all drywood and/or subterranean termites present or deemed to be present. An example of complete extermination is fumigation, when the entire structure is covered and Vikane or Zythor (sulfur fluoride) termiticide is exposed to all wooden components and anything else made of cellulose in the structure.

  1. Partial extermination of termites:

This is when there is no assurance that all termites in a structure are being exterminated. There are three types of partial extermination:

  1. a) Localized termite treatments, where partial extermination is directed only after traces of termite infestation are detected locally or in any adjacent areas.
    An example is when a termite inspection reveals five spots of drywood termite droppings on visible and accessible wood members in a garage and attic. These areas will then be treated with termiticides. In addition to this, adjacent areas within usually eight feet are also treated, since drywood termite colonies might have moved to these areas.
    b) Limited termite treatments directed at part of the structure. This is when, in addition to the above, some other areas are also treated even where a visual inspection reveals no traces of termites.
    An example of this type of extermination is when, in addition to above, some or all exterior walls in the house are foamed by Timbor or Boracare to expose the termiticide in these areas.
    c) Limited termite treatments directed at the entire structure are carried out when treatments extend beyond localized treatments to all other areas that are possible to treat.
    An example of this is when, in addition to localized treatments, all exterior boxes [compartments?] of the house, partition walls, attic, subareas, and garages are treated as well. The video below gives an example of this type of treatment.

 

The video below is an example of this type of treatment.

 

 

It is also possible that any of these partial extermination treatments will also be a complete extermination. This will be the case if no termites are left in untreated areas, which is very unlikely, especially during localized termite treatments. Also, in many types of termite treatments there is no assurance that even if the detected termites are treated, all of them will be exterminated in that area due to the different effectiveness of drywood and subterranean termite treatments. It is very unlikely that during localized termite treatments all termites will be exterminated; however, during limited termite treatments directed at the entire structure, in which there are only a few areas which cannot be treated, it is possible that all termites in the structure will be exterminated, provided the untreated areas not treated are not infested with termites. This is why even in these types of treatments termite warranties similar to complete extermination, combined with complete prevention, may be given.

  1. Visual and other types of inspections and visual termite control is another part of overall termite control.Obviously, a major concern relating to termite infestation is the damage they cause by consuming the wood in structures. This is why visual and other types of inspections, such as inspecting with termite detection equipment, are very important to control termite damage. Visual and other types of termite inspection are the most effective type of termite control. To ensure the structure is not suffering any or severe termite damage, the structure must be checked visually.Fumigation, Orange Oil, Boracare Foaming, Timbor FoamingTermidor Barrier, Thermigation, or Termite Control by Heat, Termite Electrocution, Microwave Technology for Termite Control, Termite Freezing by Liquid Nitrogen and other sophisticated termite control treatments are not as important as merely constantly checking and inspecting the structures.

For instance, a limited termite inspection may be done in a structure, and a structure may be fumigated. Even if the fumigation was completely successful and eliminated all drywood termites, it could happen that there is another, much more severe, type of termite infestation such as infestation by subterranean termites which was not found due to limited inspection. The consequence of this is that the structure might end up being destroyed even after the complete drywood termite extermination.

Or another example: let us assume there is a house that is inspected every year by a licensed and professional termite control company. For the next five consecutive years only a few drywood termite infestations are found. Some of them disappear since colonies die, and others appear within years. However, due to some factors related mainly to the age of the wood and climate, none of these drywood termite infestations manage to cause considerable damage to the house. The company that inspects this property does no treatment, but only inspects and makes sure there is no significant damage to the property.

Let us now assume another scenario: an owner knowing that fumigation does a complete extermination calls a termite control company and asks it to fumigate his house without checking anything. After the fumigation, the house is not inspected for the next 10 years.

So, in the first scenario, even though there was a constant drywood termite infestation, it was being controlled and no significant damage was being done to the house. Also, the house was being checked against subterranean termitesfungus, and other wood-destroying pests and organisms by ensuring that no other type of damage was occurring in the house. Meanwhile, in the second scenario, while the fumigation was successful and exterminated all drywood termites, drywood termite infestation reached the same level as it had before fumigation within 5-6 years. This is because for this house drywood termite infestation expansion happened very fast compared to the other house. This is mainly related to the year in which the house was built and its location. So, after five years, drywood termites started causing severe damage many times faster than at the second house. This means the house incurred severe structural damage from drywood termites after just five years of the fumigation date. Also, this house had subterranean termites, fungus, and other types of wood-destroying organisms, such as powder post beetles, which were present at the time it was fumigated without a thorough inspection.

As a result, even though the first house received no treatment but was constantly being checked, it remained in excellent condition, while the second house incurred structural damage not only by drywood termites, but also by other types of wood-destroying organisms, even though a complete extermination was done.

These are extreme examples; however, in practice, all structures are somewhere in between.

This is why, according to formal recommendations, structures need to be inspected every year regardless what type of treatment has been done. Treatments may not only be more or less effective with different types of termite and other wood-destroying organisms’ warranties which need to be checked, but also many other problems may arise, sometimes causing severe damage within a short period after any type of termite treatment and repairs.

Termite and wood destroying organisms’ inspections may also be combined with termite detection tools to increase their effectiveness.

Further research links:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7440.html#DETECTION

  1. Termite Prevention is the next major element of overall termite control. As our further ongoing experience shows expecially in case of drywood termites mosly prevention is much more superior and possible to avoid harsh chemicals and extermination. This is when certain preventive measures are taken on part or the whole structure to prevent drywood and/or subterranean termite infestations.

There are two main types of termite prevention:

  1. a) Termite Prevention by limiting or completely blocking termite access to all or part of the wooden parts of a structure.

In this type of termite prevention, all or part of the wooden constituents in structures are treated so they will not allow or will minimize termite access to them. The simplest example of this is painting exterior wood, having pressure-treated wood on mudsills and other structurally important wooden components, painting wood flooring or open ceilings etc. Painting exterior and interior wood components of building structures on raised or slab foundations is done not only for decorative, structural, and other purposes, but also for preventing wood-destroying organisms, mainly fungus and termites. Boracare or Timbor misting, spraying, or foaming on accessible and inaccessible wood components in a structure partially exterminates termites and other wood-destroying organisms or acts as a partial preventative measure. This is because some or overall wood components cannot be infested to a greater or lesser extent by wood-destroying organisms after exposing them to organic termiticides. More details about preventative drywood and subterranean termite control can be found here.

  1. b) Eliminating or decreasing subterranean or drywood termite infestation near the structure to reduce the chances of them attacking it. How drywood or subterranean termites access structures is directly related to this. Drywood termites access structures by swarm, which means they fly from one piece of wood to another. Termites can fly from one wooden part of a structure to another; however, they start infesting the structure by initially flying from outside. Not all drywood termites outside the structure are able to infest the structure, only those close enough. The reason is that drywood termites cannot usually fly more than 50 feet with a good wind to assist them. In the absence of wind, drywood termites usually cannot fly more than 15-20 feet. So, preventative measures can be made to decrease or eliminate drywood termite infestation in nearby areas. Such measures as inspecting, trimming nearby trees, painting or spraying wooden fences with wood preservative, talking with neighbors so they will also conduct drywood termite control, and other measures can help tremendously.

To decrease or eliminate subterranean termite infestation near a structure, understanding how subterranean termites access structures is necessary. The most effective measure for this is applying a liquid Termidor barrier along the exterior perimeter of the structure. Other measures, such as installing and servicing baiting stations, removing old tree stumps, eliminating moisture conditions near structures and sub-areas, removing cellulose debris, and many others can help decrease and eliminate subterranean termite infestations near a structure.

Thus, termite control is an important part of wood-destroying organisms control. Three methods of termite control are: complete or partial extermination of drywood and subterranean termites, visual and other types of regular inspections, and termite prevention. The importance of each method as well as which method or methods can be used for better termite control depend on inspection results, structures, and their location due to the possibility of drywood termite infestation and its future expansion and the possibility of subterranean termite infestation and its future expansion.