Fumigation and localized drywood termite treatments are the two main traditional or old type of treatments.
Traditionally fumigation is the main drywood termite treatment, and from our perspective this makes no sense whatsoever. By having serviced more than 20,000 homes and other properties in Greater Los Angeles area — the hot spot of drywood termite infestation in the world — we can say that only 10-15% of properties which were fumigated needed so. The rest 85-90% of fumigated houses or other structures could have been treated alternatively without harsh chemicals used during fumigation.
1. The main reason for this is that pest control companies also do termite and other wood destroying organisms control.
Even though in California unlike in any other state general pest control is separated from wood destroying organisms control by regulations, however almost all companies still do both! Inexpensive pest control many times serves as a mean of termite lead flow. This is similar to AAA and some cable companies who offer you cheap basic service but capitalize big when they up sell their other services to existing customers. Similarly, when a pest control company has 15-20 pest control stops for one crew a day, even if they get one termite control inspection from already existing customer, then they can even ran their pest control route without profit but just for generating termite leads. However, these are completely different professions here in Southern California, and there is a reason that the state separated them here as opposed to any other state! We are not in Arkansas or Tennessee where you have only subterranean termites which get treated the same way as ants. Here in Los Angeles and Southern California the main wood destroying organism are drywood termites, and their treatment has nothing to do with pest control. It is not related with ant or subterranean termite control at all except same chemicals sometimes may be used for both! However, that same chemicals may be used in lawn control for controlling weeds too. We still get phone calls people asking if we do rat control, when you do not even have to have license for that as long as not using chemicals. So, blanket term “pest” and labeling any organism not welcome in habitat as pest, including say microbes in laundry does its part of confusion. Fungus which is also an organism which makes wood rotten is also pest, however no chemicals are needed for its treatment, but blocking moisture access and removing damaged wood. So, while pest control people bait for cockroaches, spray for ants and tent for termites, professional wood destroying organisms companies such as ours who do not do any “general” pest control but specialize only in wood destroying organisms control only part of which are termites have many options. Our profession is much more related to general contracting than general pest control. One of effective ways to do wood destroying organisms control is replacing all damaged wood which roofing or carpentry contractors can do not general pest control people. Also, if moisture is due to plumbing issues, then plumbing contractors will need to be integral part of controlling wood destroying organisms, and again “general pest control pros” are not needed for wood destroying organism control during any scenario.
The other reasons are the following:
2. Dow AgroSciences’ aggressive advertisement combined with easier marketing of fumigations.
A fumigation tent placed on neighbor’s house scares other people living nearby too. it triggers them to call the company who put that tent. It is also easy to market your company if you just put a big sign on that tent, especially combined with direct mail and sending your sales team and/or inspectors to knock neighbors doors. It seems that there is no house in Southern California where the free DVD of above company about “wonders of fumigation” has not been delivered. This video shows part of it. Even the fumigation company who posted the video removed our very detailed comments which literally destroyed the myths Dow embedded on heads of so many people. However, luckily we have it saved on our another articles FUMIGATION VS. GREEN FOAMING
3. Big market share held by national companies for all the wrong reasons and without proper management.
When McDonald’s wants to open a branch in another city or state or country they want someone to own it. Practice shows that you just cannot open a business without an owner. Managers do not own that business, they are not interested enough and/or capable of running a business, otherwise they would go open their own business. No home service and any other type of franchise even considers applicaitons when owner will not be there all the time, and in some cases be with the crew doing the work all the time. You can buy a home restoration franchise, special painting franchise, damage restoration franchise, but not only you must be business owner, but they will also require you to go with the crew to do the work! Then how in wood destroying organisms and pest control these national and international companies just employ salaried managers without any ownership or franchise? Because they don’t have to be good or even reasonable to keep on going nd be even profitable. There are two national companies in our business which operate in almost all states and have close to 30% market share for all the wrong reasons. These companies started early in 20th century and around 1990s had huge amount of cash reserves. This allowed them to buy small, well operated companies because they had renewal accounts. Renewal pest and termite control accounts are like buying insurance accounts, or commercial business accounts. It takes long time to generate them, but once you have those accounts they keep bringing revenue to you without much effort. Imagine one of these companies wants to invest $10 million in money market with 5-10% average yield ($500K-$1M). Now compare it with buying 20 $500K a year companies instead. They already know how pest and termite control business runs, they have the experience, software, workers, managers, history, etc. 20 $500K a year companies will bring not 5 or 10% a year but 70-150% revenue ($7-15 Million), with reasonable profit margins it will be 3-5 more profitable. Not to mention that this business is virtually recession proof, since even during recession people will do their plumbing and termites, while may chose not to go to restaurants that often or buy luxury watches all the time as before. You know how this works, don’t you? Bigger companies buy smaller companies, but it does not mean that is good for general public. Until they by their inadequate management depleted these renewal accounts they have already made good money for them.
For instance, there was a great termite company in 1990s and early 2000 in Southern California called CalWestern. It was run by a true professional who was energetic and savvy businessman too. He was good in what he was doing and oversaw most things in the company to make sure operations were done properly and customers received good quality of service with fair pricing. One of the largest pest control companies bought CalWestern for a good amount of upfront cash. Owner have not seen that much money in his banking account ever and could not spend even fraction of it in his lifetime. CalWestern used to service UCLA. After change of ownership UCLA — the customer – whose account was acquired by the national company started having issues related with service and performance. Previously with CalWestern UCLA was receiving outstanding service, however with the new “big company” it was not the case. UCLA account was lost in two months, however there were thousands of similar commercial and residential accounts which were not lost that easily even though providing low quality of service.
What concerns to drywood termites, these big companies want mostly fumigations not only because they can advertise their services better by putting the scary tent in neighborhood, but also because the government – Ag Department does part of their management service. Like Walmart has tons of their employees payments come from government welfare, here too they use government to do part of their job. If their branch manager who receives only salary and bonus from sale and has no ownership of the branch will not oversee fumigation, the government will do it for sure. There is no other type of termite control which government gets involved so much except fumigation since they do not want houses exploded and people poisoned. So, these big companies love fumigations and want to fumigate even if they find one drywood termite wing in a house which has never had drywood termite damage in last 50 years. The irony is that many people think these companies are more reputable because recommend more “serious” treatments when more toxic gases are used and they have to vacate the house for couple of days since it will be a “serious job”.
Localized chemical drywood termite treatments
Localized chemical drywood termite treatments on the other hand are temporary remedy on those cases when thorough treatments are needed. However, this does not mean thorough treatments must be fumigations only. You can get focused on preventing drywood termite infestation and get a better result in many cases. Also, you can do limited treatments, foaming and partial and full heat. Refer below links for further explanations of these types of treatments. Also refer to our flagship foaming and heat treatments.
Please, do not hesitate to comment, and we will be glad to see and respond to your comments.