Fumigation and localized drywood termite treatments are the two main traditional 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 main reason for this is that pest control companies also do termite control, and these are completely different professions here in Southern California. 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 is drywood termites, and their treatment has nothing to do with pest control and is not related with ant or subterranean termite control at all! While pest control people bait for cockroaches, spray for ants and tent for termites, professional wood destroying organisms companies such as ours who do only termite and other wood destroying organisms control have many options.
The other reasons for this are the following:
Our profession is governed by Department of Consumer Affairs and Structural Pest Control Board. The last update regarding what type of drywood termite treatments can be or should be done is dated 1998. Refer this link. Later papers published such as this one related to localized treatments and their elimination rates but never clarified in what cases they can substitute fumigation. There is no notion from them that if say the house has not received any drywood termite treatment in last 50 years and does not have any drywood termite damage then no fumigation may be, can be, or should be recommended. It is our strong opinion that degree of present, past and expected future damage by drywood termites must be incorporated into regulations since we are concerned about drywood termites solely because they do damage structures. However, 80% of houses even in Greater Los Angeles area and Southern California do not and will not have significant degree of drywood termite damage no matter drywood termite infestation seems to extend into inaccessible ares or not. Then why to force everyone to introduce such a toxic gas as sulfur fluoride when to houses when say there are couple of droppings and wings, but in last 50 years the house never received any damage even if no major work was done? So, the old regulation that if drywood termites seem to extend into inaccessible areas either needs to be more specific and include exclusions. In this case operators who oversee legality of operations of wood destroying organisms companies such as ours will have more liberty and flexibility of working without the fear of violating rules and regulations.
2. Dow AgroSciences’ aggressive advertisement combined with easier marketing of fumigations.
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. You can see from our comments there by our company logo what we think about it.
3. Big market share held by national companies without proper management.
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 and around 1990s had huge amount of cash reserves. This allowed them to buy small, well operated companies because they had renewal accounts. Until they by their inadequate management depleted these renewal accounts they already made good money on them and kept buying more companies with good accounts. 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. 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. One of the largest pest control companies CalWestern for a good amount of upfront cash. After change of ownership UCLA — the customer – whose account was acquired 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 by providing low quality of service. What concerns to drywood termites, these big companies want mostly fumigations because the government – Ag Department does of their management service. 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 house 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 and will not have and damage in next 100 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”. However, if we – small company operators say that their house will be fine for next 50 years and we just need to spray the attic with completely natural termiticide many think we are not serious enough.
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 has to 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.