IS THIS A TERMITE OR AN ANT?
Some are delighted to hear that the winged insect they have in the jar is an ant. Others cringe at the news that one of their largest investments now has an unwanted guest, termites. For years cartoons have painted the picture of termites eating away at a structure as it falls to the ground in seconds. While termites do eat wood and can cause significant damage it sometimes takes years for them to compromise the integrity of a structure. However, make no mistake about it, left untreated termites will do major damage and should be taken very seriously. They cause billions of dollars worth of damage every year. More than fire and storm damage combined. For this reason, a thorough inspection should be made by a professional exterminator and a termite treatment should be scheduled immediately.
Years ago it was as easy as calling your local pest control company and having them apply a liquid termiticide in the soil around your home. Today it’s a little more complicated because you have some options. You can still have the conventional soil treatment as that provides a viable solution for protecting your home against termites. You also have the option of installing a bait system that will eliminate the wood destroying the beast. The question is, “What type of treatment is best for you?”
HOW “GREEN” ARE YOU?
Conventional liquid treatment may require the injection of hundreds of gallons of termiticide into the soil. Once this treatment binds to the soil you cannot remove the treatment unless you remove the soil. A bait system is contained in bait stations and can be removed at any time. Keep in mind, this can also be a negative. If you do not pay your renewal fee an exterminator can remove the bait system, ultimately removing your protection. The liquid treatment cannot be removed.
HOW MUCH DAMAGE HAVE THE TERMITES DONE?
Sometimes it is difficult to tell how much damage termites have done to a structure because much of it is hidden behind flooring and walls. However, if your structure has a crawl space or unfinished basement you may be able to estimate the amount of damage. Liquid treatments have an advantage here. While baits are a viable option they could take a bit longer to rid you home of termites. The word “bait” may be a little misleading because baits do not attract termites. They are placed in the ground and the termite has to connect to the bait as it randomly searches for food. There is no way to estimate how long this process will take. On the other hand, the liquid treatment method will immediately begin the process of protecting your home. Wood treatment is also a good idea in this scenario.
WHAT TYPE OF STRUCTURE NEEDS TO BE TREATED?
Conditions in and around your home play a major part in selecting your treatment options. You may want to consider a termite bait system if you have a well, stream, pond, lake, river, or other water mass in close proximity to your home. Liquid treatments have the potential to run off and contaminate these water sources if treated improperly. High moisture conditions can also affect the liquid termiticide from bonding to the soil and completing a uniform barrier around your home. If there are any inaccessible areas where you can’t place a liquid termiticide, baits may be a more viable option.
Sidewalks, patios, and decks around a structure may prohibit an exterminator from placing baits close enough to your home to get quick results. Placing mulch around your home year after year may hinder the pest control operator from finding the bait stations during each yearly inspection.
WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?
New Technology brings higher prices. Conventional treatments can be less expensive than the bait system alternative. An average conventional treatment can range from $800.00 to $1,200.00 while a bait system can run $1,000.00 to $1,400.00 depending upon the size of the home. Annual renewals for the bait system are also more expensive.
PREVENTATIVE VS. CURATIVE?
If you have the luxury of time because termites have not invaded you home but are still looking for the peace of mind of termite protection baits might just be the answer. In some cases, the liquid termite treatment method can do some damage to your home. Concrete areas next to the foundation must be drilled and patched. Decks abutting the structure may have to be partially removed for proper treatment. In most cases, this damage is minimal but can be a minor inconvenience.