Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which treatment methods and products are most effective?
A: There are two general categories of Termite treatment: liquids and baits. Soil-applied liquid termiticides have been around for decades. Their purpose is to provide a long-lasting chemical barrier that excludes Termites in the ground from entering buildings. In most cases, Termites in the structure die off as well, since they cannot return to the soil for moisture. Most former products were repellent rather than lethal to Termites foraging in the soil. Newer materials, such as Premise® (imidacloprid), Termidor® (fipronil), and Phantom® (chlorfenapyr) are non-repellent, and Termites tunneling into the treatment zone are killed. Overall the non-repellent products are proving to be more reliable in their ability to resolve Termite problems in the first attempt. All registered termiticides (both repellent and non-repellent) can be effective, however, and property owners should not base their purchasing decision on product alone.
The other broad treatment category is baiting. Termite baits consist of paper, cardboard, or other palatable food, combined with a slow-acting substance lethal to Termites. The baits are installed below ground out in the yard in cylindrical plastic stations. Others are sometimes placed indoors over active mud tubes. Foraging Termites consume the bait and share it with their nestmates, resulting in a gradual decline in Termite numbers. On some properties, baits may constitute the only form of treatment; on others, they may be combined with liquid applications to areas where Termites are observed.
Q: Can I treat the property myself?
A: Ridding a property of Termites requires specialized skills. A knowledge of building construction is needed to identify the critical areas where Termites are likely to enter. Many of these potential points of entry are hidden and difficult to access. Termite Control also utilizes specialized equipment such as masonry drills, pumps, large-capacity tanks, and soil treatment rods. A typical treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide, injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls.
In short, Termite Treatment is a job for professionals. A possible exception would be if a mailbox post, sandbox, or other small wooden object not attached to the property was infested. “Do-it-yourself” products, sold to property owners at retail stores or bought over the internet, will seldom eradicate an existing Termite problem.
Q: Does the entire house need to be treated… or can they just treat areas where I see Termites?
A: In most cases, WATTS Pest Prevention will offer a “perimeter” treatment, using Termidor. Typically, this will involve a thorough application around the entire outside foundation wall of the building, and spot-treating any infested or high-risk interior areas.
Q: How long will the treatment last?
A: All liquid termiticides are supposed to control Termites for at least five years when applied according to label directions. The actual length of control on a given structure will depend on such factors as environmental conditions, and density of termites in the area. If Termites swarm again and continue to be a problem the year after treatment, it’s usually not from degradation of the termiticide — but because Termites have found an untreated gap in the chemical barrier.
Q: Will the chemicals harm my family or pets?
A: Termiticides are tested extensively for adverse effects on health. Before a product can be used, numerous studies are conducted by the manufacturer and independently evaluated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Based on the current body of knowledge, registered termiticides pose no significant hazard to humans, pets, or the environment when applied according to label directions. Despite the negligible health risk from a properly performed Termite Treatment, people with lingering concerns should consult their physician. Most of the newer liquid products have essentially no odor. Clients who are still apprehensive may want to consider having their property treated with baits.
Q: Have I been “cheated” if Termites continue to infest my property after treatment?
A: Not necessarily. Unlike other services such as plumbing or electrical work, Termite Control involves living creatures. The best treatments performed by knowledgeable firms may fail at times, when Termites find their way through tiny, untreated gaps in the soil. While the intent is to establish a continuous, impenetrable chemical barrier, this is all but impossible to achieve in actual practice. In the case of baits, it may take several months for Termites to initially find the below-ground installations and several months more to achieve control.
The key is to hire a reputable Pest Control firm employing experienced, conscientious technicians. WATTS Pest Prevention will return and retreat affected area(s) at no additional charge provided the service agreement is purchased and maintained.
Q: Why are infestations often discovered during March – May?
A: Spring typically is when large numbers of winged Termites, known as “swarmers,” emerge inside homes. In nature, Termites swarm to disperse and start new colonies. Triggered by warmer temperatures and rainfall, the winged Termites emerge from the colony and fly into the air.
Winged termites emerging indoors are a sure sign that the building is infested.
The swarmers then drop to the ground, shed their wings, pair off with a mate, and attempt to begin new colonies in the soil. Few swarmers emerging outdoors survive to start new colonies. Swarmers emerging indoors are incapable of eating wood, seldom survive, and are best removed with a vacuum. They do, however, indicate that an infestation is present.
Q: How will I know if my property is infested?
A: Discovering winged Termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment.
People often confuse winged Termites with Ants, which often swarm at the same time of year. Termites can be differentiated by their straight antennae, uniform waist and wings of equal size. (Ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists and forewings that are longer than the hind wings.)
The swarmers are attracted to light and are often seen around windows and doors. Termite swarmers emerging from tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations in the yard are not necessarily cause for concern, and do not necessarily mean the property is infested. On the other hand, if winged Termites are seen emerging from the base of a foundation wall or adjoining porches and patios, there’s a good chance the property is infested also and treatment may be warranted.
Other signs of infestation are earthen (mud) tubes extending over foundation walls, support piers, sill plates, floor joists, etc. The mud tubes are typically about the diameter of a pencil, but sometimes can be thicker.
Termites construct these tubes for shelter as they travel between their underground colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, the tubes may be broken open and checked for the presence of small, creamy-white worker Termites.
If a tube happens to be vacant, it does not necessarily mean the infestation is inactive; Termites often abandon sections of tube while foraging elsewhere in the structure.
Termite-damaged wood is usually hollowed out along the grain, with bits of dried mud or soil lining the feeding galleries. Wood damaged by moisture or other types of insects (e.g., Carpenter Ants) will not have this appearance. Occasionally, Termites bore tiny holes through plaster or drywall, accompanied by bits of soil around the margin. Rippled or sunken traces behind wall coverings can also be indicative of Termites tunneling underneath.
Oftentimes there will be no visible indication that the property is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures, and infestations can go undetected for years hidden behind walls, floor coverings, insulation, and other obstructions. Termite feeding and damage can even progress undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface is usually left intact.
Confirmation of infestation often requires the keen eye of an experienced Termite inspector. However, even the most experienced inspector can overlook infestation or damage which is hidden.
BED BUGS –
Q: How serious is the Bed Bug problem for U.S. property owners in the cities most affected?
A: Bed Bugs have increased dramatically as a public health Pest throughout the country. While Bed Bugs are not known to transmit diseases, they can cause stress, discomfort, and sores. Experts suspect the resurgence is associated with greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding the complex measures needed to prevent and Control Bed Bugs due to their prolonged absence, and increased resistance of Bed Bugs to available pesticides. EPA believes there is a need to redevelop expertise in the Pest Control community to ensure the control tactics are multifaceted and comprehensive.
Q: What are the key things people can do to manage Bed Bugs?
A: We strongly encourage people to follow the tips below about basic precautions that can help prevent Bed Bug infestation in your home. Here are some highlights:
Vigilant monitoring, including a check of secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of Bed Bug infestation.
Prevention and control by removing clutter where Bed Bugs hide, sealing cracks to eliminate habitat, encasing mattresses/box springs, and checking luggage when returning from a trip.
Non-chemical treatment, e.g., vacuuming, heat treatment of clothing, bedding and furniture.
Pesticide treatment with products explicitly labeled for use to Control Bed Bugs and by carefully following label directions.
The EPA wants the public to be especially aware of the following:
Never use, or allow anyone to use, a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use. It can make you and your family sick and damage your property.
Don’t use a product or allow a Pest Control operator to treat your home unless Bed Bugs are named on the product label.
Before using any pesticide, READ and FOLLOW the LABEL DIRECTIONS.
Q: What options do property owners have to address the Bed Bug problem?
A: There is no one single treatment or technique that is effective. Bed Bugs can be controlled by using a suite of the available techniques, including prevention, monitoring, proper use of pesticides, and other integrated pest management techniques.
In the short term, the EPA believes the registered pesticides can provide effective control if used properly. To help you find a registered product, the EPA has developed a Bed Bug Product Search tool to help you find a product that meets your needs. For effective Bed Bug Control over the longer term, prevention, monitoring, and integrated Pest management techniques should be used as well.
Q: What recommendations would you offer property owners to prevent or minimize the risk of having Bed Bugs?
A: There are many methods to effectively prevent and manage infestations of Bed Bugs. For example, when traveling, use luggage racks to hold your luggage and do not place your luggage on the bed or floor. Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine using hot water, and inspect your luggage carefully. To manage infestations, learn about the signs of Bed Bugs and carefully inspect mattresses and other fabrics for the presence of Bed Bugs. If discovered, control should be immediately pursued by removing clutter where bed bugs hide, sealing cracks, encasing mattresses, vacuuming, heat treatments, and the careful use of pesticide products explicitly approved for Bed Bugs.
There are over 300 different products registered by the EPA for use against bed bugs, and as always, pesticides must be used consistent with the label directions. Another option is to consult a Pest management professional as soon as possible to inspect your residence, take apart furniture, if necessary, and use high powered vacuums, heat, and approved pesticides to treat the infestation.|