Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Termite Treatment 101

I had a phone today that I've gotten many times and have not written down the steps for future reference. The common question I get is, "how do you perform a proper termite treatment?" It is actually quite involved, so I think by writing it down I can reference people to this and not have to explain it each time. This treatment applies only for SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES. Drywood termites require a different treatment method.

A Liquid termite treatment, although involved, is definitely something a homeowner can tackle. What makes it EASIER for a company is the equipment. It is definitely not rocket science. The main piece of equipment that makes it easy for company’s is they have 100 gallon pressure sprayers. A typical termite treatment requires 100 to 200 gallons of finished solution, so it helps out quite a bit to be able to treat in one or two shots. A homeowner normally does not have access to a 100 gallon spray rig, so it is much more time consuming. Most homeowners use a 5 gallon bucket. Since subterranean termites come from the ground, the goal is to put a complete termiticide barrier around the structure. This is achieved by trenching where there is dirt against your foundation, and drilling where there is concrete against your foundation.

Using a pick axe or trenching tool, you should dig a 6 inch wide and 6 inch deep trench directly against the foundation everywhere the ground comes up to the structure. Once the trench is complete it is filled with 4 gallons of mixed termiticide per 10 feet. This is where the 5 gallon bucket comes in handy. If one side of your house is 30 feet long, than you "eye" 4 gallons in the bucket and pour it in the trench 3 times for a total of 12 gallons per the 30 feet. You can use a one gallon sprayer to mix and spray the chemical with, but if your house requires 100 gallons of chemical, it may take you two days to fill the sprayer 100 times. It also helps to have something large to mix the chemical in, and then pour it in the 5 gallon bucket to place in the trench.

Once the trench is filled with the proper amount of termiticide, cover the trench back with the dirt that was removed. You want the dirt that you place back in the trench to be treated also, so that you have a complete barrier against your house and no untreated soil. If you place the dirt back in the trench while it is still filled with the termiticide, it will mix and be treated. If the ground has already soaked up the termiticide, than you will need to pour extra termiticide on top of the backfill.

For your garage, porch, patios, or other contiguous slabs against the home, you will need to get the termiticide underneath the concrete against the foundation. To do this you will need a hammer drill with a 12" by 1/2" wide drill bit. You drill holes throughout the concrete about 3-4 inches away from the wall or foundation, and apart about every 10"-12". Once the holes are drilled, you fill at the same rate you did the trench, 4 gallons per 10 feet. To fill these I would recommend using the one gallon sprayer on a "pin stream" setting so you can force the liquid down the hole and not splash it everywhere. Once the holes are filled all you need to do is patch them with a concrete patch filler you can buy at Home Depot.

These are the basic steps in a liquid termite treatment for Subterranean Termites. If your home has a crawl space or is surrounded by brick on all 4 sides, there are some additional drilling that usually is done when a professional treats your home. However, we have only covered the basics today. Good Luck!


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