Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button

Environmentally-Responsible Termite Control

Close-up of a bunch of winged termite swarmers

The word "termites" is enough to strike fear into the hearts of homeowners in Dayton, Springfield, Northern Cincinnati, and the Miami Valley, as is the sight of a pile of dead swarmers like the ones in this picture. Left untreated, termites can cause many thousands of dollars in damage to homes and other wooden structures.

Termites are the sole members of order Isoptera (which literally means "equal wings") and are the only known insects that are able to digest and derive nutritional value from the cellulose component of wood. They do this with the aid of specialized bacteria in their digestive tracts. No other insect that we know of can digest cellulose.

Termites are also among the most highly-developed social insects. They live in large, well-organized colonies consisting of several castes, with an advanced division of labor. Termite colonies consist of the following castes:

Reproductives, including the queen, who also regulates the colony by way of chemical pheromones; and the king, whose sole job is reproduction. Large colonies may also have supplemental reproductives who produce young, but do not regulate the colony.

Workers, who are grub-like and seldom seen. They do the work of the colony, which consists of finding food and bringing it back to the nest, maintaining the pathways and mud shelter tubes through which they travel to avoid dehydration, and raising the young.

Soldiers, whose job is to defend the colony from ants and other predators.

Alates, or "swarmers," which are produced by mature colonies and whose job is to fly away and establish new colonies.

Close-up of termite workers. They look like cream-colored grubs

The termites that we get in Dayton, Springfield, and the rest of Ohio are Eastern subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes). As their name implies, they live underground. The caste that actually does the damage are the workers, which are shown here.

Being averse to light and needing a high moisture level, the workers stay underground or in the wood that they're feeding on, traveling between the two using mud shelter tubes when necessary. When the tubes are disturbed (such as by a pesky termite inspector or exterminator), it's a major emergency for the colony. The workers rush to the breach to fix it, often under the protection of soldiers who stand guard ready to do battle with predators like ants or birds until the damage is repaired.

Back in the old days, exterminators treated homes for termites using a chemical called Chlordane that established a highly-persistent "chemical barrier" around and under the house to protect it from termites. But Chlordane had serious environmental and health questions and is no longer legal; and none of the newer "barrier" products ever worked quite as well as Chlordane did.

That's why at Pro Zone Pest Control, we don't use "barrier treatments." We use a better method which kills the entire termite colony, no matter where it's located.

Termite Control using the Advance Termite Baiting System

Our termite control method of choice is the advance termite baiting system. We like this system for a lot of reasons. It's effective, it doesn't require drilling through valuable flooring, it's earth-friendly, it doesn't involve injecting poisons into the soil, and it kills entire termite colonies even if they're not located on the homeowner's property.

Termite baiting is also the closest thing we have to true non-chemical termite control. Although it does use a toxicant, that toxicant isn't pumped into the soil where it can leach into the water table. Instead, it's bound up in a bait matrix where it remains until ingested by termites.

Here's how termite baiting works.

An Advance Termite Baiting System station. It is mainly underground, flush with the surface, and contains a bait cartridge.

Termite extermination using the Advance Termite Baiting System begins with pre-baiting. The stations are installed in the soil around the house or building that's being protected. The stations contain a cellulose-based bait that is highly-attractive to termites. In the course of their foraging, they find the bait, take a sample, realize that it's tasty as all get-out, and tell all their friends about it. Before long, other termites in the colony also start feeding on the bait and bringing it back to the colony.

The termite stations are inspected for activity at regular intervals by our specially-trained technicians, and when activity is noted at a station, the bait is replaced with a bait cartridge that also contains a slow-acting termiticide. It's intentionally slow-acting so the termites will have time to bring it back to the nest and feed it to the rest of the colony. We don't want them dropping dead on the way. That would defeat the purpose. We want the whole colony to feed on it.

Yeah, it's a little sneaky. But it works.

The bait that's used works by interfering with the termites' production of a chemical called chitin that is necessary for them to produce their exoskeletons. Although it is toxic to all insects, because of the unique application method, it's only consumed by the termites. Beneficial insects like bees aren't exposed to it because they don't hang around underground eating wood.

Over time, the termites in the colony begin to die off; and eventually the whole colony dies. When there is no more activity in the stations, the colony is declared dead, a moment of silence is observed, and the system returns to monitoring status.

In short, the Advance Termite Baiting System is a termite control method that you can feel good about using because it's effective, yet earth-friendly.

Termite Control with Termidor

Illustration of the way termites transfer Termidor insecticide from one termite to another, eventually killing the colony

In addition to our termite baiting program, we also offer conventional, liquid termite treatments using Termidor. Liquid treatments usually achieve faster control and require much less ongoing maintenance than termite baiting systems. Because it works more quickly than baiting does, liquid termite treatment is also the treatment most realtors prefer when termites are found in a home that's being sold.

Termidor is a revolutionary, non-repellent termiticide with a 100 percent effectiveness rate in eliminating termite colonies in USDA tests. But its active ingredient is effective at extremely low concentrations, and is considered to be less toxic and more earth-friendly than old-fashioned organochlorine termiticides like chlordane, or organophosphates like chlorpyrifos.

Termidor works differently than those old-fashioned "termite barrier" products. Rather than trying to put a toxic, highly-repellent chemical wall between termites and your home, Termidor is intentionally slow-acting and non-repellent. In fact, termites can't see, smell, or taste it. Just as importantly, the fact that it is slow-acting means that termites who are exposed to it live long enough to spread the active ingredient to the rest of the colony through their grooming and feeding activities. By the time they realize that something's not quite right, it's too late. The entire colony has been exposed, and before line, the entire colony will die.

Termidor Application

About the only thing Termidor has in common with older liquid treatments is that it's applied to the soil using trenching and/or drilling, depending on the job. It can also be applied to surfaces in some cases. Sometimes the entire treatment can be done from the outside, but other times we'll need to drill the basement slab. Sometimes only trenching will be needed outside, but other times we'll need to drill holes through exterior sidewalks or patios. It really depends upon the individual situation.

In short, every termite control job we do is evaluated individually to come up with a treatment plan that will effectively eradicate the termite problem using only the needed amount of termiticide; and every job we do is backed up by our industry-leading warranty.

 

Whichever termite control method you choose, you can be confident in Pro Zone Pest Control's commitment to quality, workmanship, and environmental stewardship. Please contact us for more information about our termite control solutions.