The time changed today and I already feel like I’m behind scheduled…probably should start Christmas shopping…tomorrow. Well is that not the “theme” of most people? Procrastination backs us into a corner and forces us to make rash decisions and then suffer through the “buyers’ remorse” stage. As I mentioned last month, Termites are going to swarm sometime between today (3.11.12) and May 1st. It’s my responsibility to inform as to what to look for and how to make the right decision…not a rash decision. Last month I explained and showed you what to look for and how to identify a termite, so this month I will attempt to advise you on the timing of the swarm and your options for protection and prevention.

The timing of the swarm is solely related to environmental conditions, not a specific day, time or event. Research has indicated that the swarm usually occurs in late March, anytime in April and even in May. Historically, the temperature is above 75 for several days and the humidity is rising. One of my vendors told me the swarm was already occurring in south Houston. This generally means another 2-3 weeks for us (i.e.…last week in March to first week in April). So, there’s a strong possibility that by the time you get this article we will have experienced the “swarm”, or it’s soon to occur.

Should you enter your home or business and discover thousands of “ant like” insects with or without wings, you should immediately contact a pest control company. Do not grab the raid can and start spraying. The majority of these swarmers will die. If you must clean up the area, please use a vacuum and then discard the bag. It’s important for the pest control operator to view the area to determine the point(s) of entry/exit, especially on an interior swarm. Additionally, it is very common for homeowners to find termite swarmers around the doors and windows during the swarm season. What needs to be identified is whether the wings are located on the inside or outside of the structure.

As for treatments, you have four options: do nothing, spot treat, partial treatment, or a complete partial treatment. Spot treatments are limited to 10 linear feet or less. Partial treatments are 10 linear feet and more. Complete partial treatment is where the entire structure has been treated. Of these treatment options you have only three treatment types: fumigation, liquid, or baits (and sometimes a combination of both liquid and baits). Which treatment option and type depends on the termite species, construction of the home or business, surrounding environment, your desires and finances.

The TDA oversees and defines Termite Treatments. Treatments must be performed by a Licensed Pest Control Technician, with a termite designation. Estimates for treatment must include a Termite Disclosure indicating the area to be treated, the product to be utilized, the warranty and any renewal option if granted. The TDA does NOT specify what termiticide must be used. This decision is generally determined by the pest control company or the client. Termiticides vary by active ingredient, length of efficacy, application type and cost. Additionally, there are pre-construction and post construction treatment options, but for this article I will discuss post construction treatment options only…and will attempt to keep it as simple as possible.

Ready? Here we go….according to our documents you have Partial, Spot, Baits, Physical Barrier and Fumigation treatment options. Again, for the purposes of this article I will discuss only Partial, Spot and Bait treatments and will only be able to give you enough information so that you can better discuss these options with your pest Control Company or research on the web.

Bait Systems became popular 10 years ago and certain systems proved more effective at controlling termites than others. All bait systems are comprised of a station inserted in the soil approximately 10-15 feet apart surrounding the entire perimeter of the structure. Within each station is a combination of a cellulose product and/or the actual bait ingredient. The concept is that as the termite is out foraging for food it will find the station(s), the technician checking the stations will then find the termites and add the “bait” to the station and the process of eliminating the colony begins. The stations must be monitored routinely and the components changed out, to insure proper control. Bait Systems are effective. But, they are generally the more expensive treatment option, both initially and each year, and up until recently were considered the best “Environmentally/Green Product”.

A Spot treatment is the easiest treatment. The law says that we can treat a 10 linear foot area or less…It is a very localized application utilized to stop a known point of termite activity. This treatment is the least expensive in total dollars, but the most expensive in terms of linear feet treated; has a one year warranty to the area treated; and generally does not have a renewal/warranty extension option.

The Partial treatment is any area treated over 10 linear feet. For instance, your structure may have a total linear foot print of 300 feet, but only 100 feet is in need of being treated. While these 100 feet can be treated, the cost per foot will generally be greater than the cost per foot associated with treating the entire 300 feet. Additionally, you will receive the one year warranty to the area treated, but you will not be offered a renewal/warranty extension option. Should you elect to treat the entire 300 linear feet of your structure, you would then be eligible for the annual renewal/warranty extension.

The Spot and Partial treatment option utilizes a termiticide mixed in water and is applied/injected into the soil. There are two fundamental types of termiticides…repellent and non-repellent. Always choose the non-repellent as this will allow for greater colony kill and better assurance that all termites will exit the structure. This treatment process requires a small trench next to the foundation; drilling ½ inch diameter holes every 12 inches along decks and adjoining concrete; and then injecting down to the foundation footing so that the product can be dispersed to create the continual chemical barrier around the structure.

So much more to discuss…but so little space allowed. Hopefully you will have enough information to make an informed decision or at least to ask the right questions. Whatever the case may be, curative or preventative; take the necessary time to research the company, the product and the treatment options available. Your property will not fall down over night…but don’t wait 6 months to make a decision either….cause while you’re thinking, the termites are eating!! And eating!! And eating!!! And eating!!!

Until next time, if you’re tired of ”swatin, stompin and throwin” things (at bugs)…give us a call…we’ll Chase’em away …to your neighbors. We are a full service pest control company providing general pest, termite, rodent and misting system services to homes and offices in Montgomery County. If we can assist you, please give us a call or email me at