Treating Termites

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What's the best way to get rid of termites? Do you have to use a pest control company charging thousands of dollars?
Debra W.

Do Competitive Shopping

My stepfather is an exterminator and I can tell you that depending on your damage, you do not have to spend "thousands of dollars" for treatment. You may hear about some "old home remedies" for termites, but when it comes to the structural soundness of your home, you do not want to take chances. Putting off professional treatment now could cost you thousands of dollars in repairs in the future. My advice to you would be to shop around. Check out every exterminator in your local yellow pages. Then ask them for names of some of their customers so you can find out what they think. Often times, you will be better off going with a smaller owner/operator business; they need to be more competitive and will likely have the lowest prices. You can bet on getting more personal service as well since they don't want to lose you to the bigger, less personal companies like Orkin. When you have termites, time is not on your side. Treat now and assess the damage.

Consider the Long Run

This is a serious threat to your home, and even though there may be "home remedies" for getting rid of them, I would have them exterminated professionally. You may not see them after you use a home remedy, but they are persistent, and may not only be present but building a colony under the ground under your home.

Once a colony is established, it costs thousands of dollars to get rid of them, and you are putting your neighbors at risk as well. A good termite treatment is worth the cost if you have a wood frame house. Also, if you ever decide to sell, many homebuyers will not purchase a house without termite bond ($100/year after you have had an inspection by a termite exterminator). It's worth it!

A Hard Job

Yes, you can do the treatment yourself. The chemicals are available at many home centers and garden centers. In the southwest there is a chain of stores named Self-Chem that sells termite treatments. I have also seen bait systems available at Home Depot. You have to be thorough. You need to find and treat all the entry points. That includes the perimeter of the foundation. If you have a slab, you need to open the walls and treat the plumbing entries too. It can be quite a job.

Web Site to Check Out

Regarding termite control, have your reader try: Dr. Don's Termite Pages. There is a lot of useful information on termites at this Australian site.

Check Out the Companies

Many exterminating companies sell the chemicals so that you can do it yourself. Check the ads in the yellow pages. However, unless you have the proper drilling equipment, it's not a job for the average do it yourselfer.

Experience Speaks

We bought our house 12 years ago and it was treated before we bought it. That company is now out of business. After our next door neighbors had their house treated about 4 years ago, the little critters decided to invade us! Our solution has been to only do the infected parts. The year before last we spent $300 to do the back of the house and now we just spent another $175 to do about 20 ft of the sidewall. Our house is semi-detached and they were actually coming in through the cinder blocks in a closet on the pantry wall!

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