Contact

Pinkston Education Facility

Attn:  Kevin Shelton, Coordinator

127 Noble Research Center

Stillwater, OK  74078

Phone:  405.744.1060

FAX:  405.744.6039

kevin.shelton@okstate.edu


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Termite FAQ

Termite FAQ

 

1. Our neighbors have termites in their house; will we get them in ours?

 

2. Why do the pest control companies have to drill inside my house?

 

3. What termiticide is the best?

 

4. Are baits better or worse than conventional termiticide treatments to soil?

 

5. My neighbors have termites in their house, should we get our house inspected?

 

6. Can I treat my house for termites myself?

 

7. My house is less than one year old, why do I have termites?

 

8. Our house was treated just a few years ago. Why do we have termites again?

 

9. How can I tell if the pest control company did a good job of pretreating my house?

 

10. Which pest control company is the best? How do I choose one?

 

11. I have termites in my home, what do I do?

 

12. How do I tell the difference between termites and ants?

 

13. If I put mulch in the flowerbeds around my house, will this attract termites?

 

14. How do I know if I actually have termites in my house?

 

15. About how much does it cost to treat for termites?

 

16. How can I tell what kind of concrete slab I have so I can tell the PCO what we are dealing with?

 

17. Do we have Formosan termites in Oklahoma?

 

18. Do the bait stations available at home and garden stores actually work?

 

19. Annual Renewal…do I need to keep up the contract every year?

 

20. Are the chemicals this company wants to use inside my house dangerous?

 

21. How do I file a complaint against a termite company?



1. Our neighbors have termites in their house; will we get them in ours?

There is an old saying; there are two kinds of houses, those with termites and those that will get termites. Seriously, there is no guarantee that a house will or will not get termites. Termites are all around us in the soil. They convert thousands of pounds of dead trees and other forms of cellulose to organic matter each year. They are constantly foraging for food sources. They do not intentionally set out to destroy your house; they just see it as another food source. If your home has not been treated and they are in your neighbor's house, chances are they will eventually run into yours.

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2. Why do the pest control companies have to drill inside my house?

The whole purpose in treating a house with liquid termiticides is to kill or repel the termites and to provide a continuous barrier around and under the entire structure. Drilling inside the house enables the pest management professional to create a more thorough barrier.

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3. What termiticide is the best?

There are many products on the market today that are labeled for termite treatments. The newer non-repellent termiticides that are now on the market have had good reports. No matter what termiticide is used, the key to getting a good application is coverage and obtaining a continuous barrier. Ask the PCO what termiticide they will be using and to provide you with a copy of the label. Read the label and ask questions. If you have a particular termiticide you want applied to your home, ask if they can provide that termiticide. Some of the newer termiticides are more expensive than the older products. If these are used, expect the price to be a little higher. For example, lets say a house needs 350 gallons of solution for a complete termiticide treatment. Termiticide "A" is used and must be mixed at 2 gallons of concentrate in 98 gallons of water = 100 gallons of solution, you would need 7 gallons of concentrate. At $55.00/gallon, the termiticide cost would be $385.00. If another termiticide, "B" must be mixed at 78 oz of concentrate and enough water to make 100 gallons and costs $150.00 per 78 oz container, you would need 3 ½ containers of concentrate at $150.00 per container. The termiticide cost would be $525.00 an increase of $140.00 or 36% in termiticide costs only. Please note that labor is not included in these estimates.

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4. Are baits better or worse than conventional termiticide treatments to soil?

Termite baits are a new technology for termite control. If installed, monitored and maintained correctly, baits can be used as another tool to control termites. Whether or not they work better than liquid treatments to soil, is hard to say. Liquid treatments to soil are used to kill termites quickly and to create a barrier to prevent entry or reentry into a structure. Liquid termiticides give quicker results, than baits, even when compared with the newer non-repellent termiticides that are available. Baits on the other hand, can take from a few months to 1 or 2 years to control termites. It depends on how long it takes the termites to find the bait stations. Some advantages for bait technology are they can be installed in a short amount of time, its less intrusive, and if you want a limited amount of pesticide applied in or around your home, baits might be your control method of choice.

Therefore, I would not say that baits are better or worse but they are another good tool for termite control. One thing you can control is your choice of pest control companies. Choose a reputable company with a good history in your area. Ask for references, and call those individuals. There are many good companies in Oklahoma, so visit with several and choose the one you feel the most comfortable using.

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5. My neighbors have termites in their house, should we get our house inspected?

If your neighbors' house has termites, this does not mean your house will have them. It does mean that your house is at above average risk of a termite infestation. Inspections can be made for a modest cost so it is probably a good idea to have your home inspected periodically.

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6. Can I treat my house for termites myself?

Legally yes, but total gallons of solution required to properly treat an average size structure can easily be 200, 300, or even 400 gallons. Unless you have the proper equipment, properly treating your home could be difficult and time consuming. In addition, the termiticides available to the homeowner for termite treatments are limited, and if bought retail, they may be expensive. Therefore, unless you are experienced and have the proper equipment, it is best to let a pest management professional treat the structure.

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7. My house is less than one year old, why do I have termites?

Many houses have remained termite free for years while some new houses get termites in just a few weeks or months. If your house was pretreated and you have a termite infestation in less than 1 year, it is possible that during construction your home did not get a continuous termiticide barrier around and under it. Also, the termiticide barrier may have been disturbed in some way such as planting shrubs around the foundation or adding sidewalks or patios after the final grade treatment.

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8. Our house was treated just a few years ago. Why do we have termites again?

If use correctly, most termiticides, should give control for at least 5 years. If the house was not treated properly or the treated barrier around the house was disturbed, this could leave a pathway to the structure. Termites foraging in the soil will find the weakest spots in a barrier, and eventually penetrate to the house. If you are still under contract with a pest control company, give them a call and let them evaluate the problem. One thing to remember is always read the contract and make sure that you do not do anything to void the warranty, such as new construction, woodpiles near the house, or changing the grade of the soil outside the foundation.

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9. How can I tell if the pest control company did a good job of pretreating my house?

Other than drilling through the concrete slab, pulling a soil sample and having the sample analyzed for termiticide residues, there is no good easy way to tell if your house was properly pretreated. If your house has a termite infestation, and it is just a few years old, that might be an indication that it was improperly pretreated for termites, but this is difficult to determine.

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10. Which pest control company is the best? How do I choose one?

The first thing to do as soon as you realize you have termites is to call several local pest control companies and collect information on services provided, and their costs. Read contracts carefully and ask about anything you do not understand. It is likely you will find some significant differences in price and treatment options. Have a representative of each company assess and estimate the cost to treat your house. Note what equipment they brought with them to do the inspection. Did they have a flashlight, a screwdriver or probe of some sort? Did they have a moisture meter, and did they know how to use it? Did they do a thorough inspection and draw a map of your house? What are the renewal options of the contract and what conditions would void the warranty? The Better Business Bureau may be able to provide information on complaints they have received concerning a company. Oklahoma State University has a fact sheet (F-7308) on choosing a pest control company. This is available at your local county extension office or online at this address (http://entoplp.okstate.edu/ve/supef/)

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11. I have termites in my home, what do I do?

First, do not panic. Although termites can do severe damage, they work very slowly. Your house will not collapse overnight. If your house has been treated in the past five years, call the company that did the treatment. If your house has never been treated, call some local pest control companies and get estimates for their termite control services. These companies can inspect your house and determine whether you actually have termites, and can provide proper treatments.

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12. How do I tell the difference between termites and ants?

Physical differences between the two groups are often subtle, but there are characters that easily distinguish the two groups. The main differences between ants and termites are ants have a constriction of the abdomen between the thorax and the rest of the abdomen while termites are broadly joined between the thorax and abdomen. In other words, ants have a narrow or pinched waist and termites do not. The front and hind wings of termites are approximately equal in size while the hind wings of ants are much smaller than their front wings. The antennae of ants are elbowed after the first two segments. Termite antennae are not elbowed but appear like a string of beads.

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13. If I put mulch in the flowerbeds around my house, will this attract termites?

Any source of cellulose would be attractive to termites. Damp conditions under layers of mulch are ideal habitat for termites. Landscape mulch should be used sparingly and care should be taken not to place mulch against wood siding, window sills or door thresholds.

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14. How do I know if I actually have termites in my house?

Swarming termites inside your house are a sure sign. Window sills and door frames should be checked for damage. Mud tubes on walls, along baseboards or in cracks and crevices indicate termites. It may be necessary to open small holes in sheetrock to see termite tubes on wall studs.

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15. About how much does it cost to treat for termites?

This varies with each PCO. In question 4, the termiticide costs could easily be around $500. If a pest control company quotes you a price of $800 or $900 for a whole house treatment, this may or may not be reasonable based on the size of your house. A larger house costs more to treat. Proper treatment of an average size house can range from a few hundred, up to $2,000.00. Baits are typically more expensive.

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16. How can I tell what kind of concrete slab I have so I can tell the PCO what we are dealing with?

In Oklahoma, there are at least four basic types of slabs found in most construction. These types are sometimes modified to fit builders needs. They are floating, partially supported, supported and monolithic. Floating slabs are poured entirely inside the stem walls and actually "float" on the soil surface. Usually if you pull up a threshold plate, (the bottom part of an exterior door frame) you can find the joint or seam between the slab and the stem wall. If you do not find a joint under the threshold, you could have one of the other three. A monolithic slab is poured all at once; the footing, stem wall and horizontal slab are one continuous pour. A supported or partially supported slab is a horizontal pad that is wholly or partially supported by the stem wall. Sometimes you can see the joint on the outside of the stem wall if it is not covered up by a brick veneer or other siding. One way to determine if it is monolithic is to dig down the outside stem wall to the footing. If you find a seam between the stem wall and footing, you do not have a true monolithic slab and you have some kind of a supported foundation. There are a few other types of slabs that I will not get into at this time, one is the post-tension slab which has steel cables running through to keep it from cracking and a supported slab with thickened perimeter which is often confused with the monolithic.

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17. Do we have Formosan termites in Oklahoma?

Currently, Formosan termites have not been found in Oklahoma. They have been found in Texas north of Dallas and may reach Oklahoma in the future. Formosan termites are easily transported by commerce in flowerpots, landscape plants and inside landscape timbers, especially old railroad ties.

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18. Do the bait stations available at home and garden stores actually work?

The bait stations available to the homeowner do kill termites. Unless they are maintained and serviced similar to the PCO products, dead termites will collect around the stations and repel other termites. Also, if termites consume all the bait, they will abandon the station and move on to other food sources. At this time, Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service do not recommend over-the-counter bait stations.

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19. Annual Renewal…do I need to keep up the contract every year?

The pest control company must give you a one year warranty. The warranty is one of the most important parts of your termite contract. After the initial one year period, you and the pest control company usually have the option to extend this for one or more years through annual renewals. By keeping your renewal up-to-date, you extend the time limits that a pest control company should assume responsibility for continued termite activity. You should compare the warranties offered by different companies carefully before choosing to renew or choosing a pest control company.

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20. Are the chemicals this company wants to use inside my house dangerous?

Most termiticides should be considered dangerous. Presently, all of the liquid termiticides carry a signal word of warning or caution on the label. Warning signals that the product is moderately toxic and caution indicates the product is slightly toxic. Termiticides, like most pesticides, when used correctly can be applied safely and without undue risk to the homeowner. Most termiticides are applied into the soil, under slabs and around the foundations of structures. It would be advisable for the occupants of the home to leave during a termiticide application and for a few hours afterward. It might be necessary to air out the house for a few hours upon return. If these precautions are taken, there should be little chance of exposure to the termiticide.

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21. How do I file a complaint against a termite company?

Click here for the ODA link.

 

 

 

 

 

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