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Old 02-20-2010, 07:22 PM   #1
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???









Hi Folks....

While renovationg a bathroom I began to uncover termites in my ceiling beams....and then the roof rafters.

I am vigorously removing wood within reasonable proximity of the damage to see how far its gone....this spring I will have to go up in the attic for a more thorough investigation. Obviously come this week I will call the pest control folks.

I have not found any of the excrement but this was because the old ceiling was removed and we never thought of looking as there were no signs of termite issues then. What I do find is a lot of what appears to be their "termite sawdust" when I burst through the tunnels with the chisel and hammer. No signs of the actual termites either. I remember finding some similar damage in one of the basement joists but it appears to be old, ie, no recent activity.

I will have to replace the rafters in question but I paranoid that if I dont do it now, they could spread as spring comes. And with three roof rafters in a row having been infected, it does raise some structural concerns.

We had a fella replace the shinlges about 7 years ago....and if you notice there is a new pressure treated board up there at the base....which makes me wonder if this fella was replacing a termite infected piece, and didnt realize they were underneath.....OR....if they began to infect later.


MY QUESTIONS TO YOU ALL ARE THUS:

--Based on my description and the photos, how can I tell if the damage is recent or in the more distant past?

--are there any ways beside finding bodies or excrement that would let me know?






They appear to be somewhat confined to

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Old 02-20-2010, 08:21 PM   #2
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


Drew,

Why does it matter to you if it was recent or distant damage??? The pest control will check it out for you. Repair the damage & move on.

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Old 02-20-2010, 08:23 PM   #3
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


You do not mention your location, so it's hard to determine if your region is subjected to only subterranian termites. If your finding these guys at the roof level, you have a severe problem as they start eating at the sill plate and work there way up.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:44 PM   #4
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
You do not mention your location, so it's hard to determine if your region is subjected to only subterranian termites. If your finding these guys at the roof level, you have a severe problem as they start eating at the sill plate and work there way up.
Ron
Yes, subterranian termites usually work at the sills of the house and such. However swarming/flying termites usually come in at the eves - and then up the rafters via the rafter tails. Here in SoCal these swarming/flying termites are predominate - I and many others here do battle with them every few years. I used to live in New Orleans - where the Formosa termites are subterranian and do huge amounts of damage to houses.

If subterranian, ground treatments are effect against recurring infestations. If swarming/flying there is not much you can do to prevent reinfestations, every several years you are likely to have to deal with them...

I suggest to get multiple termite folks to give you thier assessments and recommendations. Beware, it can be rather a racket - separating the truth from the BS can sometimes be difficult. Read and educate yourself via the web as well.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:12 AM   #5
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


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Drew,

Why does it matter to you if it was recent or distant damage??? The pest control will check it out for you. Repair the damage & move on.
And use whatever pesticides and tenting required to kill the bugs.

Do please click on your username and update your basic location so we know where you are?

Lived in Northern California for years and know what I racket termite inspections and treatment can be. Tenting and gassing a house out West is still standard and required as far as I know if you want to close on sale or purchase of just about any wooden structure where they are found?

Wherever you live, the advice to consult a few companies is good. Make sure you ask about residual termite control. Perimeter systems have worked out well for most of my clients here in the Heartland.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:57 AM   #6
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


Termites don't stop chewing on your house unless the house has been treated, and sometimes not even then.
If you have not seen any termites in your entire investigation, the damage is probably historic. You should see evidence of subterranian termite applications on the floor. They will drill holes every 12- 15" and pump termiticide into them. Yopu will see this on the exterior around the house's perimiter. There will be holes drilled into the staircases in front of the doors into the house. The entire basement will be drilled around the base of the exterior walls.
If it's been treated lately. you might see bait stations around the house.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:39 AM   #7
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


around here i have had that damage and it was powder post beetles,they like moisture as do termites. may require tenting
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


Hi Folks

I am in MD near Washington DC.

Its a concrete wall and brick house built in 1959. Otherwise a good solid home.

I have found some evidence of termites inside one of the basement joists but nothing extensive....that I know of. My workshop is down there so I am often poking around the basement joists....have seen little to suggest extensive damage.

I poked around some more and found that the majority of the termite damge appears to be primarily in the roof rafters....(ie, the angled upright beams that form the arch " ^ " of the roof. ---These I can replace and will be doing so asap.

In theory because it is a basement and upper level house, and surrounded by concrete/brick the damage is limited to replacing basement joists/beams one by one if necessary....and redoing rooms one by one if necessary. Not fun, but possibly necessary. Besides I was noticing that I would need to sister a lot of the older joists with knotty cracks so I might as well replace them anyway and at least shore up my upper level foundation.

Timing is wonderful though. New baby comes in two weeks.
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Old 02-26-2010, 07:34 PM   #9
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


Turns out it is powder post beetles in the rafters and termites in the basement

Sigh.
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Old 02-26-2010, 08:32 PM   #10
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How to determine age of ... TERMITE DAMAGE ????......new or old???


Ahh, the joys of home ownership.
Ron

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