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Jim Ignatowski 02-05-2013 09:58 AM

Identifying Active vs. Inactive Termite Activity?
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I'm having difficulty determining whether the termite damage I uncovered in my home is active or existing damage. The home is in NY and was built in 1965. The foundation was treated with Chlordane at some point during its history. When I purchased we saw some sign of activity and it was treated in 2010 by a local company. As I started gutting the basement I noticed other areas of the home that had damage.

Since I still had a contract I called the company that did the treatment in 2010 and they did a survey of the home but didn't identify an "active" infestation and refused to treat. Since then I let my contract lapse and uncovered more signs of damage, but it's still not clear whether it's new or old. The same company that refused to treat is now recommending that I take immediate action. Of course I no longer have my contract and it's very expensive.

Any suggestion on identifying active vs. inactive termite activity? I can see a sand like substance in between two of the headers, but did not see any active activity. I attached a few pictures. Thanks in advance

FoundationPest 02-05-2013 10:08 AM

If you can find a soft place in the wood, cut it open to see if the termite tunnels are inhabited. This is usually your best way of finding activity. You can use an ice pick to poke around to find a soft place.

Depending on the corrosion, you may need to replace some wood.

Most termite companies offer free inspections. I would call one and get their expert advice.

Jim Ignatowski 02-05-2013 10:41 AM

Unfortunately there are plenty of soft spots, so I have been able to dig into the wood but haven't noticed any signs of activity.

I actually have another company coming over to provide an estimate. They are all pushing the Sentricon system which is pretty expensive.

sfj 02-19-2013 10:52 AM

Look for droppings. They are very small pellet shaped. If they are dark in color then usually it is an old inactive infestation. If you see any light tan color droppings you may have an active infestation. Also if you have an active infestation then in the spring they more than likely will swarm around a light fixture or window. You will see wings broken off the bug but possibly no bug. If some company want to do a treatment I would say show me actual bugs. If you do have the extra money then, yes, a preventative treatment is good to have.

Jim Ignatowski 02-20-2013 03:21 PM

Thanks for the advice. I've had two companies here so far, both wanted to do Sentricon treatment, but neither were able to provide definitive signs of current activity.

I've decided to keep the area exposed and will closely observe it through the Spring. I'm also planning on using Borate on the critical support beams prior to closing it back up again.

I appreciate everyone's advice and suggestions. Thanks

joecaption 02-20-2013 03:32 PM

Sentricon is a total rip off.
Just rub off those mud tunnels and see if you see any tiny little bugs crawling around. To me they sort of look like maggets.
The termites you will have and the things to look for will be totaly differant then someone that lives in the southern states. Your going to have subteranian termites there going to have formosin termites.
Unless you can find some tunnels with active termites in them then the treatment you had done is doing it's job. There treatment is not going to get rid of old damage that could have been there years ago.

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