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Old 04-02-2011, 09:24 PM   #1
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


I have had my house for 12 years, and have had my house tented on 3 occasions for dry-wood termites. Well, today, I finally found out that I now have the subterranean termites. I have a wood frame house built off the ground (on piers) and where I found these little devils is where water is saturating the side of the house where the previous owner had a deck installed. I have finally decided to cut the deck off of the house foundation because of this (it stays wet). So far from what I can see, there is probably about a 10' - 12' area that is infested. There is a very large window located there, and the 3 clap-boards below the window are going to have to be replaced. Also, these little "buggers" are into the foundation beam(s). Fortunately, I had some foundation work done in this area right after I purchased the house, so they sistered pressure-treated beams behind them, so these appear to be un-touched as of now. They are also (the termites) into the window sill, so that has to be replaced as well. I see no sign of infestation in any of the floor joyce's.

The question I have is this....Since I can get to the effected areas, and I also can get to the dirt under the house, would it be advisable to try the treatment myself? Unfortunately, I am working on a shoe-string budget, and I really can't afford to pay someone to do this IF it is possible to tackle this myself. If I can, then what do I use, that is sold to DIY'ers? I can easily dig a trench in the affected area, and I believe that all the effected damaged wood can be removed and replaced by me. I have some of that "Boracare" stuff, but I need to make sure that I get them all, not just touch the surface.

Any opinions, advice or recommendation would be greatly appreciated on this. I'd like to get this taken care of within the next few weeks. If I should call a pro, any idea how much they would charge for this treatment? There is no concrete slab that would need to be drilled, only dirt.

Thank you!

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Old 04-04-2011, 09:34 AM   #2
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


The boracare is for direct wood application only, and then only unfinished, porous wood.

It sounds like you are in the realm of diy for the treatment that you are proposing. Termidor is terrific, Premise (Imidacloprid) is very good. Imidacloprid can be bought under other names, too. Look at active ingredients on the label.

There are some on-line companies that sell both, if your state allows it. I've never purchased from them, nor do I know anyone who has, nor do I have any financial interest in them.

Our company uses Termidor exclusively and give multi-year warranties.

After digging trench, punch holes down into soil with rebar, etc about every 12 to 18", unless your soil is very porous. You're in Fla., so maybe you won't have to punch holes, but be ready to.

Read the label in order to determine the mixing/application rate.

This info/advice is for subterranean termites only.

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Old 04-04-2011, 08:20 PM   #3
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Thank ou PAbugman. Here's a question for you. What about the termites that are already in the wood? If I use this poision method, how long will the termites survive until they die off? I am very concerned about all the damage that they will be doing until they die. I used a lot of bug spray on the wood, but I know that there are still a lot of them buggers that I didn't get to. Also, where the damage is located, its going to be very difficult to keep water out until I rebuild the damaged area. Right now I have some plastic taped over the damnaged wood, because it is supposed to rain tomorrow.

I have a warranty on my house for the dry-wood termites with Terminex. They are supposed to come by and check it out on Wednesday to let me know of the extent of their nest, as well as the damage that has already been done. At least the inspection will be for free. I'm just afraid that they are going to quote me some outlandish price for the job.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:39 PM   #4
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Are they Formosan or just the regular Subterranean termites? The Formosans are bad news. But to answer your question, they can live in the wood as long as they can get enough moisture from it to survive. Assuming the infested area isn't wet, it shouldn't be long enough to be of concern. We use to drill holes into the wood and inject an aerosol spray (270) into it to help kill what was there and to cut down on callbacks for swarmers. But I've been out of the business for a long time, so I'm not sure what is done now. At any rate, the goal is put a barrier between your house and the soil. If it's continuous and done correctly, you'll keep them out and the ones already there will die if your keep it dry.

Also, treating a structure for subterranean termites is no small undertaking, if done correctly. You'll also need the equipment to get the job done. You're looking at putting 4 gallon of solution per 10 linear feet in a trench around the outside foundation walls. If it's on a crawlspace, then you'll need the same along the foundation walls and any piers under the house. If it's a floating slab, then you have to drill the slab every 12" or so and inject the solution underneath it along the interior walls or from outside through the support walls. If there are brick or block veneers, then those get 2 gallons per 10 linear feet, which will require drilling as well. Any concrete slabs adjacent to the structure will also need to be drilled and treated underneath. A lot of the times this will include attached garages, porches and etc. It doesn't take long to add up to a lot of work and a lot of chemical.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just telling you what you are up against. Given the proper equipment and know how, you can make short work of it. If you want to do it yourself, then locate a label for the chemical you intend to use (I'd use Termidor), study it and then decide. If you hire it out, then it can't hurt to involve your state's inspectors to ensure the job is done correctly. In Florida that would be the Dept of Agriculture - Agriculture Environmental Services Division. Here they will come out and take samples of the solution, as well as run soil samples, to ensure you got what you paid for. Not sure what it's like in your area, but they keep the pest control companies on a very short leash here, or at least they use too. Good luck.

Last edited by Dahammer; 04-06-2011 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:46 AM   #5
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Dahammer

I am hoping that these are just the regular sub-terranium termites, and NOT the Formosan ones. That is one of the reasons why I am having the pros check it out. Hopefully, they will know the difference. I amso need to know the extent of their infestation, as well as the damage that has been done. I guess that I wil.l be having to crawl under my house to make sure that there is no other water/moisture source that these buggers will have access to. You know, the bathroom and kitchen areas. I would guess that there is probably about a 20' section of the house (where the deck is fastened to the house) that needs to be treated. This is where is stays moist. The rest of the house stays pretty dry, except when it rains.

For some reason, I don't think that a DIY'er can purchase Termidor in Florida, but I'll have to check to be sure. I'm afraid that anything that is avaliable to the DIY'er will be of low strength, which will mean weak results. Is Termidor a liquid, or a powder that is mixed with water? Never seen the stuff. I know that when I was a kid, the DIY'er had access to a lot of good stuff. DDT, as well as the Chloradane (sp). My folks used to put that powder all around the house foundation, and we never had a bug problem, or any termites.

I'll be sure and post the findings of what the pros have to say about things. Maybe I can save some money if I hire them by doing the digging myself. Thats not a problem for me.
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Old 04-05-2011, 12:54 PM   #6
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Bayer makes a product that you spray on the ground to kill termites and other wood eating pests. You can get it at Home Depot.

They also sell termite baits that you put in green cups in the yard.
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Old 04-05-2011, 08:19 PM   #7
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


bofusmosby,

So the house is on a crawlspace. That will actually make it easier for you to do it yourself, although it will require more chemical also, since you have to treat both sides of the foundation walls, as well as any veneer within them.

To be honest with you, if I were you, I would not waste my time or my money on any over the counter pesticide for termites. In fact, I would demand Termidor if I hired it out as well and I'd make certain that Termidor is what they use. You mentioned the granddaddy of them all, Chlordane. When they took it away from us in '86 (best I recall) it was a decade before we had anything worth anything. Dursban TC was the best thing going and it didn't work half the time. I still have friends in the business and I'm told that Termidor is almost, if not as, effective as what Chlordane was. I've used it a time or 2 and have had excellent results with it, myself. There may be others available now that are just as good, I don't know. You can probably find somewhere online that will sell & ship it too you. For a long time after Chlordane was banned in the states, you could still buy it south of the border. You might also check into getting a license from the state of Florida to buy restricted use pesticides. Probably just a written test.

Anyway, there really isn't anyway to tell for sure how much damage is done without tearing into it. Having said that, look closely at the wall surrounding the infested area. Look for tiny holes and mud tunnels, especially in behind pictures and etc. Bang on the wall with your fist, do you here stuff falling inside the wall? That would be mud. Go under the house and again look for mud tunnels along the foundation walls. Scrap them with a screwdriver and you probably see the worker termites traveling in the tunnels. Jab the floor joist and headers with the screw driver; do they feel solid? Peck on them with a hammer as well, you can tell the difference when you hit a joist that is damaged badly.

If it is regular subterranean termites, then they don't do a lot of damage fast. The average colony will completely devour a piece of 2 x 4 a foot long in a year. Of course they don't work that way, it would be all spread out, but that will give you an idea of how long it takes them to do serious structural damage. 9 times out of 10 you should have noticed them swarming in the spring long before they do that much damage, as they would have been there several years.

Formosan termites, on the other hand, have colonies that are much larger than subterraneans. They are also more aggressive and do a lot more damage in a lot shorter time periods. They are subterranean termites on steroids. Bad news. Anyway, good luck.

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Old 04-05-2011, 10:57 PM   #8
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Dahammer

Thank you for the encouragement on this. My house is a wood house, suspended off the ground by concrete piers approx. 2-2 1/2 feet above ground level. I can barely fit under it, but I can with difficulty. I did some searching on line, and there is a DIY place out of Georga that sells the Termidor. They said its the same strength that the pros use. I believe its about $60 a bottle, which makes 24 gal. when mixed with water. They explained how it is to be used. They told me that I would have to dig a trench 6" deep, and 6" wide around the entire house. I may have my facts wrong, but I believe that it will take about 4 Gal for every 10'. They also said that I would have to do the same around each and every support under the house. I asked them about how to kill the termites that are already in the house, and they said to drill some small holes into the damaged wood and sprak some of the termidor in the wood, so that the termites will make contact with it. They said that all the termites should be dead by at the longest of 90 days. Does this sound like they gave me the right info on this stuff, as well as the proper usage of it?

I am going to have Terminex come by Thursday to give me an estimate. I am hoping that they will be able to tell me if these are the regular subs, or the ones on steroids. LOL I am also hoping that they can give me an idea as to how much damage has already been done. I plan on picking their brain as much as I can, so if the estimate is too high, I'll know what they plan on doing, which will help me out if I have to do it myself.

Geez, I didn't need this to happen now. I just got finished rebuilding a large shed, and was in the process of rebuilding my 100 year old garage. All of that will now have to be put on the back burner for now. Like they say, its always something.

From what I mentioned before, is there anything that I am missing about the DIY method? If you can think of anything, please let me know. With this economy the way it is right now, money is real tight. However, I plan on living in my house for the rest of my life, so I need to make sure that this will be taken care of before my house falls down.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:33 AM   #9
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I'm not sure on the mixing ratios for Termidor, but how big are the bottles? And are they selling it too you in it's original packaging or are they repackaging it? I had a label around here somewhere. I will see if I can locate it. But yeah, per linear foot values they told you are correct. I mis-spoke above. It is 4 gallon per 10 linear foot in the trench and 2 gallon per 10 linear foot in the voids. I'll fix that above.

About the 6" wide 6" deep trench. That depends entirely on the soil and the situation. he goal is to get a chemical barrier between your house and the termites in the soil. You said your house was on concrete piers. Is that solid concrete or concrete cinder blocks? If it's not solid concrete, then you should try to get to the top of the footing (without undermining it) if at all possible. The reason is that termites can use cracks in the mortar in laid walls to get inside the walls and around your barrier, if your barrier doesn't go to the footing. But if the footings are too deep for that, then try the surface treating first and see if it stops them. You can also rod the trenches and get to the footing that way without having to dig them up. This is an area where having the proper tools comes in. A termite technician will have a spray rig which he can attach hollow steel rods too. He can then ram those rods all the way to footing to put the chemical where it's needed. He will also have equipment used to inject chemicals underneath concrete slabs and etc.

BTW, I hear you on the barely fitting under the house bit. That is the main reason I gave it up. I made great money and had a lot of freedom, but it was a very dirty job and I absolutely hated crawling houses. It was at least a couple times a week I had to literally dig tunnels under floor joists to get under them.

Edit: P.S. Don't be afraid to bargain with the Terminex salesman.

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Old 04-06-2011, 07:27 AM   #10
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Thank you Dahammer. To answer your question about the concrete piers, I had major foundation work done on my house about 5 years ago, and most of the supports were replaced then with solid/poured concrete. There are no hollows in there. OK, I have to ask you. You say 2 gal per linear foot in the voids. Can you explain? Are you speaking of spraying it into the wood through the holes I will be drilling? If so, I didn't know that I would be having to inject/spray THAT much into the wood! If you would, please clarify on this. I want to make sure that I completely understand. Also, about the packaging of the Termidor, I believe that it comes in its original container. It comes in a 20 oz. bottle, which makes 24 gal. of the poison. The more I buy, the better the price. It sells for $62.84 per bottle, and free shipping is included. What do you think?

I know that this stuff is deadly to a lot of critters, including birds. I have an African Grey parrott, and the cage is kept in the room where the termites have gotten into. Does this present a problem if I inject the poison into the walls of this room? I know that I do NOT want to openly spray it in the room, only into the walls and woodwork. I just want to make sure that it will be safe for my bird.

There are a few of the supports that I will not be able to get to. Since these are up under the house, will I get any protection reaching the supports with a sprayer and saturating the ground with the Termidor? Also, what about the rain water? When I dig these trenches around the parameter of the house, when it rains and gets this edge wet, will that dalute the Termidor enough to cause it to be ineffective?

I tried doing my own foundation work years ago, and you're right about having to "tunneling" under the froor joists to gain access. Its a good thing I'm not closterfobic! It was a real pain to have to go to the lower areas to gain access. A VERY dirty job!
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:20 PM   #11
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No, by voids I'm talking about brick veneers or the portions inside block walls that are hollow. If you walls/piers are solid concrete, then there would be no voids to treat, since it's solid.

How familiar are you with construction techniques? When a brick wall is laid, the brick are laid an inch or so off the 2x4 wall behind them and placed on the footing. The space between the sheathed 2 x 4 wall and the brick is a void that needs treating, unless the top of the footing the wall is resting upon is exposed. By exposed, I mean it is visible.

Concrete cinder blocks are hollow on the inside and a lot of the times that void isn't filled with concrete, another area that needs treating, again unless the top of the footing is exposed. If it's an older home, the piers are sometimes brick instead of block and there will be a void in the center of the brick. But if the piers are solid concrete, there are no voids to treat. The reason for treating the above voids is that termites will travel up the outside of the footing and go under the brick/block wall where it meets the footing. Of course if you treat the soil all the way to the footing, then they can't, but a lot of times that isn't practical.

About the price, I can't help there as I have no idea what it costs these days. You'd need to figure up how many linear feet you'll have and can get the total you need from that. You "could" try treating only the affected area if your on a tight budget and doing it yourself, but I wouldn't recommend it, as most of the time they'll just move to another area that isn't treated and keep on munching.

I'd relocate the parrot for a few days after I treated if it were me. It would most likely be ok, but I'd move it just to be sure. Most the danger is with a bird eating something the chemical killed, a worm or termite, for instance. If that happened, then it could kill the bird. I've seen chickens fall over dead from eating worms the chemical killed. Not Termidor, mind you, but other termiticides.

Unreachable spots: Spraying the ground around it is better than nothing, but you can't count on it stopping them either. If termites aren't presently in those areas, then I wouldn't worry too much about it. But if they are in those locations, you're going to have to treat the areas properly to stop them most likely. Also, any direct wood to ground contact is bad and can cause termites.

Generally speaking, rain will not effect the treatment. The chemical bonds with the soil, which is why you want to mix it into the soil. It will eventually break down though. Not sure what the lifespan is on Termidor, probably at least 10 years. Having said that, if the area stays wet all the time, then it probably would reduce the effectiveness somewhat. What you might have to do is install a french drain to take the water away from the foundation. If you were to disturb the treated soil, eg flower beds, errosion, and etc, then you'd want to retreat the disturbed areas.
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Old 04-06-2011, 10:46 PM   #12
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Dahammer

Thank you for the explainations to my questions. My house is wood, with no blocks. The only thing that is not wood are the supports. The support piers are for the most part, solid concrete. They (the foundation people) built the forms, and had the concrete pumped in about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, they didn't replace all of them. So, if I understand you correctly, even if I can't get to some of the piers, just saturating the ground with the Termidor will at least help somewhat. Of course, under the house, the ground is never disturbed, so I would hope that at least for a bit, it would help. Would it help the situation to spray the bricks/concrete supports? Would there be any residual of the termidor that would stay on these places?

As far as cost goes, I'll find out that bit of info tomorrow. I am afraid its going to be in the $2-$4,000 price range. I have a very big house (2300 sft) 2 story. This is the main reason why I am looking into doing this myself. Its not that I am cheap, but I can't spend what I do not have. There are many thing around the house that if I can't do it, then it won't get done....if you know what I mean.

One more question I have for you. I know that I must stop the water source to these bugs, but in order to do that, I must remove the existing gutters, replace the bad wood at the eeves and the roofs edge, install new and better gutters, support the deck from under it, then cut the deck away from the house foundation to eliminate the constant wetness where the deck was fastened to the house by the previous owner, and its going to take quite a while. Would it be OK to try and kill off these termites first, before all this other stuff is done? I hate the idea of these termites continuing to do major damage while I am spending all this time doing the other things that need to get done. I was hoping that I could first treat the house and foundation, then while the termites do their dying, I could go to work taking care of these other things, to hopefully prevent this from happening again. What are your opinions on this?

I think its a good idea to re-locate the parrott while the treatment is going on. Better to be safe than sorry.

You have no idea how much I appreciate all the help and advice you have given me. I thank you. My profession is TV repair, so if you ever have any questions concerning this, please do not hesitate to ask.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:05 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by bofusmosby View Post
Thank you for the explainations to my questions. My house is wood, with no blocks. The only thing that is not wood are the supports. The support piers are for the most part, solid concrete. They (the foundation people) built the forms, and had the concrete pumped in about 5 years ago. Unfortunately, they didn't replace all of them. So, if I understand you correctly, even if I can't get to some of the piers, just saturating the ground with the Termidor will at least help somewhat. Of course, under the house, the ground is never disturbed, so I would hope that at least for a bit, it would help. Would it help the situation to spray the bricks/concrete supports? Would there be any residual of the termidor that would stay on these places?
I'm still not exactly clear on the homes foundation wall construction. Does it have outside foundation walls? Or is it just suspended on piers and the crawlspace is open to the outside? Can you post a couple pictures of the foundation? I wouldn't bother with spraying the concrete on purpose. It's a soil treatment. It can't hurt though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bofusmosby View Post
As far as cost goes, I'll find out that bit of info tomorrow. I am afraid its going to be in the $2-$4,000 price range. I have a very big house (2300 sft) 2 story. This is the main reason why I am looking into doing this myself. Its not that I am cheap, but I can't spend what I do not have. There are many thing around the house that if I can't do it, then it won't get done....if you know what I mean.
It doesn't really matter what the homes square footage is in regards to soil treatments. The Terminex guys will draw a layout of the home on graphing paper most likely and they will use that layout to calculate the linear footage of trench to be treated, slabs to be drilled & treated, voids to be treated and etc. And their quote will be based on that, not square footage. So if it's crawlspace is open to the outside and all you have to treat is a few piers, your are in luck and it shouldn't cost anywhere near that I wouldn't think. Also, if that's the case, then the termites should be rather easy to stop and I'd definately try it myself. The less area you have in contact with soil the easier it will be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bofusmosby View Post
One more question I have for you. I know that I must stop the water source to these bugs, but in order to do that, I must remove the existing gutters, replace the bad wood at the eeves and the roofs edge, install new and better gutters, support the deck from under it, then cut the deck away from the house foundation to eliminate the constant wetness where the deck was fastened to the house by the previous owner, and its going to take quite a while. Would it be OK to try and kill off these termites first, before all this other stuff is done? I hate the idea of these termites continuing to do major damage while I am spending all this time doing the other things that need to get done. I was hoping that I could first treat the house and foundation, then while the termites do their dying, I could go to work taking care of these other things, to hopefully prevent this from happening again. What are your opinions on this?
I'd worry about getting rid of the termites first and the others as I could. Just remember that if you disturb the treated area, you should retreat it if possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bofusmosby View Post
I think its a good idea to re-locate the parrott while the treatment is going on. Better to be safe than sorry.

You have no idea how much I appreciate all the help and advice you have given me. I thank you. My profession is TV repair, so if you ever have any questions concerning this, please do not hesitate to ask.
Haha! Glad I could help. And that's good to know. There have been several times when I could have used a good TV repairman. They are getting increasingly hard to find around here.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:54 AM   #14
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Subterranean termite DIY treatments?


Dahammer

I thank you for addressing all of my concerns. The entire house is standing on pier supports, and there is no foundation making contact with the ground. This being the case, does this mean that I only have to treat around the pier supports, and not have to "trench" around the parameter of the house? Well, I do have some lattice around the parameter to keep the dogs from going under the house. I guess that would need to be trenched. I'm glad you agree that treating for the termites should be the first thing done. Of course, besides all the other things that need to be done to eliminate he water source, the last thing I need to do that I forgot to mention before is to remove the clap-boards and go to work replacing all the bad wood. This will give me the ability to have a close look at not only the damage, but also check to see that all the little buggers are dead. According to what I was told about the Termidor, they should be dead within 90 days.

Yes, I have been at the same repair shop for 34 years, so I would hope that I can answer any questions you might have concerning any TV repair issues. I hope that someday I can repay you for all the help you have given me.

I was on-line last night, reading about the Termidore. After reading all the cautions, this stuff seems like it can be tricky to use. It mentions that if you get it on your skin, you was it for 20 minutes, then call a poison control center. Also says long pants and long-sleeved shirt, along with goggles and a respirator should be worn and chemical resistant gloves. Geezzz, this must be some strong stuff!

I'll let you know tonight what the Terminex man says about the job, as well as the price. I would be tickles to death if the price were reasonable (to me) and I could hire someone to do the work. I just don't want to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

Thanks again!
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:32 PM   #15
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That's correct, you'd only need to treat around the piers. You only treat the areas of the structure that are in direct contact with the soil. The termites actually live in the soil and they use areas of the structure in contact with the soil as highways to the structure. That is their only way in and out, except for the swarmers when they swarm.

Wooden lattice would be bad, since termites love wood and especially wood that's in direct contact with the soil.

About the toxicity, yeah you want to be careful with it and try not to get it on you. But as a former termite technician, I've had it on me more times than I can count. Not Termidor, but others. It's impossible not too eventually if you work around it much. I wouldn't worry too much about a respirator in an open area, such as yours. Definately use long sleeved shirts and pants, as well as googles. Getting it in your eyes is not fun, trust me.

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