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smoochas 08-30-2010 11:30 AM

Termite treatment- boracare vs timbor? phantom vs termidor?
We are new homeowners and recently gutted our basement (good riddance to all the ugly 70s paneling and termite food!) The house has a long history of termite issues but the previous owner was elderly and minimal things were done to keep them at bay. Well, they are still around in our wood joists as we found dangling tunnels from our wood joists.

We got some treatment suggestions from 3 exterminators.

Guy #1:
Drill 3 holes in the end section of all 31 wood joists (at the parking garage side) and inject some brown syrup stuff (I can't remember what name he gave for this stuff, it might have been TIMBUR? is timbur syrupy and brown?) This guy said as a precaution after that he would spray everything down with BORACARE, including our concrete foundation walls.
He would also drill along the foundation and put termicide (I can't remember what product he wanted to use) down the hole there, both inside and outside. Charge is $6000.

Guy #2:
Spray all the wood joints with TIMBUR, twice. Same interior/exterior treatment of drilling holes along foundation every 10inches where there is concrete, and trenching/drenching in the soil with PHANTOM. Charge is $1500.

Guy #3,
Spray all the wood joints with BORACARE. Same interior/exterior treatment of drilling holes along foundation where there is concrete and trenching/drenching in the soil with PHANTOM.

Red dots shown in the diagram below are where they propose to drill in the concrete. Do any of these plans sound effective?

Thoughts to?
-boracare vs timbor?
-phantom vs termidor? heard a lot about termidor on here....
-$6000 vs $1500?? we definitely do not have $6000 for this... could any of this be done as a DIY???

PAbugman 08-30-2010 02:29 PM

Don't know what the brown, syrupy stuff is. Tim-Bor and Boracare make a clear solution.

Bora-care is expensive, but it penetrates wood thoroughly. Tim-bor is same active ingredient, but without the glycol so it only penetrates 1/8 to 1/4".
In general, Bora-care is considered to be better for termites because it penetrates better. Tim-bor is good for wood-infesting beetles as they must chew thru the wood surface (Timbor is considerably cheaper). Tim-bor does have termite repellent qualities.

We rarely use either one on termite jobs; Termidor is that good.

You are apparently in New York state; I don't think Termidor is available to your pest control guys. Personally, I don't know any operators around us that use Phantom for termites-probably because we have Termidor. Phantom is non-repellent, as is Termidor and that is important. You can achieve colony elimination with non-repellents. We use Phantom for ants (indoors only), roaches, and bed-bugs. We use Termidor outside/Phantom inside for very effective carpenter ant treatment.

Why aren't they proposing to drill where the patio slab meets the house? Treatment needs to get down along the rear foundation wall. Drilling both sides of the rear-most wall of the 4-season room seems a bit much; maybe the inspectors have a good reason. Otherwise, the treatment diagram looks good. As far as treating with timbor/boracare, either one is a good supplement to the soil treatment. Whether bora/timbor needs to be done or not can only be determined by on-site inspection. State regulations may also address/require it (Pa does not). hope this helps.

smoochas 08-31-2010 11:14 AM

Hi PABugman, I appreciate you answering.
I am not sure about the "brown" part of the syrup but Guy#1 definitely said syrup in consistency. Is the TIMBOR stuff or BORACARE stuff syrupy at all? I think Guy#1 is suggesting it since we are adjacent to a 1-story garage (without a basement) that we cannot get to. Do you think its neccessary to inject the wood at the end or will BORACARE penetrate enough?

Because we already have termites inside our house eating the wood joists (the previous owner had some remedial work done to replace sections of damaged joists) - these are called drywood termites, right? Is BORACARE is the most effective for this condition?

I'm including a sectional drawing of the condition of the back of our house. I am curious as to what you think should/can be done there. The crawl space is only 19-inches clear before one hits the joists
Guy#1 is not even sure they can drill "B" holes .
Guy#2 said it was no problem. They would drill at an angle.
Guy#3 wants us to rip up our finish floor in the backroom to give them access to drill "B" holes.

Will drilling "D" holes do anything?

See, the flower pots on the back patio in the diagram. I KNOW the termites are there because when we lift the flower pots, the termites are RIGHT THERE! Its also happened with a bag of potting soil we left there for little while... PLUS when you are looking from the inside at the underneath space, there are exploratory mudtunnels...

I think the problem is the construction of this back 1-story room (see the red dotted circle.) I think the level of the patio is too close to the wood joists that support the backroom. I've heard that you should have at least 6-8inches of vertical seperation between exterior level and wood used as structural support. Based on all my measurements, there is only a 2-inch difference between the two??

Is there any hope without remedying the poor construction of this backroom? If no one can drill "B" holes, is there any hope to the treatment?
some pictures of the crawl space under the backroom (looking from the 24x24 opening)

Michael Thomas 08-31-2010 12:03 PM

BTW, having the vapor retarder on the wrong (cold) of the floor under the crawl space in likely raising moisture levels at the floor structure, which can attract wood destroying insects as well as directly rotting the structure, especially if the access to the crawl is closed off and the crawl is completely unconditioned space:

Also, the exposed paper facing is a fire hazard:

PAbugman 09-02-2010 07:18 PM

The "brown syrupy stuff" could be the same active ingredient as what is in boracare, as bcare is off patent and a variety of generics are available in various forms/applicators. Compare active ingredients.

Hard to comment on "drilling & injecting joists" versus "surface spraying". The on-site inspectors are in much better position to make that call. Boracare surface spraying does penetrate well, but the wood must be a soft-wood.

If you are in New York, I doubt that you have drywood termites. Mud tunnels are made by subterranean termites, which are common in the east. Drilling and soil treatments are for sub terms.

Drilling "B" holes will be difficult. I vote for angle drilling. 19" isn't much room, but a smaller, capable person can do it. Even if you rip up the flooring, it appears that a black pipe/duct is in the way, unless you tear up a lot of floor.

"C" holes should be drilled close together, no more than 12" apart. Even if the patio level was a greater distance higher, you still would have termites. Getting a good termiticide in the soil is important; the fact that it will be under a slab is good-the chemical will last longer.

The "D" holes are important as we know that there are termites at the other end of the crawl. In other words, they are under that same slab, in the same soil. An option to drilling the "D" holes would be to horizontally drill from the basement to get under the slab, as opposed to angle drilling them. The technique is called "horizontal long rodding".

If you are in fact in New York, than your choices of termiticide are limited. Termidor is our favorite by far. I think New York operators use a lot of Phantom. The active ingredient Imidacloprid is very good as well. I've used a lot of Imid before Termidor, wouldn't be afraid to use it again.

It is very important, imo, that the termiticide be a non-repellent. The above 3 are.

I wouldn't necessarily characterize the construction as poor, but then I'll defer to the many that are more qualified than I. Many difficulties and challenges are presented by construction. In our area, many houses were built before utilities were present. Later on, kitchens were built on to the end of a narrow house with sleeper joists on or very near the soil. Little or no access to treat. Effective drilling and Termidor solve a lot of problems.

If no one can drill the "B" holes, than Boracare becomes a lot more important/necessary. Inject and surface spray in that case.

You've got a tough situation, but a non-repellent termiticide can solve this.

Learn all you can about subterranean termites/treatments. Google the various chemical names. Keep us posted.

smoochas 09-07-2010 12:13 PM

@Michael Thomas, hi, I sent you a message about the vapor-retarder issue you mentioned. If you flip the paper side of this over, what is one the other side? how do you keep the insulation in place?

@PABugman, have you drilled and injected joists before? Is this something a DIYer can do? How big of a drill bit, how deep and is there a special injector machine or gadget or something? Since injection is not in Guy#3 treatment plan and we can't afford Guy#1's plan, we though we would do the "drill & injection" part ourselves if possible. The termites in my wood joists are the same termites outside which are called "subterranean termites?"

We have old douglas fir, I hope Boracare works for it and that its effective for subterranean termites that are eating our wood joits.

Guy#3 basically said NO to the "horizontal long rodding" - he said the foundation walls are 18-inches. Too thick.

What do you plug all these drill holes with? Just caulk? Are there ever water issues in the basements steming from all these drill holes later on?

Lastly, we cleared out our front yard this weekend to remove an insane 12-inch high jungle of ivy vines that were 1/2 to 1-inch thick in diameter. Now the front yard is separated by a concrete pad & light well, about 3-ft wide away from the house foundation. We want to put down weed fabric and mulch to prep the soil for next spring. Do you know if cedar or bark mulch become hamburger food for termites? Is it overkill to do a trench treatment at the edge of the front yard, if Guy#3 will drill in the front concrete pad?

PAbugman 09-07-2010 12:35 PM

I haven't drilled/injected. When I used boracare (before termidor) I surface sprayed. There use to be, and maybe still are, pre-loaded syringes. Google them, and if they can be had, the directions should guide you as to drill size,etc. Be prepared to plug the holes immediatley after filling, as it will ooze out. Douglas fir is considered soft wood I believe, but it may be the hardest of the soft woods. Check label, or consult with manufacturer.

Horizontal rodding: Didn't realize that the walls were that thick, must be the large stones and fill that we call rubble walls. I agree-you can't drill through them. I thought they might be poured concrete.

In Pa. the holes must be plugged with non-cellulose material or masonry patch (Holes drilled in concrete, not the holes drilled in wood).
We push corks, newspaper, styrofoam packing peanuts, etc. into the holes and then cover with masonry patch. I wouldn't drill a basement floor if there is any recent history of water in the basement, coming from underneath.

Cedar bark will be less susceptible to wood-destroying insect damage. Do not allow the top of the mulch to rise up to the level of the siding. In future years you may have to take old mulch away before you can put new mulch down. Have you considered "hardscape" (stones of various sizes, colors, etc.)?

If I am accurately picturing the front yard trench you are proposing, it would be overkill. In our state it would also be against regulations as termiticide is to be against a foundation wall, or around a post, etc.

Remember, I believe it to be very important that the operators soil termiticide of choice be a non-repellent.

PAbugman 09-28-2010 01:39 PM

Smoochas: Have you made any progress on this project? My curiosity is getting to me. Thanks.

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