Termite Control

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Termite Control

Postby Joe on Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:15 pm

Has anyone had a good experience with modern termite control? Effective chemicals were removed from the market in 1986 and the new ones if actually applied only work for a maximum of 6 or 7 years. The newest technology "Centracon" has proven to be a farce and only works in a fraction of applications. Our old house was worked over pretty good in it's 100+ years but they couldn't eat the heart pine framing or cypress siding. They will however eat the new wood used in the rehab. Any thoughts on do it yourself treatments or chemicals?

Postby Bry on Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:01 pm

If termites are a major problem, why not use materials they can't eat. Metal framing and fiber cement siding are entirely termite, rot and fire resistant without all the toxic chemicals normally used for this, and they will keep these properties for life without needing any reapplications of chemicals. The exterminators and chemical makers can't offer you something that will last forever, because the future of their business depends on being called back to that house again 5-20 years from now when the bugs come back. It seems the more you buy in to the chemical fix the more you need it, which is why I'd simply bypass the need for it entirely.


Postby Joe on Thu Jan 15, 2004 5:32 pm

Not really practicle here in the South. Single family construction would not be affordable if we built using those materials. Termites will actually eat the paper off the sheetrock and wallpaper off the wall if not kept in check by chemicals. It is not possible to obtain in quanity heart pine and cypress lumber the way it was available in the 19 th century.

Postby Tom on Thu Jan 15, 2004 8:12 pm

There was a good article on this in Old House Journal sometime last Fall. They talked about the Pontalba buildings on Jackson Square in New Orleans that were getting eaten up so bad by those voracious termites from somewhere outside the US. The Pontalba building has had success with borate, the material used for borax. I got some myself from Woodcare systems. They have great stuff of all kinds to protect and preserve your wood. They are at <www.ewoodcare.com> Apparently, we got so used to some chemical that was outlawed a few years ago that we as a society overlooked a natural protection known as borate.
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Postby Joe on Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:30 am

Not a bad idea Tom. I know household borax will be eaten by roaches and does a good job of controlling them if you can put it in enough places that the dog can't find. Pretty expensive though. $80 for 25 lb. Thats prety steep if you have to treat a whole house. Thanks for the link.

termite control

Postby Drew on Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:57 am

Termidor is one product with properties like the 'old products that use to work'. Several bait systems and chemical application. Active ingredient is fipronil, which has a long half-life, is very toxic to termites, but safe if applied correctly. Web search should turn up plenty info. Downsides : must be professionally applied, and it is expensive (though not as expensive as new framing).

Termite control

Postby Nancy W on Sat Jan 17, 2004 2:15 am

I have never had to deal with live termites; 50 years ago a very heavy dose of Kloredane (sp?) was applied. I have in the past had to deal with roaches. Boric acid (dry)from the drug store is a much cheaper solution than Borax. Probably $5 or 6 for a bottle. Sprinkle aound the house or set out in custard cups or paper cups (I mixed 1 Tablespoon of boric acid with 2 Tablespoons of sugar - sugar to attact them) in the back of cabinets, closets, behind furniture. One bottle should do the whole house, Still need to keep it away from pets and children.

Nancy W
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Postby JOHN on Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:19 pm

When was it proven that "CENTRACON" doesnt work i have that around my house. They come every month and say no activity!


Postby Joe on Mon Jan 19, 2004 11:35 am

Centracon is effective in determining if there is any activity most of the time. They can eat your house and not eat the bait in the stations. The serious question on Centracon is the effectiveness of the treatment. Some experts now say that when the wood bait is swapped for the "poison bait" that many times the termites abandon the tunnels to the bait station because they are disturbed. Do a search on the net, you will get a zillion opinions. Chlorodane was a 30 yr min. treatment when applied properly. Nothing they have now works for more than 5-8 yrs. We have had to have our house in Atlanta "retreated" twice in the last 10 years. For most of us, our house is our most valuable asset. Environmental fears have caused us to abandon the only sure treatment for termites in warm climates. Here in Atlanta, if you own a house built after 1986 or if there is any remodeling of an older house, it's a sure thing that you will be dealing with termites sooner or later. Unless you have a "termite bond" all the exterminators have to do under their usual contract is to come back and " spot treat". Under Ga. law , if you have 3 or more "infestations" in a season, the Agricultural Dept. can make them do a complete retreat instead. It's my opinion that we home owners are being jerked around pretty good by the Government and various exterminators. In ther last 20 years we have the habit of jumping out of the frying pan only to get in the fire if there are "environmental" issues. The folks who are charging us plenty to do all these treatments on our houses aren't complaining though. I'll get off the soap box now.

Re: Termites

Postby Bry on Tue Jan 27, 2004 1:10 pm

Joe wrote:Not really practicle here in the South. Single family construction would not be affordable if we built using those materials. Termites will actually eat the paper off the sheetrock and wallpaper off the wall if not kept in check by chemicals. It is not possible to obtain in quanity heart pine and cypress lumber the way it was available in the 19 th century.

That's not entirely true. While it's easy to hold a bit of 2x4 next to a same sized peice of steel framing and then see that the steel costs more, that isn't a fair way to judge building materials. That bit of steel may cost twice as much, but it's stronger meaning your house requires thinner framing and less of it to support the same weight, and because it comes from the factory allready cut you won't be throwing large ammounts of it away as waste, and it goes together faster. I have read in several places that building a new house with steel framing costs about 1-2% more than using wood when you factor in the low waste, quicker construction and smaller number of posts needed. Considering all the benifits such as longer life, steel is almost certainly the cheaper option.

Fiber cement siding or brick cladding may cost more, but the reduced maintenance makes them a lot more attractive. Brick siding can be ignored for decades without any problems, and fiber cement can go 20 years between painting. Over the next ten years you may spend £2000 or more painting a wood house, but with fiber cement you're still years away from painting again and if you have brick siding you will never need to paint that house ever again. They also add a lot to the value of your house, so even if you sell before the reduced maintenance saves you cash, you're not going to lose any money.

As for the temites eating the wallpaper and wood trim, it may happen in an infested house, but not a house that's predominantly made of steel and composite products. The wallpaper and trim isn't going to sustain an infestation of any size and should a termite come in to your house it will die before it finds food and reproduces. With such a house, you wouldn't find they caused any problems with the interior trim and decorations as there wouldn't be any around to dammage it.

There's a lot of factors to consider when compairing materials, but often the initially more expencive materials that resist rot, insects and fire are better choices in the long term when they need little attention and expencive maintenance. You can even find an insurance company that will reduce your payments for using certain materials that don't burn. I get a £200 discount each year because I have a slate roof and not rubber shingles. These little savings and advantages do add up to a large ammount of money over time, because in three years time when I have lived here 10 years that roof will have saved me £2000 (about $3000).


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