Hive-Mind vs. Munch-Colony
May 19, 2010 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Do I need a preventative termite treatment?

I am a new homeowner in North Carolina. The house passed a termite inspection in June of 2009. This past weekend I found six pairs of what appear to be wingless "swarmer" termites crawling on the outside of my house siding. Being a nerd, I captured specimens.I haven't seen any anywhere else.

I've had two different exterminators out. Both seemed *pretty* sure the specimens in question were termites. Neither exterminator could find signs of an active infestation in our house, but both then proceeded to tell of the prevalence of termites in the area, and the horrors of termite infestation, followed by attempts to sell us expensive ($800 + yearly renewal fees) treatment contracts. The recommended treatments were either Sentricon bait traps or injecting chemicals into the holes drilled into the wall.

1. Do we really need termite treatments as a preventative measure if there are no signs of an active infestation? Should we wait until we see signs of infestation?

2. Does anyone have personal testimonials for the relative merits of Sentricon bait traps vs. liquid treatment?

3. One exterminator wants to drill holes in my brick siding every 12 inches to inject chemicals into the wall. Will this affect the value of my home?

Thanks hive mind!
posted by reverend cuttle to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
You need preventative termite treatments and the yearly renewal for as long as you own the home. We live in the south, and have had a termite contract after the initial treatment for the 20 years we've owned our house. When you sell your house, the termite letter will be required and will be issued free of charge by your provider. The contract insures that the exterminator will be liable for any future termite damage, which is a big deal because termite damage can be very costly. If you ever see evidence of termites, you just call the company and they come back to re-treat. We've never used the bait traps, ours was liquid treatment through the holes drilled into the foundation. We did have one problem at the time of treatment, they hit a water line and had to have it repaired. Make sure you know where all the outside lines are located and communicate to them before they drill.
posted by raisingsand at 2:33 PM on May 19, 2010

Personally, I went with Terminix, because they offer a warranty that repairs your house back to finished condition.

Some companies will only replace the structural stuff and then you're on your own.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:41 PM on May 19, 2010

If you wait until you see signs on an infestation it will cost way more then $800 to get fixed. You live in NC so I would go ahead and do something before you get an infestation.
posted by token-ring at 2:42 PM on May 19, 2010

Best answer: Employee of one of the Big Pest Control companies here:

1. token-ring is right. A termite infestation can go unnoticed for quite some time before there is any evidence, and at that point it will probably be far more expensive than a preventative treatment.

2. Liquid treatment is superior to bait traps for a few reasons. One, the bait traps are only effective if termites come in contact with them. It is altogether possible that termites could travel between the traps and into your home instead. The liquid treatment usually lasts about 10-15 years and (assuming it's done correctly) will provide a complete barrier around the entire foundation, without leaving "gaps" like the bait traps do.

3. The holes are supposed to be drilled slightly below the ground, and as far as I know, having them doesn't detract from the value of the home. If anything, I would imagine that having some type of termite guarantee on the home would add value, but I'm not in real estate so I can't say that with any certainty.

I would say go ahead and have it treated, and get the liquid service. These companies are in competition with one another so you can probably get a better rate by picking which company you really want and telling them you've been shopping around, etc. Memail me if you want more specific information.
posted by a.steele at 4:07 PM on May 19, 2010

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