Everything You Need to Know About Termites

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: Exterior

It’s that time of year again, when termites are swarming like crazy. It’s great living in Hawaii, but unfortunately we have to deal with termites. Hawaii has two major termite species that we normally see: West Indian drywood termites and the dreaded Formosan subterranean termite. Customers often ask how to tell which one they have infesting their home or commercial building. They also ask what they can do to prevent or at least minimize their chances of termite infestations. Many customers like the question- and-answer format of articles, so here we go:

Q:How do I tell if I have drywood termites or subterranean termites?

A:Drywood termites leave their fecal matter or droppings outside the wood in piles, and there also are droppings inside the damage. The damage is generally smooth looking and on the surface, unless the termites have been in the wood for many years. The subterranean termite damage is much more severe and has the presence of mud inside the damage. They also build mud tubes from the ground into the structure.

Q:What are flying termites?

A:Both drywood and subterranean termites swarm. When their colonies reach a certain size, they will release reproductive termites to seek and create other colonies. When you see swarmers, they may be drywood, ground or even both.

Q:Can XT-2000 orange oil be used to treat ground termites?

A:No. Since it’s organic, it will not leave a long residual needed to treat ground termites. In the case of ground termites, we have to use a product that is designed for termites and will leave a long residual for maximum control.

Q:What can I do to keep termites out, or at least minimize my chances of infestation?

A:Unfortunately, we cannot keep termites out permanently. There are many things to do to minimize chances of infestation, however. These include regular termite inspections, keeping attic vents covered with a screen, keeping lights down during the early evening swarming time and putting a pan of water under lights that are on, so the light reflects into the water and the termites will be attracted to the reflection and fly into the pan of water and drown. Also, keep the slab around your home free of excessive moisture, and keep the slab visible to be able to see mud tubes coming up from the ground. Keep wood off the ground around and under the house because this can attract ground termites. Be careful when you bring old wood into the house or use old wood for building.

Q:How do termites infest a newer structure?

A:Usually the termites are already in cabinets, closet sectionals or shelving units. Oftentimes the infestation is in the plywood used for framing or for shelving. We treat many new homes, businesses and condominium units for this type of infestation, and it’s normally drywood termites. It’s a much better alternative to fumigating a home, business or condo building.

Q:Is XT-2000 orange oil treatment more expensive than a fumigation?

A:Sometimes, our cost is based on the size of the house and the amount of infestation. Keep in mind that when you factor in the cost to move out, discard food, hotel and meal expenses, security for the tented structure, the cost to board pets and any possible roof or plant damage, our cost is usually the same or lower.

Q:Do you warranty your treatments?

A:Yes, our standard warranty for houses and commercial buildings is two years, and we call it a fullstructure warranty because we warranty not only the areas we treat, but the entire structure as well. We do annual inspections and after two years the warranty can be renewed annually without having to do the whole treatment over again. We have shorter and longer warranties available depending on the situation. For subterranean termites, we usually offer a five-year warranty.

Q:Is there a charge for an inspection?

A:Generally no, but there are exceptions in cases where there’s an inspection for escrow and a report needs to be completed, or if we have to inspect a large multi-unit complex. We’ll let you know before any inspections are done.

Please contact us for any of your termite problems. Give us a call on Oahu at 754-3393, on Maui at 280- 4300 and on the Big Island at 640- 4499.