Termite Control and Extermination

 

Termite Biology

There are many species of termites, but the ones most common in and around the St. Louis, Missouri area are Eastern Subterranean Termites. These termites live in the soil, usually (but not always) very close to their food source, and feed on wood. Like all termites, subterranean termites have bacteria in their guts that give them the unique ability to derive energy from the cellulose in wood.

Subterranean termites can't tolerate prolonged exposure to air. They must remain in frequent contact with the soil or another moisture source to avoid dehydrating. When even the smallest gap exists between the soil and a termite colony's food source, the termites build shelter tubes made of mud between the two, and travel back and forth inside the tubes. Occasionally, however, subterranean termites may establish colonies in the wood itself. This only happens when the wood has the right moisture level to satisfy the termites' water requirements.

In nature, termites play an important part in the ecosystem by feeding on dead trees and plants, returning the nutrients to the soil to support new growth. The problem is that termites don't know (nor care about) the difference between a wooden building and any other dead tree. Left untreated, termites can do serious and costly damage to a home; and over time, they can literally destroy it.

 

Termite Society

Termites are highly-evolved social insects with a caste system and a strict division of labor. In fact, the termites that most people see aren't even the ones that do the damage.

Alates

Most people become aware that they have a termite problem when they see termite swarmers, or as they're properly known, alates (pictured on the left), usually by a door or window frame or in a basement or crawl space. Swarmers are winged, adult reproductive termites, and are the only caste that have well-developed, compound eyes. They leave the nest of a mature colony, in pairs, to find suitable pieces of earth and establish colonies of their own. Those who are successful will shed their wings and become the king and queen (that is, the primary reproductives) of a new colony. But the vast majority will be unsuccessful and will die.

Swarmers don't damage wood. But the presence of swarmers is a sign that a colony has been in existence long enough to be mature -- usually a few years, during which the colony has been happily eating the wood in your home.

Workers

The termites that do the actual damage to wood are known as workers (shown at the right). Cream-colored and grub-like, with soft bodies but well-developed mouthparts, the workers are the only members of the colony who are able to chew wood. They're rarely seen by most people because they spend all their time in the soil or in the wood, or in shelter tubes between them. In addition to foraging for food and feeding the other castes, their duties also include building and maintaining the shelter tubes and caring for the colony's young.

 

Soldiers and Supplemental Reproductives

At a minimum, all termite colonies must have a queen, a king, and workers. Mature colonies may also include supplemental reproductives, who lay eggs and accelerate the colony's growth, but who do not regulate the colony's existence the way the queen does. If the colony's king or queen is lost, however, one or more supplemental reproductives may take over the role of the lost primary reproductive. Mature colonies also produce soldiers (shown at the right), whose mouthparts are adapted for defense and whose job it is to defend the colony.

 

Termite Control that Works

Permanent termite extermination begins with correcting conditions that are conducive to infestation. These corrections include:

  • Correcting excess moisture conditions. This includes fixing leaky rain gutters and downspouts, landscaping the area around the building to guide water away from it, and filling in depressions in the soil to encourage proper drainage.
  • Correcting poor ventilation conditions in crawl spaces.
  • Removing cellulose-containing debris (such as logs, tree stumps, or form boards) from around the perimeter of the house.
  • Eliminating wood-to-soil contact wherever possible.

At Buckingham Pest Control, we have the experience and know-how to help you identify and solve these and other conditions conducive to termite infestation, for the most effective termite treatment possible.

 

Termite Control with Termidor®

The next step in long-lasting termite control is to treat the building with Termidor®. Unlike old-fashioned, repellant termiticides, Termidor® is a non-repellent, delayed-acting termiticide that is invisible to termites. They can't see it, smell it, or feel it.

Conventional repellent termiticides attempt to create a "chemical barrier" between termites and your home, but that "barrier" can be damaged by landscaping or can leach or degrade over time.

Termidor® works differently. Its non-repellent formulation is a radically new approach to effective termite extermination.

Because termites, can't see, feel, taste, or smell it, they wander freely through soil that's been treated with Termidor® and return to their nests, blissfully unaware of the fact that their days are numbered. As they interact with other termites in the colony, even those members who never came into direct contact with the treated soil are exposed to Termidor's active ingredient. This results in the entire colony being eliminated.

Not just repelled. Eliminated. As in dead.

In short, termite treatment with Termidor® is the smart choice termite extermination, for several very important reasons:

  • Termidor® works. Since it's introduction in 2000, USDA testing has proven Termidor® to be100 percent effective at controlling 100 percent of termites, in three months or less.
  • Termidor® works at very low concentrations and requires very little active ingredient, and is considered more environmentally friendly than older, more toxic termiticides.
  • Termites themselves carry Termidor® deep into their colonies, so an uninterrupted "chemical barrier" isn't always necessary for effective termite elimination. This helps avoid the need for destructive application methods, such as tearing up or drilling through expensive hardwood or marble floors.
  • Termidor® is odorless and contains no harmful solvents.

Buckingham Pest Control's technicians are Termidor® Certified Professionals. They have undergone advanced training — over and above what the State requires — in the proper and effective use of Termidor®. So when you choose Buckingham to treat your home for termites, you can rest assured that the job will be done right.

 

Termite Pre-Treatment for New Construction

Whether you're a contractor or a homeowner building a new house, protecting a new home by pre-treating for termites is economical, efficient, and brings peace of mind. Contact us for more details.

 

Ready to find out more?

For more information about termites or termite control, or for any pest control problem, please contact us for a no-obligation consultation. Buckingham Pest Control serves the Greater St. Louis, Missouri area.