Termite Treatments in San Francisco

At some point, San Francisco and Bay Area homeowners become involved with treating wood destroying pests or organisms. Wood destroying pests are termites and beetles. Wood destroying organisms are fungi. There are three different types of termites: subterranean termites, drywood termites, and dampwood termites and several types of wood destroying beetles. Each of these pests has a different life style and requires different types of treatments.

Outlined below you will find information regarding most of the treatment techniques that are available.

SUBTERRANEAN TERMITES :

Lifestyle :
Lives in the soil. Gets their moisture from the soil. These termites enter your home to eat the wood in the house, return to the soil for moisture and then go back to eating on your home. They typically return to the soil every 24-48 hours depending on their moisture needs.

Treatment Techniques :

Soil Treatment :
A "full house" treatment should include applying a liquid termiticide adjacent to the foundation throughout the sub area plus around the entire exterior of the foundation. Treatment should also include drilling through the concrete in the garage plus any other concrete directly adjacent to the house. Once drilled, the termiticide should be injected into the holes so as to create a "chemical moat" that completely surrounds the home.

NOTES: (1) Chemical treatments of subterranean termites do not kill the colony of termites, they simply create a chemical barrier to the termites. (2) A "properly applied" full house treatment should offer protection for 5-10 years. (3) Insist upon receiving a clearly defined guarantee statement that outlines exactly what the guarantee covers. Most treatment companies will guarantee against a reinfestation for a period of two years.

A "localized treatment" is frequently recommended when an infestation is located in only one area of the house. This type of treatment typically will consist of chemically treating only a small portion of the foundation.

NOTE: "Localized treatments" will only protect the area treated; therefore, it is imperative that the exact area treated is marked.

Bait Stations :
This is a relatively new type of treatment. Two-inch diameter plastic tubes containing wood are placed in the soil around your home. On a routine basis, these pieces of wood are inspected. If the wood becomes infested, a new piece of treated wood is replaced. The termites will eat this poisoned wood and take the poison back to the colony.

NOTE: (1) This treatment does kill the colony. (2) The problem is that, there may be more than one colony living around your home or the termites would rather eat the wood in your home than the wood in the bait station. (3) The efficacy of this procedure is still largely debated. Many people like the procedure because of the low amount of chemicals being used while others don't like the procedure because it relies on the assumption that the termites will always hit the bait station before they hit the house. In most cases these treatment option is relatively expensive and requires ongoing monitoring of the bait stations.

DRYWOOD TERMITES :

Lifestyle :
Lives in "dry" wood. These termites do not need an outside moisture source, they get their moisture directly from the wood. Live in small colonies often times found in windowsills, door jambs and rafter tails.

Treatment Techniques :

Whole house fumigation :
This entails placing a rubberized canvas tent over the house and injecting lethal gases.

Advantages: 100% kill.
Disadvantages: Uses toxic chemicals; relatively high priced plus a fumigation does not have any residual value. The minute the tent is removed a new colony could infest the property.

Heat Treatment :
This entails placing a rubberized canvas tent over the house and injecting hot air to kill the termites.

Advantages: Does not use toxic chemicals and normally gives you a 100% kill.
Disadvantages: Relatively high priced plus a fumigation does not have any residual value. The minute the tent is removed a new colony could infest the property.

Freeze Treatment :
This entails pumping liquid nitrogen into wall cavities to freeze the termites.

Advantages: Do not have to vacate the property. Does not use toxic chemicals
Disadvantages: Relatively high priced; does not guarantee a 100% kill of all termites in the house; plus this treatment does not have any residual value.

Microwave Treatment :
This entails microwaving wooden support members to "cook" the termites inside the wood.

Advantages: Do not have to vacate the property. Does not use toxic chemicals
Disadvantages: Relatively high priced; does not guarantee a 100% kill of all termites in the house; plus this treatment does not have any residual value.

Localized Chemical Treatments :
This entails either injecting termiticides into the termite galleries or topically treating all infested wood.

Advantages: Do not have to vacate the property; does have residual value on all wood members treated; can be substantially less expensive than fumigation.
Disadvantages: Does not guarantee a 100% kill of all termites in the house. (Many homeowners are finding it better to locally treat on an "as needed" basis rather than fumigating over and over.)

Remove Infested Wood :
This entails disposing of all infested wood.

Advantages: This is typically the least expensive repair technique if the infested wood is exposed.
Disadvantages: Does not guarantee a 100% kill of all termites in the house.

DAMPWOOD TERMITES :

Lifestyle :
Lives in very wet wood. Seldom located in residences because of the moisture requirements.

Treatment Technique :
Correct the moisture source and topically treat the adjacent wood.

WOOD DESTROYING BEETLES :

Lifestyle :
Powder Post Beetles live predominantly in hardwoods such as cabinets, furniture, door and window trim. Deathwatch Beetles live predominantly in dank musty areas that have poor ventilation. Often times, this is in a wet sub area under the home.

Treatment Techniques : The treatment techniques available for wood destroying beetles are nearly identical to drywood termites.

WOOD DESTROYING FUNGI : (Dryrot)

Fungus can only infect wood that has more than a 20% moisture content.

Corrective Measure: Stop the source of moisture and replace all wood that has been structurally damaged. Use pressure treated wood wherever possible. Topically treat all wood normally subjected to moisture.