Effective Pest Control Methods for Consideration
Despite their small stature termites have an insatiable appetite for wood that equates to billions of dollars in damage throughout the United States each year. The different species of termites are divided into three primary types – drywood, dampwood, or subterranean. Each varies in their behavior, where they nest, and damage potential.
Drywood termites nest in structural wood, dead trees, or hardwood flooring. They tend to form smaller colonies and do not depend on soil contact. Dampwood termites prefer wood containing a high level of moisture and thus rarely found in man-made structures. Subterranean termites have the largest nests of any insect species and live in soil where they build tunnels connecting them to their food source. Their preferred food sources are structural timbers in buildings, wooden fencing, and trees.
The following are typical control methods classified as localized or whole-structure.
Whole-Structure – This form of Pest Control may be heat treatment or fumigation. Heat treatment is a non-pesticide approach where the whole structure is enveloped in an air-tight tenting material as the inside temperature is increased to a minimum of 120-degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is held for several hours and kills all termites, eggs to adult.
Fumigation – This second type of pest control also involves encasing the entire structure with a tenting material but in place of heat a pesticide is used. It is important to remove all plants and animals from the structure as well as sealing all foodstuff in special bags provided by the exterminator or in metal, glass, or plastic containers. Industrial-size fans are used to aid in circulating the chemical through the structure, ensuring that it permeates into the walls, killing the termites within.
Localized Treatment – These treatments target specific areas within the structure and include methods like baiting with poison, electricity, extreme cold, localized heat, or a combination of these. Baiting relies on the insects feeding routine as uses it against them. The bait is laid at specific locations and is brought back to the nest where its consumed by the colony. The other methods target termites in specific locations within the structure and thus may not reach all the insects.
An experimental method for eradicating termites uses a fungus that naturally occurs in soils worldwide and targets insects. Under the right conditions, these fungus treatments effectively control termite infestations in buildings and within the immediate area as well as providing residual protection for the treated structure. Field tests performed on old structures heavily infested with termites proved to be extremely effective and controlled the infestation for over a year.
The fungus-infection method of termite control utilizes a formulation that is sprayed directly on the termites which they carry back to the main colony where its spread through body contact or shared grooming and feeding activities. The beauty of this method is that less than 10-percent of the colony needs to be treated for it to be effective. The fungus does not affect humans, mammals, birds, fish, or beneficial creatures like honey bees or earthworms.