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need info on termites

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Joined: Mar 24 2004

The house my wife and I are looking at to buy has some termite problems .we have been told that they will need to drill through the slab TO GET AT THESE GUYS has anyone had this done .I want to know how they can drill through the slab and not through the rad floor heating . thanks for any info.

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Joined: Aug 13 2003

Dear New Buyer--

We just had termite abatement done for our Eichler in the 19th Ave. Park developement. Tenting with vicane gas was used to kill off the dry wood termites, and injection of a chemical around the perimeter of the slab was done to eliminate the subterranium type.

The subterraniun treatment involved drilling about 1/2" holes every 18" or so all the way around the perimeter of the house, but not inside. The proceedure took less than a day.

From web browsing on this issue, it appears possible that termites can come up through cracks in the slab if they can make it past the perimeter or if they are already living underneath the slab. Since we have found no internal damage from termites, this seems an acceptable risk.

You are welcome to contact me at soliton2 at yahoo dot com if you would like more information or want to know the company that did the work.

Dean

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

Hello new buyer,
It is a very common treatment to drill holes in the slab in the interior walls to treat subterranean termites (one of my unfortunate clients had the same surpise as we uncovered walls to repair plumbing). It is possible that radiant lines may be hit, however, reapiars are fairly easy to do, and these type of wood destroying pests are the most aggressive and can cause a very significant amount of damage if not treated properly. The treatment can occur in one day and usualy runs around $400-$800. Tenting is not effective for treating these pests, and drywood termites (if you have an active infestation of this type of pest) can often be treated locally with out tenting. In either case, there will be minor wall or ceiling finishing, and, depending on the extent of the damage, repairing the framing may not be necessary (Many pest operators state that the structural member must be at least 60%-70% intact with out replacement). My advice to you is get the termites treated ASAP and contact a radiant repair specialist (such as Anderson radiant heat, with whom I currently am working, and they are good at what they do) after scheduling the treatment, and let them know that there may be a repair needed on short notice.
You can contact me directly if you have any more queries on this matter.
Good Luck!

renman

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Hi,

Well, I guess the good news is that they know the termites are there. We're pretty certain there were subterranean termites when we bought our house that were not discovered for almost three years--by then, some significant damage had occured.

We really wanted a non-chemical/low-chemical way of treating the termites. We also did not want to drill holes, fearing a radiant heat puncture. However, after we researched the matter, we decided drilling and chemical were the fastest, most effective way.

In our case, the local infestation was active and almost all other walls had already been opened with no signs of investation. So we limited the treatment to the immediate area using a T- pattern (on the interior ofthe adjoining bedrooms' exterior walls and middle shared wall backing the master sink).

We had posted to the Eichler Network Chatterbox Lounge and got the name of an East Bay termite company that had successfully drilled another Eichler homeowners slab (and many others) with no problems. Unfortunately, they weren't prepared to travel to San Jose. But the company owner was happy to discuss the process and chemical involveed--Termidor (fipronyl). I eventually found a company in San Jose that had drilled many Eichlers slabs with no leaks yet. I called them and their drilling was performed without incident.

You might want to have the current owners do the work with a company you agree on. Then have a radiant inspection done as part of your conditions of sale (which you should have anyway).

BTW, prices for treating subterranan termits using the drill and pump method vary throughout the Bay area. I think the East Bay guy was saying it should be 1500-2000 but the quotes here in the South Bay were more like 2200-2700. Our local treatment was $800.

IMHO, if you have an active investation, I would probably not use a bait system--or at least not alone. It isn't clear when, if ever, they will wander across the baits and you don't want to be waiting around for them to do so.

Write me at eichfan at rawbw dot com if you want the name of the chap I used in San Jose (not sure if I still have the East Bay guy's contact info).

Good luck.
jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 24 2004

:) thanks guys for all your info :) .

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

don't know much about termites, but just a note on a previous post. While radiant heat repairs might be easy to do, they aren't exactly cheap. We had ONE water leak in our slab that cost $800. That might be at the top end, but it is good advice to find out that stuff before you start drilling holes with the "possilibity" of hitting pipes.

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Joined: May 28 2003

There is a slightly different treatment for subterranium termites
(offered by Terminix and possibly others).

Instead of drilling many little holes inside and outside the house,
and doing a "one time" checmical injection, they install "traps"
around the outside of the house. These traps don't contain any
checmicals; rather they contain "tasty wood" (as a saleperson put it).
Terminix (or whomever) will come out once a month and inspect each
trap to see if there was termite activity. For each trap in which
they detect termite activity, they will replace the "tasty wood" with
chemicals to kill the termites.

I had some doubts about the effectiveness of this treatment; however,
a co-worker of mine who had several subterranium termite episodes
(i.e. when you actually see termites themselves, which are invariably
the swarming/reproductive kind), said that this system has solved his
subterranium termite problem. Also, I noticed the same termite system
around the perimeter of Peets Coffee in Town & Country in Palo Alto.

We had one swarming/reproductive subterranium termite episode, and we
opted for this treatment, instead of getting holes drilled throughout
our house. I can't tell you how effective this treatment really is,
since it was never clear whether the termites that we saw were from a
colony under our house (i.e. there's a non-zero probability that they
were from a colony under our neighbor's house and found our house as
they were tunneling up). Terminix has never found any termite
activity in any of the traps; however, we haven't seen any more
termites either (in the case of my co-worker, Terminix *did* find
termite activity on several occasions, until the termite problems
abated).

So, assuming this expensive system that we bought isn't pure "snake
oil", the advantages are:
1) Less drilling - the traps can usually be placed in grass/gardens,
where no drilling is involved (though I've had some "lawnmower
incidents" with the traps). Where there is no grass/garden close
enough to the house (e.g. only concrete), they will drill and place
traps in the concrete. In my opinion, these traps are not really an
eyesore - yes you will notice them; however, the spacing between the
traps is much greater than the spacing between the holes that would be
drilled with the other method. (In regard to the radiant heat system - one termite company said that they could not drill inside any house with a radiant heat system. Our radiant heat system no longer works, and we have baseboeard heating instead. So the treatment that we got is one way to avoid the issue with drilling and radiant heat systems.)
2) Ongoing protection - As long as you pay Terminix their annual fee,
they will continue to come out and monitor the traps. So if you get
"re-infected" with subterranium termites, you already have a sytem in
place.
3) The service is transferrable if you sell the house.

So in my opinion, the treatment that we got is much less of a hassle,
and has lots of benefits. However, I have my doubts about how good it
is, relative to the default treatment (since we had a realtively minor
problem in the first place).

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I definitely have subterranean termites under my bathrooms. It will be very expensive for me to drill holes in my slab (due to pulling up my floor,
damaging my floor, finding the radiant heat pipes, etc). I really want to avoid it so I'm tempted by the Terminix baiting system.

I've had 2 local termite companies in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale give me bids and I have Terminix coming tomorrow.

What's the latest on Terminix's baiting system? Does it really work?

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Joined: May 28 2003

Wow someone read something I posted 4 years ago!

I believe Terminix has come up with a better drilling system, that only involves drilling around the perimeter of the house. It's the same idea as the baiting system I believe - if you surround them, they eventually die, as they can't expand the colonies. Drilling around the outside of the house, is definitely better than drilling inside the house. I believe that is the treatment that Terminix is pushing these days. And I believe the theory is that the treatment is supposed to last for a very long time.

In the previous posting, I mentioned a co-worker who had the baiting system. He had new landscaping done, and after everything was ripped up (and before all his new paving stones were installed), he had Terminix apply this new treatment. Is it better than the baiting system? Again, who knows. Terminix told us that they are pushing this new system because it was equally effective and cheaper for them and us; however, perhaps they switched because the baiting system is snake oil. We haven't had any subteranean termites in the past 4 years (at least Terminix hasn't found any in their annual inspections). And when we said we preferred to stick with the baiting system, they let us stay with them. They haven't found any activity in the baiting systems for a long time. Does that mean that the baiting systems no longer attract the termites (a bad thing) or that we simply have no subteranean termites (a good thing)? Again, who knows.

All things being equal - I believe if my house were fully surrounded by dirt/grass (i.e. no concrete, paving, ...), I'd feel more protected by the newer system than the baiting system. But I guess I still feel somewhat protected by the baiting system.

Was I ambivalent enough ;-) Good luck!

--Eddie

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