Hot Topics: Termite Treatments

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Original Post: Help With Termite Treatments

ArizonaRain Member

So, two years ago we found a few mud tubes on the ceiling, called 5-star rated company and paid for termite treatment. They used Prothor on three sides of the house, but the fourth side, which is where we suspect they are coming from, was left untreated. Their excuse was they didn’t want to drill the patio tiles. We told them we'd rather have a complete barrier, but it just didn't happen. Since then, they had to come out and treat every six to eight months. Just last week I paid for another year of warranty. We were scheduled for retreatment (they seemed to concentrate in one room only), but just today I found a mud trail on the floor on the opposite side of the house.

The pest control company claims it's difficult to treat because we have a crack in the foundation and along this crack are main sightings, both in the floor and ceiling. My problem with this theory is the new mud tube that we found today, opposite of the crack.

And even though our infestation isn't on a large scale, we are getting worried and wondering if we should find a different company. We wanted to install hardwood flooring this year, but the pest control company told us they will have to drill it and we better not.

I guess my question is, does this sound normal? Not being able to install flooring, and not being able to get rid of termites after two years worth of drilling and numerous gallons of Prothor? Also, is it possible to sell the house since it’s had termite treatments in the past?

Joecaption Member

It’s not normal at all. If there are tunnels all the way to the ceiling, you have a major infestation! They have been there a long time. The slab should have been drilled. Where the tiles are, they could have drilled at a 45-degree angle where the tiles meet the wall.

ArizonaRain Member

I am sorry if I worded it wrong; we don't have tunnels that lead from floor to ceiling. We had four to five mud tubes, maybe two inches long hanging from the ceiling , right above the crack in the foundation. This was two years ago. They would come out and treat, but every six to eight months the termites resurface, maybe on two different spots, in one room.There are short mud tubes.

The new mud trail I found is on the opposite side of the house, coming right under the door frame, maybe three inches in length, but there are no other spots anywhere else. I am just wondering, could this be because no complete barrier was done?

PAbugman Forum Topic Moderator

Like Joe said, this is not normal and the tiles could have been drilled/treated one way or another. If the customer is willing to sign a waiver/release form for the tile drilling, which it looks like you would have, then any good company would have drilled.

I'm wondering if the concrete floor should be drilled in some locations and treated. Has anyone opened up behind the bathtub to inspect? On slab structures, this is a prime area for termites to enter. Don't install wood/carpet flooring until this issue is resolved.

Treating every six to eight months tells me that control was never established. I can't imagine a lending institution giving a mortgage on a structure with active termites. A personal sale, as long as you disclose it and there’s no mortgage involved, might work but the better solution is to solve the problem.

While Prothor is a non-repellent termiticide, my preference would be termiticides that have Fipronil as an active ingredient. There are various brand names. Consider that if/when you change companies. Hope this helps.

ArizonaRain Member

Yes, they drilled the concrete floor along the crack in the foundation. They also drilled in the bathroom, which is under remodel. We’re waiting to lay down tile, but how can we when they just keep coming and drilling, without results. I did some research and it seems you are very correct on the kind of termiticide they are using. People are telling me to find a company using Termidor HE. This is not a huge problem yet, but I am afraid with them dragging me along, that it might turn out to be bigger!

PAbugman Forum Topic Moderator

Prothor,though it wouldn't be my first choice, is still an effective termiticide. Before the Fipronil-based termiticides, the active ingredient in Prothor was the termiticide of choice.

You've been very cooperative with them by letting them drill inside and outside, and even asking them to drill the exterior tile, which they didn't do. All I can surmise is that, for some reason, the Prothor isn't getting to where it needs to go. I'm assuming they are using the correct percentage and the correct gallonage of Prothor. If not using enough volume of termiticide, it won't spread out and it won't go deep enough. That won't work either, even though it visibly appears that they are doing everything correctly. This is where Termidor HE can be superior. It spreads out more than even conventional Termidor does. It’s definitely more expensive, as you probably figured. How far apart are the drill marks?

ArizonaRain Member

We measured drill marks, which vary between 19 inches to over two feet apart in some spots. I’ve been doing some yard work today in the backyard where no barrier was formed, digging some weed roots that grew right next to the foundation, and here comes a winged termite from out of the ground.

I am suspecting the heart of the problem is in the drill holes being too wide apart, which was done purposely (because every other company I looked at clearly states that they drill every 12 inches) to hook us on a yearly warranty.

I am going to have three to four new companies come out for a treatment estimate (these do exclusively Termidor), and depending on what their experts say, I am truly considering suing the company I used. I just realized that we didn't even get any true warranty from this company. Instead, they offered us a year of free warranty in exchange for a 5-star review on Google. This is why we decided to go with them, because of their 5 star reviews. Also, on our first inspection, we were told that Prothor is the ONLY termicide termites can't recognize, and they know how to avoid Termidor, which is why they don't use it. We got swindled, it seems. I have never considered suing anyone in small claims before, but just might have to if they refuse to fix the problem on Monday.

PAbugman Forum Topic Moderator

The drill marks are too far apart for a continuous chemical barrier, especially in sandy soil which is what I believe you have in AZ. Now, for Termidor HE, I believe the drill marks can be further apart, though I'd want to make sure that it still spreads out in sandy soil, if that is the case at your house.

The fact that you are finding swarmer termites in the exterior perimeter soil tells me that they most likely didn't apply nearly enough termiticide.

I feel bad for you; it’s not your fault at all, but I doubt that there is any good recourse. Maybe consider calling the regulatory agency that licenses pest control in your state and filing some type of complaint just for the record. The drill mark distances could be good physical evidence. In any case, find an operator that is known to friends/family as word of mouth is still a good way to find pest control businesses. Also, make sure they belong to a state/national trade association. It’s not a guarantee of a good operator, but that's where a lot of good ones are.

ArizonaRain Member

They are here today, doing yet another treatment. They finally agreed to drill the entire 4th side of the house, but with drill marks spaced so far in between in front, I am not sure how much good it will do. (We actually have a quite hard, clay type of soil here in AZ.) Also, they are drilling inside again. I didn't like that, but I agreed to avoid confrontation. Now they claim that we have a foundation crack that runs vertically, on top of the one that runs horizontally across the house. So, now 50 percent of our home is drilled inside, and still no definite answers as to when we can install new flooring. Our painted concrete is ruined in two of the rooms, and one bathroom is drilled lengthwise. I wonder how safe it is to live with termicide in concrete flooring, especially knowing concrete is porous?

I am losing hope. Our warranty runs out in early 2019. I think we will start calling different guys for estimates next week and see where we stand.

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