FAQ’S About Pest Management

What do you do when you’ve found your dream home, but discover that it is crawling with termites? 

Termites damage $5 billion of property each year.  This price tag may seem daunting to someone looking at buying a house, but advances in pest control technology and the expertise of professionals should give any homeowner confidence in our industry’s ability to treat an infestation.

In most states, lenders require that homes undergo a termite inspection prior to being sold.  If termite infestation or damage is found, it is the seller’s responsibility to address the infestation.  Interested buyers should question their home’s current owners about the history of termite damage, previous pest control treatments, and any current termite contracts.

How difficult are termites to treat?

Recent consumer research suggests that over 70% of homeowners feel that professional pest control services are more effective than do it yourself treatments; however, this is not to say that some pests are not more difficult to treat than others, even for professionals.

Termites are social insects meaning that they live in large groups and by the time homeowners notice termite damage there is typically a significant infestation.  However, the industry continues to invest time and money to develop new products and methods to treat these and all other pests.  Our continuing education programs help to enhance current member knowledge about the most up to date treatment options

Termites are just one pest and although they pose large property threats it is important to also remember how many other pests pose public health threats.  More and more consumers are turning to pest control professionals to help them treat this growing threat – a recent national survey found that consumers are more aware of pest-related diseases and the pests that transmit them then ever before.

What are the different types of termite treatments?

Currently, there are three types of treatments available for use by the professional: soil treatments, wood treatments and baits.

Soil treatments are liquid termiticides diluted with water to ensure adequate coverage in the soil. Injection of this system in the soil creates a treated area that repels or reduces the population of termites and envelops the structure with a long-term protection. This is the most commonly used system and may be used in combination with baits and/or wood treatment.

Wood treatments involve treating infested wood or potentially infested wood with liquids such as a traditional treatment or borate materials. This treatment type protects the wood from infestation and reduces or eliminates the infestation in the wood at the time of the treatment.

Baits are relatively new and involve installing bait stations in the ground. Termites then eat the bait and carry the active ingredient throughout the colony or area, thus reducing foraging, which in turn reduces the colony population. Baits are popular since there is no interior drilling, and they are less bother for the homeowner.

What is the most effective type of termite treatment?

The National Pest Management Association and the entire professional pest control industry are committed to providing highly effective treatment options for all pest issues.  The most effective type of treatment depends upon the specific infestation.  A trained and licensed pest control operator can assess each infestation separately and recommend a rigorous treatment plan that will effectively control the termite population.

Why should someone hire a professional instead of attempting to control their pest problems by themselves?

Just as you wouldn’t prescribe medicine for yourself or drill your own cavities – you shouldn’t attempt to control health and property threatening pests on your own.  Professionals have the training, licensing and experience necessary to correctly identify pest species and determine the most important course of treatment. It isn’t worth risking your home or your health.

In a recent nationally representative survey of United States homeowners we found that 72% believe that professional pest control services are more effective than store bought home remedies – these homeowners are absolutely correct.  Most people who attempt to control pest problems by themselves spend more time and money than homeowners who hire a professional.

What questions should homeowners ask during a professional termite treatment?

Homeowners should find out specifics about the location and extent of termite damage.  They should ask for further information on the products and materials that will be applied in and around their home.  A federal law requires commercial applicators of “restricted use” products to be certified. The certification program is left up to the state. Homeowners can call the certifying state agencies for further information.  They should also be aware of the difference between a repair and a retreat contract which stipulates a company’s ultimate responsibility for the job.

Homeowners shouldn’t hesitate to question their pest control operators about other pests or related pest information.  PCOs are well-trained, educated and capable of discussing pests and pest-related public health and property threats. As consumers become increasing aware of and worried about the recent influx of pest-related public health threats they should feel free to contact NPMA or their local PCO to address any issues.

How long does termite treatment typically take?

Termite treatments range take less than a day depending on the location, extent of damage, and the products and materials used to treat the infestation.

All professional pest control treatments require vigilant follow-up by the homeowner and pest control professional to ensure success.   With recent information suggesting an influx of pest-related public health threats, it is vital that homeowners remain in close contact with their PCOs during all treatments.

What can a homeowner do to prevent termites?

The National Pest Management Association offers several tips to help homeowners prevent termite infestations:

  • Since termites are attracted to moisture, avoid moisture accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
  • Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation or dehumidification. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents.
  • Before and during construction, never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the backfill, especially near the building. Be sure to remove old form boards, grade stakes, etc., left in place after the building was constructed. Remove old tree stumps and roots around and beneath the building.
  • Most importantly, eliminate any wood contact with the soil. An 18-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building is ideal.