Smaller versions of termite barriers, a termite services company will set bait stations in the ground immediately around your home. These small boxes filled with poison can help rid your home of termites as it attracts and poisons them. You termite services company will replace them with new bait stations when they begin to lose their effectiveness. Bait stations have become an increasingly popular way to control termites. The key is placing the bait stations in the most effective locations, so it`s best to contact an expert for placement and installation.
The first method, common in the warmer climates of the southern United States, is called swarming. This occurs usually in spring, when large numbers of winged primary reproductives (alates) (top photo) emerge from a colony, fly a very short distance, mate and then establish a new colony. Although alates are found in Ontario, rarely do they swarm.
The presence of shelter tubes over the surface of foundation walls is the primary sign of a termite infestation. These tubes are 6mm (1/4 inch) to 12mm (1/2 inch) wide, and can extend many centimetres in length until wood is discovered. These tubes protect termites form the drying effect of air, and maintain the termites` contact with the soil.
The subterranean termite is very closely associated with the soil, which is its main source of life-sustaining moisture. Termite food consists of cellulose obtained from wood and wood products. Decaying damp wood is preferred but termites are also able to feed on sound, dry lumber.
The environmental and health risks associated with chemical usage have led to the withdrawal of several termiticide products from the market. Barriers consisting of a layer of precisely sized sand or crushed stone below and around foundations are an alternative means of preventing termite entry.
Termites have a very thin cuticle (skin) and are subject to rapid desiccation (drying out) if exposed to the environment outside their enclosed habitat. In order to maintain a highly controlled environment, termites must live in a closed system. Colonies in wood are always contained within an outside shell of cellulose material. In this way, they are protected from exposure to the outside.
Termites often enter buildings through cracks and holes and expansion joints in foundations. Spaces around piping and wiring are also points of entry. These openings may be filled with either roofing-grade coal-tar pitch, sealers or similar commercial caulking products.
It is useful to know for termite identification that almost every type of termite lives in the dark, apart from the winged ones that fly or any termite when they are constructing something. This means that you normally only see them when something is open or broken. When they are exposed, termites attempt to follow their scent trails to get home. If they can`t get home, they either squeeze themselves into a small gap or wander around looking lost until they find another termite.
Foundation walls and slabs should be designed to inhibit the entry of termites into the building, and to facilitate inspection for shelter tubes. Sheet metal and steel mesh barriers properly designed and installed, are also an effective means of control. Wood products and other building materials should be selected with regard to termite resistance.
Suppression refers to measures intended to reduce and eventually eradicate termites from infested materials in a designated area. Suppression methods include systematic location and destruction of colonies not associated with buildings (such as in street trees), systematic inspection of wood products leaving an infested area to quarantine the infestation, burning of infested lumber and heat treatment of reclaimed lumber.