Termites and Fumigation in LA County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara, CA

Frequently Asked Questions

Our inspectors will detect the presence of termite colonies before they have a chance to harm your home, or even become visible to you. We will inspect your home from the ground up and provide the solution you need to be rid of these annoying, and possibly dangerous, pests.

How do I know if my home is termite infested?

How to Identify Termites in Your Home?

The following are indications that you may have termites present in your home:

a) Termite "droppings" which some say resemble sawdust.
b) Swarms of winged insects in your home or from soil surrounding your home.
c) Check window sills for termite droppings and discarded wings from swarmers.
d) Mud tubes on the interior or exterior walls.

What can an Inspection do for Me?

Because of the difficulty of detecting termites and any damage incurred you should consult with a professional pest control company. First and foremost you want to make sure the company you hire is reputable and licensed to provide services. By hiring a professional pest control company you can rest assured that the inspector is well trained and knowledgeable in providing answers to your questions. The minimum requirement by California state law for termite inspections includes a visual search of accessible areas, but a thorough inspection of accessible areas is highly recommended in order to assess the damage, if any, the termites may have done. Once an inspection is done the pest control company should supply you with an inspection report and treatment plan for the eradication of the problem. Please keep in mind that studies show that termites cause a billion dollars in damages every year and a typical homeowner's insurance policy does NOT cover the cost of termite damage.The two most common termites in our area are the drywood and subterranean termite. The dry-wood are difficult to detect as they live deep inside the wood and are only visible during certain periods. That is, when they swarm (summer time) or when infested homes are being repaired. Colonies for this type are small and can be widely dispersed. Signs of drywood termites are shed wings and kick out holes; small holes the size of a BB shot which termites push out fecal pellets out of the wood and/or interior walls.

Subterranean termites are commonly mistaken for ants and swarm during the winter and spring time. Colonies for this type of termite are established in the soil and reach the ground above by building mud tubes. It is imperative that if an active infestation if found in your home, you should have it treated as these insects do not go away, they will just cause extensive and expensive damage.

Termite Solutions:

Once the inspector has determined the kind of termite you may have, he will be able to provide you with a solution that is best for your home and family.There are different approaches to the treatment of termites. The method you choose will depend on the extent of the infestation as well as your preference in treatment.

The following is a list of treatment methods:

  • Fumigation
  • Localized or Spot Treatments
  • Foam Treatments
  • Borate Treatments
  • Soil Treatments upon repair & replacement

Why Choose Tri County Pest Control?

  • No Obligations with your Inspections
  • Honest and Reliable
  • We'll take care of your home as if it were our own
With over 20 years experience in this field we will make it our goal for you to enjoy a termite free home. We will come to your home at no cost and do a thorough inspection to determine if you have termites. We will go over the areas of infestations with you and explain the different methods that would best benefit your home and family.

We offer 2-year warranties with our services, with free annual inspections to ensure that there are no active infestations.

Preparation by owner or occupant prior to fumigation.

The following items must be removed from the property before fumigation can begin:
All persons, domestic animals, pets, including fish and desirable growing plants, remove baby bed mattress, mattresses (except Waterbeds) that are plasticized and pillows that are completely enveloped in waterproof covers, or remove covers. Food, feed, drugs and medicines (including those items in refrigerators and freezers) can remain in the structure if they are in plastic, glass or metal bottles, cans or jars with the original manufacturer's airtight seal intact, need to be removed from the fumigation site, or double bagged in Nylofume bags. We will remove all food items found in the premises which are not in a factory sealed glass or metal containers or in the Nylofume bags. All perishables may be thrown away. No-perishables may be stored outside of the building at occupant's cost and liability.

Dishes and utensils need not be removed or washed after fumigation. Structural fumigants are colorless, odorless and will not affect paints, finishes or fabrics. They will not leave a residue on surfaces.

Vines and shrubs connected to the building must be detached, trimmed or removed by the owner leaving at least twelve inches of space to allow the fumigation tarps to go between the shrubs and the building. Gravel, bark and other decorative ground cover should be raked back twelve inches so as to expose the soil. Due to the nature of the work, we cannot be held responsible for trampled or damage plants. The day before fumigation, the soil surrounding the structure(s) (including decks, garages, etc.) must be soaked with water to a depth of at least six inches for at least one-foot outward from the structure. This will require from four to eight hours soaking, depending on soil conditions.

We are required to shut off the natural gas (or Propane) supply going into the house to guard against problems associated with gas leaks and to prevent the fumigant from reacting with hot surfaces. The electric must stay on. It is the occupant's responsibility to turn the gas back on and re-light the pilot lights unless other arrangements have been made with the fumigator.

Our crew may fumigate several structures in various locations each day. Therefore, the time that any fumigation is scheduled is approximate. Opening after proper exposure to the fumigant is usually 20 hours following the introduction of the fumigant but may be as few as 12 hours depending on dosage. YOU WILL NEED TO BE OUT OF THE PROPERTY FOR AT LEAST TWO NIGHTS. APPROPRIATE NOTICE OF RE-ENTRY WILL BE POSTED WHEN IT IS SAFE TO ACCESS THE STRUCTURE.

It is required that the fumigator has keys to the premises during the course of fumigation. We must have access to all parts of the building, including garages and rooms, which are normally kept, locked. Any vehicle left within the structure which is to be fumigated, must have the trunk open and all windows down.

All automatic timing devices (sprinklers, lights, alarms, etc.) must be turned off prior to the fumigation.

The owner or occupant must remove all antennas, weather vanes, chimney stacks, etc. If we have to remove the antenna, there will be an extra charge, we will not re-install it, nor will we be responsible for inadequate function or damage, resulting from removal or re-installation.

Care will be taken to avoid damage to the roof, gutters and chimneys of the building. However, due to the condition of the chimney, the roof and gutters, their age or the type of roof and gutters as well as the nature of the work, some damage to the chimney or the roof or its gutters may be unavoidable.

Solar Systems must be turned off and drained. We cannot accept any responsibility for damage to solar systems.

Fumigation operations may not commence during inclement weather or high wind and may have to re-scheduled.

To avoid possible misunderstandings, our insurance company requests that all valuables, such as jewelry, large amounts of cash and objects of art be removed prior to fumigation. As a safety precaution, the fumigator must have access to all parts of the structure including closets and storerooms which are normally kept locked. Windows will be left open during and following the fumigation. Owner/occupant/agent may post a guard at the property at his/her own discretion and cost.

How to control drywood termites with Termidor®

Proven Termite Control Products

Drywood termites live in dry (usually <12% moisture), sound wood and derive their moisture requirements from the wood they consume. Infestations can occur in structural timbers in buildings, pieces of furniture, flooring, doors and doorframes, window trim, wooden picture frames and other isolated pieces of wood. Their colonies are relatively small, with a few thousand members lacking the true worker caste and there are often multiple colonies in the same structure.

Drywood termite galleries
Drywood termites do not need a connection to soil and there is no soil in their feeding galleries. They do not build mud tunnels; they construct large, irregular galleries that run across and with the wood grain, with a very smooth, clean and sandpaper-like appearance. The galleries are connected by openings small enough for one termite to pass through. The sure sign of drywood termite feeding is their fecal pellets that are ejected from the galleries via kickout holes, often found right below the damaged wood. These pellets are quite distinctive and are hard, elongate.

Drywood species
Approximately 400 global species of drywood termite species are known, but only a few species are important in the United States.

Powderpost or "furniture termites" (Cryptotermes spp.) have small fecal pellets are smaller in size than other drywood termites. Their feeding in furniture or movable wooden objects can reduce wood to a fine powder. They can be found in Florida, Southern Louisiana, Texas, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. the most widespread species is the tropical rough-headed powderpost termite (C. brevis), which is easily distributed by human activity such as transporting infested furniture and it has been found as far West as Los Angeles and as far North as Ontario, Canada.

The other main group of drywood termites is Incisitermes spp. The most common species in the West is the western drywood termite (I. minor), which is found in Southern California, Arizona, Utah and has become established in Florida. This species infested both dead sections of living trees and wooden articles in homes. The western drywood termite swarming period in midday on warm, sunny days and typically occurs from September-October. However, in Arizona, swarming occurs at night in July.

The southeastern drywood termite (I. snyderi) is found primarily in seven southeastern states, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. This species swarms at night, peaking between 8 - 10pm and is attracted to lights. The peak time period for swarming is late May through mid-June.

How to control drywood termites

The most common method of controlling drywood termites is a localized treatment because in most cases the infestation are accessible and isolated to wooden articles.

Termidor® termiticide/insecticide has recently become labeled for drywood termite control. It is effective because it is a no-repellent, so a termite can't smell, see, or feel it as it forages in a treated area. The termite eats or has contact with Termidor and the "Transfer Effect™" begins when every termite it contacts also becomes infected.

The directions for use of Termidor are listed under the section "Termites above ground," which states:
For control of termites, aerial colonies or drywood termites in localized areas of infested wood in structures, apply a 0.06% (0.8 oz/gallon) or 0.125% (1.6 oz/gallon) solution of Termidor to voids and galleries in damaged wood and in spaces between wooden members of a structure and between wood and foundations where wood is vulnerable. Application may be made to inaccessible areas by drilling and then injecting the finished solution as a liquid or foam application with a crack and crevice injector into the damage wood or void spaces.

Drywood termite galleries can be located by probing or sounding the wood. Once located, small holes are drilled (1/4 inch) at about 8-12 inch intervals into the infested wood and into the hollow galleries. A diamond pattern with drill holes spaced every 6 inches has been effective in trying to locate as many galleries as possible among the infested wood. It is recommended that the treatment area is extended several feet beyond the end of a suspected gallery. If a gallery is not penetrated soon after drilling, then plug or mark each drilled hole so Termidor is not injected there. Once a gallery is penetrated, then inject 4-8 ounces of 0.06 or 0.125% diluted Termidor into each drilled hole. Each drilled hole should be plugged with a wooden dowel, wood putty, plastic wood or other suitable sealant. Drywood termites tend to seal off any gallery exposed to the outside and plugging the holes will prevent this and allow for maximum exposure to Termidor.

Results of Termidor field and lab applications

Field Trial:
Western drywood termite (Incistermes minor) control in individual pieces of wood was determined in 2001 in California field trials. Naturally infested firewood and structural lumber were obtained and drywood termite activity determined by the presence of swarming alates in the firewood and positive readings from an acoustic emission detector (AED).

A 0.06% solution of Termidor was prepared in one gallon (0.8 oz/gal), and 5 pieces of wood were used. A 5/16 inch hole was drilled into each piece of wood and 4 ounces of the 0.06% Termidor was injected into the galleries of each piece of wood using a B&G Aerocan compressed air injector (40-80 psi). Holes were then sealed. Table 1 shows that Termidor effectively controlled western drywood termites after just one day (95% reduction in AED readings) and by 6 days, readings were reduced by 99.2%

Table 1. Mean AED readings and percent reduction in AED reading from 5 pieces of Termidor - treated wood infested with I. minor.
Mean of 5 wood pieces Pretreatment 1 day 2 days 6 days
Mean AED readings 50.4 2.4 0.6 0.4
Mean reduction in AED 95% 99% 99.2%
Lab Trial
Southeastern drywood termite (Incistermes snyderi) nymphs were exposed to a laboratory choice bioassay. The bioassay consisted of a 25-cm long wooden channel covered with Plexiglas®, with 4 replications. Half of the channel was treated and then rejoined with the other half containing 30 nymphs. Drywood termites that were repelled by the treatments never came in contact with the treated channel. Mortality was recorded after 3, 6, 12, 25, and 49 days.

Table 2 shows that Termidor was not repellent and it effectively controlled southeastern drywood termite nymphs, with mortality ranging from 87% after only 3 days to 100% after 49 days. Termidor provided significantly better control than Tim-bor® 15% solution.

Table 2. Mean percent mortality of I. snyderi nymphs in a lab choice bioassay.
% morality at day
Treatment 3 6 12 25 49
Termidor 0.06% solution 87% 97% 98% 98% 100%
Termidor is labeled for wood injection for control of drywood termites, an important termite pest of structural wood and wooden articles. Both field and lab trials have shown very effective control of drywood termites with Termidor at low rate of 0.06%.

Inspecting of swarms
Swarmers that appear within a home after a termiticide treatment do not pose a threat for a new infestation. Homeowners may contact their pest management professional (PMP) to control the swarmers so they're not nuisance, but in most cases, vacuuming the dead swarmers is all that's needed. If a swarm occurs before a termiticide treatment, a PMP should perform a thorough inspection of the structure to recommend the best method of control.

Termidor® and swarms
Termidor insecticide/termiticide is no-repellent.Termites can't smell it, see it or feel it. Since they don't know it's there, they forage freely in a treated area. Its toxic effect to termites is slow compared to many other termiticides, so no immediate threat is realized by the colony and swarming is not triggered by the Termidor treatment.

Termidor control
Termidor kills termites through ingestion, contact and through "The Transfer Effect™." The active ingredient in Termidor-fipronil-is slow acting and allows the termite to continue its normal routine. But the termite remains active long enough to transfer the termiticide to a large number of other termites in the colony before dying itself. This combination of ingestion, contact and "Transfer Effect" (which is unique and puts Termidor in a category by itself) routinely provides 100% termite control in 3 months or less.

What's involved in a 100% effective Termidor application program for your home?

Here is the procedure:
Because every home is different, protecting your home with a 100% effective Termidor® termiticide/insecticide application program depends on its age, configuration and construction.

Your Termidor Certified Professional will first talk to you about your home and ask you about any changes, improvements or additions that you have made to your property, inside as well as out. He'll also ask about water leaks, damage or other situations which may help contribute to a termite infestation.

Next, he'll conduct a thorough examination of your property. (It's important you give your permission to thoroughly inspect your property since termites need only a crack the thickness of a sheet of paper to get to get through.)
The inspection will take place in five main areas: the exterior, interior, attic, below-ground areas (basement or crawl spaces) and outlying storage and garage areas.

Once the termites have been located and the extent of their activity is determined, the question of why they are present will be addressed.

Often, moisture plays a big part. If a water of plumbing leak is discovered - or it faulty grading, or other problems are suspected - your Termidor Certified Professional will recommend steps to correct them.

Once the inspection is complete, the Termidor application program will begin. Below are typical application procedures completed during a termiticide application. Consult with your Termidor Certified Professional about the specific application procedures for your home. The method of application may vary based on state and local regulations.

Termidor is applied with water. The most effective way of spreading it is through small trenches, dug along the exterior foundation of your home. Any voids that have been discovered during the inspection may also be treated, along with cracks and expansion joints in concrete, partition walls, utility pipe entrances, and exterior wood features like flower boxes.

The entire Termidor application program is typically completed in a day or less. But since there's no "drying time" and no odor, you'll likely notice no immediate difference.

Within 3 months, your entire treated area will be 100% termite-free. And with Termidor and regular inspections by your Termidor Certified Professional, it'll stay that way for many years to come.

How's your home built?

Although houses vary widely on the outside, underneath they're generally built on one of six main types of foundations. Which one is yours? Your Termidor Certified Professional can tell you. Be aware, however, that certain construction types - full basements and crawl space homes, for example - can be more vulnerable to termite attack than others. Fortunately, Termidor works well with all construction types, no matter how your home is built. Termidor protects them all, 100%