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Thursday, May 5, 2016

How to deal with termites

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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Over the last few weeks, I have had a few clients ask about termites.

In both cases, the termites have ended up being ants, but it is still a good idea to spend a little bit of time discussing termites.

Termites are considered a social insect, thus they live in colonies. Just like ants, the different types of termites have different purposes within the colony.

The winged termites that have a broad waist and have two pairs of equal sized wings are the reproducers.

The worker termites are white and look similar to an ant.

The ideal habitat for a termite is a location where wood comes into contact with soil.

This provides the termite with the food (wood) and moisture (soil) that it needs to survive.

Occasionally, you will find termites in locations where wood and soil do not come in contact with each other.

In those locations, you will find "shelter tubes" made of mud, which spans foundation walls and other masonry.

Shelter tubes resemble long streams of mud running up walls that are usually less than one-quarter inch in diameter.

There are two ways to control termites. The first is to pretreat for them.

Ideally, you should pretreat for termites at the time of constructing a new house. You pretreat by laying down a chemical barrier to eliminate all possible points of entry.

There are four areas that you should have treated, including the entire soil surface that will be covered with concrete (including garage floors and porches); soil that lies adjacent to foundation walls, beneath interior walls, and around sewer/utility openings; footings and backfill outside foundation walls; and inside walled areas where there is a crawl space.

Most of us won't be building a new home anytime soon, so it is important to discuss what to do if you think you might have termites in an existing home.

If you think you have them, the first thing to do is not panic.

Then, you should probe any wood near the foundation or soil with an ice pick or screw driver to look for termites.

You should also look for shelter tubes. If you see any termites or runs, you should contact a pest control company.

When contacting them, obtain at least two different bids from different companies.

Make sure the company has a commercial applicators license with the Indiana State Chemist Office because the chemicals used to treat termites are almost always "Restricted Use."

For more information on selecting a termite control company, check out "Selecting a Termite Control Company," from Purdue Extension at http://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publica....

If you do not have Internet access, please contact your local Purdue Extension Office to receive a paper copy.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County, or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* April 7 -- Clay County 4-H Council Annual Spring Fish Fry, 4-7:30 p.m.,

* April 10 -- Farmers Market Boot Camp, Terre Haute, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost is $15. Call 765-494-1296 to register,

* April 19 -- Farmers Market Boot Camp, Terre Haute, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost is $15. Call 765-494-1296 to register,

* April 24 -- Owen County Extension Board Meeting, Owen County Extension Office, and

* April 26 -- Youth Earth Day Program, Owen County Extension Office, 6:30-7:30 p.m.