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Pro Perspective: Investing in termite control

Randy Adcock
Thursday, Jun 6, 2013

Mention “termites” and the first thought in someone’s mind likely will be of a menacing pest that can destroy a home.

Since termites have been on the Earth for millions of years, it appears they do in fact serve a purpose in the ecosystem beyond turning a wood structure to dust.

The U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute has researched the termite’s ability to process wood as part of looking into better ways of producing biofuel. Apparently, the termite is quite an efficient machine at decomposing wood, and researchers have been looking at a particular termite enzyme that could be replicated. Termites also help keep soil fertile by recycling fallen trees, leaves and plants.

But you don’t want your home to be part of that decomposition process in the ecosystem. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites cause $5 billion a year in property damage.

There are several species of termites but the subterranean variety is the most common one in Tennessee. They build their colonies underground and seek their food source above ground.

If you are building a new home, that’s a great point to treat for termites. The perfect time is treating the soil around a new foundation and before slabs are poured.

A liquid termiticide is used that will kill or repel the termites. Essentially, the termiticide creates a barrier that cuts off the routes termites may use into the home. This is much easier to do before the structure is built.

When treating an existing home, the liquid needs to be applied through holes drilled in slabs or basement floors. Treating in crawlspaces requires trenching or rodding the soil.

Once construction is completed on a home, you can have bait stations installed around the home for premium protection. Termites take the bait and travel back to the colony and infest other termites, eventually causing a slow decline in the population, or elimination of a nearby colony.

Bait stations require regular monitoring during the year to ensure the bait is working as planned.

One of the common issues is someone seeing a swarm of insects and misidentifying it as termites when it’s ants and treat for termites. Or the swarm is believed to be ants and it’s termites. The treatment methods are different for termites than for ants. There isn’t a catchall treatment for both.

That’s why it is best to have a professional inspect your home when a problem arises or assess your needs to prevent problems. Attempting to do it yourself may cost you more money if not done properly.

Your home is a major investment so you don’t want it to become part of a termite colony’s food chain, even just a little bit.

Randy Adcock is the owner of Midstate Termite & Pest Control, a full-service pest control company serving the Upper Cumberland. For more information, call (877) 526-4222 or visit

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