Author Topic: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)  (Read 5414 times)

davo

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I would love to hear from some Mustachian Badasses about dealing with termites. Is the termite bond a wasteful example of too much insurance? Is going without a termite bond saving a little money now, risking lots of money in the future?

I just bought my first home. I am deciding what to do to protect my home from termites while protecting my wallet! The home had termites a few years ago. They got Terminix to treat it, and have carried a protection plan from Terminix ever since. I can continue doing that for $400 per year. I plan to call a few places to compare quotes.

What do you do to protect your home from termites? Do you have an annual termite bond or protection plan? Do you treat yourself? Do you pay for treatments every few years?

Thank you for any suggestions you can give.

GizmoTX

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 09:57:56 PM »
Ask Terminix what method was used to treat your house -- it needs to be termador (a chemical, harmless to humans & pets). Anything else is far less effective. We live in Texas, so we utilize a pest control company that does regular bug inspections as well as termites twice a year, & treats as needed; this is more economical than having separate termite service. Make sure that soil around your foundation does not touch your exterior walls; pull any soil away if necessary. Don't pile up anything against your exterior, especially firewood.

Nords

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 11:40:09 PM »
Hawaii is home to the fearsome Formosan termite as well as flying termites, and they never have to deal with freezing weather.  They hardly have to deal with dry weather, either.

Yet we've never carried a termite bond or termite insurance or Terminix treatment.

Instead we practice good housekeeping on both of our properties-- we slope the soil away from the house, make sure the foundation concrete is surrounded by a small plant-free gravel border, keep the siding at least six inches above ground level, and make sure the downspouts are really moving the water away from the house.  We check the foundation quarterly for tunnels.

In 25 years we've had exactly two infestations.  One of them was our own darn fault for building a compost bin out of pallets made from untreated lumber, and the termites moved over to our storage shed.  The second infestation was a termite tunnel that we removed as soon as we noticed it (less than 89 days).  Once we removed the tunnel, the termites inside the house died off.

The storage shed cost $250 to repair.  The second infestation went into some studs and a beam over an entryway, but the lumber was still doing its job.  The only reason we even noticed it was because we demolished the room for a renovation, but otherwise we wouldn't have had any problems for years-- maybe even decades.

If you're building a house then it's probably worth including whatever miracle treatment is available at the time-- perforated tubing under the foundation to soak the subsoil with Termidor, or a good Termidor spray around the perimeter after you landscape. 

I'd never tent or fumigate a house.  I wouldn't bother paying monthly fees to anyone. 

It's cheaper to develop good habits and to take the risk of the occasional repair.

Our next-door neighbor is a poster child for thoughtless spending and working the rest of his life.  He's paid for Terminix in-ground bait-trap monitoring for the entire 14 years that we've lived here.  He's never had a termite infestation in his house, but he did find some in a potted tree on his back lanai.  The Terminix people never found anything in the traps, but he's still paying them whatever their monthly fee may be.  He has no evidence that the monitoring is working, but he's willing to pay them the price of a dozen treatments just to make sure that he won't have to pay for any treatments.

When I tell him that the traps are effective against white elephants and land sharks, too, he thinks I'm joking.

davo

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2014, 06:35:41 AM »
I like what I am hearing. Thank you.
Do you have any suggestion for inspecting & protecting the side of my townhouse that shares a wall?

I am the end unit of a 3 unit townhouse building. 

Nords

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2014, 12:11:40 AM »
I like what I am hearing. Thank you.
Do you have any suggestion for inspecting & protecting the side of my townhouse that shares a wall?
I am the end unit of a 3 unit townhouse building.
No.

The theory is that if the building's perimeter walls are regularly inspected then the termites are unlikely to come up through a crack in the foundation.  If they do manage to infiltrate through such a path then you'll see other signs-- termite droppings or small holes in the drywall.

Termites in a shared wall are an interesting cost-sharing problem for the two owners. 

4alpacas

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2014, 03:46:28 PM »

I'd never tent or fumigate a house. 


Why? 

We are considering buying a house with a small termite problem (estimated work is ~$5k).  Tenting the house was the first thing on the "to do" list. 

Nords

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2014, 10:58:20 AM »

I'd never tent or fumigate a house. 


Why? 

We are considering buying a house with a small termite problem (estimated work is ~$5k).  Tenting the house was the first thing on the "to do" list.
The Hawaii tenting/fumigating companies only kill the termites that are in the house (both underground Formosan termites and flying termites) without getting rid of the underground nest or the source of the water that's wetting the wood for the flying termites.  It's like smashing an ant with a sledgehammer and not eliminating the problems that brought the ants into your house, or the nest they're coming from.  Even worse, the companies will tell you that you need their sledgehammer services at least 2-3 times per decade for the rest of your life.

Hire an exterminator who uses Termidor to sterilize the below-ground termites (and kill the nest).  If you have a flying termite infestation then have him find where they're nesting and clean up the water (or moisture) that encourages them to set up housekeeping there.  Fix the conditions that allow the termites the access and the breeding environment-- mostly wet wood and standing moisture.  A good exterminator will have a long list of things like sloping landscaping and downspousts away from the house, fixing roof leaks, checking plumbing pipes, cleaning out crawlspaces, picking up deadwood or windfall... things that homeowners should do anyway.

We still have plenty of Formosan termites in the neighborhood (I see them in an occasional dead tree or fallen log).  We still have flying termite swarms several times per year, and the geckos can barely swallow fast enough to keep up with the activity.  But the termites don't set up in our house, and we don't need to pay for tenting or bait systems or even regular spraying.


Joggernot

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2014, 12:04:40 PM »
You've gotten some very good advice here.  Only thing I could add is that the underground termites we had in our house (yes, they actually swarmed into the house, not outside) had followed a crack in our slab all the way to an inside wall.  We did have full treatment for underground termites and made sure we got a guarantee.  We used the guarantee the next year when a much smaller swarm again happened inside the house.  Seems they moved to the foam behind the bathtub and made a nest where they could get a little water.  After that we were termite free.

davo

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2014, 06:50:57 PM »
There was a small debacle with this. But in the end I signed up for a one year termite bond with the same company. Cost of $400. Before next year rolls around I will do more looking around for competitors.

Joggernot

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Re: [Advice Request] Termite treatment & termite bonds (insurance)
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2014, 07:43:56 PM »
There was a small debacle with this. But in the end I signed up for a one year termite bond with the same company. Cost of $400. Before next year rolls around I will do more looking around for competitors.
With termite companies you want a reputable company.  We have several termite "sprayers" who come spray and leave.  They are cheap, but you get what you pay for.