All Creatures Great and Small


It is very hot in the southwest and very dry.  All animals need moisture and that includes termites.  Subterranean termites will be moving in under slab homes because the soil is damper under slabs.  You can do one of two things.  You can have your home inspected by a qualified inspector, or you can monitor termites to see if any are near your home. If the latter, place some cardboard, about two feet square, in the ground near your home.  Bury them about 4 inches deep in several areas around your home. Wet the cardboard with water and some Ginger Ale before you bury it. If there are termites under your home, they will come out and feed on the cardboard.  Check the cardboard about three weeks after burying it and every three or four weeks after. If you find termites in the cardboard, you need to get your home treated.  If so, make sure it is done properly.

What many companies do is measure your home and then determine the cost of the job based on the linear footage. They will use 4 gallons of termiticide per 10 linear feet and give you an estimate based on that. However, what they are not doing is measuring the depth of the footer of your foundation. According to the label, they have to use 4 gallons of termiticide per 10 linear feet, per foot of depth. If you home is 250 linear feet, they would use 100 gallons of termiticide at 4 gallons per 10 linear feet. However if your footer is 2 feet deep, they should have used 8 gallons per 10 linear feet or about 200 gallons total. This is what the label requires and the label is the law. And this is what needs to be done to properly protect your home.  One company told me they don’t measure the footer because they don’t want to use more termiticide because they will have to charge more and if they are bidding on the job, they want to be low bid.

When they make a graph of your house, they have to put the linear footage on the graph. They should also put the depth of the footer on the graph so they can determine how much termiticide they should use. In some homes, the depth of the footer could be different around different parts of the home, so they should measure each side of your house. Many companies are not doing this. Basically they are putting less termiticide around your home than is required to keep termites out. When they treat around the perimeter of the house, they need to dig a trench at least 6 inches deep, where possible. Then they insert a ground rod into the soil to get the termiticide down to the footer and they should pump enough termiticide into the area as required on the label. The ground rod holes should be no further than 12 inches apart. When they drill in patios or other concrete areas around your home, they should insert a 4 foot ground rod into the hole so they are sure the termiticide will get down to the footer.

Basically look at the graph of any termite work you had done and make sure the depth of the footer is on the graph. If that information is not on the graph, you can do several things. First, you can call the company and ask them why they didn’t treat your home properly and ask them to retreat it using the proper amount of termiticide at their cost. Or you can just ask for your money back and hire another company to retreat your home properly.

Good companies will follow the instructions on the label (and the law) and treat your home with the proper amount of termiticide. If you are planning on having a termite treatment done in the future, please insist to the company that you want the treatment done according to the label and you want the footer of your home measured so the proper amount of termiticide necessary to treat it can be determined. If you are a realtor and are selling a home where termites have been found, make sure you get it done properly. If not and a buyer finds out it was treated using substandard methods as I described, there could probably be legal issues you don’t need.

Termites will be active this summer with all this dry heat.  This is something you should be aware of.  If you have your house treated for termites, it needs to be treated properly.

I have a termite manual you can have if you want.  It describes the various species of termites and wood boring beetles that can infest homes and the proper treatment methods necessary to control them.  The manual is entitled, “Termite Inspection and Control Manual for Realtors and Homeowners.”  Email me at if you want a copy of the termite manual.


About askthebugman

I have been in the pest management industry for over 40 years. In that time I have used almost every pesticide available to control so-called “pests”. With this experience, I have learned over the years that the pesticides we use are far more dangerous than the pests we are trying to control. As a result, it has become a passion for me to improve the quality of life for humans and the planet, by assisting people to not only become more educated and aware of their environment – but also by learning to manage their home and business with a sustainable and healthier approach to tending to unwanted infestations of bugs. Please enjoy my blog posts, check out my publications, utilize my services, or simply stay in touch if you have a bug question…


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