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  1. WarmGuy

    WarmGuy Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    Messages:
    492
    Loc:
    Far Northern Calif. Coast
    My neighbor is moving and offered me his firewood. The firewood's been under a tarp for years, and is past it's prime. Most pieces have termite tunnels, and you can see the termites on others.

    I figure that if I take the wood directly from the pile into the wood stove (that is, no storage close to the house) I'll be OK. I can use up this wood in a few weeks. I don't figure it can infest my good wood.

    What do you think?

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,830
    Loc:
    Casper Wyoming
    So long as it's kept separate. I would use it immediately or not at all to reduce the risk though. Sounds like you'd be doing him more of a favor by taking it than he would be by giving it.
  3. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    I think burning it this year is the best thing you can do.

    No nasty pestisides and free heat to boot!

    Go for it. They are not going to drop off the wood and start eating your house! They need a colony to survive, and the colony is in the ground, not in the wood your burning.... there just there for the free lunch.
  4. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I may be a bit naive, but I have two termite colonies (that I know of) at my house. One (I assume it is only one) is out front near the top of my driveway. The other is out back about 70 feet from the house.

    The one out back is feasting on a downed log that's been here the six years I have. I only discovered it last week, but the colony has probably been there for years (I'm guessing). I would not have known about the one out front except I saw some swarmers last Spring and tracked them to my driveway (both sides).

    I put in some homemade termite traps and waited for the mites to find them. They finally did (I could have checked them more often, but waited many months for some unknown reason) and so I added the termite poison (available at Home Despot) to one of the traps last summer. That one seems to have no activity this year, but the trap got clogged up, so I'll have to check in another month or two (I cleaned it last week).

    On the other side of the drive I noticed the swarmers again this year, so I added poison to that side last week.

    I'm not all that worried about the colony out back. I suspect there are a couple more I don't even know about because of dead wood and stumps out there.

    I know my neighbor has a colony next to his house. I showed him last year by capturing some of the mites and giving them to him in a zip lock. He was in denial, so I've been waiting for the right time to sneak a trap over there. I don't want his termites to find my house eventually, although I'm not sure how far they'll go out looking for food as long as his house is still standing.

    Luckily, none of the traps I've placed adjacent to my house has shown any activity at all. If they do I may call in the professionals. I'm hoping to deal with this myself. I guess they have more powerful poisons available should they be needed.

    Anybody else ever successfully deal with killing termite colonies? Am I kidding myself that I can eliminate them? Is my house being eaten away as I write this???
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,287
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    I have heard that is about control only. There is probably no way - no, not even a nuke bunker buster, that will eliminate these. It's about shielding the building and checking for "accidents" if and when they find a way to get in.
  6. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    You can buy what the pro's use online. Application is usually trenching around the house, and dumping in the "mix". Takes ALOT of water, and the chemicals cost several hundred bucks. I used Premise II on my new homes.

    Look around the house, especially the crawl space if you have one, and look for mud tunnels. The termites use it to go to the ground and structure....kinda like an enclosed highway. Looks closely for tunneled out wood and "sawdust".
  7. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    792
    Loc:
    Richmond VA
    Sandor, I'm glad you chimed in, since you have more experience than I do, but let me add mine. Since my pathetic little business is mostly centered around older homes, I have found that almost all of them have some kind of bug damage. Termites, powder post beetles(many people underestimate the damage they can do), ants, oh, and let me add mold....not an insect but it can really do a number on wood. almost all older homes....to me that is anything built 20 years ago or more, have some kind of bug damage. If I go around and ask my friends and coworkers I bet that less than 10 percent have ever really been down in their crawl space (not a lot of basements around here due to marine clay. and for those who have not I bet 70% havn't had a pest inspection in the last 5 years.

    Find the damage. Treat it, Repair, Monitor it, move on. it doesn't make your house a bad place, if you take care of it you ahve corrected the problem. termites are part of nature so are all the other scourges that destroy homes. And let's not forget water damage. If you let the paint go just one year longer than you should, the water can destroy it.Heck....I spent several hours on a ladder today reparing and painting water damage to masonite siding on my personal residence.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    46,923
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I agree David, termites can be dealt with. Learn about their habits and compensate + protect. One good thing is that heavy-duty, remain-in-the-environment-forever chemicals are not necessary except for the worst cases. Common Borax is a very effective treatment against termites. That's the 20 Mule Team Borax one can get in the grocery store. As little as 1000 ppm will kill the little buggers. So, before pulling out the nukes, try Borax.

    http://www.getipm.com/thebestcontrol/bugstop/control_termites.htm
  9. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Messages:
    917
    Loc:
    Deltaville,VA
    Good point about Borax.

    On new construction, I use BoraCare sprayed on to the floor-joists and outer rim joists. For old house repairs, treat the new material. Wood treated with this will stop mold from growing on it, as well as stop termites, powder post beetles and carpenter ants.

    $80 a bottle for liquid form you mix into a garden sprayer.

    I sprinkle the 20 Mule Team behind base cabinets before setting them, and behind the range and dishwasher to stop those pesky little sugar ants.

    And David, brush on Ethyl Glycol antifreeze to surfaces infected with dryrot, it will kill it and stop it from spreading.
  10. houblon

    houblon New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    12
    Termites were eating my basement window frame. So I had the house treated (termidor in the walls and around the house, borax on the wood). Since now I know what to look for, I check regularly for new infestation.
    Unfortunately, the basement and first floor are hollow block concrete, so they could be anywhere.

    But like Mo, I wonder if I should do anything about colonies around the house, and if this would be beneficial.
    I can take the maul and hit pretty much any older tree-stump, and there they are. They even started to chomp at my oak block that I use for splitting firewood (I guess I did not do much splitting recently).

    So my question is: if I see the termites crawling somewhere, can I quickly dump something on them that would kill the whole colony? Once I disturb them, they probably drop everything, including their lunch and look for a quieter spot. So the stuff I would need should be attaching to them, not ingested. Would dowsing with borax help?

    The other question of course is, would this protect my house? Or would it drive them out of the tree stump and into my house?

    Barney
  11. Mo Heat

    Mo Heat Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    848
    Loc:
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Barney, I read up on the life of Termites and know a little, but not a lot. The poison they put in those Centricon (or whatever like my homemade traps) is meant to kill the colony. The foragers find it in your trap, eat it, bring some back to the colony, and hopefully, eventually, it kills the colony. Takes a while in the best of circumstances.

    The traps actually start out with just wood in them. When you notice termites you then add the poison stakes around that trap using a little coring tool to plant the plastic stake-like, test-tube-like, vessels that hold corrugated cardboard laced with the poison. The poison is fairly benign. It is Termite specific and keeps them from molting. I think if the queen eats it, she is supposed to die, but I've never seen anywhere detail the queen's molting behavior.

    I'm just crossing my fingers as I figure what I'm doing is the same as my neighbor that pays monthly to have someone do the same thing. I'm also going to look for some good spots to put down borax as I know this will kill the mites that contact it through abrading their exoskeleton IIRC. I'm not sure if enough of this gets back to the colony to kill them all. I doubt it.
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