Because of the serious damage they can cause to wooden structures, termites are among the pests most feared
by homeowners. Swarms of flying termites do not always mean your building is infested. Careful inspection of
the structure is required to confirm an infestation. People frequently mistake swarms of flying ants for termites. If
you suspect that you house is infested, call a professional. Management of the three common California termites varies
- Distinguish flying ants from termites
- Refer to the Pest Quicklist and check the antennae, wings, and waist to confirm that insects are termites.
- Design your building to keep termites out
- Keep a 12-inch barrier of smooth concrete, sand, of other material between the soil surface and substructure wood
beneath a building.
- Choose termite resistant wood for fences or other structures that must contact soil.
- Remove woodpiles, untreated fence posts, and buried scrap wood near structures.
- Provide adequate ventilation to substructures and keep them dry. Immediately repair cracks to foundations.
If termites are invading your home
- Destroy shelter tubes that subterranean termites build between the soil and wood structure.
- If dampwood termite nests are accessible (in moist wood or damp soil), remove infested wood and eliminate
- Drywood termites (nest above ground) can be controlled with heat, freezing, electricity, microwaves, fumigation,
or spot treatments of chemicals.
- For any infestation, call for professional help. Pesticides are usually necessary to control subterranean and
dampwood infestations and do-it-yourself sprays are rarely effective.
Pesticides for termite control
- Pesticides may be injected by professionals into the soil. Special procedures must be followed to prevent
contamination of ground or surface water.
- For soil injections, ask your applicator to use a product other than chlorpyrifos. Newer types of products
such as pyrethroids and chloronicotinyls are safer for health and the environment.
- Baiting can be effective, but may take many months to control a problem and must be constantly followed
up with monitoring.
For more detailed information on
termites visit the UC Davis website.
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