Termites? Occupied 4 unit? Treatment -orange oil- tenting - DIY??

8 Replies

Anyone have recommendations for treatment of termites.  
I'm in Southern California- have wood frame 4 unit occupied building. 2 stories. There's several places on wood trim, wood frame, doors, windows, with holes and termites visable. Also we regularly see termite droppings. 1985 building

How about the Orange Oil they always advertise? Would this get deep into crevices etc? Is tenting better than Orange Oil?

Call a licensed termite control provider.

Looking to avoid tenting

It depends on what you intend to do with the property, access underneath and how handy you are as to what you can do. If you intend to sell the property, splurge on the licensed exterminator so they can sign off on it. Even so, doing it yourself will take a days labor and a couple hundred dollars worth of insecticide to do it right. 

If you (or your maintenance person) are somewhat handy you can handle it, especially if you have access underneath such as a basement or crawlspace. If you have a concrete slab or concrete around the building, it is probably worth calling the pro as you really need to drill the concrete and use a high pressure sprayer to deliver it.  

Termidor or Phantom work best for termites. Follow any applicable safety instructions. You will need to dig a 6 inch trench around your entire perimeter of your building. The insecticide will need to be mixed in 5 gallon buckets and poured into the trench. Then you need to treat the inside of your sills and joists and any areas that are visibly infested.

I believe domyownpestcontrol used to have a video and guide on how to do it.

Much success.

First of all, determine the type of termites you have.

Are they subterrainean termites that came up from the soil below?  If so your treatment is focused on below, and you have a choice of bait stations versus drilled/pumped and perimeter termicides.  Lots of pros and cons of both approach.

Are they drywood termites?  If so they might have gained access via some roof leaks or fascia and worked their way inside the house.  Problem with drywood termites is you don't really know the full extents of infestation - unless you are going to inspect every joist and rafter in the attic and have access to your interior wall plates and studs, which makes it very difficult to spot treat.  You might have no choice but to tent.

Call a termite company and get an inspection and a quote.  You don't necessarily have to tent.  They can tell you what they can spot treat and whether or not it will be effective.  Just don't use the termite contractor for any of suggested repairs.  Those are always way marked up.  You can you use a handyman or carpenter and even some painting contractors and get a better price.

Originally posted by @K. Marie Poe:

Call a termite company and get an inspection and a quote.  You don't necessarily have to tent.  They can tell you what they can spot treat and whether or not it will be effective.  Just don't use the termite contractor for any of suggested repairs.  Those are always way marked up.  You can you use a handyman or carpenter and even some painting contractors and get a better price.

Good advice on not relying on the termite company for repair work.

The only problem with getting a termite company to do an inspection and recommend whether to spot treat or tent, at least from my experience in South Florida, is that 99% of the time they have recommended tenting.

I believe the reason is that most companies, especially the larger ones, are sending out salesmen with a clip board.  They come to visit your homes, you show them the termite evidence, droppings etc...they pop into the attic for a few seconds with a flash light, they come down, and they recommend tenting.  They don't crawl through your attic to gauge the degree of infestation, or look at mud tubes around the perimeter...most just say "yeah, its Florida, there's termite in every house, sooner or later, your best bet is to tent now, and get on a annual preventative maintenance program".  They are there to sell the maintenance program, and unless they can see clearly the infestation is truly localized - like the legs of a bookshelf or a four poster bed and clearly hasn't spread, they are most likely going to recommend tenting.  Now once they get you signed on a annual program, and if a year later you see new termite activities, and call them to come out again, that's when they will recommend a spot treatment.  I have had one case where the first visit they recommended tenting, and after two years a re-occurrence at the SAME EXACT SPOT, called them and second time they recommended spot treatment.  I asked them why a different recommendation when the symptoms are exactly the same, they couldn't answer except "we'll try this and see if this works".  I believe the real reason for the second time is to spot treat is cheaper for them.

You might have better luck calling a local, reputable, family owned termite company that sends out experts and not salesmen, but those are rare breeds as they continue to be acquired by national chains.

Originally posted by @Sam Leon:
Originally posted by @K. Marie Poe:

Call a termite company and get an inspection and a quote.  You don't necessarily have to tent.  They can tell you what they can spot treat and whether or not it will be effective.  Just don't use the termite contractor for any of suggested repairs.  Those are always way marked up.  You can you use a handyman or carpenter and even some painting contractors and get a better price.

Good advice on not relying on the termite company for repair work.

The only problem with getting a termite company to do an inspection and recommend whether to spot treat or tent, at least from my experience in South Florida, is that 99% of the time they have recommended tenting.

I believe the reason is that most companies, especially the larger ones, are sending out salesmen with a clip board.  They come to visit your homes, you show them the termite evidence, droppings etc...they pop into the attic for a few seconds with a flash light, they come down, and they recommend tenting.  They don't crawl through your attic to gauge the degree of infestation, or look at mud tubes around the perimeter...most just say "yeah, its Florida, there's termite in every house, sooner or later, your best bet is to tent now, and get on a annual preventative maintenance program".  They are there to sell the maintenance program, and unless they can see clearly the infestation is truly localized - like the legs of a bookshelf or a four poster bed and clearly hasn't spread, they are most likely going to recommend tenting.  Now once they get you signed on a annual program, and if a year later you see new termite activities, and call them to come out again, that's when they will recommend a spot treatment.  I have had one case where the first visit they recommended tenting, and after two years a re-occurrence at the SAME EXACT SPOT, called them and second time they recommended spot treatment.  I asked them why a different recommendation when the symptoms are exactly the same, they couldn't answer except "we'll try this and see if this works".  I believe the real reason for the second time is to spot treat is cheaper for them.

You might have better luck calling a local, reputable, family owned termite company that sends out experts and not salesmen, but those are rare breeds as they continue to be acquired by national chains.

I think it depends on your market and how much these people need work.  Here in my markets, the termite companies who always recommend tenting would get little work from rehabbers and landlords.  Tenting is often necessary and the right thing to do.  But if you're taking a few facia boards or door jambs, tenting is overkill.  And they know it.  

Thanks guys... great advice as always.  

This is a long term buy and hold property.  I will look into all the above 

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