Termites: CASE 002 -- Termites In Front Porch Column

Northeast Travis County, Texas

BACKGROUND: As in case 001, I am going to ask you to put yourself in this man's shoes. You are experienced in the construction trades, and in every aspect of residential and commercial building systems. As the head of maintenance for a respected Texas company that operates out of commercial buildings throughout central, east, and south Texas, you oversee the work performed by the A/C, plumbing, and pest management firms that service those buildings. You already know a lot about termites, the damage they cause, and the conditions that often lead to termite infestations. As a result, you've taken pains to insure your private residence is kept in excellent condition, inside and out.

CASE 002 NE TRAVIS CO TX FRONT OF HOME

Then, one day, you notice what appears to be wood rot at the base of the column on your front porch. Stooping down, you see something else. A thickened line of mud extends from the soil, up the foundation, to the base of the column. You have seen this kind of thing before, but not at your home. When you disturb the mud it breaks away, and you are not surprised when termites--small, yellowish white bugs--pour out.

CASE 002 PORCH COLUMNCASE 002 SHELTER TUBE CLOSEUP

You do a thorough check of the rest of your home, inside and out. You look for more shelter tubes on your foundation, and for evidence of termite activity on your interior walls, but you find neither. Now ask yourself these questions:

(1). Is this termite infestation one that you should be able to deal with by yourself, with no outside assistance?

          A. Yes---you're already acquainted with the basics, due to your construction and maintenance experience.

          B. No---even with a strong construction and maintenance background, you will still need some help.

(2). If you require some outside assistance, how much will you need?

          A. You should not try to do any of it by yourself. Only a professional termite specialist can do it properly.

          B. Do it yourself, but first get advice on the best products to use, and how and where to use them.

          C. Go to a local discount store, talk to one of the floor experts in the nursery and pesticide department, and let them point you in the right direction. It is amazing how much those people know. Then buy a bottle of stuff they recommend, follow the instructions listed on the label, and be done with it.

(3).  If you decide to do it yourself, how much work is involved?

          A. Just treat the area where the termite tube is presently found, and nothing more is needed.

          B. At least treat the rest of the foundation perimeter, because treating the termites at the porch column won't kill the colony, and they will probably try to get into the house somewhere else along the foundation.

          C. To do this right and protect your investment properly, you should treat every plumbing penetration in the house, because, once the porch column is treated, the termite colony will redouble its efforts to get inside, and the easiest place to enter undetected is through a plumbing penetration in the slab.

          D. You need to do B and C, in combination, as a minimum.

Stay tuned for my answers to these questions.

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