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Termites and brick houses...


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Posted by Moni on 20:36:08 6/23/2008 from 189.169.13.84:

First off, thanks for sharing your expertise with us. This is a very informative site.

I live in Mexico and thought termites only existed in cartoons, ha! Not so, I have found out.
I live in Central-Western Mexico, where the weather is mildly hot (as compared to the North). It rains a lot and houses have humidity problems often. (The stucco in walls has to be repaired every 4-6 years more or less). As you may know, our houses are made of brick, steel, cement, concrete; also, they don't have basements. Structurally they include no wood at all.

I had a preventive Anti-termite treatment done 3 years ago, where my house was professionally drilled and a substance injected. I had heard of Termidor but the company used another pesticide. The treatments are very expensive (for us at least here). They told me Termidor would mean raising the price. OK, so I accepted their termiticide (it was not Bayer's Premise either, don't remember the name but it was a repellent type). I had to get out of the house for 2 weeks, the odor was awful, and I only got a 2-year guarantee. As I am concerned with safety, I did check and the termiticide is approved by authorities.

I decided to go for the preventive treatment after witnessing termite attacks on several neighbour's houses. The insects attack doorframes mainly, because they are wooden. Despite the awful odor (which seemed to be reactivated by our heavy rains every summer), the treatment kept neighbour's termites off my house for the 2 promised years.

But... surprise! Now, I have found I have termites under the main door frame... When I knock on it, it sounds empty inside. It doesn't give in (it's made of tropical expensive hardwood). However, the critters are there and I know because of the neighour experiences. Yesterday morning I found wood-dust under the frame and this morning, I saw a small, bright green swarmer which I killed on the spot.

I have several questions (and please sorry for my bad English):

1 Can termites actually cause structural damage in a house like this (brick, cement, concrete, steel)? I don't know about slab, but construction here follows more the European style (like houses in Spain or Italy).

2 Some companies offer just spot treatment. Is it necessary to drill all over the perimeter again? I spent a lot of money last time. The perimeter treatment costs about 15,000 pesos here (a lot!).

3 If I decided to go for the spot treatment, I have heard they have to repeat it about every 6 months. If I insist on getting Termidor, will it have to be that way?

I am very concerned with damaging my health and I am actually considering selling the house and moving to an apartment sometime in the near future. I had never ever heard of termites in any home or area here before. I don't want to pollute the environment in my home and risk my health out of these bugs. I've also thought that for my situation it's easier to get rid of wooden door frames, which are the problem. I am much more important than them, doorframes or a specific house.

4 Could termites crawl up and cause damage in a first floor apartment (with these same building characteristics)?

Thank you very much for your site,
for sharing your expertise
and for your patience,

Moni
Concerned in Mexico



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