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Termites in hearth


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Posted by Elsa on 11:04:29 4/3/2010 from 24.168.69.241:

Hi again, John! You know me from the squirrel board – it’s Elsa form Staten Island, NY. I’m back, this time about termites. (Thanks for the one-stop service!)

I left a plastic bag on the living room hearth for a couple of months (part of decluttering), and when I picked it up there were these little white things trying to escape out of the light and into the cracks in the cement between the stones. I quickly scooped some up and tentatively identified them as termite workers by using Google Images.

I remember that something similar happened a year or two ago, but back then I wasn’t quick enough to scoop the beasties up, and didn’t think, “Termites?”

So presumably the termites are in the floor joists for the living room, which doesn’t surprise me because in the first garage (under the living room) you can see the joists are water stained. (I am a little puzzled about why the workers are interested in being in the hearth – do they eat slightly crumbly cement, or are they just hanging out in the upstairs “lounge” on their break time?)

We need a new roof, re-pointing of the brick on and around the fireplace chimney, a chimney cap, and waterproofing both of the patio (over the second garage) and of the place where the patio meets the exterior wall of the living room. (We now have the refinancing to do all this, but there was a delay while I consulted with an architect on how to keep costs down, and while we waited for the snows to end.) Somewhere in there, I fervently hope we don’t need to replace joists.

But the fact that I know how to get some termites to come to me (by leaving a plastic bag on the hearth) seems like a potentially bright spot in all this misery, don't you think?

John, I understand you don’t generally recommend the termite baiting systems, but doesn’t this seem like a special situation?

It seems that one problem with the baiting systems is that the termites don’t necessarily find the “bait”. (It isn’t an especially attractive “bait”, but just a piece of wood, right?) I know that for this and other reasons you tend to recommend conventional soil treatment instead.

But what if some kind of poison were put right where I know (well, I’m pretty sure, since they’ve done so twice before) they’ll appear (that particular spot on the hearth), if I cover the spot with a plastic bag? (We have no pets and our son is eleven, so he would be able to stay away from the poison.)

Wouldn’t the termites get the poison sooner (and take it back to their friends sooner) than if I used either bait stations out in the yard or conventional soil treatment?



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