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Marin Termite Control

FREQUENT TERMITE QUESTIONS

26 Apr 2019 18:22


Where do termites come from?
 The word "termite" comes from the latin "termes" & "tarmit" and from the greek "tetranien", meaning "a worm eating wood". Fossils of winged termites (alates) dating back to the Creataceous period (125 million years ago) have been found in China, Labrador, Australia, Africa and South America. Some drywood termites were also found in amber (fossilized tree sap) in the Baltics.
Fossilized Termite

How often should I have my house checked for infestations?
Depending on the age, location and configuration of the structure, you should request an inspection every two to four years. It's long enough for a experienced and licensed inspector to detect any visible evidence of infestation and not too long to allow structural pests (termites, wood boring beetles and fungi) to create significant structural damage. Check also our FAQs page for tips on preventing termite infestations.

Why do termites swarm and when?
 Swarms occur when some workers and soldiers mature into winged females and males (alates). They instinctively fly away to mate and start new colonies. Different species will swarm at various times and seasons. In Marin County, Subterranean termites mostly swarm on warm and humid spring days, while drywood termites tend to swarm in the heat of summer. Dampwood termites generally swarm in fall.

Subterranean Termite Swarmers








What's the biggest termite?
 At 60 feet, the world's largest termite is the inflatable Termidor termite used as a traveling education and information center (see NPR report). Joking aside, it is unclear what is the biggest live termite. Many species compete for this title like the Australian Termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis) and the Arboreal Termite (Nasutitermes corniger) found in Central America and New Guinea. The Pacific Dampwood Termite (Zootermopsis angusticollis), which at 30mm with wings (15mm without) is among the largest, can be found right here in Marin and Sonoma Counties.

Dampwood Termite




How many kinds of termites are there?
According to the University of Toronto, there are over 2761 species of termites within 282 generae. In northern California the most common families of species are
1) "Reticultermes hesperus" (Rhinotermitidae) or Western Subterranean Termite
2) "Incistermes minor" (Kalotermitidae) or Dark Western Drywood Termite, and
3) "Zootermopsis Angusticollis" (Hodotermitidae) or Pacific Dampwood Termite

What is a Xylophaous Insect?
It is an insect that feeds on wood and wood biproducts (paper, cardboard, partical board, plywood, etc.). Termites and wood boring beetles are xylophagous insects, while carpenter ants and carpenter bees are not. Thoug Carpenter ants infest wood members, they do not feed on wood but rather carve wood members for shelter. Ants feed on starches, sugars and other honeydew like products.

Can you tell a Termite from a Carpenter Ant?
 It can be hard to differentiate a swarming termite (alate) from a winged carpenter ant. You're not alone because it is not easy given the many varieties of termites and ants out there. Here are a few critical differences that are fairly easy to spot with a naked eye... and the help of a small magnifying glass. Still! Don't forget to check with a California Licensed Professional Inspector. Ants: Elbowed antennae, narrow waists, separate thorax and abdomen, different size wings, longer legs. Termites: Straight antannae, thick waists, continuous thorax and abdomen, same size wings, shorter legs.

Are you isopterophobic?
Isopterophobia is the fear of wood eating insects (termites, beetles, fungus, carpenter ants etc.). Though termites are annoying when they swarm and may appear repulsive to some, they don't sting or bite and only feed on wood and cellulose bi-products (paper, cardboard, glue, starches, etc.). Termites belong to the "isoptera" order  and isopterophobes don't necessarily fear termites attacking them but rather the damage they can do to their homes. FYI: Fear of all insects is called entomophobia (from entomology the studies of insects).

TERMITE TRIVIA

26 Apr 2019 18:05


Here are a few common questions our homeowners and real estate agents frequently ask.

Bait stations vs. Perimeter Treatments - What's best?
We don't use bait stations given their limited effectiveness and notorious rate of failure.  Why invite the termites for dinner? Given the size of the bait, they'll likely find the house before the bait stations.

Termites swarming galleries next to another company's bait station

We tried many treatments and have found Termidor termiticide to be the most effective against subterranean termites. Since September 2000 we have been using Termidor termiticide and have had 100% success to this date. It's treat and forget!  Plus there are no quarterly service fees and we offer a 5 year warranty with Termidor perimeter treatments.

Tenting/Fumigation - Are there any residual effects?
Vikane Sufuryl Fluoride is a non-residual gas and it is used to deplete the structure of oxygen. Once the fumigation is completed, the tarps are removed, the structure is vented with fans for 24 hours and tested to verify that the structure is cleared and certified for re-occupancy. For more information and the MSDS check the Dow website for Vikane or the EPA's webpage on Sulfuryl Fluoride.


Larkspur City Hall & Fire Department Fumigated by Marin Termite

Is Termidor dangerous to my family and pets?
The active ingredient in Termidor termiticide is “Fipronil” the same reformulated ingredient that can be found in some of the flea control pet products. When applied for termite treatment, Termidor is injected into the ground, under patios/walkways and/or onto soil infested areas hard to reach (in sub areas and beneath decks /stairs). The product has no odor scent or taste and is unknowingly picked up by termites making it so effective. For more information and the MSDS check the website for Termidor.

Termites are flying in my house! Why and what should I do?
Termites swarm to start new colonies. Sometimes they unknowingly swarm indoors, but the environment is not conducive to their survival and they will shortly die.  Call us for a thorough inspection to determine what is the best treatment and to determine if there is any structural damage to your home. During the inspection, and depending upon the type of termite, we'll gladly share some tips on what can be done until the treatment is performed.

Subterranean Termite Swarmers

How can I get rid of dry rot/wood decay damage?
Dry rot is caused by a fungus decaying the structural integrity of wood. Aside from repairing or replacing the damaged wood members, there is no easy way to remove dry rot damage. If fungus is present on the wood surface and damage has not yet occurred, the best is to immediately apply a registered fungicide and prevent moisture intrusion and/or retention with use of proper flashing, moisture proofing and/or wood preservatives. Call us for a professional inspection and we will provide you with a quality report and specific recommendations.

Fungus & Subflooring Wood Decay Damage

How do I know if I have wood boring beetles in my house?
There are many varieties of wood boring beetles,  each with different infestation habits and some may be difficult to detect and identify, particularly to the untrained eye. Generally beetles are rarely seen but their damage is more evident with dust falling from wood members. Tenting and fumigation may be the best treatment, however sometimes a local treatment will suffice. The best course of action is to obtain a professional inspection and report with the appropriate recommendation.



Wood Boring Beetle Holes visible on surface (left)
and exposed damage beneath (right)

How can I prevent termites from infesting my home?
Termites are part of the ecosystem and do serve a purpose; they return dead and dying trees back to the earth. That's fine in the forest but not in our homes.  Here are a few tips and actions that will help against termite infestation:
  • Grade soil away from the home to remove any earth-wood contacts.
  • Fix any plumbing leaks, especially in the bathrooms, the kitchen, laundry room and crawl spaces.
  • Patch, seal and paint all areas subject to moisture intrusions (showers, windows, doors, exterior walls...)
  • Keep the exterior siding well caulked, sealed and painted.
  • Check with a Geotechnical Engineer for any drainage problems.
  • Store goods and wood material without any direct ground contact. 
  • Clear sub areas and crawl spaces beneath your house and keep decks free of wood and tree debris.
  • Call us and have periodic limited inspections every 3 to 4 years.
Subterranean Termite Galleries

We often add and change FAQs so come and check this page again. If you have a specific question feel free to send us an email (info@marintermite.com) or do give us a call at 415/456-9620. Our staff and inspectors will be happy to provide you with information.


MARIN TERMITE CONTROL INSPECTIONS & TREATMENTS

19 Apr 2019 14:52


Since 1971 Marin Termite Control offers detailed & thorough Complete and Limited inspections as well as local and complete treatments and structure fumigation depending on your needs.


Complete Inspections:
Sellers & Realtors:
Many experienced agents and careful sellers request a pre-listing inspection to find any possible issues that may compromise the sale of a property in escrow.

Here are some of the advantages of getting a pre-listing inspection before putting your property up for sale on the MLS:
Correct infestations, damage and defects prior to listing
Maximize your sell price and improve appeal of property
Better appeal and conditions against similar listings
Widen & increase prospective buyers interest
Improve asking and selling price of home for sale
Disclose infestations, damage and defects to price accordingly
Lessen chances of losing interested buyers to other sales.

Buyers & Lenders:
Most buyers, realtors and lenders recommend or request a termite inspection at time of making an offer and prior to removing contingencies to find if there are any infestations and costly repairs to be expected or planned.

Here are some of the advantages to getting a purchase inspection:
Know condition of structure with infestations, damage and deficiencies
Expose condition of property and potential costs of treatment, repairs or replacement
Request correction prior to close of escrow or credit for costs to be incurred
Improve negotiating leverage to lessen listing price for a lower purchase price
Allows buyers to reconsider and withdraw their offer in case of doubt or high repair costs
Permits prospective buyers to compare known conditions with other similar properties

Our inspections are fair, straight to the point, detailed and thorough. Our reports list active infestations (section 1 items), issues conducive to infestation (section 2), inaccessible areas in need of further inspection (section 3) and relevant informational items (section 4). Each item addressed is followed with a recommendation and the cost of some items may be estimated upon request.

Most reports are faxed and/or emailed (PDF format) the following business day and and a hard copy is sent via US mail upon request. "Complete Inspections and Reports" start at $300 and depending upon the type, size and location of the structure to be inspected.

Limited Inspections:  As a homeowner, whether you witnessed an active infestation or want to periodically check if there are any currently damaging your home. We offer competitive pricing for a Limited Inspections and provide a detailed report addressing not only specific areas of concerns but other issue that may lead to infestations

Here are some of the advantages to getting a periodic limited inspection:
Find and correct hidden infestations and damage before costly repairs are incurred
Expose conditions that may lead to infestations, deterioration and damage
Obtain treatment and repair options from professional inspectors with years of experience
Compare prices, warranties and quality of work provided with other companies
Determine what priorities need to be addressed first and what can be deferred
Correct deficiencies or inadequacies before they lead to infestation and damage
Get  informative recommendations for preserving your home and preventing infestations

We provide valuable and quality service with decades of experiences in professional construction, entomology, integrated pest management, technological and chemical knowledge. We perform thorough and detailed inspections and deliver clear and concise quality reports that include detailed diagnosis and specific recommendations backed with custom warranties.

Free Inspections: Some of the larger corporations or franchised companies offer so-called "Free Inspections" as a marketing tool and incentive to attract a wide variety of clients. The cost of all these free inspections is passed onto clients through a higher price for treatments and repairs, including the cost of other inspections that did not result in work.

Marin Termite Control believes that you should not have to incur the cost of other's inspections. We do not provide free inspection due to operational costs and expenses and charge a nominal and reasonable fee for providing you with a thorough inspection, detailed report and the extra time we take to provide you with all the relevant and correct information to allow you to make the right decision.

We provide our customers with the best service, treatment, repairs and follow-through in the industry. Our inspectors don't cut corners, speed through inspections or give standard marketing speeches to give the illusion of free services for a higher price. Marin Termite is a family owned company where you won't be treated just like another client. With Marin Termite you can count on personalized care and you will always remain our local and valued customer.

Treatments

Fumigations:  For extensive Drywood Termite infestation, we provide tenting and fumigation of residential and commercial structures with Vikane Sulfuryl Fluoride and we offer a 3 year warranty on fumigated structures. Upon request, a fumigation schedule and checklist is sent to you and our workmen will check the structure is prepared for the fumigation and clear of any visible Drywood Termite pellets.



Perimeter Treatments: For Subterranean Termite infestations, we provide a complete perimeter chemical treatment to residential and commercial structures with Altriset or Termidor termiticides and we offer a 5-year warranty against re-infestation of Subterranean Termites to perimeter-treated structures. Treatment consists of establishing a complete underground termiticide barrier along the entire perimeter of the house.







Warranties
Perimeter Treatments: 5 year warranty against Subterranean Termites with complete perimeter treatments.
Drywood Fumigations: 3-year warranty against Drywood Termites to fumigated structures.
Local Spot Treatments: Limited warranty depending on accessibility and size of infestation.

Questions? Give us a call at (415) 456-9620 ~ (415) 388-2375 or (415) 883-8425

GREEN PEST CONTROL

29 Mar 2019 17:52


We all want a healthier environment; organic foods, natural products, better air quality, clean water and fewer pesticides. No wonder many ask us if and how can pests be eliminated without using harmful pesticides.

Along with green construction, sustainable pest control is achievable but does require a new way of thinking, planning and building. It also means a little more maintenance and using natural products, low-impact and ecologically sound materials when necessary. In other words: “Working with nature rather than fighting it.”

Green Construction: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Consult first with your architect, contractor and pest control operator to avoid creating or leaving existing conditions that lead to infestations.
Good drainage in and around structures to prevent moisture intrusion and water pooling in crawl spaces
Moisture membranes and concrete soil covers to keep sub-areas dry, clean and unwelcoming to pests
Sufficient Ventilation in enclosed areas to prevent stagnant and unhealthy air leading to mildew and mold
Adequate elevation and grading away from the structure to prevent earth-wood contacts and faulty grades
Ample roof overhangs, flashings, gutters, downspouts and drain lines to prevent leaks and deterioration
Proper flashing and joints around exterior doors, windows, siding and trim to prevent moisture intrusion
Borate based pre-treatment (Bora-Care or Tim-Bor) of exposed wood and foundations before enclosures
Complying with and exceeding state and local building ordinances for a healthier and safer home
Concrete cover with
sump pump in subarea
Proper drainage with concrete  foundation above grade
and concrete cover in crawl spaces
Bora-Care or Tim-Bor pre-treatments
prior to wall and floor enclosure

Sustainable Maintenance:Use nature's lessons and allies to your advantage”. Once completed discourage nature's invaders and maintain the structure and its surroundings inhospitable to pests.
Maintain the structure's exterior siding and trim sealed, painted and watertight.
Keep and trim vines, trees, shrubs and vegetation away to promote air movement and a dry environment
Don't pile, store, build or lay material, plants or added buildings against the exterior of the structure
Keep sprinklers and other irrigation systems from watering against or near the structure.
Don't add planter beds, stone facia, brick veneer or raise soil grade against the exterior siding
Keep ventilators unobstructed to promote air movement and replace torn ones to keep rodents out
Clean and clear roofs, gutters, downspouts and drain lines, particularly during fall, winter and spring
Have your sump pumps, drain lines and plumbing checked and serviced to prevent leaks and moisture
Keep all areas dry and clean to discourage common pests (ants, flies, beetles, fleas, termites, etc.)
Know friends and chase away foes: Spiders, birds, lizards, and some beetles are all pest predators
Use non-toxic traps or repellents to avoid secondary wildlife poisoning (e.g. birds of pray and reptiles)
When using retail available products, always follow the label never exceeding recommendations
Consult with a licensed professional before adding, remodeling or modifying any improvements
Call to get a periodic pest inspection by a State Licensed Professional to discover infestations early
Wood decay damage (dry rot) caused by moisture intrusion from faulty or missing flashing
Water in subareas without drainage lead to mold, wood decay, termite & beetle infestations
Severe termite & wood decay damage caused by adjacent planter bed and faulty grade

Low Impact Pest Control: Nature is tenacious and in spite of the above recommendations it may still find ways to infest. Gone are the days of creosote, chlordane and such other pesticides that were common around homes. Decades of public awareness, research and development have lead to more target specific and safer products eliminating pests without affecting occupants, the local ecosystem or surrounding environment.

Bora-Care & Tim-Bor are made from naturally
occuring sodium borate found in Boron California
Altriset is a non-repellent termiticide with a toxicity level lower than salt or orange oil
Termidor-SC Odorless products affect termites not adjacent plants


Marin Termite recommends following the above recommendations first and uses the following products once infestations do occur: Natural inorganics (Bora-Care, TimBor, clays, diatomaceous earth, salts), colorless and odorless non-repellents (Termidor & Altriset) that have no effect on plant life and minimal impact on the environment.

Call 456-9620 and ask for one of our licensed inspectors to schedule an inspection.

ORANGE OIL FACTS vs OTHER TERMITICIDES

29 Mar 2019 17:50



On-going ads by some tout “Orange Oil” as "The Green" treatment alternative against termites.  So is orange oil a viable alternative or is it just another new marketing ploy painting the planet orange, green, blue or any other color of the rainbow with catchy ads? How does orange oil compare to other known and new treatments and is it truly effective and reliable?

History and Facts: The citrus industry produces many bi-products from concentrates to compounds used in foods, cosmetics, chemicals and other areas. The rind acid of citrus fruit is mechanically, steamed or chemically extracted to produce d-Limonene (C10H16 ), a hydrocarbon oil (terpene) also found in conifer and some other plants. The orange oil extract (OOE) is used as fragrance, solvents or dispersing agents found in various products from candles to paint stripper, cleaners, detergents, shampoo, sprays and some insecticides. Orange oil extracts are used mostly as mild repellents against fleas, mites and mosquitoes.

Orange Oil and Termite Treatment: Orange oil is a liquid that is pressure injected into the wood by drilling many 3/8" holes into the wood in a V or X pattern every 2.5" to 5" apart. The key to using orange oil is getting enough product into the wood to absorb and travel through termite channels so it is critical to inject an ample amount. Orange is very acidic and will damage painted and varnished wall surfaces, wallpaper, fabric and other items, so it  is critical the technician performing the treamtent be very careful and cover furniture, flooring and wall coverrings. Orange oil has a smell that we like, but the termites don't thorough treatment is or any surviging termites will move to other areas and avoid the treated wood. Since the orange oil evaporates and becomes less effective after it has dried, any exposed adjacent wood members should be treated with a borate material such as TimBor or BoraCare to provide a residual effect. Orange oil should not be used with non-repellent products like Termidor or Altriset which are engineered to be tasteless & ordorless. Using orange oil with Termidor and Altriset defeats the purpose of using a non-repellent product that termites won't avoid. Orange oil is very acidic so caution is necessary to avoid skin, eye and mouth contact.

Effectiveness of orange oil: Lab test from UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Riverside's Entomology Departments show that d-Limonene has a very short afterlife of only 2 to 3 days and lacks a residual effect to kill and prevent termites from reinfesting treated areas. Orange oil application does not work in soil treatment against Subterranean Termites, even as a repellent due to its short life. Additionally, it lacks the transfer effect from contaminated termites to pass on the toxicity of the product to other members of the colony and the termite queen who may survive and keep the colony alive. When applied directly to wood against Drywood Termites it is critical that a sufficient amount of oil reaches each and every termite or the colony will survive and continue feeding on wood members of the house. There is no current technology to know if all termites have been killed so companies who treat with orange oil also recommend application of another long lasting termiticide such as Tim-Bor or Bora-Care.

Comparison results of independant lab controlled tests from the universities and pest control professionals show that local orange oil treatment is less performant than Termidor-SC, Bora-Care or Tim-Bor, particularly over a long period of time.
Local Treatment
Percent Death after 3 Months
Smell/Odor Sent/Vapor
Type of Insecticide
Transfer Effect Between Termites
Residual Effect After Treatment
Altriset *
100%
No
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
Termidor-SC
100%
No
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
Tim-Bor
99%
No
Non-Repellent
No
Yes
Bora-Care
98%
No
Non-Repellent
No
Yes
Optigard ZT
81%
Yes
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
XT-2000
81%
Yes
Contact/Repellent
No
No
Premise Foam
41%
No
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
Water Only
6%
No
N/A
No
No
Untreated
3.3%
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
SOURCE: Dr. Vernard Lewis, UC Berkeley & Dr. Michael Rust, UC Riverside
For additional information and details on the study and results visit the UC-Berkeley

* Altriset is the first and only registered termiticide without a warning label and classified as "reduced-risk" under the US EPA

Orange Oil vs. Fumigation:  The Structural Pest Control Board of California states that orange oil is another localized treatment tool… against the elusive drywood termite. It is not an alternative to all-encompassing methods of treatment such as fumigations (SPCB Newsletter). Like Termidor-SC, Bora-Care and Tim-Bor, orange oil treatments entails injection and/or surface treatment of infested wood members. Sulfuryl fluoride has been researched and effectively used for decades with very strict and controlled procedures and specific safety measures, all reviewed and supervised by the California Structural Pest Control Board, the Department of Pesticide Regulations and the Environment Protection Agency. Each year, thousands of structures (homes, apartments, schools, shopping malls, public buildings, silos, factories, railroad cars, etc.) are fumigated in the US and Canada when local treatments are not feasible. Fumigation does require vacating the structure, but it is a sure method of erradicating all drywood termites from the structure. Like orange oil, its greatest advantage is also its greatest weakness; no residual effect to prevent termites from re-infesting. For additional comparison between orange oil and fumigation treatments check: http://www.ywfumigation.com/images/vs.pdf .

Orange Oil vs. Termidor-SC and Other Termiticides: Like plant pyrethrins or synthetic pyrethroids, orange oil is another contact insecticide. The effectivness and smell last only 2 to 3 days and the treatment has no long lasting residual effect against remaining termites or to prevent termites from re-infesting treated areas. The challenge is to kill all termites on contact, including the queen or the colony will survive. This is very hard to do since the technician does not know where all colony members and the queen are located. Orange oil does not have a chemical transfer effect from one termite to another such as Termidor or Altriset (non-repellent) nor does it have any lasting effect such as as Termidor, Altriset, Bora-Care or Tim-Bor to contaminate other termites or keep termites from re-infesting treated areas. Given the analysis and results above and our experience of many treatments in wood frame homes, we prefer and recommend using Termidor-SC, Altriset, BoraCare or TimBor for a more effective and long lasting treatment.

Orange Oil & Health Hazards: Orange Oil may stain wall coverings and wood surfaces and should be applied carrefully. As a citrus bi-product, orange oil appears to be a green alternative. However its health hazard may not be limited to termites. The volatile citrus oil is a repellent to pets and can cause some humans and pets to experience allergies and some breathing difficulties, particularly among asthmatics and citrus allergic subjects with Pantothenic Acid (or Vitamin B-5) deficiency. Though it is labelled low toxicity, 92% pure d-limonene is still not approved for retail sale and results from renound organizations such as the IPCS and EPA indicate that, whether inhaled, oral or dermal, health hazards due to acute (high dose) or chronic (repeated) exposure do exist. Studies and analysis indicate that orange oil (d-limonene) should be handled like other low-toxicity insecticide (just like Tim-Bor, Bora-Care and Termidor-SC) and used with caution. In doubt, consult your doctor prior to any treatment and inform your pest operator of any allergies you may have to avoid any reactions. An alternative is to use odorless products such as Bora-Care, Tim-Bor or Termidor-SC.

Conclusion: In spite of its "green and eco-friendly" marketing appeal, orange oil  is not a reliable and absolute solution to completely erradicate all drywood termites. Its just another insecticide with its limitations for local treatments. But studies show that orange oil, even at high concentration, it is not as effective or long lasting as other commonly used termiticides at eliminating termite colonies, particularly in hidden and hard to reach areas. Some companies continue to promote orange oil because of its great ecological and marketing appeal but they use it in conjunction with other termiticides due to its limitations.

We have tried several orange oil applications and due to its low efficiency and lack of long term effectiveness, we have observed better local treatments results with Altriset, TimBor, Bora-Care andTermidor-SC without odors and without vacating your home. In addition to the effectiveness of the treatment, the thoroughness of the application and the quality of the work performed by the applicator is what matters and is most important to erradicate an infestation.


For further information and additional questions, don't hesitate to call Marin Termite
and ask to speak with one of our State Licensed Inspectors: (415) 456-9620

ALTRISET vs TERMIDOR

29 Mar 2019 17:48


ALTRISET vs. TERMIDOR: WHICH TREATMENT IS MOST EFFECTIVE
AND BETTER FOR YOU AND THE ENVIRONMENT?

Marin Termite Control aims to be at the forefront of environmentally safer and the most effective termite solutions. Years of experience, customer feedback and record tracking help us to provide our customers with the most reliable treatments and with the lowest impact on the environment.

 Termidor has been used in California for both subterranean and drywood termites over 10 years and has a proven record as a reliable low-risk termiticide. Termidor is not systemic and does not affect plant life around your home.  The active ingredient “Fipronil” is found in Frontline and Fiproguard pet products for flea control. Termidor is a non-repellent termiticide (no odor, fumes, color or taste) and has a transfer effect between termites through grooming and feeding (trophallaxis). Termidor is also used against carpenter ants and other small insects around structures. We found Termidor to be the most effective and reliable product against both subterranean termites and drywood termites.


Altriset is newer and similar latest generation of termiticide using anthranilic diamides (from the Ryania genius tree) with the lowest toxicity level of all termiticides. Altriset's active ingredient “Chlorantaniliprole” is reported as having no effect on mammals (humans, pets, cattle, etc.) or bees and is not systemic with plants. Altriset is approved for subterranean termite treatments only at this time. Research is underway for drywood termites. Altriset is a non-repellent termiticide (no odor, fumes, color or taste) and has a transfer effect between termites through grooming and feeding (trophallaxis). Over the years we found Altriset to be somewhat less effective than Termidor but still more effective than other termiticides.

PROTECTION: Altriset and Termidor are both rapid acting and stop subterranean termites preventing further infestation and swarms inside structures. Depending on the size of the colony, Termidor and Altriset can eradicate an entire subterranean colony within days or weeks. Termidor and Altriset remains effective for years and provide a long lasting protection against subterranean termite infestation without any short or long-term impact on adjacent plants, nearby landscaping or the environment. That's is why Marin Termite Control will continue to provide a 5-Year warranty against re-infestation of subterranean termites with complete perimeter treatments.

RAPID/LASTING: Termites travel underground through cracks, voids and decaying roots. Studies show they branch out in multiple areas often infesting structures through multiple entry points at the perimeter of the structure and in subareas. Altriset or Termidor termiticide is injected into the soil along the perimeter foundation line of the structure to provide a complete exterior protection and in infested areas to stop termites immediately, keeping them from further damage and swarming.  Because Termidor and Altriset have no smell, taste or color, termites do not detect or avoid it. Research shows that once termites come in contact with Altriset or Termidor they transfer the effect of the product with other termites thereby passing the termiticide onto each other. This is the reason why Altriset and Termidor are so effective.

Termiticide
(Active Ingredient)
Pesticide
Label
Target
Termites
Smell/Odor
Scent/Vapor
Type of
Insecticide
Transfer
Effect
Effect on
Plants
Altriset (chlorantraniliprole) *
None
Subterranean & Drywood
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
None
Termidor-SC (Fipronil)
Caution
Subterranean & Drywood
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
None
BoraCare/TimBor (Sodium Borate)
Caution
Drywood Only
None
Non-Repellent
No
Toxic
Optigard-ZT (Thiametoxam)
Caution
Drywood Only
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Systemic
XT-2000 (d-Limonene) *
Caution
Drywood Only
Yes
Contact/Repellent
No
Toxic
Premise 75 (Imidacloprid)
Caution
Subterranean & Drywood
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Systemic

ADVANTAGES: Altriset and Termidor are faster acting and longer lasting that other termiticides like Premise 75, Optigard-ZTor XT-2000 (Orange Oil) remaining effective for years. Another big advantage of Altriset and Termidor is that they do not affect plant life are not systemic and won't leach with the next rainfall. Altriset has an excellent environmental profile, no warning signs like other pesticides and it is the first and only termiticide that registered as “Reduced Risk” by the EPA.

Eliminates in less than 3 months
Halts termite feeding within hours
Provides residual effect for more than 5 years
Non-repellent materials undetected by termites
Impacts behavior of termites by enhancing grooming and communication in termite colony
Unique mode of action like no other termite control products
Excellent environment profile and with low toxicity to mamals but effective on termites
Altriset: First and still only "Reduced-Risk" termiticide


So your family, friends and neighbors can enjoy a termite free environment with a 5-year warranty and minimal impact on the environment and surrounding areas of your home.

We recommend periodic inspections to detect infestations early before damage occurs. So don't hesitate and call for a better, more effective and reduced-risk termite treatement.
 
Call Marin Termite Control for further information at 415-456-9620
or visit http://www.marintermite.com

WOOD DESTROYING PESTS

29 Mar 2019 17:43


In Marin and Sonoma County, Fungus (dry rot), Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood Termites as well as Wood Boring Beetles and Carpenter Ants are the most common wood-infesting pests.

Subterranean Termite Swarming Tubes Termites (Isoptera order) feed on wood using protozoa in their digestive system. Like Ants, Termites are social insects with a complex caste of workers who forage, feed and groom other workers, soldiers who defend the colony and reproductives; the queen(s) and the new winged queens and males also called “Alates” who occasionally fly out to start new colonies (swarm) during swarming periods. In Marin and Sonoma we have three types of termites explained below, each living in slightly different environments and with different habits.

Subterranean Termites Subterranean Termites: Most common in Marin and Sonoma Counties, the Western Subterranean Termites (Reticulitermes Hesperus) nest and emerge from the ground through cracks and/or voids in the soil and structures. They feed on wood but live in the ground and build mud galleries (aka tubes) to take back the food to the nest and others. We treat the soil with Termidor termiticide along the structure's perimeter foundation and provide a 5-year warranty. This treatment method has proven to be 100% effective as opposed to bait stations that experience failure.

Dywood Termite Pellets Drywood Termites: More common in Southern California and the Hawaiian Islands, the Western Drywood Termites (Incisitermes Minor) infests and nests directly in wood members. Infestations are more common in southern Marin, often seen on the south side of the structure and not noticeable until pellets appear below infested areas. To eradicate larger infestations we tarp & fumigate the structure with Vikane, Sulfuryl Fluoride and provide a 3 year warranty. Local treatments with Bora-Care, Termidor, TimBor or orange oil (limited warranty) can be done in areas where infested wood members are accessible for treatment.


Dampwood Termites Dampwood Termites: Mostly found in the forest, Dampwood Termites (Zootermopsis Angusticolis) can only live in a damp to wet wood environment and generally requires no chemical treatment. They rarely infest homes and when they do, they are found near leaks from exterior siding, windows, doors, decks, toilets, showers or other moisture prone areas. They are the largest of all local species and swarm in the fall and are commonly seen flying around exterior lights and windows, often around sunset. Treatment and removing the moisture source to the wood members will stop the infestation, as the insect is unlikely to survive in a dry environment.

Fungi/Dry Rot: Fungus is a plant; a microscopic mushroom that infects unprotected wood. Once the wood is infected, fungus grows and decays the wood where moisture and oxygen are present. Treating decayed wood does not remove the damage. Repairing or replacing infested wood with good quality material and repairs is the only way to eliminate damaged areas. Using pressure treated lumber in exterior or moist environments is best. On minor and/or dormant fungi infested areas, application of Bora-Care or Tim-Bor and keeping the area dry will deter further fungal activity.

Wood Boring Beetles: Most wood boring beetles in this area are Lyctids (true powder post), Bostrichid (false powderpost), Anobiid (furniture/deathwatch) and Cerambycid (old house borer). They infest wood with specific moisture content and are mostly seen in wooded areas (Mill Valley, San Geronimo Valley, Lucas Valley and in western Marin/Sonoma). To eradicate large infestations we tarp & fumigate the structure with Vikane, Sulfuryl Fluoride and apply local treatments with Bora-Care or Tim-Bor insecticide on small and accessible infested wood members. Smaller local infestation can be treated with Bora-Care or Tim-Bor and encapsulated with a wood preservative.

Carpenter Ants: Though they do not eat wood like termites, Carpenter Ants (Camponotus modoc) carve areas in between wood members and insulation to nest and raise their young. Once adult, carpenter ants return to the outdoors to forage for food. As they are part of the ecosystem it is hard to keep Carpenter Ants at bay. To control them, keep all tree limbs and vines trimmed and clear of your home as they use them as highway access. Stack fire wood away from the structure or dispose of it if not used. Spackle a non-toxic repellent (such as Tanglefoot) on you power lines just before the connection to you house. If this does not suffice, call us for a localized treatment to erradicate and deter infestations.

Carpenter Bees: They too do not eat wood like termites or wood boring beetles, but carve out a main tunnel with several side pockets to lay their eggs and seal the chambers with honey type filling that will feed the larve and future bee. Carpenter Bees are polinators so its best to deter them from infesting rather than kill them. Only the female has a dart and in spite of their loud and low monotone buzzing, they are not agressive like wasps or other honey bees. They are not eusocial insects like honey bees but rather independant bees who like to nest nearby each other, which is way they are often see in small numbers. They prefer softer sappy wood but will also nest in hardwood. The best is to replace and relocate the infested wood member during winter time if possible, or plug the holes with an epoxy wood willer. Painting or staining the wood member is a good way of detering the insects from re-infesting.

Horntail Wasp: At 1 to 1.5 inches with a 3/4 ovispositor stout, it appears more ominous than it is as most horntail wasps do not have stingers. The adult Horntail Wasp does not eat wood but their larvae do. The female lays her eggs in weakened trees, often after a forest fire and before the trees are harvested. The eggs go dormant while the tree is converted to lumber. Once the lumber is used in construction and several molts and years later, the adult emerges and tries to exit the structure.That's generally when owners can see the insect emerging from a wall or flying inside their structure. The good news is that these wasps do not re-infest structures and treatment is not necessary. Simply let the insect outside and plug the exit hole left behind.

Questions? Give us a call at (415) 456-9620 or check our Links page to other websites.

TERMITE TRIVIA

29 Mar 2019 17:35


This trivia page was put together as a fun and informative way to learn more about structural pests, treatments and chemicals. We hope you enjoy it and welcome any feeback.

Where do termites come from?
The word "termite" comes from the latin "termes" & "tarmit" and from the greek "tetranien", meaning "a worm eating wood". Fossils of winged termites (alates) dating back to the Creataceous period (125 million years ago) have been found in China, Labrador, Australia, Africa and South America. Some drywood termites were also found in amber (fossilized tree sap) in the Baltics.


How often should I have my house checked for infestations?
Depending on the age, location and configuration of the structure, you should request an inspection every two to four years. It's long enough for a experienced and licensed inspector to detect any visible evidence of infestation and not too long to allow structural pests (termites, wood boring beetles and fungi) to create significant structural damage

Why do termites swarm and when?
Swarms occur when some workers and soldiers mature into winged females and males (alates). They instinctively fly away to mate and start new colonies. Different species will swarm at various times and seasons. In Marin County, Subterranean termites mostly swarm on warm and humid spring days, while drywood termites tend to swarm in the heat of summer. Dampwood termites generally swarm in fall.



What's the biggest termite?
At 60 feet, the world's largest termite is the inflatable Termidor termite used as a traveling education and information center. Joking aside, it is unclear what is the biggest live termite. Many species compete for this title like the Australian Termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis) and the Arboreal Termite (Nasutitermes corniger) found in Central America and New Guinea. The Pacific Dampwood Termite (Zootermopsis angusticollis), which at 30mm with wings (15mm without) is among the largest, can be found right here in Marin and Sonoma Counties.


How many kinds of termites are there?
According to the University of Toronto there are over 2761 species of termites within 282 generae. In northern California the most common families of species are
1) "Reticultermes hesperus" (Rhinotermitidae) or Western Subterranean Termite
2) "Incistermes minor" (Kalotermitidae) or Dark Western Drywood Termite, and
3) "Zootermopsis Angusticollis" (Hodotermitidae) or Pacific Dampwood Termite


What is a Xylophaous Insect?
It is an insect that feeds on wood and wood biproducts (paper, cardboard, partical board, plywood, etc.). Termites and wood boring beetles are xylophagous insects, while carpenter ants and carpenter bees are not. Thoug Carpenter ants infest wood members, they do not feed on wood but rather carve wood members for shelter. Ants feed on starches, sugars and other honeydew like products.


Can you tell a Termite from a Carpenter Ant?
It can be hard to differentiate a swarming termite (alate) from a winged carpenter ant. You're not alone because it is not easy given the many varieties of termites and ants out there. Here are a few critical differences that are fairly easy to spot with a naked eye... and the help of a small magnifying glass. Still! Don't forget to check with a California Licensed Professional Inspector. Ants: Elbowed antennae, narrow waists, separate thorax and abdomen, different size wings, longer legs. Termites: Straight antannae, thick waists, continuous thorax and abdomen, same size wings, shorter legs.


RUDOLPH, CALM DOWN! HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS ROOF HAS TERMITES?
Are you isopterophobic?

Isopterophobia is the fear of wood eating insects (termites, beetles, fungus, carpenter ants etc.). Though termites are annoying when they swarm and may appear repulsive to some, they don't sting or bite and only feed on wood and cellulose bi-products (paper, cardboard, glue, starches, etc.). Termites belong to the "isoptera" order  and isopterophobes don't necessarily fear termites attacking them but rather the damage they can do to their homes. FYI: Fear of all insects is called entomophobia (from entomology the studies of insects).

TENTING AND FUMIGATION

28 Mar 2019 15:51


For Fumigation GAS Re-Connection Please Contact:
PG&E Fumigation Re-Connection Service: or call 1-800-468-4743

When infestations of drywood termites, wood boring beetles or bed bugs are out of control and a local treatment is no longer practical, fumigating a structure is the only solution left to erradicate a widespread or inaccessible infestation. Fumigations are done daily on homes, commercial buildings, shopping malls, schools, barns, churches, libraries, airports, museums, silos, railroad cars and shipping containers.

Larkspur City Hall & Fire Department  Residential Home in Mill Valley
Larkspur City Hall & Fire Department (left) ~ Residential Home in Mill Valley (right)

The inert fumigant used is Vikane (Sufuryl Fluoride). It is a true gas, NOT a mist, vapor, powder or suspension. It is used to displace sufficient oxygen in the item or structure to asphyxiate the target insects and leaves no residue, smell or scent after. Sufuryl fluoride is used because it easily penetrates wood and reaches into every areas of the structure (attics, walls and floors) killing all target insects. The fumigation process can last 3 days for bed bugs and drywood termites and up to 5 days for wood boring beetles. More information is available here about Vikane (Sufuryl Fluoride)
Fumigation of Sausalito Plaza Office & Retail Space (1505 Bridgeway)
PROCESS
Once a fumigation date has been scheduled the following steps take place:
a) Instructions and paperwork are given to owners and occupants to prepare the structure for fumigation (see links below)
b) If desired, Nylo-Fumigation bags can be provided to bag and store open food items (see intructions below)
d) The day of the fumigation, the structure is tented because the gas is lighter than air and needs to be contained
e) The gas meter is disconnected by PGE or your local propane supplier to prevent leaks from turned off pilots lights
f) Electric fans are installed inside the structure to spread the fumigant evenly and vent the structure after fumigation
g) The tent is then sealed tight and the fumigation is set as long as needed (1 to 4 days) to erradicate the target pest
h) The day before the tent is removed, vent hatches on the tent are opened to allow ventilation and remove the fumigant
i) The next day, the tent is removed and a state license inspector checks every room to ensure the fumigant is removed
j) Once the structure is tested and certified, a "Notice of Re-Occupancy" is posted on the front door to notify the structure is safe for access
k) PG&E or your local propane supplier can then re-connect the gas and re-lite your pilot lights (see link instructions below)

For information on Fumigation Facts: https://fumigationfacts.com/
For information on Vikane Fumigant: https://vikanefumigant.com/

For Fumigation Re-Connection Please Contact:
PG&E Fumigation Re-Connection Service: or call 1-800-468-4743


Residential Home in San Rafael  Vent Stack and Sand Tubes  Tenting Between House & Vegetation
Two story residence in San Rafael (left) - Side view with vent stack closed (center) - Rear view with tent between trees & house (right)

Vikane Preparation Planning Guide Brochure

Preparation Checklist for Fumigation

For Fumigation Re-Connection Please Contact:
PG&E Fumigation Re-Connection Service: or call 1-800-468-4743


If you have any questions, please call Marin Termite Control at 415-456-9620

MARIN TERMITE CONTOL COMPANY

26 Mar 2019 18:28


Marin Termite Control is locally based in San Rafael as well as family owned and operated . 
We have been proudly serving homeowners, buyers, sellers, realtors, property managers, contractors and residents from Marin and southern Sonoma counties since 1971.

Marin Termite Control provides quality Termite inspections and treatments with personal courteous and prompt service differentiating us from other large chains and franchised corporations. We listen to our customers who have continuously expressed their support and loyalty over the past four decades and our references are available on our website at www.marintermite.com
We provide leading edge solutions with minimal impact treatments that are environmentally safer and friendlier to occupants, pets, plants and the surrounding environment using effective products and careful application processes.
Call us at 415-456-9620 ~ 415-388-2375 ~ 415-883-8425 
or visit out website at www.marintermite.com

DEALING WITH CARPENTER ANTS

26 Mar 2019 18:17


Dealing with Carpenter Ants

Of the dozen species of carpenter ants living in North America, six live in the western US. The most common and indigenous to California is the “Western Black Carpenter Ant” (Componotus modoc) that nest in trees and wooden structures. Carpenter ants are most common in wooded areas of Marin and Sonoma counties. Unlike Termites and wood-boring beetles that eat wood for a living, carpenter ants forage on honeydew, sugars, starches, amino acids, minerals & vitamins. But they can cause damage to insulation and wood members when invading structures. Carpenter ants are eusocial insects that have several queens in the main colony and often establish satellite colonies with additional queens, workers, soldiers and winged reproductives (alates). These swarmers will fly during the swarming season to mate and start new colonies.
Nesting and Infestations:
Like termites and wood boring-beetles, they contribute to the ecosystem’s cycle to return dead trees and wood scraps to the ground as nutrient rich organic material. They nest mostly in dead or hollow trees, trunks, stumps, branches and firewood but will also establish satellite colonies in wooden structures such as sheds, garages and homes. They will excavate wood and insulation and in structures favor tongue and grove open beam ceilings and wall voids. Though they can infest dry areas, they prefer some humidity and an infestation within a structure may reveal an unknown leak or source of moisture intrusion to a roof, chimney, wall, window, condensation or a failing plumbing fixture. Infestation becomes apparent with visible insect activity or debris (frass) falling from ceilings or wall voids, where debris is expelled by carpenter ants busy cleaning their galleries. Debris often looks like small pencil shavings mixed with insulation, other debris and insect body parts. They often travel between the main nest and satellite colonies using power lines, tree branches, bushes and vines touching the structure, as well as railing, fences, decks, balconies, arbors, gutters, downspouts and such features connected to the building. Activity is most prominent in late afternoons on warmer days. The main nest could be off-site, at a neighbor’s property, across the street or in a nearby open space and therefore not accessible for treatment and eradication.
Carpenter Ant vs. Termites: Both carpenter ant and termite alates (winged reproductives) sometimes fly (swarm) at the same time and can easily be mistaken. Carpenter ants have elbowed antennae, thin waists between the head, thorax and abdomen as well as two pairs of wings of different sizes, while termites have straight antennae, a thick waist and two pairs of similar size wings. Termites sometime tear off their wings, which may also lead to confusing them with carpenter ant workers that often forage about for food. Carpenter ants will most often travel in the afternoon through tree limbs and power lines and are easy to spot on wood trim, ceilings and gutters. On the other hand termites tend to fly or swarm on warm days following a rainy or foggy period when moisture is present in the air and are often seen by windows as they try and floy out of buildings.
Preventing and Eliminating Infestations: Being indigenous to California, carpenter ants are always around in the early spring and throughout summer. The best is to prevent infestations through preventative maintenance as proactive measures can go a long way and sometimes prevent the use of chemical treatment. When all else fails then it may be necessary to treat wall, ceiling and eave areas as well as set baits to eliminate persistent infestations. Left unattended, carpenter ants can become annoying invaders generating lots of debris to interior living areas and can also create damage to insulation and wood members of the structure.
Here are a few prevention tips:
1)      Correct roof or plumbing leaks and other moisture problems that will attract carpenter ants and can also lead to damage and deterioration to wood members
2)      Periodically clear roofs and gutters of tree debris to avoid built-up, moisture retention and food source as clogged gutters can contain seeds and food substance sought by carpenter ants
3)      Eliminate earth-wood contacts where soil cover or mulch is against the siding of a home, especially soil covering that is deteriorated or old and rotting
4)      Trim tree limbs, vines, bushes and vegetation away from roof, decks, fences, arbors & siding several feet to create a break between the environment and the house
5)      If you have vines growing against the house, decks, balconies, fences, arbors, try and trim them or isolate them from these to make it harder for ants to travel to and from the exterior
6)      Seal cracks and openings at foundation, siding and eaves, especially where plumbing and utility pipes as well as cables and wires enter from the outside.
7)      Check also utility wires, data cables and other wiring for lighting, sound systems or laundry lines leading to or going through trees that can be an easy point of entry for carpenter ants
8)      Stack firewood, lumber, recycling material and compost piles away from the structure and elevate it off the ground. Never store firewood in the garage, basement or in other areas of the home, as firewood is a prime nesting area for carpenter ants, wood boring beetles and termites
9)      Pay attention to bird activity as birds often feed on carpenter ants and wood peckers will also drum on wood infested by carpenter ants
10)  Get a period service to have your property monitored and treated during the carpenter ant season before a large satellite colony is well established inside your home’s walls and ceilings.
11)  Call us if you suspect activity or for periodic inspections and treatments. To eradicate and deter carpenter ant infestations we use low toxicity insecticide (Termidor, Tim-Bor, MaxForce), bait gel and/or repellents.
Call our inspectors at Marin Termite Control at (415) 456-9620 to schedule an appointment and check our website at www.marintermite.com and our blog (http://marintermite.blogspot.com/2012/02/marin-termite-control.html) and facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marin-Termite-Control/189288581143911) for additional information.

MOISTURE IN AND AROUND HOMES

26 Mar 2019 18:12



After one of the wettest California years on record, the rain and winter season have show us what amount of rain Mother Nature can drop a lot of water in a short period. During the winter season and cold and wet winter months, we often forget about termites and other household pests unless we see them swarming or trailing inside our home.
But rainfall can bring back dampness into crawlspaces, basements and interior wall voids. Particularly during winter months, but also during the spring moisture is a leading cause of ants, termites, wood boring beetles, dry rot and mildew or even mold in houses. While remaining inside, we often forget about clogged gutters, downspouts, surface drains and underground drain lines. When roof, gutters and downspouts are obstructed by tree debris and roofing granules, and when surface drain grates and underground drain lines are clogged with dirt or debris, this can cause water to pool around the structure and seep into basements, substructure areas and under concrete slabs.
Water in and around a home can cause many problems. Here are a few examples of problems caused by inadequate drainage and excessive moisture:

  • Seepage and dampness into substructure areas
  • Surface water and damp substructure soil
  • Fungus, mildew and mold in sub-areas, walls, floors and closets
  • Deformation, rippling and buckling of hardwood floors
  • Staining, musty smell and mildew in carpeting and vinyl flooring
  • Rusting of earthquake anchors bolts, ties, nails and carpet strips
  • Soil erosion and liquefaction around piers, foundations and slabs
  • Settlement or foundations, slabs, patios, decks and concrete pads
  • Bowed and slopping interior floors
  • Door and window swelling preventing proper closing and operation
  • Cracking in sheet rock covered walls and ceilings
  • Gaps and voids around molding and trims at ceiling, windows and doors
  • Surface water in contact with heating ducts and plenums
  • Sump pumps overwhelmed or failing with too much seepage
  • Rusting re-bars within foundations can cause concrete spalling
  • Gutters overflowing and rotting eaves, rafter tails and siding
  • Gutters and downspouts rusting more quickly and leaking
  • Electrical cables corroding with surface water in sub-areas
  • Data cables (TV, internet, alarm, etc.) failing or short-circuiting
  • Plumbing pipes corroding and leaking with surface water and damp soil
  • Wood boring beetles infesting damp substructure wood members
  • Termites infesting wood members within sub-areas, floors and walls
  • Argentine ants moving nests out of substructure soil to wall voids.
  • Rodents moving from flooded substructure areas into walls and ceilings
So the winter rainy season is great times to have your house inspected. Many of the issues mentioned above are not visible or discernible during the dry season and particularly during a drought year.
During winter inspections we often discovered defective sump pumps, flooded heating ducts and heater plenums, electrical and data cables submerged in surface water or corroding on damp soil. An inspection can also reveal plumbing leaks, sewer lines discharging in sub-areas, disconnected or leaking heating ducts as well as leaking showers, toilet stools, sinks, refrigerators, washing machines and dyer vents.


These along with wet, damp, sagging or downed insulation contribute to higher utility bills. With every inch of rainfall, the roof surface of a typical 1800 square foot home will discharge well over 1200 gallons of roof water against the foundation. Depending on the topography, soil condition and drainage installation seepage can vary greatly. With adequate drainage and ventilation, a typical substructure area should remain dry or experience minor soil dampness with no surface water pooling anywhere. But if drainage is insufficient or non-existent substructure areas can fill up quickly and remains flooded for weeks or even months. 


Moisture is the main cause for infestation and infection in homes. Insects and fungus need air, food and water to survive and will more likely infest and cause damage in homes with excessive moisture conditions. Water can come from above (gravity), from below (capillary), from thermal exchange (condensation) or a combination resulting in high moisture content inside homes. During cold winter months, bathroom windows are kept closed during and after showers adding more moisture to interiors. All this and moisture from surface water and wet soil in sub-areas can add over 47 quarts of humidity to the daily 20 quarts produced by a household of 4. Modern homes are well insulated and heaters cannot dry interiors and walls like older wood stoves and fireplaces did before.

Moisture intrusion can come from cracks and voids to exterior wood and stucco walls, aging paint, siding, inadequate or missing flashing around windows, doors, exterior wood trim and protrusions. Leaking or incorrectly installed windows, doors and deck attachments can contribute to leaks and moisture intrusion. Older roof, flashing, gutters & downspouts can also cause leaks and moisture intrusion. Finally vegetation growth against the structure can raise humidity lasting for long periods in some areas.

Health Risks and Hazards: Excessive moisture in homes can also cause health problems. Beyond smell and discomfort, allergies and some diseases are more prominent in a humid environment. Fungi infestation cause not just wood decay damage but mildew and mold inside but also in enclosed areas like cabinets, closets and wall voids. It also develop behind beds, furniture and beneath carpeting. Bathrooms, kitchens and the northern side of homes are more prone to fungal activity. Over time, some mildew and mold can carry airborne spores that may cause health hazards to some allergic persons. 

Maintenance: Owners should periodically check and report to the appropriate professionals surface water and rust stains, high humidity and damp smell, pest infestation as well as settlement cracks and damaged or deformed floors. Calling a trained and experienced licensed professional is the best way to prevent problems and obtain an expert’s recommendation. It is also important to observe the surrounding environment and location of the building that may subject the structure to adverse conditions.

Prevention:Installing drainage within and around the structure is a must. At the very least, grading to slope away from the structure and downspouts should be fitted with extensions channeling water away from the structure, not just a few feet. Ideally underground downspout drain lines and French drains should take water to the street or a sump pump well and away from the foundations.

Installing a vapor barrier on substructure soil will create a drier environment. But this will only work if drainage is adequate and functional. Periodically serviced and operational sump pumps are critical in areas where water accumulates below grade, such as in deep crawl spaces, basements and on low level grounds. Adequate insulation with proper ventilation will also help deter excessive moisture in crawlspaces and bathrooms. Aerating the interior and adequate ventilation is also critical in tight and enclosed areas such as closets and storage rooms. Properly flashed windows, doors and roofs are crucial as well as caulked and painted areas are also critical. Finally, all parts and equipment found in a home need periodic servicing and inspection.

Conclusion:If it doesn’t look, feel or smell right… it probably isn’t! During the course of property maintenance, observe the grounds and structure. Keep your home dry and aerate interiors as often as possible. Along with treatments and repairs, winter is the perfect time to install vapor barrier installation and extensions to downspouts to improve moisture conditions and keep sub-areas dry. 
Call Marin Termite to have a licensed professional inspect your home. It is economically wise and may prevent costly repairs. Remember: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of correction. Maintain your property in good working condition, replace aging and failing components and have all critical equipment routinely checked and serviced by licensed or certified professionals.

  Call us: San Rafael: 415-456-9620 ~ Mill Valley: 415-388-2375 ~ Novato: 883-8425
or visit our website at www.marintermite.com for more information

CARPENTER BEES AND HORNTAIL WASPS

25 Apr 2014 16:22




Carpenter Bees:
It is Carpenter Bee season and this year more than often than last year, they are spotted buzzing around homes and back yards worrying many. But fear not, as Carpenter Bees are more a friend than a foe.



There are over 500 species of Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa) that can be found throughout the world. In California and Marin the California Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa Californica) nest in trees and wooden structures. Carpenter Bees do not feed on wood like termites but forage on pollen like their common honeybee counterparts. They are easily recognized by their dark shiny charcoal black color with a beautiful well-rounded body. They are often noticed during the warm season from early spring to late fall when we see them flying around our structures and back yards busy preparing their nest for winter. Males are the same color and shape but do not have a stinger and never attack, while female carpenter bees do have a stinger but will only defend themselves and their nest when provoked.


Nesting and Infestations:

Carpenter Bees carve a large hole opening that leads to one main channel with several small alcove chambers each housing one egg. Six to 8 eggs are laid in the fall where they remain dormant all winter. The eggs will hatch and the bees will exit the wood the following spring. The eggs closest to the surface will exist first allowing the deepest laid eggs to hatch and exit last. To this day, it remains a great mystery to entomologists how the first eggs laid in the rear chambers are the last ones to hatch, while the last eggs laid will hatch first. Most homeowners will notice pencil like fine shavings (or frass) below the holes where the bees carve the wood to create their galleries and chambers within wood members. We often see them in trim boards, rafter tails, roof fascias, arbors, pergolas and other exposed wood members. Carpenter bees will infest any type of softwood including redwood and cedar wood members,


Carpenter Bees are pollinators and contribute greatly to the local ecosystem. They are not considered a major structural pest like termites or wood boring beetles as homeowner usually find them annoying and will try to get rid of them before wood members can be severally damaged. They can also be often found in dead trees and woodpiles, fences, sheds, balconies and decks. Carpenter Bees are mostly solitary insects, sometimes living in small groups with mothers, daughters or related siblings living nearby but not sharing the same nest holes. Left alone they will not be aggressive and can become a fun or annoying distraction.


Preventing and Eliminating Carpentar Bee Infestations: 
Carpenter Bees being indigenous to California, the best is to prevent infestations through preventative maintenance and treat when necessary.

1)   Patch, caulk and paint or stain all exposed outside wood members (eaves, arbors, pergola, decks, balconies, etc.) to prevent infestation and deter re-infestation..

2)      Avoid stacking woodpiles against the siding of a home or even close to entry/exit ways.

3)      Keep limbs, vines, bushes and vegetation away from roof, decks, fences, arbors and siding.

4)      Seal cracks and openings in the eaves and siding, especially at pipes, cables and other protrusions.
5)  Call a beekeeper to remove and relocate the infested wood member if possible, thereby allow bees to continue pollinating somewhere else.
6)  Otherwise call us for a treatment to the galleries and plugging the holes with epoxy wood filler. We use epoxy over bondo type material that bees can remove to continue their business.



Horntail Wasps

The horntail wasps are rare in structures and at 1 to 1.5” inch long with an additional ¾” long stout ovipositor (egg-laying device) Horntail Wasps appear more ominous than they really are.


There is about 20 species of Horntail Wasps form the Siricdae family and while adults do not eat wood, their larvae do. Some species have beautiful colors ranging from brightly color metallic blue to yellow, red and black. Some lay eggs into hardwood but most favor softwood such as pine. The infestation starts in dead and burned trees after a forest fire where the female likes to lay her eggs. Once the tree is harvested, cut into lumber and used in construction, the dormant eggs can hatch if the wood is not kiln dried to kill the eggs and larvae. The larvae will molt and the adults emerge several years later sometimes scaring occupants of a structure. Fortunately these insects don’t re-infest structures and no treatment is needed. When Horntail Wasps emerge they seek to go outside and homeowners should simply let them go out and caulk and paint the exit hole left behind.


Call us at (415) 456-9620 and check our website at www.marintermite.comfor additional information.


THE BEST TERMITE TREATMENTS FOR YOU AND THE ENVIRONMENT

29 Mar 2014 01:09



Marin Termite Control aims to be at the forefront of environmentally safer and the most effective termite solutions. Years of experience, communication with the entomology departments of UC Berkeley and UC Riverside, customer feedback and record tracking help us to provide our customers with the most reliable treatments and the lowest impact on the environment.

 


Termidor-SC has been used in California for both subterranean and drywood termites over 15 years, in the US, Canada and Europe for over 20 years and has a proven record as a reliable low-risk termiticide. Termidor is not systemic and does not affect plant life around your home.  The active ingredient “Fipronil” is found in Frontline and Fiproguard pet products for flea control. Termidor is a non-repellent termiticide (no odor, fumes, color or taste) approved for both subterranean and drywood termites and has a transfer effect between termites through grooming and feeding (trophallaxis).


Altriset is a newer generation of termiticide using anthranilic diamides (from the Ryania genius tree) with the lowest toxicity level of all termiticides. Altriset’s active ingredient “Chlorantaniliprole” is reported as having no effect on mammals (humans, pets, cattle, etc.) and not systemic with plants. Altriset is approved for subterranean termite treatments only and is a non-repellent termiticide (no odor, fumes, color or taste) and has a transfer effect between termites through grooming and feeding (trophallaxis). Unfortunatelly our record tracking shows more recalls for retreatment with Altriset and its effectivneess against subterrenean termites has proven to be inferior to Termidor.


TimBor & BoraCare are a borate based insecticides/fungicides (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate) used in the US for over 20 years. Borate, borax and boric salts have been used as a food preservative, insecticide and fungicide for centuries. Boron is a natural earth deposit dating over 20 million ago. Over 50% of the world’s borate is produced in the mines of Boron California. Though lacking the transfer effect of Termidor and Altriset, TimBor and BoraCare are effective against drywood termites and wood-boring Beeltes as well as fungi/dry-rot infestation to wood members. They are not used against subterranean termite soil treatments, as they are also herbicides that can affect nearby plant life.


Optigard-ZTis approved only for drywood termite and is an older generation of non-repellents used since the 90s. The active ingredient is using thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid and its effectiveness against drywood termite has prooven inferior to Termidor-SC, TimBor and XT-2000. This product is systemic and should not be used around vegetable gardens and crops.


XT-2000 is approved only for drywood termites and is an odorous repellent (d-limonene) extracted from the rind of citrus fruit. Commonly called orange oil, d-limonene is very acidic and should be applied cautionly as it may cause skin, eye and respiratory reactions. The product does not have a transfer effect between termites, is a repellent that can be detected by termites that will avoid it. Orange oil is not lasting once dry several days after application. Its effectiveness against drywood termites has proven to be inferior to Termidor-SC and TimBor. Some pest control companies will advocate orange oil as a marketing tool but always use it in conjunction with another product like Termidor or Timbor/BoraCare to lessen calls for retreatments against drywood termites.


Premise-75 is approved for both subterranean and drywood termite and is an older generation of non-repellents used since the 90s. The active ingredient is using imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid and its effectiveness against drywood termite has prooven inferior to all other tested products (see table below). This product is systemic and should not be used around vegetable gardens and crops. Most pest control companies will prefer using another more reliable product against subterranean and drywood termites.


Natural Oils: Other oil extracts from pine, juniper, clove, peppercorn and mint are all terpenes type oils similar to orange oil and have been tried against various insects including drywood termites with less than satisfactory results. Natural oil extracts are acidic and should be used cautiously with the proper protective equipment as they may cause eye, skin and respiratory problems. Natural oil extracts cannot be used as a soil treatment against subterranean termites as they can affect nearby soil and water tables with rains and landscape irrigation.


Freezing, Heating, Microwaving: Temperature and electronic treatments against drywood termites have been attempted several times in the past and all have many limitations and less than satifactory results. Freezing cannot be used where plumbing pipes and other sensitive materials are present. Heating cannot be used where plastics and vinyl material are present nearby or within walls(vinyl windows, ABS, PVC, electrical/electronic cables) and Microwaving cannot be used where metal is present (nails, ties, anchors, electrical cables, etc.). Additionally the cost of freezing and heating a structure makes these alternatives too expensive against other conventional treatments and these are seldom used unless in a highly controlled environment for crops and wood based products in containers and kilns.
Most Effective Termite Treatments: Termidor, Altriset, TimBor/BoraCare, Optiguard & Premise are non-repellents termiticides that do not have anysmell, taste or vapors, while X-2000 and other oil based terpenes have a smell, taste and emanate vapors that termites can detect and avoid. Only Termidor and Altriset have a transfer effect where contaminated termites pass the termiticide onto others through grooming & trophylaxis (mouth-to-mouth feeding). XT-2000 and other oil extracts are repellent-contact insecticide that does not have a transfer effect and do not remain effective once dry. Termidor is the most effective at eradicating an entire colony within a few days or weeks. Termidor is the only product effective against both subterranen and drywood termites that remains effective for years and provide a long lasting protection against termite infestations without any smell, vapors and short or long-term impact on the landscape and grounds surrounding your home.
 

Termiticide
(Active Ingredient)

Pesticide
Label

Target
Termites

Smell/Odor
Scent/Vapor
Type of
Insecticide
Transfer
Effect
Still Effective Once Dry
Effect on
Plants
Drywood Termite
Termidor-SC (Fipronil)
Caution
Subterranean
& Drywood
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
None
100%
BoraCare/TimBor (Sodium Borate)
Caution
Drywood
Only
None
Non-Repellent
No
Yes
Toxic
98-99%
Altriset (Chlorantiniliprole)
None
Subterranean
Only
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
None
93% *
Optigard-ZT (Thiametoxam)
Caution
Drywood
Only
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
Systemic
81%
XT-2000 (d-Limonene)
Caution
Drywood
Only
Yes
Contact/Repellent
No
No
Toxic
81%
Premise 75 (Imidacloprid)
Caution
Subterranean & Drywood
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
Systemic
45%

*Marin Termite Statistic – Other percentage statistics from Dr. Vernard Lewis, UC Berkeley & Dr. Michael Rust, UC Riverside 2009


Subterranean termites travel underground through cracks, voids and decaying tree roots. Studies show they branch out in multiple areas often infesting structures through multiple entry points at the perimeter of the structure, through slabs and in subareas. They feed on the wood and return the food to the underground nest. Because Termidor and Altriset have no smell, taste or color, termites do not detect or avoid it and are attracted to the moist treatment.

Drywood termites feed and live in the wood without any ground contact. They too are attracted to the moist treatment when it is injected into the wood and do not avoid Termidor which has no taste, smell or fumes unlike other oil based inseticides like XT 2000 orange oil and other plant based terpenes.
Conclusion: Termidor-SC is faster acting and longer lasting than other termiticides like TimBor/BorCare, Altriset,  Optigard-ZT, XT-2000 and Premise-75. Termidor-SC remains a low impact termiticide most effective against both subterranean and drywood termites.
Call Marin Termite Control at 415-456-9620 
and check our website at www.marintermite.comfor additional information.

SUSTAINABLE PEST MANAGEMENT & GREEN CONSTRUCTION

10 Jan 2014 17:27



We all want a healthier environment; organic foods, natural products, better air quality, clean water and fewer pesticides. No wonder many ask us if and how can pests be eliminated without using harmful pesticides.
Along with green construction, sustainable pest control is achievable but does require a new way of thinking, planning and building. It also means a little more maintenance and using low-impact products and ecologically sound materials when necessary. In other words: “Working with nature rather than fighting it.”
Green Construction: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Consult first with your architect, contractor and pest control operator to avoid creating or leaving existing conditions that lead to infestations.
  • Good drainage in and around structures to prevent moisture intrusion and water pooling in crawl spaces
  • Moisture membranes and concrete soil covers to keep sub-areas dry, clean and unwelcoming to pests
  • Sufficient Ventilation in enclosed areas to prevent stagnant and unhealthy air leading to mildew and mold
  • Adequate elevation and grading away from the structure to prevent earth-wood contacts and faulty grades
  • Ample roof overhangs, flashings, gutters, downspouts and drain lines to prevent leaks and deterioration
  • Proper flashing and joints around exterior doors, windows, siding and trim to prevent moisture intrusion
  • Borate based pre-treatment (Bora-Care or Tim-Bor) of exposed wood and foundations before enclosures
  • Complying with and exceeding state and local building ordinances for a healthier and safer home

Sustainable Maintenance:Use nature’s lessons and allies to your advantage”. Once completed discourage nature’s invaders and maintain the structure and its surroundings inhospitable to pests.
  • Maintain the structure’s exterior siding and trim sealed, painted and watertight.
  • Keep and trim vines, trees, shrubs and vegetation away to promote air movement and a dry environment
  • Don’t pile, store, build or lay material, plants or added buildings against the exterior of the structure
  • Keep sprinklers and other irrigation systems from watering against or near the structure.
  • Don’t add planter beds, stone facia, brick veneer or raise soil grade against the exterior siding
  • Keep ventilators unobstructed to promote air movement and replace torn ones to keep rodents out
  • Clean and clear roofs, gutters, downspouts and drain lines, particularly during winter and spring
  • Have your sump pumps, drain lines and plumbing checked and serviced to prevent leaks and moisture
  • Keep all areas dry and clean to discourage common pests (ants, flies, beetles, fleas, termites, etc.)
  • Know friends and chase away foes: Spiders, birds, lizards, and some beetles are all pest predators
  • Use non-toxic traps or repellents to avoid secondary wildlife poisoning (e.g. birds of pray and reptiles)
  • When using retail available products, always follow the label never exceeding recommendations
  • Consult with a licensed professional before adding, remodeling or modifying any improvements
  • Call to get a periodic pest inspection by a State Licensed Professional to discover infestations early
Low Impact Pest Control: Nature is tenacious and in spite of the above recommendations it may still find ways to infest. Gone are the days of creosote, chlordane and such other pesticides that were common around homes. Decades of public awareness, research and development have lead to more target specific and safer products eliminating pests without affecting occupants, the local ecosystem or surrounding environment.
Marin Termite recommends following the above items first and uses the following low environmental impact products once infestations do occur: Natural inorganics (Bora-Care, TimBor, diatomaceous earth, salts, clays), odorless non-repellents (Altriset, Termidor), natural organic compounds (plant oils, spices and extracts).
Call 456-9620 and ask for one of our licensed inspectors to schedule an inspection.

HOW MANY TYPES OF TERMITES?

8 Nov 2013 00:59



Some of our customers are surprised to learn that there are several types of termites in our neighborhood and that infestations, damage and treatments can vary greatly. So! Here is everything you ever wanted to know about termites and never dared to ask… 
Termites are small xylophagous (wood eating) insects that consume dead wood and other wood bi-products containing cellulose like cardboard, paper, laminates and other wood based composites. Like ants and bees, termites are eusocial insects with generally one queen, soldiers to defend the colony and mostly workers who forage and feed all the members of the colony. The male (or king) will die shortly after mating with the queen who will be pregnant for the remained of her life (15 to 30 years depending on specie). Soldiers and workers are all drones and the workers are the ones who actually cause wood damage, ingest the wood and feed others through regurgitation known as trophallaxis.
Termites have protozoa in their intestinal tract that allows them to digest wood cellulose. Curiously, they are not born with these protozoa in their gut, but acquire it through feeding from others. Lab research has shown that termites without protozoa will die of starvation, even when fed wood cellulose.
What Are Termite Swarms?
In addition to the queen, king, soldiers and workers, and once the colony is big and mature enough, some of the colony members will grow sexual organs and wings to become winged reproductive males and females also known as Alates (future kings and queens). Once fully developed, they will patiently wait for the perfect time to fly or swarm. Their sole purpose during the swarm is to mate and start a new colony. Swarmers will be fed by workers until the swarm occurs and they will not feed during the swarm. Termite alates swarm in large numbers, as their chances of survival are quite small. Most will fall prey to predators (birds, other insects, spiders, lizards, frogs, etc.), many will die of dehydration or exhaustion in the wrong environment before they can mate, and the few lucky ones to find a mate may not find a suitable place to start a colony. Yet in spite of insurmountable odds, some do survive to start new colonies.
Swarms occur several times a year between early spring and late fall. Customers often ask if swarming termites sting or bite; But termites do not have any biting or stinging mouth parts, do not feed on blood and are not interested in human or pet skin. Termites aren’t even interested in live trees and only feed on dead wood. The good news is that they do not carry nasty virus or bacterial diseases like some rodents or blood-sucking insects (mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and bed bugs to name a few). They are even picky on their choice of wood and will favor softer sappier pinewood over hardwood, younger redwood or cedar. They will avoid the hardest and driest old-growth redwood.
Subterranean termite swarmers are small (1/4 to 3/8thof an inch) and black with see-through wings.
Drywood termite swarmers are medium (1/2 to 5/8thof an inch) and maroon with see through wings.
 Dampwood termite swarmers are large (3/4 to 1 inch) and brown with a red/orange head and brown see through wings.
Where do Termites Come From?
Termites dating back to the cretaceous period (125 million years ago) have been excavated, and well-preserved termites were found in amber (fossilized tree sap) in the Baltics. In entomology, termites belong to the Isoptera order and according to Cornell University; there are 2761 known species of termites. Termites are indigenous to warmer climates and depending of the specie, colonies can have millions of members and several queens with secondary colonies. Termites have a place in our ecosystem by braking down dead trees and returning them as carbon rich nutrients to the soil. Unfortunately termites don’t distinguish dead trees from lumber and are pests when they infest structures. The word “termite” comes from Latin "termes" and from Greek "tetranien", meaning "a worm eating wood".
In the US, Termites are present in most coastal and southern states:
a)      The most popular is the Subterranean termite with several species depending on the location
b)      The Drywood termite found in southern states from Virginia to California
c)      The Formosan termite found in coastal areas from North Carolina to southern Texas and Hawaii
d)      The Dampwood termite found in the southwest, pacific coast states, Florida and Hawaii
In Northern California the three most common and indigenous species of termites are: Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood termites. Each has a different pattern of infestation, different frass or debris and require different treatments, the details of which are explained below.
Subterranean Termites:
Common in California is the Western Subterranean Termite (Reticultermes Hesperus). These termites nest in the ground and infest wood below & above ground (debris, fences and structures). It is a common misconception that termites do not eat redwood or cedar. They favor softer woods like douglas fir and poplar, they will eat any and all dead wood that is to their liking. Because redwood and cedar have a red tannin with a bitter taste, termites will avoid it when the wood is recently cut. But with time the tannin and bitter taste will dissipate and termite will eventually eat redwood and cedar. Additionally, termites prefer softer sappier wood to harder denser fibers and knots in the wood. This is why it is rear to find them in old growth redwood.
Research from UC Riverside and UC Berkeley has shown that Subterranean Termites will travel long distances, leaving trails of pheromones as markers for colony members to reach the food source. Though they don’t travel long distance at once, they pass the foraged food from one termite to another until it reaches the nest where most colony members and the queen live. Termite drones, workers and soldiers, and the queen are generally whitish or cream colored, which is why they are sometimes called “white ants”. They are cryptobiotic, meaning they live in a dark and enclosed environment with a specific humidity and temperature. That is why they build mud tubes, against foundations, posts and sometimes free standing, to reach the food source.
Treatment entails injecting a registered termiticide in soil in areas of infestation and around the exterior perimeter of the structure. Marin Termite uses minimal impact Altriset or Termidor termiticides and provides a 5-year warranty against re-infestations of subterranean termites with complete perimeter treatments. Both Altriset and Termidor are water based products that are odorless, colorless and tasteless termiticide and attract termites without impacting the soil, plants or emanating any smell, vapors or fumes. Other termiticides like borate based TimBor or Boracare and orange oil are not used for subterranean termite treatments as they are ineffective against subterranean termites and toxic to plants. Subterranean termites will often swarm on warm days following a rainfall from early spring to early fall.
Drywood Termites:
Indigenous to California, the Bay Area and Marin County, the Pacific Dark Western Drywood Termite (Incistermes Minor) from the Kalotermitidae family is generally found infesting the warmer side of structures. Unlike their subterranean cousins, the whole colony, queen, soldiers and workers, all live within the infested wood members without any ground contacts. Drywood termites infest the structure aerially by flying into cracks and crevices or vents. Drywood termites swarm in hot static weather in the summer or early fall (Indian summer). As their name indicates, they favor a hotter and drier environment with certain air moisture content often found near coastal areas. In Marin County, they are most often found near Tiburon, Sausalito, Stinson Beach, Bolinas and Point Reyes, but also occasionally infest other areas.
Drywood termites carve galleries within the wood members producing fecal pellets that are stored in some areas. When Drywood Termite workers decide do some “spring cleaning” they clear some of the galleries by carving a kick-out hole on the surface of the wood through which they expel the pellets then re-plugging the holes with pellets. When this happens in wall voids, attics or crawlspaces, the infestation may remain undetected until it is exposed or discovered. Sometimes, the pellets are expelled into living areas though the sheetrock, door or window trims or from open beam ceilings. For small infestations, a local treatment consists in injecting infested wood members with Termidor termiticide and treating topically the infested wood with a borate termiticide (TimBor or BoraCare). Other termiticides such as Premise 75, Optigard-ZT, XT-2000 orange oil are less succesful and are often used with Termidor and/or TimBor or BoraCare. For larger infestations or inaccessible areas like attics and ceilings, the structure needs to be tented and fumigated with Sulfuryl Fluoride fumigant such as Vikane or Zythor.
Dampwood Termites:
Indigenous to Northern California, Oregon and Southern Washington states, the Pacific Dampwood (or Rottenwood) Termite (Zootermopsis Angusticollis) is one of the largest varieties of termites on the planet at 30 millimeters with wings. This variety of termite requires a higher moisture concentration to infest wood members and are most often found in fallen trees and stumps in the forest and by water sources (creeks, streams, ponds, rivers, lakes).
Occasionally they infest homes with plumbing leaks (toilets, showers, kitchen and laundry rooms) or with wet faulty grade such as built-up planters and exterior soil grade against wood siding. We also find them in areas of moisture intrusion like below leaking roofs, skylights, faulty flashing at windows, doors and exterior siding.
Treatment includes removing the moisture source and water proofing areas of infestation as well as treating with a borate based fungicide/termiticide like TimBor or BoraCare. Dampwood termites swarm in early to late fall shortly before sunset because it is the warmest time of day. They are big and attracted to lights like most insects and are often found caught in spider webs near outside lights on indoors if any windows, doors or skylights are slightly open.
How Can I Prevent Termite Infestations?
Since termites are indigenous to California, the best we can do is to deter them from infesting our homes:
a)      Keeping crawlspaces clean and free of moisture and debris
b)      Fix any plumbing, roof, window and door leaks
c)      Lower soil grades to avoid earthwood contacts with 3 inch clearance between soil and wood
d)      Keeping the exterior of the house well sealed, painted or stained
e)      Don’t store wood piles, compost and other wood bi-products in subarea or against the house
f)        Don’t build planter beds against the house and adjust sprinklers to avoid spraying the building
And have a periodic inspection every 3 to 4 years. It is long enough for a trained professional to detect infestations and not too long for termites to cause substantial structural damage. A limited inspection and a treatment is less costly than extensive structural damage found after many years of infestation.
For more information, call us at (415) 456-9620 and check our website at www.marintermite.com

FUMIGATION vs. LOCAL TREATMENT

4 Apr 2013 20:36




A fumigation is the process of tenting and saturating an item (mattress, furniture, food, etc.) or structure (building, boat, railroad car, truck, silo, etc.) with a fumigant, commonly called a gas, to eradicate infestations.
In some instances infestations (drywood termites, beetles, bed bugs, etc) can be so widespread or extend into inaccessible areas that a local treatment is no longer feasible or even possible.  Since year 2000 Sufuryl fluoride has been used to replace methyl bromide. Sufuryl Fluoride is a true gas, not a mist, vapor, powder or suspension. The gas is used to replace the oxygen in the item or structure and asphyxiate the target insects.
Larkspur City Hall & Fire Department
Each year thousands of small and large fumigations occur; mattresses with bed bugs, furniture with beetles, shipping containers, railroad cars and trucks transporting food with pests, and large structures infested with drywood termites, beetles or bed bugs such as multi-unit apartment buildings, university dorms, barns and silos, warehouses, shopping centers and even public buildings like churches, schools, libraries, airports, and museums - only to name a few.
Sufuryl fluoride (SO2F2) is an inert fumigant gas commonly used because it easily penetrates wood members to reach into inaccessible areas where insects live and feed. When fumigating the structure, the treatment reaches into every areas and wood members of the structure (attics, walls and floors) killing all target insects.
Pros and Cons of Fumigation
The biggest pro of a fumigation is that it is a sure kill to all areas and since this is a true gas that is lighter than air, there is no residual effect on the fumigated structure or its content. The fact that there is no residual effect is a great advantage, whether it is crops or structures, but it is also its greatest short coming as once the fumigation is completed, there is nothing keeping pests from re-infesting the structure or its contents.
But fumigation has cons too: It is a costly process that requires vacating the structure for several days. The length of the fumigation will vary depending on the insect to be eradicated:  1 to 2 days for bed bugs, 3 days for drywood termites and 5 days for beetles. The cost and dose of the fumigant used will also vary with different insect infestations: 1 dose for drywood termites, 3 doses for bed bugs, 10 doses for beetles. Fumigation is more costly and inconvenient than local treatments, as the structure to be fumigated will require preparation.
The Process
Single Family Home in Point Reyes
Prior to fumigation, owners and occupants must do some preparation to the structure: Removing pets, plants, medicine, food and opened containers, as well as trimming plants and disconnecting attached fences, arbors and the gas meter. Since the fumigation will lessen the oxygen content in the structure, the pilot lights must be extinguished before and re-lit after the fumigation. The fumigant is lighter than air, so before injecting the fumigant, the structure is completely sealed with tarps (tenting), which contains the fumigant in the building so it penetrates wood members and kills the insects (termites, beetles, bedbugs, etc.). Once the fumigant is injected, the building remains sealed for 12 to 72 hours depending the infestation, building, location and job complexity. Large visible warning signs are posted around the building to notify people to keep out.
On the last day before removing the tarps, the structure is aerated by opening vent traps in the tarps. Fans are used to clear the building of the fumigant and restore the natural air environment. Once thoroughly aerated, a state licensed fumigator measures the level of any remaining fumigant to ensure it meets the strict EPA requirements before re-entry.  The gas will not be reconnected until the building is cleared for re-occupancy by a state licensed fumigator.
Are there any alternatives?
Other attempts have been made in the past to find alternatives to fumigation. Among them are: Heat, freezing, microwave and non-pesticide injections. All these options have advantages, limitations and drawbacks.
Heating: Lab test have shown that high heat does kill termites effectively. A heat treatment consists in bringing the core of infested wood members in a home or wall to 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (45-50 Celsius) for at least 35 minutes to an hour. The home is tented and heated until all wood members achieve the desired temperature. The treatment is very effective in a controlled environment but heat can cause damage to many components (plastics wiring, ABS drain lines, PVC pipes, vinyl windows, roof shingles, etc.) commonly found in structures and to heat sensitive furniture and belongings. Additionally, with today’s increasing price of energy, the associated cost has become less attractive than other treatments and this method is now seldom used except in a controlled environment like kiln dried lumber or crops that can be heated.
Freezing: A Freezing treatment consists in lowering the temperature in the core of the infested wood members to below freezing to kill termites. Sometimes used locally, it is not practical for entire structures as too many components can be damaged by the cold (plumbing pipes, windows, skylights, electronics, lighting, occupant belonging, etc.). Quite successful in test labs but impractical and costly in the real world, it is no longer used except in very controlled environments for smaller items.
Microwaving: Microwave treatment consists in mounting microwave generators on one side of a wall and a protective shield on the other side, then bombarding the wood members for a specific period of time. This has to be done one stud at a time and is limited to areas without metal parts such electrical wiring, plumbing, ducting, etc.). Though efficient in controlled lab environments, it is ineffective in areas that are inaccessible and is nowadays seldom used and not cost effective compared to local chemical treatments.
Bio-Control: Bio-Control or “non-toxic” local treatments have also been attempted using nematodes (microscopic worms) injected into galleries to kill termites. But results were disappointing and this bio-controlled treatment is no longer used.
Local Termiticide Treatment/Injection
Citrus or Orange Oils:Attempts have been made with citrus terpene such as orange oil. But results are disappointing, less reliable and orange oil treatments are often used in conjunction with other longer lasting termiticide treatments. Marin Termite Control has used orange oil in the past but treatments are less effective than other termiticides like TimBor, BoraCare and Termidor. Orange oil has become more a marketing gimmick than a dependable solution to eradicate termites and wood boring beetles (see our blog on orange oil treatments).
Borate Based Insecticides:Borate based inorganic material has proven successful; however this is type of treatment is only effective on small localized infestations. Marin Termite Control has used borates such as TimBor (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate) and still uses it against wood boring beetle infestations. However, since its interior approval in 2005, we have observed a greater success rate with the use of Termidor termiticide injections for local treatments against Drywood termites. 
Why Sufuryl Fluoride, and not Methyl Bromide?
Methyl Bromide (MeBr) is an odorless colorless gas that has been used extensively in the past as a fumigant against pest infestation. However, past studies and scientists have shown that methyl bromide contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer and the product has been phased out in the US and many other countries since 2000. It has also been observed that Sufuryl Fluoride penetrates and dissipates through wall coverings and wood members better than methyl bromide, leaving the fumigated structure with even less fumigant than methyl bromide.
How do we know when it is safe to return?
Tenting Before Fumigation
The state licensed fumigator will check every room, closet and space for any remaining gas in the structure. Once cleared, the licensed fumigator will post a notice of Re-Occupancy at the front of your building indicating the day and time for safe re-entry. Structures can only be re-occupied when concentration of fumigant is less than 1 part per million, this includes a considerable safety margin. Tests have shown that exposure to 100 parts per million presented no adverse affects on subjects. Fumigants are a true gas, not a vapor, leave no residue and aeration is rapid. Studies show that, in most structures, less than 1 part per million remain after tarp removal and no detectable levels of fumigant within 24 hours after aeration.
What are the problems associated with fumigation?
Fumigations are more costly and inconvenient than localized treatments. The item or structure to be fumigated must be vacated for several days depending on the infestation. It is also more labor and material intensive and has a higher cost of treatment. However, fumigations are all encompassing treatment and come with a warranty against re-infestation depending on the insect. When the whole structure is treated, all target insects are killed, even the undetected and unreachable ones. This is particularly critical if more than one colony has infested the structure.
Fumigation is hard on the house and adjacent landscape.No doubt about it. Unfortunately, as careful as fumigators try to be, workmen walking around and tarping a structure may take a toll on plants, landscaping and roof shingles. We use reputable fumigators that are thoroughly trained and experienced to keep disturbance and interference to an absolute minimum. The vast majority of homes we fumigate, experience no damage.   
What about other residue & side effects?
Tented Multi-Unit Condominium
Understandably most people are weary when a gas is used in their home. Sufuryl fluoride, used since 1961, is non-flammable, non-corrosive, odorless and leaves no residue. Sufuryl fluoride is lighter than air, and after your house is thoroughly vented and tested by a state certified professional, the little fumigant that may remain in wall voids and attics will dissipate up into the atmosphere just as quickly as it penetrated the structure to eliminate drywood termites. Over a million buildings have been fumigated with Sufuryl fluoride. Many homes are fumigated each month with no problems. All precautions are taken to ensure not only your safety, but also ours and that of our inspectors and experienced crew members.
What preparations should be done to the house?
When a fumigation schedule is requested and a date is set, Marin Termite and the fumigation crew will provide you with printed instructions including a preparation checklist including a list of items to remove from the structure before the set fumigation date. Additionally, we remain available to answer questions via phone (415-456-9620)

ORANGE OIL vs. OTHER TERMITE TREATMENTS

13 Feb 2013 21:53



Ads and marketing campaigns from large companies tout orange oil as a “green”, “organic” or “safe” alternative against termites. But is it truly effective against termites or just another marketing ploy? Is orange oil truly a green and organic product that is safer than others? How does it compare to other treatments and is it reliable?
History and Facts: Since the fifties the rind acid of citrus is mechanically, steam or chemically extracted to produce d-Limonene (C10H16), a hydrocarbon oil (terpene) also found in conifer trees and some other plants. Orange oil extract (OOE) is not a comestible product and should not be confused with orange juice. OOE is used as a fragrance, solvent, degreaser and dispersing agent in products like candles, paint stripper, detergents, cleaners, shampoo and sprays. In most insecticides citrus oil has been used as a mild repellent against fleas, mites and ticks. Since the 80s d-Limonene has been added as a fragrance ingredient in mild pest repellents againt ants, mosquitoes, spiders and other common household insects.
Is Orange Oil Organic, Green & Safe? d-Limonene is extracted from the skin of various citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, grapefruit, etc.) generally used for oils, enhancers and extracts and most likely from non-organic produce due to lower cost. Unless it is made exclusively from organic produce, orange oil would not qualify for the “Organic” label we expect on our local fruit stands. As a rind bi-product, d-Limonene would seem like a green and safe product. However orange oil is highly acidic and can cause skin and eye irriation and damage, it is flammable and should be use cautiously, and its vapors can cause respiratory problems. The MSDS for d-Limonene requires use of protective gear including goggles and oil compatible nitril gloves, clothing and a breathing mask suited for oil fumes to prevent skin, eye and respiratory injury. Orange oil is a powerful acidic product that should not be used on plastics, painted or laquered surfaces including hardwood floors, painted trim and baseboards, vinyl surfaces, wallpapers and cloth wall or floor coverings to prevent damage. It is not advised to use orange oil on crops unless diluted as the acidity of d-Limonene may damage plants.
 
Orange Oil and Termites – Separating Facts From Fiction:In early 2000 d-Limonene was once again revived and heavily marketed with the backing of Florida University researchers and big financial investors under a new exclusive name. Ads showing children drinking orange juice suggest that orange oil is as natural and safe as eating oranges. But orange juice is not to be confused with orange oil, which is acidic and a strong skin and eye irritant against pets and humans. These ads try to attract as many customers as possible and do not mention that orange oil is not effective against all types of termites and that the best results from research show limited effectiveness against drywood termites, the target pest of orange oil treatments.
Orange Oil and Termite Treatments: Lab test and results from UC Berkeley, Davis and Riverside's Entomology Departments show that d-Limonene has a short life of only a few days after application. It lacks the required residual effect to effectively kill and prevent whole drywood termite colonies from surviving the treatment and re-infesting the treated wood members. Unlike other chemical treatment against Drywood Termites, it is critical that orange oil reaches each and every termite in the colony or the colony may survive. Unfortunately no current technology can tell if all termites have been killed at time of treatment, so most companies treating with orange oil also recommend using another residual termiticide such as Tim-Bor, Bora-Care or Termidor to leave a long term residual effect that orange oil does not provide.

Local

Treatment

Percent Death

After 3 Months

Smell/Odor
Sent/Vapor
Type of Insecticide
Transfer Effect Between Termites
Residual Effect After Treatment
Termidor-SC (Fipronil)
100%
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
BoraCare/TimBor (Sodium Borate)
98-99%
None
Non-Repellent
No
Yes
Optigard-ZT (Thiametoxam)
81%
Yes
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
XT-2000 (d-Limonene)
81%
Yes
Contact/Repellent
No
No
Premise 75 (Imidacloprid)
41%
None
Non-Repellent
Yes
Yes
Untreated
3%
N/A
N/A
No
N/A
SOURCE: Dr. Vernard Lewis, UC Berkeley & Dr. Michael Rust, UC Riverside – 2009

Orange Oil vs. Fumigation: After some companies claimed that orange oil treatments were similar or better than fumigation treatments, the California Structural Pest Control Board reminded pest management professionals not to confuse and misinform customers: “orange oil is another localized treatment tool…against the elusive drywood termite. It is not an alternative to all-encompassing methods of treatment” such as fumigations. Like Termidor, BoraCare and Tim-Bor, orange oil treatment entails injection or surface treatment of wood members. Sulfuryl fluoride fumigation is best for complete eradication of large infestations or to inaccessible areas where a local treatment is not feasible. Fumigation has been extensively researched and effectively used for decades with strict procedures and specific control safety measures reviewed and supervised by Structural Pest Control Board, EPA and Department of Pesticide Regulation. Every year, thousands of residential and commercial structures, freight railroad cars and trucks, food silo and storage depots are fumigated under strict supervision against termites, beetles, rodents and other food born pests. Fumigation is always considered a last result option and may be the only solution for large and widespread infestations where local treatments are not technically or financial feasible.We will discuss the pros and cons, advantages and inconveniences or fumigation in our next blog.
 
Orange Oil vs. Other Termiticides: Like other plant pyrethrums or pyrethroids, orange oil is a contact insecticide. The effectiveness and smell last only a few days and has no residual effect to kill or prevent termite re-infestation like TimBor. Orange oil does not have a transfer effect between termites like Termidor-SC or Altriset (non-repellent), and the scent of orange oil can be detected by termites who will avoid it. Given analysis and results, we recommend treatment with Termidor, BoraCare or TimBor for a more effective and lasting treatment, even when using orange oil as an insecticide.
Orange Oil & Health Hazards:Orange Oil can stain wall coverings and hardwood flooring and should be applied carefully. The volatile citrus oil is a repellent to many pets and can cause some humans and pets to experience allergies and breathing difficulties to asthmatics and citrus allergic subjects with Pantothenic Acid (or Vitamin B-5) deficiency. Though it is the product of citrus peels that may seems less toxic, 92% d-Limonene (orange oil) is a very acidic product that can cause severe skin and eye damage and it is still not approved as a retail pesticide, even after more than 10 years of research from the IPCS and EPA. Chemical treatments with orange oil require protective gear to prevent injury and should not be used without precaution. Diluted orange oil types of pesticides for gardening are available as mild repellents. In doubt, consult your doctor before treatment, tell your pest operator of allergies you may have to avoid reactions, always follow the label direction and always wear protective gear.
Conclusion: In spite of its ”green and eco-friendly" marketing appeal, orange oil is not as effective or long lasting against drywood termites as other termiticides like TimBor, BoraCare and Termidor-SC. Depending on the accessibility and size of the infestation, we apply local treatments using one or several reliable termiticides to combat and eradicate Drywood Termite infestations. 
For more information from one of our Licensed Inspectors or to have your home inspected call us at (415) 456-9620

WOOD BORING BEETLES IN STRUCTURES

21 Nov 2012 17:10




What are Wood Boring Beetles?

Present on all continents but Antarctica, wood-destroying Beetles (coleopteran order) are part of our ecosystem and help decompose dead and dying trees into rich organic material. Depending on their specie, wood-boring beetles can infest wood from healthy and green to dried lumber, seasoned wood and even older antique furniture. Some beetles live for years causing damage to appearance and structural integrity of infested wood.
The most common species in Marin County are the Lyctid (true powder post), the Bostrichic (false powder post), the Anobiid (deathwatch or furniture) and the Cerambycid (old house borer). A few other species like the Buprestid (flat head or metallic), the oedermerid (wharf borer) and the scolytid (bark borer) are also found outside and sometimes in exterior siding. Seldom seen by humans, the beetle’s most visible sign of infestation are emergence holes on the surface of infested wood members and powder beneath.

True Powder Post Beetles (Lyctid)

The Lyctus beetle is the only “True Powder Post” beetle and produces a very fine talcum-like powder when emerging through small round exit holes. Indigenous and most common in California, it favors seasoned hardwood (oak, ash, mahogany, etc.) and can be seen in hardwood floors as well as furniture. Sometimes Lyctus beetles emerge from new furniture made with previously infested wood containing dormant eggs. It can re-infest the same untreated wood to produce new generations and eggs will hatch with warmer conditions ideal for survival and reproduction. Re-infestation is unlikely in varnished and treated wood.

False Power Post Beetles

Often referring to several wood-destroying species such as Anobiid, Bostrichid and Cerambycid, they are found worldwide in structural wood members and furniture. Emergence holes are often seen on the surface of wood members, door and window frames and antique furniture. Eggs survive for years and hatch when the environmental conditions (temperature and humidity) are conducive to their survival and reproduction.

Polycaon Stoutii (Bostrichid)

Commonly known as the “Black Polycaon”, it is one of the largest wood-boring California beetles. Easily spotted by humans it rarely re-infests wood and favors hardwood over softwood. Sometime infesting structural wood members of homes in fairly humid areas, it emerges through large round holes to mate and reproduce.

 Treatment and Prevention

For larger infestations, fumigation of the entire structure is the only way to ascertain complete eradication of wood-boring beetles. Since fumigation have no residual effect, it will not prevent re-infestation if local conditions (humidity and temperature) are favorable to local species. All beetles favor fairly moist wood (17% to 30% humidity) and the best is to eliminate or limit humidity as feasible with proper drainage in and around the structure and dryer basements and crawl spaces, and vapor membranes covering substructure soils. 
In a dryer environment, or once the excessive moisture condition has been addressed in basements and crawlspaces, a surface treatment with a borate based material such as TimBor or BoraCare (dosidium octaborate tetrahydrate) will deter further re-infestation of wood boring beetles. We also recommend periodic applications of wood preservatives or coatings (paint or vanishes) on exterior wood members to deck, stairs or balconies to deter further re-infestation.
Call Marin Termite Control at (415) 456-9620
to speak to one of our state licensed inspectors and to schedule an inspection.

DAMPWOOD TERMITES SWARMING

3 Oct 2012 16:21



Fall is here and Dampwood Termites are swarming and visible inside and outside structures. Off all the varieties of Termites indigenous to the United States, the Dampwood Termite (Zootermopsis Angusticollis) of the Hodotermitidae family, is the biggest and most visible termite. With a bright orange-redish color, light brown see-through wings over ¾ of an inch long and a body almost a ½ inch long, these termites appear huge at over 1 inch in length. They are indigenous to California and we often see them in Marin and Sonoma Counties from early September to late November, depending on the warmth and moisture of the Indian summer. 
Where do Dampwood Termites Come From? Termites are indigenous to California and were feeding on wood long before the dinosaurs ever walked the earth. As their name indicates, dampwood termites only thrive in a damp or wet environment. They are often seen in the forest by brooks, swamps, lakes, fallen trees and tree stumps with moisture. We can find them in houses around leaking toilets or stall showers, at damp earthwood contacts or planter beds built-up against the exterior wood siding. Sometimes we will find them in damp stumps or roots near or under structures with seepage, a leak or another water source from landscaping, a fountain or drainage. Termites carve galleries within wood members and produce damp fecal pellets that clump together. Most often the wood will be so wet that lichen, fungus and dry rot is also visible. Beware of the soldier’s big mandibles, they can pinch!
What Are Termite Swarms? From early to late fall, some colony members grow sexual organs and wings. Known as Alates, or swarmers, these winged reproductives wait for the right weather to fly and mate. Most will succumb to predators (birds, insects, reptiles), others will never find a mate and die of exhaustion. Their chance of survival is rather small, which is why they swarm in large numbers. We often see them or their wings caught in spider webs or trapped by windows and skylights. Dampwood termites swarm around sunset and are irresistibly attracted to lights, which is why we see them by porches, patios and large windows. Though they may enter structures, they will not establish a colony unless they find damp wood members around a bathroom, laundry room, kitchen or a planter with a water source.
What treatment is needed? The best is to remove the moisture source, make repairs needed and dry out the area with ventilation, proper flashings and sealing. Often the moisture that attracted the dampwood termites will also lead to other infestations and deterioration such as fungi infestation, wood decay damage (dry rot), wood boring beetles and even subterranean termites, which may then require repairs and treatment.
Can I Prevent Drywood Termite Infestations?Since termites are indigenous to California, the best is to keep homes well sealed and painted and have a licensed professional periodically inspect your home. We recommend inspections every 3 to 5 years. It is long enough for a trained professional to detect visible signs of infestations and not too long for them to cause substantial structural damage.
Call us at (415) 456-9620 and check our website at www.marintermite.com 
for additional information.

PRE-TREATMENTS: COST EFFECTIVE & LOGICAL

14 Feb 2012 19:04


Why treat before or during construction?

With many wood-destroying organisms (wood boring beetles, fungi, porea, mildew, mold, subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites, carpenter ants, etc.) indigenous to our area, treating a structure prior to or during the construction is a small investment that goes a long way.
Along with good quality construction and use of correct material for the job, a pre-treatment will result in a dependable and long lasting defense against many wood-destroying insects. Sodium borate based materials (Tim-Bor & Bora-Care) are the some of the greenest and most eco-friendly natural pesticides available to date. Coming from the salt mines of Boron in California, this diatomaceous earth product is odorless, colorless, vaporless and has a lasting effect against insects and fungi when applied to framing wood members and sheathing. Non-repellent products like Altriset & Termidor bond to the treated soil and do not leach away, nor affect plant life, making them among the most reliable and eco-friendly insecticide to treated soil.


When is the best time to pre-treat? 

Soil Treatment: For concrete slabs and perimeter foundations (constructions or additions) the best time to treat the soil with Altriset or Termidor is just after all the preparation work has been completed (foundation forms installed, utility conduits in place, sub-slab gravel laid out) and prior to the sub-slab moisture membrane installation and concrete pouring. The concrete can then be poured right after the treatment is performed.

Perimeter Treatment: When a structure is already present it is still advised to perform a soil treatment to the perimeter of the concrete foundation prior to installation of concrete patios, walkways, porches, grade stairways, asphalt driveways and tiled or brick covered areas. It also makes sense to treat interior slab areas before any floor covering are installed to prevent drilling of hardwood, tiled or finished floors. We also recommend treating soil areas beneath decks built low above soil grade as all these areas will be inaccessible later.

Wood Treatment: For constructions, renovations, additions, remodeling or repairs the optimum time is to treat all accessible wood members with Tim-Bor or Bora-Care when the framing and sheathing are exposed and prior to the installation of the moisture membranes, felt paper, insulation and wall, ceiling, roof and floor coverings. The treatment is water based and completion of the work can then resume within a few hours once the treated areas have dried. These treatments are advised when doing a complete remodel, but also when remodeling only some rooms like bathrooms, kitchens and particularly rooms with moisture conditions. They are also advised in basements, crawl spaces, sleeper floors (wood framing over concrete slabs), attic areas  and other ceiling, floor and wall voids, particularly before theses area are enclosed.


What warranties?
Soil Treatment: We provide a 5-year warranty against re-infestation of Subterranean Termites to all soil areas pre-treated with Altriset or Termidor.
Wood Treatment: We offer a 5-Year warranty against re-infestation of Drywood Termites to all accessible wood members pre-treated with Tim-Bor or Bora-Care.
What Impact do pre-treatments have on the environment?

The Altriset or Termidor soil treatment is specific to the soil below slabs and around perimeter foundations. Once the slab or foundations are poured and the soil around them is back filled, the treatment is out of sight and since the product bonds with the treated soil it does not leach away. Altriset's ingredient (Chlorantaniliprole) is specific to termites and reported to have NO effect on other insects (like bees), warm blooded animals, humans or even plants. Altriset is the only reduced-risk termiticide available, has the lowest toxicity level of any termite treatment and does not even have a "Caution" chemical label. Termidor's active ingredient (Fipronil) is low-toxicity, found in some pet products for flea control, is not systemic and does not affect plant life. No lingering odors, vapors or fumes emanate from either products, yet both products are effective for years even when dry.
The Tim-Bor or Bora-Care wood treatment is applied prior to encapsulation (insulation, membranes, siding, roofing, sheetrock). Any treated wood remaining exposed can be sealed, stained or painted. These borate-based products are also good fungicides and herbicides, which is why they are not used in soils. They are among the greenest insecticides that are least toxic to mammals the earth has to offer. No vapors, fumes or odors even after the treatment has dried.

Call Marin Termite Control at 415-456-9620 or visit our website: www.marintermite.com for additional information!

PRE-LISTING INSPECTIONS: A SAFER & SMARTER APPROACH TO SELLING REAL ESTATE

13 Jan 2012 23:05


Marin Termite Control recommends pre-sale inspections
before properties are listed for sale
to remove unknowns and better prepare homes for sale
.
 
How often have you heard of, or experienced a failed real estate transaction where buyers withdraw their offer due to unknown infestations or substantial damage and associated repair costs?  Drainage or other excessive moisture conditions are also costly items that can affect the outcome of a transaction.
Sellers & realtors spend time, effort and moneys to prepare, stage and market a home for sale. So it makes no sense to wait for a buyer’s inspection to discover conditions, risk loosing a buyer or negotiate at the 11th hour. Countless times in our past 40 years in business we have inspected beautiful homes and found problems that surprised realtors, homeowners and inspectors alike! In these challenging economic times, it is clearly advantageous to get a pre-sale inspection to help improve disclosures and obtain a faster and smoother real estate sale. Our slogan “Don’t go ‘Buy’ Appearances, Have It Inspected”TMis from years of experience when we have seen beautiful homes surprise buyers, sellers and agents with unknown infestations or damages. 
Pre-sale inspections have many advantages including:
- Buyers less likely to withdraw their offer
- Homeowners can fix conditions before a property is listed for sale
- Sellers & agents can prepare a home for sale prior to public knowledge
- Owners have more time to get bids for treatments and repairs
- Conditions can be fixed before MLS listing is made public
- Agents & sellers are better prepared for negotiating credits
- Gives competitive edge over other properties not inspected
- Shows buyers that sellers & agents are more thorough and prepared
- Improves disclosure statements & helps listing agent better market a home
- Easier to schedule an inspection at the seller’s convenience
- Removes future unknowns, shortens negotiating & smooths transaction
- Sellers are more likely to disclose & discuss information with inspector
- Give better pricing/negotiation based on disclosure & repairs performed
- Cost of inspection is offset by knowledge & buyer withdrawal
- Provides buyers with feeling of preparedness and confidence
- Gives a third party unbiased view of condition of property
- Inspection report is available for review on site buy buyers
- Encourages buyers to wave contingencies and request less negotiating
 
Our inspections are thorough and our reports are fair, straight to the point, detailed and clear. Reports list active infestations (section 1 items), issues conducive to infestations (section 2 items) and inaccessible areas in need of further inspection (section 3 items). Each item is followed by a recommendation, and treatment costs and repair estimates are provided upon request. Reports are emailed or faxed the next business day and we are available for questions from agents, sellers, buyers and their contractors. Marin Termite Control’s rates are competitive and vary with the size of the home.  Inspection fees for most condo or townhouses are $250 and $350 for a 2000 square foot home with a crawl space. Inspection fees are generally paid at the time of inspection when the inspector reviews findings with the realtors and sellers or buyers.

Call (415) 456-9620 & check our website at www.marintermite.com for additional information on inspections, treatments and repairs.

WINTER INSPECTIONS: DETECT MOISTURE AND INFESTATIONS EARLY

31 Dec 2011 00:14


With the Holiday Season, warm interiors and chilly outdoors, we often forget about pests. But termites don’t hibernate and continue feeding within wall voids, floors and ceilings areas.  Added rainfall contributes to dampness in crawlspaces, basements and interior wall voids, leading to termite, wood boring beetle, dry rot and mildew or even mold infestations. In the Marin and Sonoma counties moisture is not visible or detectable during most of the year due to the low rainfall and dry periods experienced from early spring to late fall, sometimes even early winter.

Winter and the rainy season are great times to have your house inspected: Seepage and standing water are most visible and easily detected during inspections. Moisture, seepage, standing water, leaks from windows, doors, roofs, decks, chimney or flues can contribute to fungus and insect infestations. Additionally, inspections can reveal defective sump pumps, plumbing leaks from supply water lines or drain sewer lines, disconnected or damaged heating and dryer ducts, torn or deteriorated insulation and vents allowing rodent infestations. 
Moisture is the leading source of infestation and infection in homes. Insects and fungus need 3 basic elements to survive (air, food and water) and are more likely to infest and cause damage to homes with moisture problems. Moisture can come from above (gravity), from below (capillary) or both. Additionally, excessive moisture may promote structural damage, overall deterioration and can lead to mild and even severe health hazards.
 Moisture Locations: In most residential and commercial structures, common locations of excessive moisture are basements, crawlspaces, attics, exterior walls, ceilings and wood floors. Moisture from wet soil in crawl spaces can add over 47 quarts of humidity to the daily 20 quarts produced by a household of 4. Common sources of excessive moisture are inadequate drainage and ventilation, moisture intrusion through roofs and exterior siding, interior plumbing, improperly vented dryers, high efficiency heaters and AC’s. Today’s homes are well insulated and modern heaters will not dry out interiors and walls like older stoves and fireplaces did in the past. Condensation and moisture intrusion will then remain for longer periods before it can evaporate and allow wood members to dry again.
Interior Moistures Sources: Undetected plumbing leaks from supply and drain lines can easily flood basements and crawlspaces for long times without owner or occupants knowledge. Sump and sewer pumps can also stop working during rainy weather when needed most. In bathrooms, leaks from faulty shower pans, loose toilet stools, as well as moisture seeping through caulking and grout cracks, shower or tub enclosures, window ledges or beneath vanities can cause hidden damage to walls and adjacent flooring. In the laundry room improperly vented dyers, leaking sinks and failing washing machines can also wreak havoc. In the kitchen leaks from dishwashers, sinks, water filtration systems & icemakers can also cause damage in hidden areas.  
Exterior moisture sources: Mother Nature is powerful and persistent, and moisture often comes from hillside or lateral seepage, not to mention from the sky above. Inadequate or clogged underground drainage, leaking exterior plumbing and improperly set landscaping irrigation are also common sources of moisture intrusion. Among the many culprits of moisture intrusion are cracks and voids to exterior wood and stucco walls, inadequate or aging exterior siding, improper flashing around windows, doors, exterior trims and protrusions. Additionally, leaking or incorrectly installed windows, doors and deck attachments can also contribute to moisture intrusion. Aging or improperly installed roof, flashing, gutters & downspouts will also cause leaks and moisture. Finally, aging paint and vegetation growing against the structure can raise humidity in some areas.
Symptoms and Causes: Pooling and stagnant water and excessive humidity in basements and crawl spaces also promote rust and deterioration of foundation reinforcement bars, seismic anchors, heating ducts and plenums. Moisture will also deteriorate copper and galvanized plumbing pipes and cast iron drain lines, sometimes leading to hazardous leaks. Vegetation such as vines and tree roots growing in crawlspaces, under slabs and in wall voids will also do better in a moist environment.
Finally moisture can accumulate in the form of standing water and sludge in crawl spaces leading to excessive evaporation, damp and dank odors and warping of wood floors. Some insects such as termites, beetles, gnats, flies and many others favor humidity and so do some rodents (rats, skunks, raccoons, possums, etc.).
Risks and Hazards: Excessive moisture in your home can also lead to health issues. In addition to smell and discomfort, allergies and some diseases can be more prominent in a humid environment. Fungal activity such as wood decay damage, or dry rot, mushrooms, mildew and mold may set into interior as well as hidden or inaccessible areas. Mildew and mold will more easily set into enclosed areas such as cabinets, closets and wall voids, but it will also develop behind beds, furniture and beneath carpeting. Of all interior areas, bathrooms, kitchens and northern sides of homes are most likely to experience fungal activity. With time and excessive moisture, some mildew and mold can carry airborne spores that may cause health hazards and specialists in these matters should be consulted.
 Detection: Owners maintaining their property should keep a watchful eye and report to the appropriate professionals any suspicious water and rust stains, high humidity and damp smell, pest infestation as well as settlement cracks and damaged or deformed floors. Using trained and experienced licensed professionals is the best way to tackle problems and obtain expert advice. Aside from visual observations and probing damaged areas, some professionals specialize in the use of high-tech detection tools such as moisture meters, infrared cameras, leak detectors, borescopes, pipeline and cable cameras). Sometimes intrusive investigation (test holes and opening inaccessible areas) is necessary for additional inspection. Finally, it is important to observe the surrounding environment and location of the building that may subject the structure to outside conditions.
Prevention: Adequate drainage within and around the structure is critical. This includes proper grading, well-engineered French drains and drain lines channeling rainwater from gutters and downspouts away from the structure. Installing vapor barriers under slabs and on substructure soil in crawl spaces will also create a drier environment. However, this will only work if drainage is adequate and functional. Periodically serviced and operational sump pumps are critical in areas where water accumulates below grade, such as in deep crawl spaces, basements and on low level grounds. Adequate insulation properly installed (vapor barrier against the living area) with proper ventilation will also help deter excessive moisture in crawlspaces and bathrooms. Aerating the interior and adequate ventilation is also critical in tight and enclosed areas such as closets and storage rooms. Properly flashed windows, doors and roofs are crucial as well as caulked and painted areas are also critical. Finally, all parts and equipment found in a home need periodic servicing and inspection.
Conclusion: If it doesn’t look, feel or smell right, chances are that it isn’t! During the course of property maintenance, observe the grounds and structure. Keep your home dry and aerate interiors as often as possible. Along with treatments and repairs, winter is the perfect time to install vapor barrier installation to improve moisture conditions and keep subareas dry. 
Call Marin Termite to have a licensed professional inspect your home when you suspect something is wrong. It is also economically wise to have periodic inspections. Remember: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of correction. Maintain your property in good working condition, replace aging and failing components and have all critical equipment routinely checked and serviced by licensed or certified professionals.
  Call us: San Rafael: 415-456-9620 ~ Mill Valley: 415-388-2375 ~ Novato: 883-8425
or visit our website at www.marintermite.com for more information
(415) 456-9620
1525 Francisco Boulevard East, Suite 11, San Rafael, CA, 94901, United States
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