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Frequently Asked Questions


Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). All of the questions you see below have been answered directly by the owner.

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General Questions

Termite Control

Moisture Control

Chemical Concerns


General Questions

What can I do to help keep my home pest-free?

  • The best ways to keep your home pest-free are quite simple. Make sure screens for windows and doors are in place and intact. The smallest openings can allow entry. Be sure weather stripping under exterior doors and garage doors is in good condition. Seal around all openings where pipes or wires enter the house with expandable foam. Keep garbage can lids closed tightly. Trim away shrub and or tree branches that touch the house or overhang the roof. Keep leaf litter and other debris from the foundation wall and out of the gutters and store firewood at least 10 feet away from the house.

Do bed bugs hide in magazines?

  • Bed bugs can hide almost anywhere they can take shelter in the daytime. Telephones, night stands, and behind electrical switch plates are all places they commonly hide.

Termite Control

How much does a termite treatment cost?

  • It’s impossible to give an accurate quote without measuring the house and its treatable linear feet. An average price would be $800 to $1500 for an average sized single family detached home.

Do termite swarmers bite or sting and can they eat wood?

  • No, they do not bite or sting and the swarmers are the reproductives from the colony and do not eat wood.

Can termite swarmers inside of my home infest my furniture or wood floors?

  • No, termite swarmers must come in contact with the soil outside.

How long does a termite treatment last?

  • With Termidor, the industry’s top product, we can expect 8-15 years of effective control by manufacturer specifications. This is based on their field trials. This long term rate of effectiveness also depends on the homeowner’s cooperation in reducing or eliminating conducive conditions in and around the home.

Why do I need an annual maintenance protection program if the treatment lasts so long?

  • It’s important to have a trained professional perform a complete inspection of your home every year to make sure that termites have not attacked the structure because of either complicated structural issues or conducive conditions such as wood to ground contact, draining AC drip lines, etc. Also, your technician will advise you about actions that you can take to help keep your home free of termites like controlling moisture in the crawl space or on the outside foundation. Many conditions can change in the course of a year and without a complete annual inspection, problems can get out of hand quickly if left unchecked. Additionally, your technician will also let you know about other wood destroying insect problems as they exist.

Why do I need a full house treatment when I can just do a re-treat under my warranty?

  • All structures will need a full, post-construction treatment about every 8 to 15 years. The annual maintenance program aids in reducing the possibility of attack by termites and often covers infested area treatments as they occur but it can sometimes be impossible to find the termites’ path from the nest in the ground to the point of infestation in the structure. It is also possible to have many colonies on a single piece of property. Termites need a crack only as wide as the thickness of a piece of paper (1/64 inch) to gain entry to your home. Cracks in slab, expansion joints and brick veneer all provide easy, undetectable entry points. Without a full treatment every 8 to 15 years, the home can be under attack and no one will be the wiser until some amount of damage is noted. Oftentimes, the exterminator is simply “chasing” the problem around the structure while damage is progressing in unknown areas. Just as leaks in an old roof can be only repaired but so often, eventually it will be necessary to get a new roof.

Do termites eat dry wood?

  • Termites eat all wood whether it be wet or dry. Wet wood is more attractive to them because it enables them to travel further from the ground and retain their needed moisture. But the fact that wood is wet is not necessarily why they have attacked it. Wood being a main source of food, they will attack it where ever they can but when it is wet, it is more palatable and therefore more desirable.

How much can termites eat and how fast?

  • This is a difficult question because many variables are involved such as type of termite, size of the colony, the geographic location, high ground or wood moisture and even the type of wood. But, we can estimate using some basics. A mature colony of eastern subterranean termites, which is what we have in Tidewater, would take up to several years to reach a size of about 60,000 workers. This colony would eat about 1/5 of an ounce of wood per day and at this rate, would consume more than one foot of a pine 2 x 4 in six months. While the damage from a single colony may seem relatively insignificant, it’s important to know that any single residential home lot could have as many as 10 different colonies on it!

How can you tell termite damage from moisture damage?

  • Termite damage and moisture damage look very alike and quite often the subject wood usually has already suffered some amount of moisture related decay which is why it was subsequently attacked by termites. But, the most telling sign of termite damage in wood is the presence of mud or dirt inside the damaged wood.

Why shouldn’t I just pick the exterminator that offers the largest damage repair coverage so I know that if they don’t inspect as well as they should, I’m covered?

  • Hearing such high damage repair coverage does make most of us more comfortable but why would anyone want a company that has that little confidence in its service program. Let’s say you were going to have surgery of some kind and you chose your surgeon based on how large his malpractice policy is. Wouldn’t it make more sense to search for the doctor that had the most experience, the best track record, the most successes, the most training? It’s far wiser to shop for the best and most reliable of any professional service.

Why don’t termite companies’ warrantees typically cover damage anymore?

  • For a very long time a product called Chlordane was used for treating termites and it was found to be toxic in the soil for as much as 40 years. It simply wasn’t necessary to worry much about termite problems after the home’s initial pre-treat at the time of construction. But, in the early 80’s, Chlordane was banned because it WAS so persistent in the environment and the newer products only last about 8 to 15 years; some only about 5 years. It has become impossible to be able to give a homeowner protection that includes termite treatment PLUS damage repair for $100.00 to $150.00 per year. Most all termite companies carry healthy liability policies to protect all parties from catastrophe but these policies do not cover the minor, superficial damages we often see. It’s also important to understand that no exterminator carries an insurance policy that includes such optional coverage. Any company that is offering full damage repair is self-insured in that respect, so it is important to check the reliability of any company you may deal with.

Moisture Control

Is wood moisture content checked on my annual inspection?

  • Yes. All homes with crawl space foundations are checked for wood moisture content in the crawl using a Moisture Meter. Obviously, any excessive moisture or water in or around the structure is a concern too so these problems are always brought to your attention. But, as exterminators, we are not able to check for things such as plumbing or roof leaks. If they are obvious, we will note it, though.

Does fungi underneath my house affect my allergies?

  • Fungi growing under a house can have adverse affects on people with allergies or those that are otherwise sensitive. Fungi begins with and includes airborne spores that can reach the living area of a home as the crawl space air migrates into the home or when there are failures in the ductwork that allow these spores to enter the home through the HVAC system.

Chemical Concerns

Will the chemicals you use kill my plants or flowers?

  • Very few of the products used for pest control treatments will harm plants or flowers but it is always advisable to be more careful with any application outdoors when it’s dry or sunny. Even some plant fertilizers can harm a plant’s foliage if applied at improper temperatures. All but one product we use, a borate, are safe for soil treatment around all plants except edible ones.

Can the chemicals you use harm my child or baby?

  • Not if applied correctly. We want to be aware anytime there are people or pets in an account where we provide treatment if anyone has particular sensitivities. Older people and the very young can be more susceptible to reactions from chemicals of all kinds and this also true of pets. But, every product we use is specifically labeled for the type of pest we’re treating and the area we will be making the application. Most applications will not require occupants to leave the house but whenever there is someone more likely to be sensitive, or any animals, we prefer that you make arrangements to leave the house for a couple hours just to be sure.

Do the chemicals you use smell?

  • Most pesticides have some amount of odor, but are often very slight. Some of the products we use truly have no odor whatsoever. We routinely use the products best suited to the application site and in the case of an indoor treatment, we are always using the products with the least amount of odor overall.

Do the chemicals you use stain?

  • Most all products we use are water-based and so there is rarely staining of any kind on surfaces that would not otherwise be stained by water. Fabrics like silk would be better not treated, but we can always test an inconspicuous area prior to the full treatment if there are questions or concerns..

How are the chemicals you use any different than what I can buy at the store?

  • The pesticides used by professional exterminators are generally more potent that what is available to the public. Some of the active ingredients are the same but can only be sold to the public at certain strengths to protect people and the environment from an untrained person’s possible misapplication. There are also certain products that can only be purchased by a licensed professional applicator to ensure that applications are made properly. Many times, the success of any treatment will involve at least some basic knowledge about the target pest. Also, the method of application can be critical for both a safe and successful treatment.