Post details: Termite Control Companies


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Termite Control Companies

If you have a termite infestation in your home, we recommend that you DO NOT attempt to do your own treatment. Contract the services of a pest control operator who has experience with termites. Pest control professionals have training, expensive equipment that is not feasible for a homeowner to purchase, and products not available to the homeowner.

Pest Control Operators are trained in special application procedures to ensure the best protection for your home. These procedures include drilling, rodding, and application to voids that are beyond most homeowner's expertise. These procedures are an acquired skill. If you need a pest control operator for termite control, consider the following, in addition to the evaluation criteria listed under General Household Pest Control:

* Ask if the company has experience in dealing with subterranean termites. If they do, ask for the number of years they have worked in termite control, and ask for the number of jobs completed.
* Ask for references to previous subterranean termite work that has been completed.
* Do not feel pressured by a company to buy a treatment in the spot. Take a few days to thoroughly research treatment options and different pest control companies.
* Compare prices with contract coverage from different pest control companies. (See section on contracts.) Get their recommendations concerning the most effective method of treatment for you.
* Make sure that the pest control company makes a complete inspection of the entire building from crawl space to attic.
* Make sure your crawl space or attic is accessible and does not contain so much clutter that the PCO cannot do a proper inspection. In order to do the inspection, the Pest Control Operator should carry protective clothing for crawl space inspections, plus a flashlight, a probe, a moisture meter, and a clipboard to draw a graph of the inspection areas. The inspection should determine the point of termite entry into a structure and the extent of the infestation. The pest control operator cannot recommend the proper treatment for your structure without a thorough inspection.
* Be sure to get a written report that tells you the location(s) of the infestation(s) and the probable point(s) of entry into the structure. The report should include a graph indicating areas of termite activity. Understand that this is a visual inspection only. Additional damage may be found in concealed or hidden areas. The graph cannot guarantee that all damage is represented. Further inspection by a building expert or structural engineer may be required where extensive damage has occurred. It stands to reason that the older the home, the greater the probability of damage or concealed areas (areas that have been covered or repaired).


While many people think that they are receiving a termite "bond," legally speaking, you are signing a "contract." Ask your attorney for the distinctions between "bonds," "contracts," and "warrantees."

* Be aware that there are many different types of contracts for termite control. Contract wording will vary from company to company. Contracts also will vary with the type of construction that is being treated. Note that contracts for bait treatments will differ from contracts for soil termiticide treatments. In all cases, read the contract and know what you are getting.
* Termite contracts generally have two sides. Read both sides thoroughly.
* Some companies will offer a contract with a "retreatment only" clause. "Retreatment only" generally means that the company will come out and retreat your house if termites infest the structure after they have treated it. The company will not assume liability for damage done by the termites. There may be a number of exclusion clauses, so be sure to read and understand the contract you sign.
* Some contracts contain a "damage replacement" clause. "Damage replacement" clauses usually mean that the company will replace and pay for any damages incurred by the termites while you have been under contract with the company. There may be a number of exclusion clauses associated with this type of contract also, so be sure to read and understand the contract you sign.
* If your house is constructed with any Exterior Insulating Finishing System (EIFS), synthetic stucco, rigid foam board insulation, or any other decorative facade that is installed below the soil line (below grade), many pest control companies will not issue either a "retreatment only" or "damage replacement" type contract unless contact with the soil is cut off, leaving an inspection space of 6 to 8 inches. The inspection space is now a requirement in the Southern Building Code.
* Any type of construction that will create "conducive conditions," or conditions that are favorable to termite infestation and survival, will disqualify many homeowners from receiving contracts with "retreatment only" or "damage replacement" clauses. Some conducive conditions are leaking roofs, landscape plants that are too close to the house, water sprinklers directed toward the house, and wood-to-ground contact. There are many more.
* Be aware that the contract for treatment of an existing subterranean termite infestation may not be the same as the contract for an annual reinspection.
* Make sure you have a contract before any work is begun.
* Contracts should contain the name and address of the pest control firm.
* Make sure you know the length of time for which the contract is good. Common contract lengths are the "5-year," good for 5 years; the "lifetime," good for as long as you own the home; and "treatment with no extension," only good for the treatment and usually issued to homes with serious conductive conditions such as EIFS.
* Know which parties can cancel the contract and at what anniversary date.
* Look on the back for disclaimers. Look for "small print."
* Look for an arbitration clause or other methods to settle disputes.
* Ask if the contract makes any distinction between the Formosan subterranean termite and native subterranean termite. Any company whose contract makes a distinction probably realizes the need for this separation. Research indicates that the Formosan subterranean termite is more aggressive.
* Remember that the wording of the contract is only as strong as the parties involved. Make sure the company with which you contract has adequate coverage and the financial stability to perform all contractual obligations.
* Final details:
* Call the Better Business Bureau or the Department of Agriculture, Division of Plant Industries, and ask if the company with whom you may contract has any outstanding complaints. If they do, ask for the nature of those complaints.
* Lastly, contact the Alabama Cooperative Extension System office in your county if you have other questions or if you want to verify the identity of the insect infesting your house.

The key to any decision is having confidence in the company you chose. Pay attention to the value and the service you expect for the price you pay. Also, remember that good pest control cannot be achieved without homeowner cooperation.


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