Order: Blattodea (Isoptera)
Do you know when your house was last treated for termites? Do you know how it was treated and what product was used? If not, it may be time to consider having the building retreated. Here in the South, buildings that are not properly protected from termites will eventually be damaged by termites, often sooner than later. Termite damage can be costly to repair and repairs are disruptive to daily life. To add insult to injury, money spent on termite damage repairs usually does nothing to improve a building or increase its value, it only restores value that was lost. Goodbye dollars!
Termite control is not a do-it-yourself project. Hire a professional pest control company for this job. They have the experience, knowledge, and equipment to do it right. What you can and should do yourself is to get several bids and choose the company you think will do the best job, keeping in mind that this may not be the company with the lowest bid. Mississippi pest control companies are closely regulated and inspected by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture, and most companies that are licensed to apply termite treatments can and will do a good, professional job.
How do you decide when it might be time to have a building retreated? Start by checking your records. If you still have an active termite contract on the building (for either a soil-applied termiticide or a termite baiting system), or if you find records indicating that the building was treated in the last 8 to 10 years with a long-lasting soil-applied termiticide, then you are probably ok for a few more years, but it is a good idea to also have the building professionally inspected. The more effective soil-applied termiticides will provide around 10 years of residual control, even if you let the contract lapse by not paying the annual renewal fee. On the other hand, if you have no idea when the building was last treated, or if it has been 10 years or more since the last treatment, it is time to consider getting it done—even if there is no evidence of infestation. Of course, if the building has an active termite infestation, or if there is reason to believe something has happened to compromise the effectiveness of the treatment, it is definitely time to retreat.
See Extension Publication 2568, Protect Your House from Termites, for more information on termite biology, signs of infestation, and how to control termites.
Extension Publication 2765, What Homebuilders Need to Know About Termites, contains additional information that will be of special interest to new home builders, and Table 1 of this publication contains information on how long the various soil-applied termite treatments last.
Also see the MSU Extension Termite Website.
Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The information given here is for educational purposes only. Always read and follow current label directions. Specific commercial products are mentioned as examples only and reference to specific products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended to other products that may also be suitable and appropriately labeled.