Dos & Don’ts: Eastern Subterranean Termites


October 17, 2014

Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White,

Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White,

Do eliminate termites, particularly the commonly encountered Eastern subterranean species, Reticulitermes flavipes, though integrated pest management (IPM), an environmentally benign process.
Don’t misidentify the termite species. Above all, avoid misidentifying ant alates as termite alates). Every step after a misidentification will be ineffective and could lead to civil and regulatory penalties.
Do examine posts that penetrate concrete and reach soil.
Don’t skip plumbing or drainage leaks. Delayed maintenance should must be rectified.
Do determine whether a porch is soil filled. Soil fill must be more than 8 in. below wooden structures.
Don’t excuse subtle fractures in structural concrete that could allow cryptic ingress.
Do look for air vents to make sure they’re serviceable and aren’t obstructed.
Don’t accept debris around and under a structure. Mandate removal.
Do note shallow foundation walls and footings (wood-to-soil contact points).
Don’t misinterpret veneer surfaces and flower planters (bonding fails and potentiates hidden ingress).
Do point out, and mandate removal of, tree stumps.
Don’t allow woodpiles to be stored near structures or contact soil.
Do realize IPM can be defined as inspection and investigation, identification, establishing threshold levels, implementing two or more control measures and evaluating effectiveness.
Don’t use professional products not as directed by the label. There are several effective professional products available in various formulations.

Dr. Mitchell, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., B.C.E., a board-certified physician and entomologist, is principal technical specialist for PestWest Environmental, as well as PMP’s Technical Editor. He can be reached at or 515-333-8923.


About the Author

MITCHELL, D.O., DVM, PsyD, BCE, is technical director of PestWest, and a frequent contributor to PMP.

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