Termite infestations: Identification then management


August 7, 2019

Dr. Janis Reed, BCE, Technical Services Manager, Control Solutions Inc.

Dr. Janis Reed, BCE, Technical Services Manager, Product Development Team, Control Solutions Inc.

Identification of a termite infestation is key in making a management plan — and the first step in determining whether a plan is even necessary. So, how do most pest management professionals (PMPs) discover an active termite infestation? The answer varies from and includes locating swarmers, finding damage, discovering shelter tubes or frass — or maybe all three.

How do you confidently perform an inspection and ensure you’ve found whether termites are there? Here are some tips for conducting your best inspection:

  • Access all areas of the structure.
  • Communicate with your clients the importance of a once-per-year termite inspection.
  • Inspect the attic and crawlspace, if possible.
  • Check spider webs for shed wings and termite swarmers.
  • Look for evidence of drywood fecal pellets and damage.
  • Check walls for bubbling, pinholes and other damage.
  • Use new technologies, such as an infrared (IR) camera and termite detecting equipment, to see what your eyes cannot.
  • Take your once-per-year termite inspection and kick it up a notch: Take your time and make it count.

Entomologists use high-powered magnification and dichotomous keys to determine a positive identification of specimens. What tools do you have at your disposal? At a minimum, you should keep a magnifying glass or similar tool in your service vehicle to assist you in your efforts. If you are having difficulty making an identification, don’t hesitate to reach out to a local entomologist, extension service or university to assist you.

Read more from Dr. Janis Reed, BCE about identifying termite infestations: Have confidence when identifying cause of wood damage

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Dr. Janis Reed, BCE, Technical Services Manager, Control Solutions Inc.

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