Host: Welcome to Pest Podcast News where we talk to the pest control experts and ask them the questions you want to ask, and today we really excited to have with us back from the Greenville-Spartanburg area of SC, Gary Corbin, pest control expert with First Choice Termite and Pest Control. How are you doing, Gary?
Gary Corbin: Good, glad to be here. How are you doing?
Host: Good. Welcome back to our program. Today our subject is termites, and I know that can strike fear in people because of the damage termites can do. Is there a particular time of the year termites come out and create destruction, or is it all the time?
Gary Corbin: There is no particular time that they create damage, but there is a couple of times a year the swarmers come out and the tale-tale sign of having a termite infestation. Usually, it's early spring and right after a light rain and when the sun comes out. In the fall, when the weather changes from hot to cooler, you will have swarmers come out.
Host: When you say swarmers, what do you mean by that?
Gary Corbin: The swarmers are the adult termites that actually fly from a colony, looking for another place to build a colony, a damp spot with debris such as wood or anything like that to build another colony to accommodate a new king and queen for a colony. Those are the little black insects you see flying in swarms with wings.
Host: So it's a dampness environment that they are looking for?
Gary Corbin: It is. They have to have water to survive. They have to have dampness to survive. They can't survive just off of wood. They have to have both. It has to be a combination of the two.
Host: So when we talk about homes, what type of damage can termites do, and do they always do damage if they're present or only sometimes, what makes the difference?
Gary Corbin: They do damage when they infest your home. The difference between the damage they do could be the construction of the home. Here in South Carolina, they do hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in damage to people's homes. Of course, I know of one concern here is the species, subterranean termites. We do have two here, the subterranean termites, and for most, termites are found probably Columbia, Charleston, and below; Myrtle Beach and those areas South.
Host: I think most people are thinking about termites when they purchase a home, and the realtor may say, we have to get this termite letter, bond, or whatever it is called. Maybe you can educate us. What are the options when you purchase a home? What is it you want to be looking for to have good insurance against termites?
Gary Corbin: What you definitely have to have is a CL-100, which is a wood infestation report. Now, counties in South Carolina can differ. In some counties, the buyer is responsible for having it done, and in some counties, the seller is responsible for having it done. So, therefore, we go out and have an inspection on the home prior to purchase or sale. It is much more than a termite inspection. We inspect for mold, mildew, water, standing water in crawl space, roof leaks, all kinds of things, not just termites. If we are just talking about termites, we come out and do a thorough inspection of your home in visibly accessible areas to determine if you have an active infestation. If you do not, it is wonderful. But a lot of times, buyers want to be put under a termite bond that our pest control company offers. Sometimes they won't buy the home if they covered under a termite bond. We do offer the termite bonds, and if you don't have termites, and you are not going to have a bond, we recommend you have it inspected at least once a year just to make sure no colonies invade your home.
Host: Now, the termite bond, is that normally the responsibility of the seller?
Gary Corbin: Again, it depends on the county that you are in. Sometimes, it's the seller's responsibility, and sometimes they will put it back on the buyer. Generally speaking, it's going to be the seller's responsibility.
Host: What does that actually protect you for when you have a bond?
Gary Corbin: It's an insurance policy, basically is what it is. If we come out and do a termite treatment on your home, whether it be liquid or bait, we then offer a damage guarantee, a limited damage guarantee for a certain number of years. Therefore if you have a colony to invade your home, we are responsible for having it fixed. Then we have another, a different kind of guarantee in the limited retreatment only guarantee. That is the same insecticide but does not offer a damage bond.
Host: I know a lot of people that probably have never seen termite damage. How bad can It get, and what does it look like?
Gary Corbin: The best advice I can give you is Google termite damage and then go look at pictures. I have seen floors and floor joists that are beneath the floor that are just laying just like paper. You can actually put the dust in your hand and blow it. It can get that bad. So, people who do not have a termite bond should have their house inspected that than a termite bond. Have your house inspected at least once a year if you don't have a termite bond, but I do highly recommend putting your house under bond with a good local company.
Host: We'll talk about two types of treatment. First, where you are protecting against termites and, second, the actual treatment where you have found the active termites. Can you talk about the difference?
Gary Corbin: The treatment that you are actually protecting your house with termites is termiticide, which we always use a termiticide that's called Termidor. I don't use anything else. If you use a liquid termite treatment with our company, it is going to be Termidor. My opinion is top of the line, best in the market. I've been doing this for a long time. We put barriers around your home, and in your crawl space. If you have a crawl space, we put barrier around each pier in the crawl space. It is a non-repellant termiticide, so consider termite activity where termites burrow under the ground. They then often look to find a wall to climb to get form a cell to breed quickly. They are unable to detect this termiticide in the ground, and therefore, they go and continue on their way and crawl through it. Over a period of ninety days, it will affect their central nervous system. They are cannibals and they forge off of each other, and it will affect the number one termite, number two, and right on down the line like a train effect.
Host: Is there any difference between the pre-treat on a new home and when you find active termites, is there a different procedure?
Gary Corbin: No, it's the same procedure, on a pre-constructive procedure when you are building a new home, it's the same treatment. We apply the same amount as if you were to call me for a post-inspection treatment. We do the exact same thing. The difference between the pre-treat and the post-treatment is that you are actually living in the home during the post-instruction treatment. You need to keep in mind that we actually treat the home before any sod is put out and any backfilling. We don't know if a builder or landscaper comes along after us and disturbs the treated soil. So, whoever builds your home could actually disturb the soil that has been treated, not knowing it has been treated. I will give you an example. A lot of homes around here are slab patio homes now, and they are actually monolithic slabs, so they excavate a foundation and pour a concrete slab over the foundation. Well, when they backfill a home, it's usually up above the foundation where the siding meets the ground. So they have to excavate that soil, back it out, and start building the home structure and remove it. If we've been asked to come out and treat before all of that construction activity, they can be removing the soil that has been chemically treated for termites. That's the reason I highly suggest you have an inspection at least once a year. Even if it's a pre-construction treatment, you are only guaranteed one year because of that. South Carolina state law is mandated by the University of Clemson, our regulatory office. They regulate us. We are required to give at least a one-year damage guarantee on a pre-construction treatment. So, I highly suggest you have your home inspected once a year after the pre-construction treatment.
Host: Finally, if there is damage, let's say you have pretty extensive damage, what's the process? Do you treat, then bring remodelers in? What is the schedule you would set up?
Gary Corbin: If I treat your home and you have damage, say next to your front door, and it's extensive from the floor to the wall, we would come in and do a treatment and eradicate the actual infested area. Then we would coordinate and have a licensed contractor come in and have them remove, repair and replace the damage. We won't be happy until you are happy. If you are unhappy, we will do it again until it looks right to you.
Host: Great information. I want to thank Gary Corbin, expert exterminator of First Choice Termite and Pest Control, for giving us a better insight of termites. It's not something we like to think about but do need to think about in protecting our home, and thank you again for being with us.