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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What happens if you don't rid your home of termites?

Well, they keep eating the woodwork they are currently in, and will eventually spread to more areas.

What exactly are termites capable of?

A little known fact is that termites cause more economic damage than fires and flooding combined, but you won’t find them covered on your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy! They can hollow out flooring and roof rafters causing collapse, and they can destroy furniture, books and precious documents if left undetected. We fumigate boats as well although termite holes are small, you don’t want a boat with too many holes!

What damage do termites do and how do they do it?

Termites play an important part in Nature, returning trees and old wooden posts, etc back to the earth, but really make no distinction between a dead tree branch and the rafters of your roof. Termites have mandibles (pinching, chewing jaws) that eat wood, and have a microorganism in their gut to help them digest the cellulose they obtain from it

What will a home look like if it's termite ridden, but is not fumigated?

Termites usually do a fair amount of damage before detection, but here are the things to watch for:

  • Cast-off wings from flying dry-wood termites may be found in windowsills, in and around light fixtures, in ceilings, or anywhere reproductive swarmers can exit a colony.
  • Little piles of tiny pellets, called frass, can also be found in these areas. This “frass” is actually the digested droppings of eaten woodwork.
  • Damaged wood with or without blistered paint , or that sounds hollow when tapped (which will still be the case even after fumigation and the termites inside are all dead)
  • Pin-sized holes in woodwork where termites “kick out” the frass.
  • Live, swarming (flying) termites inside the home or building.
  • Trails of ants on the outside walls, leading into the roof (Ants and termites are natural enemies; ants will also try to return after fumigating to feed on all the dead termites)
How many years will the termite damage process take?

In Bermuda usually three to five years minimum, if termites are present in the first instance.

What's the current cost of fumigation?

It varies, mostly due to size, but the average single family Bermuda home runs between $2,500.00 to $6,500.00. Larger homes, multi-apartment dwellings and large commercial buildings run more of course, but every job is given a written price quotation and warranty.

What does a tent fumigation involve
  • The occupants must prepare first: People, Pets, and Plants must be out. Certain foods must be either removed from the structure, or placed in fumigation-tight bags
  • Once you’ve prepared and left, our fumigation crew will “tent” (ie: cover) your home with heavy red & blue coated tarpaulins connected together with metal clamps.
  • Procedures are followed inside of the structure to ensure everyone has vacated.
  • Next, all doors are locked, additional locking devices are used to help prevent anyone from entering.
  • A security guard is posted outside, on duty throughout the fumigation time period.
  • Then the fumigating actually begin: Vikane (the gaseous fumigant) is released into the home, penetrating into all termite tunnels air spaces and voids in the wood, ceiling, roof, and floor. Vikane will spread out and reach all termite colonies under the tarpaulins
  • The following day, the tarps are removed and the building is aerated. Our Licensed Supervisors will check the home with a specialized gas detection meter to ensure all of the Vikane has dissipated before authorising re-entry.
How does cost of fumigation compare to the costs following those numbers of years destruction?

Well, consider this: a new roof costs upwards of $150,000.00, replacing a wooden bedroom floor is around $5,000.00 and window frames at $600.00-$1,000.00 each. I think that anyone can see that it doesn’t make sense not to try to save your home from termites.

Where do termites come from?

Bermuda has Dry-wood Termites, which need no contact with soil (unlike their North American cousins, Subterranean Termites). Bermuda has a fairly high housing density, and a large percentage of our homes and buildings have termites. The reproductives of the Drywood termite have wings and can therefore fly to new locations. The workers do not; they stay inside and keep eating.

Is there any way to prevent infestation without fumigation?

Fumigation is a cure for an infested structure, and is not a preventative treatment. Inspection of items brought into the house ie: used furniture, cabinets, shelving, and especially firewood, can prevent the introduction of termites. If renovating, or building, the use of treated lumber is recommended. Keep firewood away from the house and prune out dead tree and ornamental plant branches.

Is fumigation dangerous to your health

There is no residual to Vikane gas left inside of a building after it has been cleared for re-occupancy, therefore there is no risk nor danger afterwards. The fumigant is no longer there. It is a true gas, which dissipates before the occupants are allowed to return.

What products are used during a tent fumigation

We use only genuine Vikane fumigant, the top-of-the line product used by Professional Fumigators worldwide. Vikane was awarded recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Ozone Protection Award as it is not an ozone depleting gas.

What products are used during residual pest control treatments?

With the exception of ultra-low toxity baits, which might be one of the products used, the majority would be one ounce or less of a pyrethrin or pyrethroid insecticide mixed in one gallon of water, all of which are approved for indoor use.

Here is a link to the U.S. EPA site explaining the materials, http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/reevaluation/pyrethroids-pyrethrins.html

Any aerosol products (in tins) that are used, strictly in structural cracks and crevices (not open space) which may harbour insects are also either pyrethrins, pyrethroids or natural botanical oil based products. The materials used normally dry in less than an hour, and most, but not all, are odorless as well. There is no airing out period required or needed (as with foggers or tent fumigation) but some residents like to leave windows open for a couple of hours “just because”

How long does the effects of the product last?

As mentioned, Vikane is a gas, and therefore has no residual. A building that has just been fumigated will have about the same odds of getting a new infestation as brand-new construction. Many structures may never need fumigating again, but twenty to thirty years is not uncommon.

Would an all-concrete home deter termites

Definitely. A number of the new big buildings in Hamilton for example are block construction with steel beams, poured concrete floors, and PVC windows. Termites need some sort of wood to eat, and about all that’s left for them in such buildings are furniture, cabinets, books and documents.

Why are termites so prevalent in Bermuda?

Bermuda, like most semi-tropical and tropical locales, have the right combination of heat, humidity, and extended season for them to thrive, as well as some very, very old buildings. A single colony can have hundreds or thousands of individuals, and properties may have multiple colonies.

How do I know which pest control company to use?

A pest control company may be used in two ways – as a means of getting rid of unwanted pests or preventing attack. Choose a pest control service with the same care you would use in securing any other important service for your property.

  • Ask for recommendations from friends and neighbors. In addition, make sure the one you choose is both licensed and certified to do work.
  • Before signing an agreement with an exterminator, be sure you understand what type of service is being performed and whether or not your deal includes follow-up visits. It is also a good idea to get price quotes before settling on one contractor. This way, you will know how much you should be paying and what has usually included in the price.
  • A termite warranty, for example should include a description of the structure or structures to be treated; the name of the pesticides to be used; information on whether or not a warranty or service contract is indeed provided and – if one exists – complete details including: warranty period, renewal options and costs, obligations to re-treat by termites within the warranty period, and conditions that could develop as a result of the owner’s action or inaction that could void the warranty.
  • Determine whether an estimate is a firm price, and be cautious if it is not. Ask the pest control specialist to provide a written statement of the proposed work and the required disclosure documents.
    Most firms are reliable, legitimate businesses and if you follow the above advice, you will pick the right one.