resurecting this one to find more info... anyone know anything about EverStraw?
I have been taking care of my first home now for about 6 months and I am slowly tryin to figure out what I am doing. I was talking with some buddies and they brought up some things I have never heard and I am looking for some answers:
1. Wood mulch products encourage termites. Huh? Is this in any way true?
2. Ever Straw is nice looking and will last for years. Have you heard of this stuff? Is it worth considering? He said a 50 pound roll was $70.
On the topic of termites... I live outside of Atlanta, GA. What should I be doing to prevent termites? Can I do it myself? Is it cheaper/better to hire someone (Orkin, et al)?
Thank you in advance for your help!
Any kind of wood around a house will attract insects and termites. Never use any kind of mulch or wood product as landscaping close to a house. I will use only stone, and even then I Use a solution of Diazanon twice a year to drench them. As far as termites, ask your friends and neighbors if they have problems, and if so who they use. As far as I am concerned, do NOT bother with Terminex or any affiliated company with service master. They are absolutely worthless and won't do crap once they get your money unless you bitch and complain all the way up the chain of command.
did I ever tell y'all about my revolutionary invention: Plulch?
The advantage of living in -zero weather for half the year
Much fewer pests...
Bugs that eat your house down
Poisonous critters that sting,bite and eat you.
Less disease carried by said critters
But then again I'm freaking cold right now as I type this and could use the nice warm feeling
a good bite from a poisonous snake might provide.
You can do a little investigation around the house yourself and see if there are any possible signs of termites, I found out my house had termites about 6 months after I bought it, so that was no fun to deal with.
1) Check out any wood that is in contact with the ground ANYWHERE ON YOUR PROPERTY ... This includes sheds, fences, retaining walls, felled trees etc ... Signs of an active infestation are pretty obvious, the wood will have tunnels bored through it, you'll see little piles of sawdust, and the bugs themselves. The ones you usually see are "Swarmers" and look like small flying ants, the ones that do the damage look like grubs or larvae. You usually don't see them since they can't stand light, but occassionally one will get pushed out by accident.
2) Inside your home look for "Mud Tubes". Around the foundation, particularly cracks and control joints. They will build these little tunnels out of mud and their own goo up the walls in order to get into areas that they can't reach (these are the ones that don't like the light).
3) Look closely at your inside walls, particular those that are on the exterior. Look for little ripples or soft spots in the paint. Termites will eat nearly anything with cellulose in it including drywall, but they don't seem to like paint. A lot of times they'll burrow into a wall, reach the paint, and turn around, leaving little dimples that you can sometimes see.
4) Lastly, got bugs? the swarmers are the ones that look for new places to chow, usually in the Spring when it warms up a swarm will rush up through the tunnels and look for open air ... If you have a problem, most of the time you're going to find a bunch of these flying around in your house. They live for a little while then their wings drop off and if they haven't found new digs will die.
The two most widely used ways of dealing with termites is a chemical barrier, and bait traps. Professional exterminators will drill right through your foundation and pump a chemical spray between the earth and it to keep the termites out. The less invasive route is with bait stations. Baits are placed around your house in short intervals and baited with a hunk of wood. Once every month or so the exterminator comes and does a quick survey of the bait stations to see if any termites have been feeding there. If he gets a positive, he swaps the wood bait with a cellulose infused with termite poison. The termites find it, eat it, bring it back to the colony and pass it around, it's slow acting so everyone gets a taste, eventually the queen and all the workers get it and the colony can no longer feed or reproduce and dies. it can take up to 2 years to kill a colony this way, but you usually start to see results within a few months. I used this setup and have been termite free for 2 years now.
I agree with avoiding Terminix at all costs ... local exterminators have the same stuff, they just don't pay for all the commercials and avertisements as Terminix. I quoted a local guy and them when I had my problem and they were double the local serviceperson for the same service.
thanks everyone for your help so far - termites not an issue!
bumping for more info on other question.