Termite hatch?

Asked August 20, 2019, 10:12 AM EDT

Here's a photo of some of the 5 or 6 dozen creatures that materialized in my bathroom over a half-hour period 2 nights ago, each about an inch in length. By morning, any survivors had disappeared. My landlord wants to bring in an exterminator; I 'm resisting - so far it's a one night infestation once a year. Life cycle? Leave well alone?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Termite control can be complicated and it depends on the species of termite and where the infestation is located. Here in Oregon there are two species that commonly occur around homes, the dampwood termite and the subterranean termite. The latter species is the one that causes damage whereas the dampwood termite is usually associated with very wet wood and will not caus


If you are concerned about the integrity of your pest control company, you can ask them to provide more information on what makes them think that you have a termite problem. Swarming termites are normal in the spring, and don't necessarily indicate that you have an infestation. But, if they see subterranean termite tunnels ~ or other evidence of termite nesting ~ you will need the services of a licensed pest control professional. The products and application methods that are most effective against termites are really well within the domain of licensed professionals, and are either not accessible (i.e. we can't purchase them) or practical (i.e. application methods difficult, to get good control) for homeowners.

Several non-chemical and “organic” treatments are sometimes promoted for termite control. These include the use of nematodes and fungi, sand barriers, orange oil and “borate” sprays. “Beneficial nematodes” are microscopic worms that feed on a variety of insects, including termites. Nematodes have not proved effective in treating termites in actual structures and cannot be recommended.

Sand barriers are layers of uniform sized particles (2-2.8 mm diameter) that are difficult for termites to penetrate. Sand barriers should be at least 3-6 inches deep and 20 inches wide. They are placed around foundation walls and in bath traps and other slab openings. Sand barriers are not commonly used in Oregon, as they have not been shown to be an effective barrier against termites.

Orange oil sprays have not been demonstrated to provide termite control in structures.

Borate sprays are based on the use of boron compounds, similar to boric acid. Borate salts are water soluble and are relatively low in toxicity. Treated wood effectively prevents termite feeding and many forms of wood decay. The most effective application method is to spray or immerse structural wood with a borate solution prior to, or during, construction. Treating existing homes with borate sprays applied to wall voids or exposed wood provides only partial protection from termites and wood decay, because of the difficulty in obtaining a complete treatment. Applying borate sprays or dusts to treat an existing infestation is not likely to provide suitable control.e damage if the moisture problem is solved. Your best option is to find a pest control company you trust (talk with the local Extension office about the local PC companies) and work with them to solve this problem. Termites are generally not a DIY project even in Oregon where termites are not that significant as pests.