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Can subterranean termites live without access to the soil?

My answer to the question is absolutely, as long as they have access to food, shelter, water, and even a little soil. Understand that I have no documentation, degree, or proof today. The information I'm providing you is from my personal experiences from 35 years of not quitting when previous methods were still being taught and tried but still failing to solve issues.

But first, you may want to test my knowledge about rodents in the future. what if you can trap or poison a lot of rats. But can you totally eliminate them from a stadium which sits on an entire city block and has no solid doors but can walk in open gates with chain link fences. Yes, I told the Dallas Cowboys Texas Stadiums operations manager Ron Underwood and his staff back in 1996. I already had completely eliminated the rats and mice from The Ballpark in Arlington 18 months earlier. If your staff does exactly as i say and communicates with me in a timely manner, this will be your last season operating with rodents. I did, and Texas Stadium remained rodent free until its implosion. Next was the Texas Motor Speedway. But that's next time. Now, back to termites.

In 1997 I was called to do an inspection of the interior of a home which had a windowsill that showed signs of multiple problems and/or issues. The first issue I noticed was that the carpet next to the baseboard was damp. Secondly, the paint was easily pulled up and the rear side of paint had dried up mud attached to it. The third problem or issue was that there was moisture between the window panes. Then did an inspection of the structure's exterior in the area.

Along the way outside the main source of moisture was found. A lawn sprinkler watering the home more than the lawn three times a week.

I asked the homeowner if she was aware of any previous termite activity ever seen in the area. The homeowner said yes, about 5 years earlier she had termites in the same window. The soil grade around the exterior foundation was 10-14 inches below the top of the monolithic slab. There was no plumbing within 25 feet of both the exterior walls or interior. Next, there were no visible signs of any cracks of the slab anywhere in the area. A closer look at the foundation just below the window revealed that an old termite mud stain mark still remained on the foundation and ran down from the exterior brick to the soil. Next, it was back to the inside to open up the wall to see what the damages were being caused by. Sure enough, there were active termites to go along with the water damage.

The fact that the termites were still in the wall and not escaping back to the main nest told me that the termites were originally treated with a repellent termiticide which prevented them from leaving the2 structure. Like ants, termites will not continue to enter in large numbers and forage for food in an area where a significant amount of its workers are not returning from the area healthy. Instead, the colony will completely seal off all tubes and galleries affected with mud so they can attempt to control the moisture and climate within the remaining colony. All castes except reproductive or alates were in the colony. This in my opinion reveals two other realities about termites. The first is that they remain unable to reach and or gather the exterior soil for significant expansion of the colony due to the application of termiticide which was applied to that soil by technicians. The second, if left untreated and undisturbed, this colony could eventually survive by outlasting the repellent termiticides killing ability.

I asked the homeowner if they were aware of any previous termite activity ever seen in the area. The homeowner said yes, about 5 years earlier in the same window. This told me that the soil still had a sufficient amount of toxic active ingredient which was preventing the termites from leaving the structure. Like ants, termites will not continue foraging in an area where a significant amount of its workers are not returning from the area healthy. All castes with the exception of reproductives (or alates) were in the colony. This fact reveals two other realities about termites which are unable to reach the soil.

The first is that a healthy termite colony is unable to expand or cause any significant damage to a structure if there is not a sufficient amount of untreated soil available to be used to replace the cellulose and continue to seal off areas which are no longer beneficial. Secondly,the termites just can't leave open areas with large open voids which could allow dry airflow into tunnels and galleries causing dehydration and eventually death to the colony.

No human, animal, or insects can survive without the consumption of water at some point during their life cycle.

Why do I get calls from customers who have had active termites with swarmers in the same areas for 4 or 5 years in a row? It may be due to a large number of technicians that are still using termiticides that are repellents. If you are using a termiticide which has an active ingredient of Bifenthrin, Cypermethrin, Fenitrothion, Fenvalerate, or Permethrin, you are using a repellent. And once a repellent chemical has been applied in an area, a non-repellant most likely will not solve the problem. The addition of a new termiticide or more of the same termiticide won't work either. The termiticides will kill termites if used as directed, but, you've got to be able to get it where they are. You're now going to have to locate the termites Super Tube, open it, and remove it, if you want to solve the problem.

Termites also build what I called previously, Super Tubes. When termites are feeding in areas wxhich are providing them with large amounts of high quality food, they build Super Tubes. A Super Tube is at least the width of a pencil. I have seen them as wide as just over an inch. It is a termite built with a mixture of mud and termite saliva which when cured, becomes not only waterproof, but extremely hard which, in most cases, will require a screwdriver (and hammer at times) to pry open and remove. I would imagine these Super Tubes are most likely also built underground and are termite freeways and what prevents all of their main tunnels from collapsing during flooding and heavy rains.

Possible future topics:


When a Major Indoor or Dome Saports Stadium opens with just a single pair of rats in it, and they all do, it will close with anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand rats living inside.

For the show and more dough?

Why are you drilling holes in walls to locate a Carpenter Ants nest? 


If I'm so good at eliminating rodents, why are you no longer providing the pest control services for any of their facilities today?


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