Tips for Home Termite Control

What can I do to keep my house from getting infested by termites?

Regular inspections, and treatments if necessary, are the best way to prevent termite infestations and damage. Keep your home in good repair. Repair roof leaks and maintain the vegetation around your home at least 18 inches away from the structure.

I have found termites (or evidence of recent termite damage) at my house – what should I do?

The city does not provide termite eradication in private homes, so you will have to call a private pest control company.  You may want to call several companies to compare treatment and prices.  For questions about treatment options available to the homeowner, call the entomologist at NOMTCB for more information.  Termite control is a professional market and it is not recommended for a homeowner to do their own termite treatment. 

Which types of termite control are best?

The best option for termite control is prevention.   Preventative strategies include exclusion (i.e. use of termiticide impregnated vapor barriers, stainless steel mesh or other physical barriers), use of non-cellulose building materials, sanitation, and moisture problem remediation.  Spending a little time considering these factors during construction or eliminating conducive conditions post-construction may allow the homeowner or business owner to avoid having to make the remediation type decision.

Choosing termite treatments requires considering several factors such as termite species, construction type, customer expectations, location and degree of infestation/damage, and any special/unique considerations.  For example, in a situation where the pest is identified as a drywood species and the infestation is limited to a bookshelf or other piece of furniture (verified by a thorough inspection), the best remediation strategy may simply be removal of the infested materials.   

What are carton nests and why are they so effective in protecting a termite colony?

Carton material is a combination of frass, soil, cellulose and saliva.  Large carton structures are formed first as a series of interconnected foraging tunnels.  Larger foraging galleries and cells with thickened walls are constructed as termites continue to add to this elaborate gallery system. 

When soil used in construction is primarily sand, or when lime is incorporated, the carton can take on a masonry-like density.  Although these structures are commonly referred to as carton “nests”, it is important to note that not all carton material contains reproductives or broods.  Therefore, it should not be presumed that removing a carton “nest” from a structure eliminates the source of the infestation. 

Thickened walls of the carton help protect termites and the large structures provide areas for termites to retreat when threatened.  However, the primary advantage of the carton is that it provides the capacity to store water, which results in an increased ability to exploit above ground moisture sources.

How can you tell what kind of termites caused the damage?

The most common kind of termite in New Orleans is the Formosan subterranean termite, which locates in temperate and subtropical regions (Su 2003) and is limited by temperature and humidity requirements.  Populations of Formosan subterranean termites are typically located within the global area 35° north and south of the equator (Su and Tamashiro 1987.

When termite evidence is found without any live foragers, determining the species is difficult.  Only if wings or soldier head capsules are found in or around abandoned feeding sites or foraging galleries can termite evidence can be considered completely diagnostic.

Click here for information on how to request assistance from the Board's trained entomologysts in identifying a bug. 

Download Termite Species of Louisiana: An Identification Guide