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 V.22 No.19 | May 9 - 15, 2013 

The Bugman

Tetracycline

Bane of both acne and termites

If you live in an area with a lot of termite activity, there are two things you can do to prevent termites from infesting your home. The first is to get an inspection to determine if you have termite activity. If you don't have activity, here is what you can do to help prevent it. Of course, this isn't a guarantee against an infestation, but it will certainly help prevent one.

To get started you will need a couple of packets of Tetracycline. Termite workers have intestinal microorganisms containing protozoans in their lower digestive system, and these microorganisms contain enzymes that help them digest cellulose. The Tetracycline will kill the protozoans and prevent the termites from being able to digest the cellulose which will eventually—and sometimes quite quickly—starve and kill the entire termite colony. I recommend adding boric acid or borax to the solution to make it work even faster.

Use a shovel to dig several shallow holes (about four to six inches) in the ground near the foundation of your home. If you have rocks or mulch around the house, you will have to move some of it to dig your holes. If you have concrete sidewalks around your house, you will have to dig next to them, as well.

Next, get some flat pieces of cardboard, some paper towels or even a few paper plates. I have used all three and they work well. Dilute a packet of tetracycline, mixed with three tablespoons of boric acid in a half gallon of water, soak your paper products, put them in the holes and cover them. Position your holes at each corner of your home plus one between each corner, about a foot from the foundation. Any termites in the area will be attracted to the baits. There are commercial bait stations available, but I have found this method works better.

You will want to check the bait stations about 10 days after putting them in the ground. If you find termite activity, then there is a colony in the area. This would be a good time to put fresh cardboard/paper towels soaked with tetracycline and boric acid or borax in the ground. Then check the stations biweekly and replace if there is activity.

If you have a crawl space under your home, place extra bait stations in several areas under the house where they are accessible to you. Then, to prevent any termite activity in the future, you can treat along the bottom of the inside foundation wall with diatomaceous earth, borax or salt. Termites will avoid all of these products. They may live in the soil but they won't climb the foundation to get to the wooden sub-floor. Make sure you treat around any support piers as well, and treat all the exposed wood with a sodium borate (TimBor or Bora-Care). That will not only protect the sub-floor from termites but will also prevent wood-boring beetles from infesting the wood. Finally, get a power duster and blow several pounds of food-grade diatomaceous earth under the house on the bare soil. This will prevent termites from building mud tubes out of the ground and into the wood. It will also deter other insects and spiders from living in the crawl space. Sodium borates are also effective in preventing wood decay fungi and is a good fire retardant. It should be applied to all exposed wood, especially in a crawl space. It’s safe; it washes off easily, it’s not a skin irritant, and there is no risk of absorption through unbroken skin. Bora-Care and TimBor are not available in stores, but you can get them online. One supplier is Pestcontrolsupplies.com. Tetracyclines are often given to livestock to control and treat bacterial infections. You can buy tetracycline at most feed stores.

All of this information is available in my newest booklet, Pests (or Guests) and how to Manage them Safely and Effectively. This booklet is also available in pdf format, and if you want a copy, let me know. My email is askthebugman2013@gmail.com. I am also available for termite inspections and home consultations.

If you have any pest questions, feel free to contact me via email (askthebugman2013@gmail.com) or by phone at 385-2820. You can also follow me on Twitter @askthebugman. I am constantly posting non-toxic pest control tips on Twitter.
 
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