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Mike and Erin's Termites

Mike took the time to send us a picture....

We are clear across the country from you in Washington state.  We have found your site to be very helpful and are wondering a couple of things;
1)  Is the enclosed zip file a dampwood termite?
and, if so,
2)  Is seeing them around your house (outside) indicative of a problem?  We do live in a "woodsy" area, if that helps.
Just lately, we have seen several of these little buggers outside at night.  At least 30 were climbing our kitchen window tonight.
This is a new home to us, and we want to make sure there isn't a problem, but we don't know what the line between "they just live with us as neighbors" and "they're eating our house" is!!
Any input is appreciated, and, if you happen to know of a reputable exterminator in the East King County, Washington area, we'd love their name!!
Thanks in advance,
Mike & Erin M

(Mike sent in a nice picture of dampwood termites - it's right here.)

And I wrote back with....

Hello Mike & Erin:

Your picture is indeed a termite.  As you noted, I'm a long way away from you, and we don't have these kinds of termites here, but it is a termite and it looks like a dampwood termite.

Dampwood termites need moisture to survive - the wood needs to be wet, so wood in contact with the ground, or wood that is constantly wet is at risk.

The swarmers you have seen are looking for these conditions.  And just because they may land on your house, or crawl up the walls, does not mean that you now have termites.  They will need perfect conditions to do this.  This is the time of year for termites to swarm, out where you are, although they can swarm almost anytime of the year.

So don't worry too much about the swarmers.  Worry more about the conditions around the house that will make it easy for them to invade.

The Univ of Calif has some info on it - and, unlike some of the exterminator's sites, they're not in it to scare you.  


Unfortunately, I don't have a name for you in your area - your ISP (Seanet.com) is in Seattle, I assume that is your area.  Usually it is best to stay away from the big guys - they will send out a salesman who will be more interested in parting you from your money.  Look for a local exterminator, in business long enough to get a good reputation.  Make sure you call the Better Business Bureau for a recommendation - they know the best and the worst.  They can be a great help in looking for anybody you need to work with, exterminators, electricians, plumbers, whatever.  

Hope this helps.  Get back to me if you have more questions!


Mike wrote back with....

Thank you so much for your information.  Your site has been an excellent resource for us and we're thankful that there are still honest people out there doing business!!
We do indeed live in rain country and there are fallen trees all over here perfect for termites.  We are totally new to the termite situations- they weren't a visitor we were happy to see!
We will look at the site you recommend and look for an honest independant exterminator to come out and take a look around.
Thank you so much for your help,
Mike & Erin

So I sent back....

Hi Mike - and Erin:

Sorry for the delay - hurricane Floyd had us down for some 9 hours.  Then some 60 emails came flooding in.

Yes, definitely - make sure that whomever you get doesn't try to scare you.  Anybody that scares you, cross them off the list!


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