“Does anybody have any thoughts or idea, or any experience trying to treat for termites in a row house?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

“Dear PoPville,

I recently discovered a few termites (I knew there are never just a few) in the siding on the front of my row house. I called a pest remediation company who came out, said I had active termites, and my house would need to be treated.

The problem is, that because it’s a row house with no basement and only about 6 inches of crawl space underneath, they can’t treat the house in the normal way, so they wanted to drill holes in my hard wood floors all the way through the house. That doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve been trying to come up with a creative way to deliver the chemical they would have used (termidor) via the crawlspace. I’ve done a lot of online research, but cannot find any specific information on how a house is normally treated when there is no way to access the “sides” of the house.

Does anybody have any thoughts or idea, or any experience trying to treat for termites in a row house? For the record, it appears that my house is built on a series of brick columns for a foundation.”

11 Comment

  • Do you have quarter round baseboard molding? Could you take that off, drill holes there, and then replace the quarter round?

  • Have you gotten an estimate from additional companies to see if any of them have a better idea?

  • SusanRH

    How about drilling the holes in closets, underneath cabinets and places that are not easily seen?

  • That doesn’t sound right. I have the exactly same situation (recent termites. small row house with tiny crawl space), and they just drilled into my front porch and behind the house. There was never any discussion of needing to drill inside the house or along the side. They gave me a 1 year warranty on it, etc. , and it was a big reputable company, so I don’t think they were just being sloppy about it.

    You should get another opinion.

  • Diatomaceous Earth… It’s a sand used in pool filters but also a non-toxic pesticide that termites eat that shreds their stomach and then they die. It’s sold in the garden section at Home Depot. You spread it all around affected areas. You’ll still have to repair any wood dammage, but it’s quite effective in killing colonies of termites and also cockarochas. Ole’

    • Not trolling here, but that is not how DE works. It’s a desiccating dust that abrades the shell of the organism causing them to dehydrate and die. Don’t use Pool Grade DE, it’s not effective. Food/Garden grade DE is the stuff you want. It’s also sold as a dedicated pesticide usually with Pyrethrin, so if you’re trying to avoid more severe chemicals read the label.
      OP – it’s important to review any water issues that are going on with the building. There are drywood infestations, but that’s prob not what you have. Termite like wet wood. Look for water issues with the siding and foundation. In DC the humidity is enough to keep the back of siding dry and the dirt in a crawls space just wicks water from everywhere.
      I like NorthbyNE’s idea. Hatch is probably good for general inspection anyhow. I’m surprised you don’t already have some access.

  • FWIW – this is how the termites were apparently treated in my rowhouse condo building before I purchased. I’m in the basement unit and there is evidence of similar drill holes in the hardwood throughout the unit.

  • I had he same issue…termites in small row-house with no access to crawlspace.
    Do you have a reasonably large closet or utility space on the first floor (e.g. under-stair closet?) If so, have a handyman, or friend with some power-tool knowledge, cut an access hatch into the crawlspace in there. It requires removing the flooring in a 16″ by 2-3′ area (without cutting into the joists) and fashioning a plwood and 2×4 patch to cover it. The pest control people can either climb down into the crawlspace or hang down and us long tubes to strategically place the poison in the crawlspace.

  • Hi – we had previous termite damage in our row house (most do) when we bought and out of an abundance of caution we treated as they recommended – like yours we have no crawl space – just as you say, they drill small holes around the perimeter, they are very small and they ;plugged them back with the same wood plug they got out – you can’t even see them really afterwards.

  • My house does have a basement, but when we had termites they just put bait stations in the yard around our whole house. I don’t think we had live termites inside, though, and that matters.

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