I've been noticing termite wings around my front door and near the bathroom. My girlfriend says she has seen them swarming sometimes at night (mostly 2-3 at a time no more than 10) although I haven't seen them yet.

I had two termite inspections that gave different advice.

The first one (Truly Nolan) said he thinks I have subterranean termites and for that he advised a non-tent solution. They would come in and drill little holes near the baseboards every couple of feet and spray in the walls. They would also crawl under the house in the crawlspace and apply poison to all the pedestals that the house sits on. For that he wanted $1550. He also gave the option of tenting for $1700 although he didn't recommend it.

I also had Terminix come out who thinks I have subterranean termites and drywood termites. He advised a tent for $1200 and the application of bait stations for $900.

I'm not really sure what options I should choose. Both of the inspectors were more salesman than anything so I'm skeptical of Terminix's claim of both kinds of termites. Any input would bee helpful.

Edit: I'm open to supplementing or replacing the above with stuff I can buy from home depot if that stuff is actually helpful.

  • You're looking to get the advice of a bunch of nutters on the internet, over the advice of two professionals that actually inspected the home?
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 16:14
  • 1
    Get a third opinion, and ask the next inspector to show you the evidence they used to come to their conclusion.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 16:15
  • @tester101 well the problem is that the two professionals gave different advice. I was hoping I would just have two quotes for the same thing but that's not what I got. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 16:25
  • The folks here can't inspect your home, so you're likely to get a lot more opinions here.
    – Tester101
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 17:12
  • @tester101 well to your earlier point it isn't as if I'm just going to blindly do what some nutter says. Additionally, I'm curious just what people say based on their experience so I fully expect opinions. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 17:17

4 Answers 4


You said both contractors "think" you have termites. They should know and be able to point out evidence like Tester101 pointed out. Both prices seem high for just basically spraying, especially since you don't have a slab that has to be drilled through. Near the front door, they could have just came in under the door. If they are subterranean, their should be evidence of how they got in - typically mud trails coming up from dirt, up the piers and into the house. They can also look for any things that are conducive to attracting them, such as any boards (pressure treated or not) that are in contact with both the house and the dirt. Just because you have seen a few doesn't mean they are already in your walls. A less expensive spraying might take care of it. I would call another guy and see what he thinks.


Millions of dollars are unnecessarily spent here

Save samples of the flying pest to be identified. If they are termite swarmers and they were in the house, they did not fly into the house. Termite swarmers fly towards the nearest daylight always.

Dry Wood Termites are normally found in areas of the country with high humidity along coastal regions. That said, you should check with an entomologist that's local to see if they are in your area. If they are not, tenting is not needed.

A complete treatment to a pier & beam structure is almost twice as expensive than a house on a monolithic slab. Because you not only treat the exterior perimeter, the crawl space perimeter and piers all have to be treated as well.

A spot treatment will work with the newer non-repellent termiticides are Gods gifts to the pest control industry. Termidor SC is the only termiticide I have used for the past 16 years. This product is working so well on termites that it is eliminating work. You need to get a good professional for application. Check for a company that says they will use Termidor SC without you asking for it. Then ask them if they will spot treat the areas.

If you can locate a good termite professional which has good construction knowledge, the source of the termite activity can be located and treated. Be for I was in pest control (23 years) I poured concrete slabs for 5 years. So I saw the situations where wood would be left in the concrete slabs. What a valuable tool construction turned out to be for me now.

Have you seen a swarm castle or swarmers exiting from a particular area? Several photos of the damaged areas would be helpful. Pier and beam, floating slab, or monolithic slab? Is the slab all one level with no step ups? Is there any plumbing within 5 feet of the damaged area? Is it exterior wall? Can you see your foundation all along the outside?

These are all critical questions and can cost or save you thousands of dollars. A lot of termite companies will use the lack of knowledge to extract dollars from you. A good spot treatment may only run you $300-$500.

Most structures can be spot treated if a good termiticide is used. Unfortunately, even some of the local and national companies use the cheaper termiticides which the treatments are only about 70% effective. Use cheap tools and you get cheap results.

In the last 15 years I have only had to fully treat 2 homes due only to the fact that the termites were entering them from all sides. Out of the hundreds of spot treatments I have done in the last 15 years, I have yet to have a re-treatment using the good termiticides. The problem is that most companies won't warranty their work if you don't treat the whole structure. But I do warranty my spot treatments and so do some other companies.

  • 1
    Is Termidor SC efficacy the same whether it is a drywood or a subterranean termite?
    – gatorback
    Commented May 22, 2020 at 20:49

Personally, I am philosophically opposed to poisoning things. It is just plain evil, and it usually doesn't solve the problem the poisoner has.

Termites need two things to live: water and wood. If they have those two things, no amount of poison will stop them.

The proper solution to a termite problem is to find any place where there is both water and wood and separate them. All of the wood in your house should be dry and physically isolated from all possible sources of water. Wood should NEVER be in contact with the ground. The ground, by definition, is wet. In New England, where I live, all the old houses are built on stone foundations that have a berm and are built up a good two feet above that. The wood is then built on top of the stone. Termites have no easy way to get to the wood.

Note that just because you see termites around, that does not necessarily mean the house is infested. They could be living in a wood pile, in a buried stump, in a fence or any number of other places.


A $25 Fipronil spot treatment is the simple \ low-cost \ high-efficacy response

How does Fipronil work?

Fipronil is an effective drywood-termite pesticide because it is transferred between termites. If there is an active termite colony, the workers will bring the Fipronil (Termidor) back to the nest and spread the pesticide and eradicate the colony.

“Whenever a termite touches Termidor, becomes a carrier, 'transferring' Termidor to other termites it contacts. Secondary carriers continue transferring Termidor to other termites they contact, spreading it like a virus throughout the colony. This unique “Transfer Effect™” is one of the reasons no other termite treatment can control termites like Termidor”

What termites can Fipronil Eradicate?

Termites (including subterranean, drywood, dampwood and arboreal), Wood Destroying Insects (Powder Post Beetles, Old House Borer, Wharf Borer), Ants (including: foraging Carpenter; excluding: Fire, Harvester, Leaf cutter and Pharaoh)

Where is Fipronil available?

Fipronil (Termidor) Foam can be ordered online from Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Termidor-BASF-Foam/dp/B00B7B389G/

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