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Unread 03-24-2012, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Sterling, VA
423 posts, read 363,203 times
Reputation: 486
Default Found termites in a flower bed :(

Ugh! This morning I bought a weeping cherry for my front yard, and as I was digging in the flower bed where I was going to plant it I found termites right beneath the mulch. Now I don't know what to do with the tree or with the flower bed.

I just bought the house and a termite inspection was done. So I know they haven't reached the house. But now I am concerned that they are so close. The flower bed is about 10 feet from the house.

What would you recommend I do? I guess I'll plant this tree in the back yard instead. And when I figure this problem out, I'll get another one for the front yard.
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Unread 03-24-2012, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Sherwood
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Did you really find termites? Hopefully you only have citronella ants, which is what I had when I thought I had termites.
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Unread 03-24-2012, 12:12 PM
 
2,152 posts, read 6,333,867 times
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Take a picture and post it.
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Unread 03-24-2012, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
8,323 posts, read 7,016,822 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hesky View Post
Ugh! This morning I bought a weeping cherry for my front yard, and as I was digging in the flower bed where I was going to plant it I found termites right beneath the mulch. Now I don't know what to do with the tree or with the flower bed.

I just bought the house and a termite inspection was done. So I know they haven't reached the house. But now I am concerned that they are so close. The flower bed is about 10 feet from the house.

What would you recommend I do? I guess I'll plant this tree in the back yard instead. And when I figure this problem out, I'll get another one for the front yard.
The saying here in Georgia is that there are only two kinds of houses: those that have had termites and those that will have them.

Here are some pictures for you:

Pictures of Termites Termite Pictures of Different Species

The termiticide that protects your house is placed around the foundation, providing a barrier right next to the house. Any major disturbance of the soil next to the house can disrupt the barrier, such as removing a significant amount of soil for landscaping or regrading close to the house. Ten feet is pretty far away and probably does not pose a threat to the house.

Does your home have a termite bond? If so, it usually includes treating without charge any infestation that occurs while the bond is in force.

Contact the company that provides the bond. They will probably just treat the nest you found and look for any others.

You can remove any mulch next to the foundation and check for yourself to see if there any that are closer and a potential threat to the house.

Remove any wood debris from the yard and keep firewood stored well away from the house. Termites need moisture, so make sure the gutters and downspouts are clean and water is directed away from the foundation.

If your home is fairly new, there have been no major changes to the ground around the foundation, there is no evidence of termites in the house itself, and the termite company wants to retreat the whole house solely because of what you found (if it is truly termites), get another opinion.

My house is in the category of homes that have had termites. We are fortunate that our bond includes not only retreatment but repair of damages. We have had to have treatment done on three occasions, one of which involved significant repairs because it was in an area that was hidden and not easily accessible for inspection.
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Unread 03-24-2012, 02:47 PM
 
1,846 posts, read 2,915,307 times
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You will always have termites in the soil... the important thing is to keep them out of your house, per Suzy's post.

Termites eat dead wood, not live, so your tree should be fine there as long as it's healthy. They are eating the mulch. You can treat the area first with Termador. It's safe for plants and pets. The termites get it on their bodies and carry it to the queen. You can buy it online if you don't have a Do-It-Yourself pest control store nearby. It also kills ants and whatever other similar insect you may have instead of termites.

Then replace the mulch with treated mulch or one of the new ones made from recycled rubber. Keep the mulch back away from tree trunks and the house foundation.
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Unread 03-24-2012, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Sherwood
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Where's the OP. I would recommend calling Orkin (I always plug Orkin because I've had a wonderful experience for the past 5-6 years w/ their reps). My termite inspector came out and diagnosed my "termites" . He didn't charge me a cent, and lives right up the street, but I can't guarantee you won't get charged.

In addition to verifying the type of insect, the inspector can do a treatment to ensure you don't get termites, or eradicate them if they're in the house. Honestly, I would be worried if termites were so close to the house and get it checked.

Termites can do thousands of dollars in damage, and in this case...an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 02:16 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,846 posts, read 9,770,899 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
Did you really find termites? Hopefully you only have citronella ants, which is what I had when I thought I had termites.
Look at your termite closely - Kinkytoes is right. A termite will have a solid body. There's the head, then the indentation where the head meets the body...the body itself is solid. An ant has 3 definite sections...head, thorax, and abdomen. Lots of people mistake the flying ants for termites. Suzy's links are very good to help differentiate in insects, but when in doubt let your termite contract carrier take a look. You can Google "anatomy of an ant" and "anatomy of a termite" and clearly see the difference.
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Unread 03-25-2012, 07:01 AM
 
Location: Sherwood
4,786 posts, read 6,055,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam I Am View Post
Look at your termite closely - Kinkytoes is right. A termite will have a solid body. There's the head, then the indentation where the head meets the body...the body itself is solid. An ant has 3 definite sections...head, thorax, and abdomen. Lots of people mistake the flying ants for termites. Suzy's links are very good to help differentiate in insects, but when in doubt let your termite contract carrier take a look. You can Google "anatomy of an ant" and "anatomy of a termite" and clearly see the difference.
Also, if you squish citronella ants...they smell like citronella oil...
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Unread 03-26-2012, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Sterling, VA
423 posts, read 363,203 times
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Thanks everyone for the advice.

I actually took a video of them, but I think the resolution is not enough to make it useful:


Termites - YouTube

Anyway, I decided to remove the flower bed altogether. There's a tree stump there which the previous owner didn't remove, and the wood that forms the perimeter of the flower bed is rotting. So I am removing the flower bed, the tree stump, the mulch and starting again from scratch.

I planted the weeping cherry in the back yard.
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Unread 03-26-2012, 07:30 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
9,274 posts, read 6,629,673 times
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Is the mulch new?

Our old neighborhood once had a termite epidemic when several homeowners bought infested mulch at the co-op.
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