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Killing Termites through Heat

The use of toxic chemicals in exterminating and controlling termites has always been an issue amongst many homeowners. The fear of living in poison-treated homes grew even bigger when many termiticides have been judged unsafe for public use after compromising the lives of hundreds or thousands of people. For this reason, termite control approaches that do not involve the use of chemicals have been continuously developed by pest control experts. One of these approaches is called the "Heat Treatment".

In the same way that the right type of termiticide is determined to suit the type of construction of your house and the severity of the termite infestation, houses have to be assessed too if "Heat Treatment" will be sufficient to solve the current pest problem or a combination of chemical and non-chemical approaches have to be applied. In some cases, "Heat Treatment" has to be accompanied by a small amount of chemical termiticide in order to completely get rid of the infestation.

When is the use of "Heat Treatment" most applicable?

Dry-wood termites are often difficult to kill using liquid and powder termiticides because of their foraging behavior. These termites can feed on delicate wooden furniture that would surely be damaged when applied with liquid termiticides. Wood panels and flooring that might only get damaged when forced with a liquid termiticide treatment are also more appropriate for "Heat and Cold Treatments".

How does the Heat Treatment works?

As a quick summary, the treatment simply involves the introduction of heated air into the infested structure or wooden item. The air should be around 140⁰F. Normally, the temperature should be maintained for a couple of hours throughout the entire treated structure or item. Because termites have very delicate and soft exoskeletons, they will not stand this much heat and die.

How is a "Heat Treatment" performed?

The treatment has two main stages, these are:

1. Inspection - During this stage, the termite exterminator has to examine the specific areas or items in the house that needs to be treated with heat. The termite exterminator will also identify items in the house that has to be taken out in order to protect them from the possible damages that the heat might cause. Moreover, it is in this stage that the termite exterminator ensures that no unwanted occurrences will ever happen during the course of the treatment.

2. Heat Fumigation - The word fumigation refers to the use of gas in disinfecting. Although many people do not realize that air is a gas, the process of using hot air in "disinfecting" structures or items from termites is called heat fumigation. After the structure has been inspected by the termite exterminator, it is time for the exterminator to use a special hot air blower that will pump hot air throughout the entire structure. The least time required to kill termites in 35 minutes, however, this temperature must be between 120-140F and depending on the size of the structure being fumigated, the time required before the air temperature inside it reaches an equilibrium temperature within this range might be a couple more times longer than 35 minutes. For this reason, the pumping of hot air into the properly can reach up to several hours. However, compared to chemical-gas fumigation, heat fumigation takes less time to complete.

What are the major advantages and disadvantages of Heat Treatment?

The major advantages and disadvantages of using heat to exterminate termites:

Major Advantages

1. Termite eradication is strictly confined within the structure of item that is being treated.

2. In most cases, the aid of chemical termiticides is no longer necessary making the entire process chemical-free.

3. Treatment requires little time to complete as compared to other termite control methods. The entire process only takes about 8 hours.

Major Disadvantages

1. Materials that are sensitive to heat must be removed from the area being treated.

2. In cases when heat-sensitive materials cannot be moved or removed because of its structure or function, it has to be thoroughly protected before the treatment can commence.

3. Immediate cooling has to be performed in order to prepare the structure for re-occupation.

Important Checklist to Consider When Buying Your Own Heat Treatment System

While hiring a professional termite exterminator is still the soundest option to take when dealing with termite infestation at home, especially when the method of extermination is by heat fumigation, for do-it-yourself fanatics who really want to get the job done using their own hands, check the list below for the important questions that have to be considered before you make your heat treatment system purchase.

1. How much heating power do you need?

This is the fundamental question. Since you already know that you have to maintain 120-140⁰F, all that you need to consider now is the size of the property that you will be treating. The size of the property will determine the length of time that you will be needing produce a specific amount of heat in order to maintain the required temperature level throughout the properly. Heating equipments are rated by BTU per hour, by fuel usage per hour or by motor per horsepower.

2. How can you provide power to the heating equipment?

Most of the heating equipments used for termite extermination are all driven by electricity. However, although electricity is readily available, the right voltage rating of the equipment has to be met before you can make it work properly. Most industry grade heating equipments are driven by voltage levels that do not match the voltage level allocated for residences. To operate the heating equipment, a voltage transformer has to be purchased and use. The cost of this additional device should be put into consideration too.

3. Is the equipment too noisy?

Heating equipments use motors to produce heat. In many cases, motors produce noise when operated. The noise produced by the equipment has to be considered too especially if the structure to be treated is located in a place where houses are built close to each other.

Your termite control friend,
Michael Rozatoru :)
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