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Natural Termite Protection during Remodeling

  Termites are a huge problem here in Austin TX and the wood we use to build our homes is perfect food for them.  I’ve used physical barriers (no chemicals) for termite protection and posted a few blog articles about Termimesh, but what do you do in a remodel situation where you can’t use Termimesh?  We’re doing a remodel on a 1950’s house in South Austin right now that has seen some termite damage inside the house where they went undetected for a long time.  Look what we found on the backside of this bathroom wall.

We pulled this baseboard off the wall and termites had found their way up the pipes through the concrete slab and were chewing on the baseboards.  This is the exact reason why I use Termimesh in all my new slabs.  The pathway for the termites was totally undetected since they were coming into the house through a pipe penetration. 
  In this house we’ve removed about 50% of the sheet rock so it’ll be easy for us to dump a bunch of harsh chemicals inside the walls so the termites will die if they get into the house again… HOLD UP, did you say chemicals?  No, no, no.  There is a better way.  Borate treatment is the way.  Remember the box of Borax your grandmother used in her Laundry room?  Yep, that natural mineral from the earth is a natural termite (and roach) killer.  Here’s a blurb from the Borax website about Borate powder:
  “As one of the 109 elements that make up the planet, it’s not surprising that boron is everywhere – in soil and water, plants and animals – in trace amounts. Although scientists refer to levels of “boron,” it is important to note that the element boron does not exist by itself in nature. Rather, boron combines with oxygen and other elements to form boric acid, or inorganic salts called borates.”

  Termimesh’s Austin office (owned by ABC Pest) sprayed a Boric acid based product on the first 3′ of the wood above the concrete in our remodel.  The product they use is Bora-Care and it soaks into the wood to provide a permanent solution to termites inside our house.  (Cheezy stock photo of application, sorry I wasn’t onsite to take photos of our house being treated that day)

  As an extra measure of security I dusted the stud bays near the pipes with a $5 bottle of Boric Acid powder I bought at the Big Orange store (called Roach Killing Powder). 

 
  I feel confident that this house will be much less likely to have a termite problem again, but it’s still a good idea to do an annual inspection to look for termite tunnel tracks on the outside of the foundation.
  In conclusion:  Chemical Treatments Bad – Boric Acid based products Good.  -Matt Risinger