DTY Termite Management
The Zen of Master Termite Technicians
Termite Knowledge That Sets the Experts Apart

Contributions by DR. TED GRANOVSKY, BCE

On their “Zen” paths to direct understanding or becoming master termite technicians, beginning termite technicians are considered entry-level. The regulations in many states specify those pursuing certification or licensure can work under the direct supervision of licensed technicians.

Even for certified and licensed termite technicians, instructions and application regulations are carefully laid out within each state’s certification manual as well as professional termiticide labels.

To uninitiated observers, the perception may be that termite technicians are merely following written instructions for labor-intensive service programs. If so, why do some technicians have a high callback rate, while others — sometimes within the same company, using the same materials and equipment — have very low callback rates?

This disparity is due to dedication, experience and a deep understanding of termite biology, termiticides and building construction. They have a real love of the work! These are the Zen teachers, or the more knowledgeable and passionate termite technicians.

Know Your Surroundings
A more knowledgeable termite technician can look at a building and just understand, “The termites are here!” or “The termites are there!” The technician can adjust the spacing of drill holes to make sure the soil accepts the termiticide and a continuous barrier is established. The experienced technician never drills through a utility line.

A more knowledgeable termite technician can look at a building and understand the grade, surrounding trees, fences, pavement and even the type of soil. With a complete understanding of building practices, the experienced technician sees foundations: crawlspaces, ventilation, airflow, moisture, wall voids and hidden places – sometimes finding hidden rooms or chambers that the building owner did not know existed.

A more knowledgeable termite technician understands the true artistry of cement and both mixes and constructs drill-hole patches that match surfaces. The experienced technician understands the regional termite species biology and behavior, and also understands the potential for termite damage.

What to Look for
On their paths to becoming experts, beginning termite technicians frequently ask, “What are the signs of a termite infestation?”

The challenge of answering this question is in understanding the eight signs involved:
  1. Live termites.
  2. Termite swarmer wings.
  3. Termite scats.
  4. Termite shelter tubes.
  5. Termite swarm castles or slits.
  6. Termite carton nests.
  7. Termite exit or kick holes.
  8. Termite damage.

On their paths to becoming experts, beginning termite technicians frequently ask, “How fast do Subterranean termites (Reticulitermes spp.) consume wood?”

The challenge of answering this question is in understanding that many variables are involved:
  • The species of wood.
  • The type and dimensions of wood.
  • The moisture level, temperature and presence of fungus within wood.
  • The condition of the soil.
  • The size of the termite colony (southern colonies range from 60,000 to 80,000 termites, and northern colonies range from hundreds of thousands to millions of termites).

An often-quoted approximation of wood consumption rate by termites is one-to-two feet of standard two-by-four per year. The experienced technician understands that presence of rot fungus can accelerate the process of wood consumption.

Get the Job Done
More knowledgeable technicians can look at termite infestation and all of the variables, and state the approximate age of termite damage. When the experienced technician hands his or her paperwork to the customer, company owner or manager, the question may be casually asked, “Did you get the termites?” With complete certainty, the experienced technician will reply, “I sure did!”

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