Termite treatment didn’t address the problem

Q:We had a termite infestation two years ago and had the perimeter of the house and also the interior drilled and treated by a large pest control company and bought their termite protection plan. Last year the termites were active again and only treated the area where the termites were visible. That spring I noticed that they were in my wooden floor, eating the subfloor. That area was treated and two weeks later I found it in the original area that was treated two years ago. Since my hardwood floors are only about 6 years old, I worry that the termites will spread all over the house, ruining all of my floor and the house itself. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

A: I suspect you have concrete decks, sidewalks or a driveway next to the house, and possibly an attached garage. If so, then the pest control company would have drilled large holes and inserted a ground rod to get the termiticide down to the footer. Most companies simply drill a small hole in the concrete and use an underfloor injector to pump the chemical into the ground. It goes only a few inches and termites can move under it, reach the foundation, crawl up the inside of the foundation, through the expansion joint and into your hardwood floor. Had they drilled it right and got the termiticide deep enough, the termites would have encountered it and the colony would have been wiped out.

If my suspicions are correct, they will have to do all of the work all over again, including drilling, as I mentioned earlier, digging a trench to the footer where there is no concrete, and applying a termiticide in the stated amount (4 gallons per .) to flood 10 linear feet). The holes they are drilling in the concrete should be no more than 12 inches apart. The footer can be 18 inches below ground, and they need to put the termiticide that deep. You will also need to drill holes in any infested walls and use a termiticide foam. If the house was not treated right the first time, they should be required to treat the entire house again.

Make sure they use Termidor as this is the most effective treatment available.

Q: Saliva beetles are popping up in my Potrero Hill garden right now. They lather up my lavender, mint, oregano, and to a lesser extent the occasional rose. I just pull them out of their foam and crush them to get rid of them, although I know we can hose spray them on too. Here is my question: what is soapy water made of and how is it made? And why?

– ST, San Francisco

A: It is the immature stages of saliva beetles (adults are called froghoppers) that produce the foam. When they feed, saliva beetles pierce the plant stem upside down. Juice is pumped around the body and excreted at high speed. Air is mixed with the liquid to create the foam-like substance. They use the foam to hide from predators and to maintain the moisture they need.

Salivary beetles are rarely found in sufficient numbers to cause serious damage.

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