Pest Control with Attic Insulation

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Old 05-28-19, 09:53 AM
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Pest Control with Attic Insulation

I wasn't sure where to post this question. I need to pull all of the blown in insulation out of my 3000 square ft attic to inspect and treat for possible termites. I am told to use my shop vac but I cringe at the time it would take not to mention the heat factor. Is there a machine that I could possibly rent that would speed this process along? Any other recommendations? The pest control companies will not go into my attic because it is not finished (flooring over the ceiling joists).
 
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Old 05-28-19, 10:43 AM
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Hi Ginny, something sounds strange. I have never heard of anyone having to remove all of the attic insulation to do an inspection for termites ??

Fortunately we have a real good pro on the forum, @PAbugman, and he will correct me if I'm wrong.

My experience with termites is limited but I know there are a couple of types. Tell us how you know you have a problem and approximately where you live, nearby big city?

I will follow, but don't rush to remove that insulation I doubt you will need to.

Bud
 
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Old 06-03-19, 10:19 PM
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Attic Insulation

HI Bud! I have an exhaust fan in the guest bath and when I turned it on all of these winged creatures fell to the floor. I immediately called an exterminator who came out and only looked at my collection of bugs. He did not do an inside or outside inspection and company policy dictates that he cant get in my attic because there is no floor. BUT...he would put the feeders in the ground along the house and he ensured that this would take care of my problem, if I had one. I called other companies who told me that they could not get in the attic either. I have walked around the inside and outside and see no telltale signs of activity....no mud tunnels, no soft sheet rock or wood.. I know that there are more than one type of termite so started my own research. I had treated the perimeter of my home 10 years ago with Termidor so contacted that company again. They had me send a photo of my pests and told me that they appeared to be subterranean and told me that treating the ground around and under the house with Termidor along with the feeders in the yard would do the job since these termites have to go back to the ground and look for water. My problem with this is that my a/c duct work is in the attic and I am sure that there is some kind of condensation and considered treating the attic as a precaution. This is when I was told that the treatment would have to be sprayed or painted on all of the wood in the attic. Doing this would require removing the insulation and then putting it back after it dried (up to 72 hours).. My house is 103 feet by 36 feet so moving the insulation around in the attic, treating the wood and then waiting to move insulation back and clear a new spot for treatment could take me weeks to finish. My game plan was to get all of the insulation out of the attic, treat the area and then blow it all back in along with some new insulation.I am a 60 year old widow and cannot afford to hire this job out. I suppose I could just treat the ground and let my children worry about the attic after I'm gone. .
 
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Old 06-03-19, 10:34 PM
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Doing this would require removing the insulation and then putting it back after it dried (up to 72 hours).
I do not proclaim to be an exterminator but I have never heard of any type of procedure requiring the attic insulation to be removed and replaced.

There is not even a feasible way to do it!

I would be looking at other extermination services before jumping into this option!
 
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Old 06-04-19, 12:15 AM
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I removed all of the attic insulation in a pretty small cabin last year. Rented a insulation vac. Took three of us 3 days and it was not fun. It was in a cool climate so heat wasn't an issue but dragging the 6" hose around was difficult. I filled three large bags that had to be disposed of. Two barely fit in my full size pickup (it was a bit tall)!

I just had a pro company remove the blown in insulation from my parents house (because of my prev experience). Took them 3 days for about 1700 sq ft, cost around 2K.

A shop vac would fill up in about 5 sec. You'd have to empty it a couple hundred times.
 
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Old 06-04-19, 12:43 AM
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You said "I have an exhaust fan in the guest bath and when I turned it on all of these winged creatures fell to the floor." Were they dead bodies or live? Winged insects would indicate they were swarming, a yearly event when the colony sends out hundreds of special insects to mate and form new colonies. Note, I'm no pro.

If you have a picture and that nearby big city it will help.

I have asked a moderator to move this thread to the indoor insect forum where our bugman will see it. He will know if outside treatment is sufficient.

Bud
 
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Old 06-04-19, 06:23 AM
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Assuming that they are subterranean termite swarmers (reproductives) would be the best case scenario it you're going to have termites. Drywood termites would require treating the exposed wood in the attic in one of several ways. I'm assuming that you don't live in a location where drywood termites are found otherwise someone would have explained fumigation/tenting as a way to treat without exposing the wood.

With sub termites it is paramount that the termiticide get into the soil where the termites are entering/exiting. Sometimes they come up right through the basement/house slab in which case a perimeter treatment may not be enough or would work. Support posts, wooden stairs that penetrate the slab or had the slab poured around them can be culprits as can simple expansion joints.

In a bathroom on ground or 1st floor they can enter behind the bath tub trap as sometimes the slab isn't as complete or even simply exposed soil.

Again assuming it is sub termites there is only one reason why treating the soil in that specific area of entry/exit wouldn't work and that would be if there is enough of a moisture problem in the attic/roof, etc that could sustain an above ground colony. This is rare but it does happen. Generally though if there is that much moisture present the occupant is and has been aware of it but not doing anything about it. That doesn't appear to be the case here.

Is there an access hatch where one could at least stick there head up there with a good light? Could be too far away from the bathroom anyway.

I think it's important to open up the bathtub access or make an access to inspect where the supply/drain penetrate the slab or soil. Does the house have a basement in which case someone could gain access from underneath, unless ceiling is finished?

Ten years is a long time for a termite treatment to last. Yes there are some soil studies show that it can last that long, but that doesnt mean it will last that long on all sides of the house or under all the slabs. Even assuming equal and thorough treatment everywhere you still have more sunshine, rain, etc on some sides than others. Those factors weaken a treatment.

Don't do anything with the insulation. I've never seen or done termite work that required insulation removal for subterranean termites.

Getting the termiticide where it needs to go is paramount. If the termite entry is interior than that is more complicated than just an exterior treatment.

Moisture issues need to be discovered, if any, and corrected.

Does the air conditioning have the air handler/condensate drain in the attic? If so, then there is access (difficult) to that part at least and can be inspected. Potential for drain to be slowly leaking but being absorbed by insulation for now.

Another potential moisture source is if the exhaust vent isn't hooked up or came off of the exhaust port on side of house in which case moisture is staying in attic. Can you turn the fan on and see if the exterior vent door is opening? First look at it to see what it looks like in normal resting position. They don't always close completely anyway. Then look at it with fan on to see if different.

Another thing to remember is that the worker termites work slowly unless large amounts of moisture are present or you are in deep south. Take your time and learn what is going on and confirm things to yourself before you hire someone.

Sometimes an owner/operator pest control operator will enter an attic like this simply because it will lend valuable info to the situation. I know that I've taken that risk in the past. It is a fact though that most compnanies have a blanket policy against it. If these are subterranean termites then it isn't necessary for treatment anyway, but it is good for our own knowledge.

The fipronil based termiticides such as Termidor, Taurus SC, Fuse, etc are still the best for subteranean termites.

Keep us posted.
 
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