By Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D.
Recently I had the opportunity to work with termite technicians completing a re-treatment on a home in South Florida. The items we reviewed should help you train and evaluate technicians doing this type of work in your company.
Here are the items we covered as part of the inspections. Feel free to use this as a starting template for your work.
- You have to have the proper paperwork for what is done.
- Stand away from the property and look at the house from a distance to see if the slope of the land (grade) is proper.
- Look for adequate rain gutters and downspouts.
- Look for any large trees where roots are growing toward the house and note if shrubbery is planted too close to the house.
- Look for paint peeling, which is a sign of moisture problems.
- See if the front stoop is built differently from neighboring stoops and if a building stoop was poured one on top of the other.
- Ask about any dogs or other pets before opening a gate or entering a back or side yard.
- Check the wooden frame around the garage door for signs of rot, termites or alteration.
- Check for any underground air vents, wells or dirt piled up high against the foundation.
- Walk around to look for any items that need to be moved before treating. For example, dog dishes, bird baths, hoses on the ground or toys.
- Be sure that no one is on your chemical sensitivity list before scheduling the job. Florida mandates this but some states do not.
- If there are stones/pavers in front of or adjacent to the house, move them so the soil below can be properly treated. Carefully replace these items after the soil is treated.
- After the job do another walk about to see if everything is back in place and no tools or debris are left.
- Give the customer the appropriate paperwork and make sure they have no further questions before leaving. The paperwork brought to this job showed a diagram of the property, a second diagram when a termite bait was installed and a third chart with what we did during our visit. Every job should have a detailed sheet indicating what you saw (i.e. termite damage, activity) and what control procedure, if any, you did.
All personal protective equipment mandated by the pesticide labels must be present and used properly. Mixers and loaders must wear a shirt and long pants, shoes and socks. When working with the diluted product, a shirt, pants, socks and shoes are sufficient. If you select a Reduced Risk termiticide like Altriset® from Syngenta, you are not required to have goggles and boots.*
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*A reduced risk pesticide use is defined as one which may reasonably be expected to accomplish one or more of the following; (1) reduces pesticide risks to human health; (2) reduces pesticide risks to non-target organisms; (3) reduces the potential for contamination of valued, environmental resources, or (4) broadens adoption of IPM or makes it more effective. Altriset qualifies under one or more of the above criteria.
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