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Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by Berkeley Parents Network subscribers. Your own experience may be different. Please always check references first!
A contractor who repaired our furnace last week told us that he found evidence of termite infestation in our house. I would appreciate advice from anyone who has dealt with this problem recently and can recommend a reliable company that can help us confirm and resolve the problem. Robert
Check them out on Yelp. I agree with the favorable reviews there.
Don't believe all the ads you read about using 'Orange Oil'. Most termite infections around here aren't fixed by using Orange Oil.
He recommended using Ultraset which is only toxic to insects with exoskeletons (it also works on ants). After researching it, I felt good about using it. The workers applying it need only minimal protection.
He also recommended spraying our attic with something that sticks to wood (we recently re-roofed our house and have OSB on the rafters for the first time). I declined that since there were no termites up there and new OSB should be dry by now.
The workers who came out to apply the ultraset were efficient. --Termites (and ants) gone
Hello, We just bought a house with a termite problem and we want to get rid of them as soon as possible. We would like a recommendation of an honest, reliable and most of all affordable termite specialist. Thank you for your recommendations. A
We think those are termites and carpenter ants we saw. The latest posting on exterminator is for 2005. Does anyone have any recent recommendations - good or bad? pinky
I checked the archives and found only one recent posting, so I am asking for recommendations for a pest control company for termites (servicing the Lamorinda area). Also, if you have recommendations or experience dealing with companies that use less toxic poisons for their extermination work, that would be welcome. Thank you.
We are getting estimates from several pest control companies to exterminate what seems to be a localized infestation of dry wood termites. However, each company seems to use a different pesticide. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with this problem, with Terminix, Clark and Orkin (or other companies) and with the various pesticides such as Bora-Care, Cy-Kick, etc. and their effectiveness. Thanks! CA
Parents for a Safer Environment functions to educate schools and communities about alternatives to using toxic materials. Please look for future information regarding our workshop-conference in May of 2003 which will educate preschools & parents. If you'd like to get involved, please e-mail us. We could use a creative website designer, a brochure designer for our upcoming conference, a computer literate person for trouble- shooting, to start!
Borates, or boric acid applications provide a least-toxic alternative to established pest control methods. Australia and others around the world has been using this since the 1940's. Baiting termites is another alternative, often used in conjunction with borate application. Contact www.birc.org and get their publications Baiting Subterranean Termites, Vol XIX, no 10, Oct 1997 and Borates for Wood Protection, Volume XX, no 3, March 1998. You could also call the President or the non-profit, Bill Quarles at Biointegral Resource Center of Berkeley at 510- 524-2567. Bill has helped me many times, from helping me to not use 'being-phased out' toxic pesticide recommended by a termite inspector (I have a 3 yr old who would have been exposed) to elucidating why I was getting itchy rashes all over my body for months and no one else in my family was- from roof rat mites! This has been a great resource for our family. Susan JunFish
To deal with termites in a potential home, a pest company recommended drilling multiple holes in the floor of one room and in the front porch and then shooting poison down through the holes into the ground. Not only is this very expensive and hugely inconvenient (involves ripping up carpeting, etc.), we are concerned about the negative effects of shooting poisons into the soil (we garden, have a dog and small child). Does anyone have knowledge about whether there are alternate ways to deal with the termite problem and, if not, any knowledge about the safety of the chemicals used? Someone suggested just periodically going under the house and destroying the termite tunnels, but this seems like such a huge hassle that we might eventually begin to neglect it. Alisa
LOCATION CALL NUMBER STATUS Claremont Branch 632.9 OL4c CHECK SHELF Central Library 632.9 OL4c CHECK SHELF North Branch 632.9 OL4c CHECK SHELFSally
Can anyone recommend a company to handle termites? Prompt, fairly-priced, effective? Thank you. LT
We recently tried to contract Mitts Termite in Albany to do some siding repairs ($20K) on which they had already given us an estimate. Despite our allowing months (3) advance planning time, they were uncommunicative, did not provide one point of contact and could not commit to a start time for our job. I had to pull back the job, at great inconvenience to us, and go with another bidder. This wasted weeks of our planning schedule, pushing our start date into the beginning of busiest season. This may have been a temporary problem with them, but I wanted to let people know to nag relentlessly, or things could come to a stop unknowingly, due to the poor communications. Charles Mayer ended up doing the job and they were right on schedule and budget. Sept.-Oct. 05. Jane
I would like to second the recommendation for Gen-Tech. Gen-Tech replaced the foundation on my 1926 home, as well as repaired extensive termite and dry-rot damage. The crew did an amazing job. The foundation looks great and the crew did a lot of extra work, such as reinforcing our front porch, sealing off the garage from the crawl space, and installing an access door at the back of the house. All at no extra charge! Plus the crew was wonderful to work with. They were exceptionally clean and swept our front porch every day. Our yard looks cleaner now than before they started! The crew also signed for packages for us, took out our trash when we were on vacation, and threw away some tree branches we had cut down that were too big for our trash can. I was worried about taking on the stress of such a major construction project, but everything went so smoothly. I actually even missed the crew once they were finished! Gen-Tech was a great company to work with and their bid for the job was very reasonable. They can be reached at (510) 774-8997, or on the web at www.gtinspects.com. Meredith
The laboratory of Insect Biology will be conducting research, under EPA guidelines and an Experimental Use Permit, into the use of termite baits in California. We will test the performance of a termite bait that is scheduled for release to the pest control industry for use in homes and buildings. Our lab is in need of homes in the area for this research. To participate, please answer the following questions via email to termites AT email.com:
1 How old is your home?
2 When was the last time you had your home inspected by a pest professional?
3 Was your home treated for termites at that time?
4 If treated, was it for subterranean or drywood termites?
5 Why do you believe your home or property has termites now? (Please see possible signs below).
6 Do you own this home?
7 Are you willing to sign a research confidentiality agreement? This agreement asks you not to discuss this research with persons not living at the home (besides the researchers) until the end of the study.
Looking for termites on your property:
1 Subterranean termites look like ants, theymre white to brownish, and up to :n long. They live mostly underground but they build mud tubes to go above ground to feed on wood structures.
2 Mud tubes are normally brownish in color, about :n diameter but highly variable, and take a tree-branch-like form. If you break a tube you may see termites going up and down.
3 Your home MUST have visible mud tubes built on foundations, posts, walls to participate in our study.
4 Once a year you find a large number of winged termites emerging from the ground and flying around the house.
5 Baits to control termites are installed in the ground on the periphery of the home. The area MUST be clean and easily accessible. Based on the answers above, homes will be selected for an in-depth inspection for termites by our scientists.
We look forward to hearing from you. Please contact us at the email address above if you have any additional questions. Regards, The Insect Biology Team, University of California, Berkeley
The University of California at Berkeley is looking for drywood termite infested homes for research. If your home qualifies, we'll treat it for free with a low toxicity termiticide (a savings to you of several hundred or thousands dollars). We'd do a follow up of the infestation 14, 30, 90, and 180 days after treatments. Each of the follow up visits takes about 30 to 60 min, depending on the extent of the original infestation.
What to look for to determine if your home has an infestation: 1) Termites look like ants, they're white to brownish, and up to "" length.
2) Look for kick out holes: These are small round holes found in wood, about 1/16'' where fecal pellets are pushed out of the galleries.
3) Look for fecal pellets: small mounds of fecal pellets form near or below kick out holes (on floor or top of furniture). They're tan and look like sawdust or small grains of sand.
4) Once a year you find a large amount of winged termites flying around the house.
If you're interested and feel that your house may qualify, please contact us at termites at email.com with a short response to statements ''1'' through ''4''
I'd like to have a termite inspection of our house - can anyone recommend someone? (Not an inspection for selling the house but an inspection for inspecting, if you see what I mean). Adrian
We had a minor termite infestation (we suspected one which is why we had them come by) so we went ahead and used them for treatment. They did a good job.
They are Diamond Certified and have good reviews on Yelp.
The Orange Oil stuff you hear on the radio all the time and in the paper is only for a certain type of termite that is uncommon in this area, so don't expect that type of treatment. We ended up using Altriset which has very low toxicity to anything other than an insect with an exoskeleton (like a termite or ant).
http://www.termite.com/DuPont%20ALTRISET%20Termite%20Control%20brochure%20Jan%202011.pdf -no more termites
I was happy with Kent Stonebreaker (sp?) at Structural Renewal for a comprehensive structural pest inspection (real estate). pricy though. charles mayer also has a good reputation locally. again pricy. however, knowledge and trustworthiness are important! charles mayer knows when weather conditions require postponing treatment, something chains that do free inspections such as terminex, clarks don't seem to mention so i worry they may sometimes just do less effective treatment.
fiprinol-based treatment, whole perimeter, inside and out, no skipping over the difficult to access spots, seems to be the way to go if there is an infestation with the typical termite species found in berkeley. if you've had pets with fleas, and successfully treated them, you've probably already used the same chemical. anon
Can anyone recommend a home inspector who can identify termites or other pests, dry rot and other problems that can develop in a home? I heard it is a good idea to have your home inspected every few years. I am not aware of any problems, but I want to take good care of my home. I would like someone who would be patient enough to point out to me what work needs to be done. We have no postings for this type of inspection on the digest. Judy
Fortunately there are several good pest inspectors and home inspectors in the area. I have enjoyed observing the performance of local companies such as gen tech (www.gtinspects.com), East Bay Structural, and Structural Renewal. I can't forget Robert Sibley from Fisk. My favorite Home Inspector is Jay Marlette but since Jay is the author of this response (www.houseman.org) you could find more non-bias choices at ASHI.COM and review any service provider on Yelp.com where non-bias consumer reviews can be found. Remember to use only ASHI inspectors. There is no licensing for home inspectors in California but ASHI inspectors have the most stringent requirements for membership. About 30 of the 50 states that do require licensing often model their licensing requirements by ASHI membership standards. There are other official sounding associations but not all are ''above water''. Good luck and keep your building envelope water tight. Jay
I would like to warn against using R. Bringle Structural Pest Control. (AKA RB Pest Control). After agreeing on the phone that an inspection would cost $100., the inspector charged me $200. When I got the written estimate, it came out to $23,000. Seriously. I then called Terminix, who gave me a FREE estimate and via the website I got a 10% off coupon. In the end, the cost for work came to $1200. And they came within the week for both the inspection and the abatement work. Jennie
I would like to know if anyone has had experience with East Bay Structural doing termite and dry rot work done on their house We are planning to have our termite and dry rot work done by East Bay Structural in October. The company was recommended by a neighbor who is a real estate agent and its estimate is much lower than either of the two other companies we talked with.
Thus, it is possible to get certification that the accessible areas are clear of pests and wood-destroying organisms, yet find termites or other problems once you get into areas that weren't part of the original inspection. You should look at your first report to determine whether inspection of inaccessible areas was authorized. It probably wasn't.
Many home sellers do not authorize the inspection of inaccessible areas because it entails drilling holes around the house. These holes are unsightly and may make it more difficult to sell the house, and attempts at matching paint and so forth can be difficult.
Homeowners, it is wise to get certification of all inaccessible areas just prior to having a paint job. That way, once the house is deemed free and clear of pests and wood destroying organisms, you can get the drill holes filled and there won't be any problem with matching the paint that covers the holes. Also, consider getting a reinspection of all visible areas every two years. That way, problems can be caught when they're fresh and inexpensive to fix.
1. Pest inspectors can weasel out of anything, their contracts have so many disclaimers/exclusions. Remember that pest inspectors only inspect the visible areas - and that means areas they can see without climbing a ladder, not just inaccessible areas. The pest inspectors I have hired/seen don't even carry ladders with them.
2. Never trust a pest inspection commissioned by the seller. There are pest inspectors who are known to have "bad eyes," and will give a favorable pest report to almost anything. Generally, the buyers agents know who these people are and recommend them to the buyer.
3. Corollary to 2: If you are buying, always hire your own pest inspector. I have a recommendation for the most wonderful pest inspectors (for the buyers). The Henshers in Fairfield California (a husband/wife team). Phone number 707-426-3834. They used to work as pest inspectors in the Bay Area, but are now working mostly in the Fairfield/Vacaville area, although they will come to the Bay Area if you ask nicely. They have eagle eyes, they won't sugar-coat it for you, and they give sellers a big stomach ache. Going thru a house with them is a grueling experience, but it's about the best money I've ever spent (twice!). -Julie
After being totally and completely screwed over by Terminix, we are looking for another company to spray under our house for wood-boring beetles. I'd appreciate any recommendations for (or warnings against) companies that would perform this service in North Berkeley. Mimi
Does anyone out there have any experience with Vikane gas and children? Our pre-school co-op has termites and we are trying to get as much information about Vikane safety, duration of school closure, post- treatment clean up and possible health risks to our kids. We are thinking of closing the school for the summer to eliminate risk of exposure. Will 2 months be long enough? Any info will be appreciated.
The applicators are required to document that levels are ''safe'' but are not required to measure every habitable area of the building. Because it has no odor, typically, a tear-gas type pesticide, chloropicrin, is added as a warning agent. Before the application, you can try to ensure that levels will be measured in every single room that people may occupy. If the documented levels have been measured accurately and nothing is detectable, you are ok--no residual pesticide will remain. Keeping children out longer is a personal decision. Rupa
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