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Old 22-01-2015, 21:00   #1
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Termites?

I think my boat has termites, but my sister
says more likely carpenter ants.

How do I get rid of them? I don't want to
poison myself in the process.
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Old 22-01-2015, 21:07   #2
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Re: Termites?

Generally very easy to tell apart. Ants will have bent antennae, termites straight. Ants have obvious, thin separations between head/body/thorax. Termites body looks like one long single piece.

Carpenter ants or termites could be a problem. I'm generally not in favor of toxic solutions to problems but in this case you might need to bomb the boat. You can bomb but first take all food, utensils, clothes, bedding, etc off. I've done this for fleas myself but not sure you can buy over the counter stuff that works for termites.

You can call a pro and I think they use some kind of bait that foragers take home to kill the whole colony.
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Old 22-01-2015, 21:36   #3
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Re: Termites?

I haven't seen any. I am away from the boat
for many weeks at a time and when I return,
there is little black hard dots on the sole near
the forward bulkhead. I've also seen wings
here and there.
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Old 22-01-2015, 21:44   #4
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Re: Termites?

You can also determine termites by the tan, sand-like feces lying in a pile directly below a pinhole sized tunnel. Go to Home Depot or similar hardware store and get a can of termite foam. It has a length of hose and a small pipette/sealing collar in the cap. Insert the pipette to the level of the collar to seal the tube, the pump several short bursts of foam into the tube. Wait a minute, and repeat. Keep it up until no more foam will emerge from the hole. Now look around to see if there are any other piles of termites, or actual escaping termites from other holes. Repeat with these. A week later, inspect for feces. If none, get a West System syringe, fill it with mixed epoxy, diluted 20-40% with acetone, and inject it in the termite hole. Keep refilling the hole until no more epoxy can be absorbed, then fill the entrance with epoxy putty and repaint. Almost all boats with lots of wood, living in warm, non-freezing climates will attract termites. Only the ones that allow unchallenged residence will survive and flourish. Spring and late fall are the usual times when the termites emerge, after a several day hot spell to trigger their flight sequences. Get them as they escape or as they enter. They look like very long ants with very long wings. Don't let them go unchallenged. I have seen boats, rarely visited by their owners and virtually abandoned, that were totally riddled with termite colonies, for years. Those boats were severely damaged, both structurally and cosmetically. Don't let termites go unchallenged, look for sand, dropped wings or flying termites. Get them.
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Old 22-01-2015, 21:57   #5
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Re: Termites?

California? They're termites! Just be thankful your rig is aluminum. We find them aloft all the time!
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Old 23-01-2015, 10:25   #6
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Re: Termites?

on your next haulout call in the circus. remove all food, open all lockers and hire an exterminator to tent the boat. bait afterward just in case. termites can cause real problems that usually are discovered in catastrophic ways...
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Old 24-01-2015, 11:35   #7
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Re: Termites?

If they are NOT termites... we had carpenter ants. I watched where the ant trails were then used Terro Ant bait. This was extremely effective. Carpenter ants can form multiple colonies in the boat, each with their own queen, so if you kill one colony there can still be others.

I also place ant bait and cockroach bait around our boat when on the hard. Especially around the keel. I can't say for sure if this is the reason but we have not gotten ants or cockroaches since I started that practice.
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Old 24-01-2015, 11:48   #8
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Re: Termites?

We had a similar problem in a bulkhead 8 years ago.
I tried syringing various borer beatle & other poisons into the problem area but this only slowed them down.
I later got a ships fumigator to seal the boat & they fumigated using methyl bromide! ( nasty stuff)
That was the end of our problem.
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Old 24-01-2015, 11:55   #9
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Re: Termites?

You can have an exterminator try Orange Oil or other poison. Works only if the infestation is limited to a specific area that can be defined. If they are more wide spread, tenting and fumigation is the only reasonably sure way to kill them. Don't wait to tackle the problem. They'll eat the inner skins of plywood on board you won't see any damage till the paper thin outer skin collapses. Bombs and such available to civilians aren't very effective. The poison doesn't get into the where the termites are munching.
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Old 10-02-2015, 04:01   #10
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Re: Termites?

You can try food grade diatomaceous earth - it kills bed bugs, cockroaches, ants, silverfish etc and is non poisonous.

Spay it inside all cabinets or where the insects reside.
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Old 20-07-2015, 00:02   #11
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Re: Termites?

The Carpenter ants or termites might cause so many problems. You must find a good Termite inspection Port Macquarie firm if you really want to get rid of these pests. Also, they’ll let you know if these are Carpenter ants or termites.
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Old 21-07-2015, 19:48   #12
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Re: Termites?

Had termites on my sailboat in Florida.
Got a couple of estimates for tenting.
From $900 to $500.
Picked the cheapest, they use the same gas and give the same warranty.
Termites were terminated and I repaired plywood with epoxy.
They never went for the teak.
Tried for a year with over the counter stuff, like 16 Home Depot kind of bombs,
Sprays, everything, nothing did the tricks except tenting..
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Old 21-07-2015, 21:29   #13
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Re: Termites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jongleur View Post
I haven't seen any. I am away from the boat

for many weeks at a time and when I return,

there is little black hard dots on the sole near

the forward bulkhead. I've also seen wings

here and there.

That's probably blonde dry wood termites....or some relative thereof ......the black powder is their feces mixed with body parts of deceased termites...if you're finding wings....especially in May when they swarm it's termites.....there is a great product called "Premise" it's a foam that once you discover where they are dumping their refuse you can carefully spray it behind the wood where you know they will pass through to dump their nest "garbage" .....they track the poison back to the main nest and spread it through the colony.....if you have some paper towels on board unroll the exposed ones and you'll probably find some future "queens" that have swarmed in the layers of the towels or inside your books.....


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Old 21-07-2015, 21:58   #14
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Re: Termites?

What ever bug you have, it has to have access to water. You may have a leak or condensation problem. However you kill the bugs, they will come back if conditions are right.
I'm 67 and have been working on wood (and other material) boats since I was 13. I've never been able to rid a boat of termites unless either a pro was called in or I could cut out all the bad wood. Even then you have to solve the problem that drew them in. My current boat had termites in 3 places, all because of years of poor maintenance of leaking decks. I think I solved the problem, no sign in years, by taking out bad and suspect wood - and replacing the decks.
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Old 22-07-2015, 08:11   #15
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Re: Termites?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
What ever bug you have, it has to have access to water. You may have a leak or condensation problem. However you kill the bugs, they will come back if conditions are right.
I'm 67 and have been working on wood (and other material) boats since I was 13. I've never been able to rid a boat of termites unless either a pro was called in or I could cut out all the bad wood. Even then you have to solve the problem that drew them in. My current boat had termites in 3 places, all because of years of poor maintenance of leaking decks. I think I solved the problem, no sign in years, by taking out bad and suspect wood - and replacing the decks.

Dry wood termites do not need any access to water....making them especially challenging .....I managed to eliminate them with the "Premise" brand foam.....


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