Thursday, February 3, 2011

Time out for termites

This is the door into the bathroom of the greenhouse, above which is the 'round room'. The floor area depicted in the photo below is directly over the door pictured in the previous photo.

As I have been battling ants lately who like to use this bathroom door, I've been spending some time on my knees outside of it...not just praying. While I was down there one day recently I noticed some characteristic tiny blonde pellets accumulating below the overhanging soffit. Turning my gaze towards the heavens...actually, up at the soffit, I noticed, upon careful inspection, the curious spectacle in the photo below:

It's a little hole in the redwood tongue and groove paneling that encloses the soffit. Around the hole are some more of the little pellets. Another hole can be seen at lower right in the same photo, in the red gum eucalyptus trim bordering the soffit. Looking around further, I noticed an accumulation of the pellets in the crotch of the brace supporting the overhang, confirming my suspicion that the pellets have been dropping from above. Every experienced carpenter knows what these are: termite crap! which is similar to what I said when I first saw them here.

Clearing away the clinging pellets on the redwood soffit reveals the tiny hole from which termites expel the remains of the building they're eating.

So I began to dismantle the soffit boards to assess how bad an infestation I was dealing with. These soffit boards are face nailed, which makes their removal easily achieved by simply driving the nails on through with a nail set and then slipping each successive board down.

Here (below) is exposed the underside of the plywood subfloor after I've removed the fiberglas insulation. What surprised me is that the framing supporting the plywood is old second hand wood...not recommended for new construction for the very reason that it could harbor termites. Even though it is redwood (at least some of it is) which is less susceptible to termites than some woods, they will still make do with it. It's certainly easier to get a bite on than the red gum. Of course, since almost the whole greenhouse was built with recycled wood, it's not really that surprising or out of place to find this boneyard wood.

As the soffit boards come loose, I lift them down carefully to observe that there is, in fact, plenty of evidence of active termites inside the soffit.

On the underside of the plywood subfloor, more telltales holes, which I've circled with a marker.

In the round room above there is a hardwood floor of recycled blackbutt eucalyptus, also from Queensland or NSW, all glued and blind nailed, and I'd have to destructively cut into at least one of the planks to begin to expose the plywood subfloor from above. This I am unwilling to do at this point, so I'll just do what I can do from below.

I mask off the surrounding surfaces to protect them from overspray, spot treat manifest poop

ports, as well as the unfortunate few who come out of hiding:

And spray the rest of the exposed surfaces with 'copper green' termiticide.

From above, I drilled small holes at the juncture of planks and in old nail holes (recycled wood, remember?) inserted the termiticide applicator tip, and let 'em have it!

No one will ever know!

1 comment:

Sarah Beth said...

Nice! EVen thought this is about termites, those first few pictures are stunning! Look at that sunshine.