By Caroline Wright
In Hawaii, we diligently protect our homes against a variety of natural disasters: wildfires, floods and tsunamis, to name a few. It’s sometimes easy to overlook the commonest threat, because it’s also the smallest. The termite is a tiny insect whose huge appetite annually causes even more damage to Hawaii homes than house fires. Each year, island residents spend more than $100 million to treat and repair termite-infested property.
Though more than 3,000 species of termites may be found worldwide, West Indian drywood termites and Formosan subterranean termites cause the most trouble for Hawaii homeowners. As summer approaches, it’s time to prepare for serious termite activity.
“Dry season is usually swarm season,” says Ronda Galimba, Oahu Branch Manager for Akamai Pest Solutions. “The weather can trigger the queen termite to tell the termites in her colony to swarm.”
When termites swarm and settle in, they mean business. A single small colony can eat through a foot of a 2 by 4 inch board in just a few months. Infestations can sometimes go unnoticed for years. Often, by the time a homeowner sees the first signs of damage, there’s already deep infestation.
“It doesn’t matter where you live,” says Galimba. “There are some things you can do to reduce termite activity, but there’s nothing you can do to stop your property in Hawaii from being exposed.”
Homeowners can take a few measures to protect themselves against termites. These include:
• Using sensor lights that shut off after a certain period of time; installing lights away from windows or doorways where termites can enter the home; using recessed LED lighting outdoors.
• Fixing leaky faucets and sprinkler fittings that create moist soil conditions, and moving plants and shrubs away from house walls.
• Building or retrofitting houses with termite-resistant materials like treated wood and steel frames, or adding termite control barriers.
Finally, regular inspection by a seasoned pest control firm like Akamai, a company that uses state-of-the-art equipment to detect termite activity, can help locate hard-to-find colonies so they can be destroyed before causing dangerous structural damage.
“We’re very good at finding termites,” says Galimba. “We use a number of different devices that can see the heat signature they leave, or sense the CO2 they let off. We also have radar devices that allow us to see them moving in the walls and wood.”
Thanks to an embrace of modern technology, and careful use of the safest, most effective natural pesticides available, Akamai Pest Solutions has been awarded first place for pest control in the “Hawaii’s Best” People’s Choice Awards, chosen by 500,000+ readers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, for the past four years in a row.
“The pesticide we use for drywood termites, XT2000, is non-toxic, organic and easily replenishable; it’s made from orange peels,” Galimba explains. “The only thing it’s not safe for is termites! There’s no packing up, no moving out; it’s safe for children, kupunas and pets.”
For subterranean ground termite treatment, Akamai uses Termidor. “When you’re dealing with Formosan termites, you have to be aggressive. Like a lot of other products, it’s safe if used correctly.”
Akamai’s tentless, fumigation-free treatments, done with minimal disturbance, have enabled some Island residents to get termite control in their homes for the first time in decades. The company has provided services to schools, nursing homes, animal shelters, and the homes of transplant and cancer patients all over the state.
The company offers two-year renewable warranties, which we have not raised the cost of since 2012. For a limited time, Akamai is offering a special $200 discount to customers purchasing both drywood and subterranean termite treatments within a 30-day period. Since the company generally offers a $200-300 discount on drywood treatments, and $200 off ground termite treatments, customers who act quickly can receive a bundled discount of $600-700 with this Best of the best special deal.
Akamai also offers a free preventative procedure to customers: treatment of attics with Tim-bor, a borate mineral salt. “A lot of us have attics in Hawaii. We don’t use them but they’re still open to the exterior! Termites can be up there making house for a long time without us knowing it.”
After a visit from Akamai, homeowners worry a lot less about sharing space with these destructive little pests. “When we leave,” says Galimba, “we leave you with dead termites… and the fresh smell of oranges. So be smart (Akamai), think green, treat orange, and visit Team Akamai for your free estimate today!”