In our on going quest to build pests out of our homes there is a system available that can simplify retreatments of termites once your home is built and potentially eliminates the need for messy drilling and invasive procedures. Tubes in the slab is not a new concept per se. Homes and businesses have used this technique for years to heat floors in cold winters. Warm water is piped through the tubes and the heat radiates up through the floor. The famed Lambeau field that the Green Bay Bay Packers play on has had an under ground heating system for years. With over 30 miles of tubing it is intended to keep the turf from freezing but I think they might have forgotten to turn it on during the ‘ice bowl’ of 1967.
click to enlarge-see red and yellow tubing under plastic
The areas or ‘treating zones’ are predetermined by the building plans and usually include all the plumbing areas and the most suseceptible sections of the foundation. I do not install these systems nor do I put in the ‘in the wall’ pest control tubes but I have yet to see either of the systems that completely goes around the entire structure. This runs contrary to what most homeowners think they are getting when they opt for the extra cost during construction. Both systems do what they are intended to do but it is definately not a ‘whole house treatment’ as one would believe. The homes construction plans or drawings should indicate where these zones are or they can be obtained in your records from the pest company who installed the tubes.
The installation of the tubes in the slab system is not in and of itself a pretreatment for termites. As of this writing I am not aware of any label or law that states this as acceptible. Instead what this product does is offer to the homeowner one more option when either the contract period is up or a problem occurs. The soil that the cement is to be poured on is still suppose to be sprayed according to the label and that will serve as the pretreat for subterranean termites. Usually in 5 to 7 years the company in charge of the termite contract is legally able to opt out of the protection agreement and can either offer you a new treatment or simply walk away. This is where the benefits of the tubes in the slab system come into play.
If you’ve been in your home 5 or more years the chances are that you have made some upgrades. You may have tiled the front porch, laid carpet on the lanai or any number of things. When a new termite treatment is neccesary the company ordinarily has to drill through these obstacles to be able to treat the soil below. The tubes in the slab option may give you an alternative and save your home from some of these scars. There are times when drilling is still needed so don’t be surprised if your tubes technician breaks out a drill to treat an abutting slab. The original company that pretreated the home might be more apt to not drill the slabs but most new companies coming in don’t usually put their guarantees behind someone else’s work done 5 years ago. They may insist on slab drilling to ensure a continuous barrier. These should be questions you ask before you agree to any treatments.
To treat the system it is really quite easy. Special adapters are made that fit at the end of a standard termite rigs hose and using low pressure, termiticide is pumped into the tubes. Flow meters can be used or a timing method to determine how much liquid has gone under the home. The exterior soil of the structure still needs to be treated adjacent to the foundation and that is done by digging and flooding trenches. At this time any slab drilling that needs to be done in order to provide a complete barrier is performed. Tubes in the slab almost always eliminates the need for a bath trap at least for the purposes of termite control since the tubes target these zones.
Tubes in the slab are one more tool in the pest control industries box that has many benefits but is not a complete stand alone treatment. More and more companies are offering service to tube systems and this is good news for the consumer as it should help keep prices reasonable. The way I see it is you’ll never have full access to the soil under your homes slab again once it is set so you should at least consider the tubes system when building. This way if termite issues arise you can still get under ‘the frozen tundra.’