[Termite Control] Termites at Jamestown

Features - Termite Control

Last October, a Virginia firm took on the job of eradicating a subterranean termite infestation from a popular historical tourist destination — a job where closing down for treatment wasn’t an option.

March 26, 2013

Eli Watson, service supervisor, Bug Busters, left, and Adam Eason, owner, Bug Busters. The firm recently took on a difficult termite job at Jamestown Settlement. Photo: Bug Busters.

What happens when a popular tourist destination has a termite problem? It’s an issue that needs to be tackled swiftly and with confidence — and that’s exactly what Adam Eason and his team at Bug Busters, of Farmville, Va., accomplished last October.

Bug Busters was tasked with treating five structures of the re-created colonial fort at Jamestown Settlement, a museum honoring America’s first permanent English Settlement on Jamestown Island, located on the James River near Williamsburg, Va. — a locale that attracts more than 400,000 visitors per year. Kathleen McGill, commercial senior sales representative for Bug Busters, said the company discovered the live infestation after winning a contract with the site in June of 2012. It was a tough job — the museum’s directors did not want to shut down to facilitate treatment, as it would mean the loss of many tourists on any given day.

“Sometimes people who visit, they’re travelling, they’ve come from far away, out of state,” Eason said. “They might be from out of state, and this is a lifetime opportunity. They made it clear in the very beginning they could not and would not accept shutting down, and asked what kind of solutions we could offer.”

That solution came in the form of a seven-hour job performed in the dead of night, using Altriset liquid termiticide from Syngenta. Eason said his crew arrived with four service vehicles, floodlights and determination to finish the treatment before morning brought a swarm of eager tourists.

The Right Product. The location posed a set of challenges for Eason and his team. The site is highly traveled by people and their families, so Bug Busters had to be confident in the fact that hundreds of folks would be traversing the treated area only several hours after they were finished. The site is also populated with natural wildlife, and sits near the James River, two factors that require a low environmental impact, Eason said.

Eason said the job, performed by himself and four other technicians, took about seven hours. The treatment protocol was tailor-made for this specific job — most of the treated structures were wood-to-soil, as opposed to more modern structures with stone foundations, making them very susceptible to termite attack. Eason said the technicians dug small trenches to apply Altriset around the perimeter of each building. “We pulled out of there right at 9 a.m. — right when they opened,” he said. “When we finished winding up our hoses and pulling the trucks out, the front entrance gate opened, and I remember seeing a husband, wife and two kids with a stroller walking right in.”

Eason added he was confident that the treatment did not leave a negative impact for families enjoying their visit.

Dave McCormick, sales representative for Syngenta, said Altriset is able to provide that kind of confidence. “(Adam) had to have the confidence that he could do a full treatment, and hundreds of people could be near the treatment site the following day, after the material was absorbed,” he said. “That’s critical for a lot of parks and tourist areas, that they be on-time and open — if a family is traveling 400 miles, they want the site to be open.”

Lessons Learned. Eason said the job gave him added confidence to use Altriset in other commercial or residential applications. Other than relatively standard personal protective equipment such as long sleeves and shoes, the product does not require specialized safety equipment like respirators. Eason said “If an operator can treat a residential home without using special equipment then it makes the homeowner feel confident about the application– as opposed to suiting up and putting on a respirator.”

Eason said that technicians from Bug Busters returned to the site the following November and December – no signs of an active infestation had been found, and no termite tubes had been reconstructed. A job well done.