A termite exterminator is a pest control worker who specializes in identifying and removing termite populations from residences, buildings, and other structures. A professional may use a number of different tools and techniques to locate termite beds and destroy living insects. He or she might treat a small area with chemicals or fumigate an entire building, depending on the severity of an infestation. Many termite exterminators educate home and business owners on how they can stop termites from damaging their property in the future.
Many species of termites travel in large colonies, searching for wood, plants, and other sources of cellulose. It is common for termite colonies to nest in or around older wooden structures, such as houses, barns, and buildings. A termite exterminator might inspect a site to determine the presence of termite populations, assess the damage that has been done to the structure, and determine the most effective means of getting rid of the insects.
A professional might apply small amounts of insecticide directly on nests, colonies, and spots that are highly susceptible to termite infestations. An expert might take preventative measures by spraying nearby trees, weathered spots of wood on or near a structure's foundation, and other areas where termites are likely to migrate.
When colonies cannot be pinpointed, a termite exterminator might decide to fumigate an entire structure. Fumigation involves sealing off a structure and pumping in large quantities of lethal gases. About 30 hours after fumigation, the exterminator usually performs a walkthrough to ensure the effectiveness of treatment and determine if a property is safe for reentry by humans and pets.
Some exterminators specialize in environmentally friendly techniques to rid structures of infestations and prevent termites from returning. Experts can set up feeding stations covered with non-toxic substances that repel termites. The insects are deterred and often make the decision to look elsewhere for food and shelter. Professionals may also suggest that foundations be reinforced with metal or concrete to ward off termite invasions.
The requirements for becoming a termite exterminator vary between different countries and states, though most locations require a hopeful worker to hold a high school diploma and complete an apprenticeship to learn the trade. Apprenticeships can take up to two years to complete, and involve classroom studies as well as practical work. A new exterminator is usually required to pass licensing tests administered by his or her state or country before working with insecticides and other chemicals. Licensing exams test an individual's knowledge of environmental laws, safety measures, and various pest control techniques.