Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

What are these colorful tents?

Recently the Hale Kamaole condo complex was draped in bright circus colored tents. What is that all about? Is the circus in town? One word – termites!

These are the tropics and from time to time most wood buildings will be attacked by a particularly aggressive little critter. Termites in Hawaii are known to be one of the most aggressive of their species. They live in colonies. While they don’t harm humans, they like wood and any material containing cellulose. These days homes must be built with treated lumber, but there is no guarantee termites won’t attack it either. A number of years ago one of our neighbors had to completely redo their kitchen (their house is now only 10 years old) as termites were eating the wood cabinets. Yikes.

How do you get rid of termites?

Once it’s determined that a building has a termite infestation, the pest control company will schedule a special treatment. The entire building is tented (in Maui they use brightly colored tarps) and then fumigated and left to sit for a day or two. Afterwards the tarp is removed, the building aired out and the owners/management company cleans. The fumigation will kill any bugs that were hiding in the building at the time of tenting. However, the pest control cannot guarantee that termites won’t fly in the very next day and begin their wood feast again.

Is it dangerous to stay in a place that has been fumigated? Not to my knowledge, so long as it has been properly aired out and cleaned. Can you just leave the termites? Nope… they will destroy the entire building if left unchecked. Should you avoid treated buildings? Nope – given time every wood constructed building will be treated for termites. Such is life in the tropics.

What kind of bugs and critters do you have in your neck of the woods? At least we don’t have snakes on Maui!