What’s in this picture? A new Nissan Sentra* goes to the lucky one who first identifies it!
Don’t feel badly if you don’t know. I didn’t either until this:
That’s the bathroom floor alongside the tub.
I don’t wear shoes in the house, see, and every day this week I’ve been stepping into a grainy spread smack at that spot at the door.
Since I’m a neat freak who keeps my space spotless, especially the floors, I could only ask:
What the HECK is this?!?
Natural detective that I am, I look up. Has to be coming from the vent above the tub.
Zoomed in, you can make out the old metal grate and wood:
Mystified, I sweep up the stuff several times a day. Closely examine the pile in the dustpan. Delicately palpate between my fingertips, these tiny rounded bits of tan and dark brown several times the size of salt grains. They look and feel like seeds. Here’s an illustrative pic off the Internet:
My investigative researcher skills lead me to the Internet. That’s when I learn what those are.
That’s (A) when I immediately quit running them through my fingertips!
And (B) have the problem identified.
The vent space above the shower is infested with drywood termites.
To share what I’ve learned: When termites establish a nest in wood, they seal the hole they used to enter the wood and do not leave the nest. Their droppings are called frass. As they eat wood, they create kick-out holes to push frass out of their nest. So wherever you’ve got a pile of droppings, you’ve got termites nearby.
Unfortunately, my problem doesn’t end there.
The landlord’s on vacation until the end of the month and, understandably, doesn’t want to be bothered unless it’s an emergency. A termite infestation, though super gross and bad for the building, doesn’t qualify.
Moreover, fiercely independent soul and problem-solver that I am, my first instinct is to fix the problem. More research on do-it-yourself termite treatments. There’s well-rated sprays at the hardware store along with online suggestions of non-toxic remedies. Like apparently termites don’t like orange oil, clove bud oil or neem oil.
I’m brought to a halt in my problem-solving. A history of attacks from residents complaining about even the most minor of normal odors in an apartment building renders me fearful using ANY product, be it from a spray can or a natural oil, particularly since the vent is shared with the neighbor’s above.
Forced to ditch those solutions, I don my Ms. McGyver cap. I do have this:
Awesome Orange degreaser. Bought for a buck at the Dollar Store to deep-clean the apartment when I moved in 1-1/2 months ago.
Hey, it’s worth a shot!
So in the past few days, several times a day I strike a balancing pose on the tub’s edge, streeeeetttttch my short stature and arm upward and fire that Awesome Orange into that dark termite-infested vent. I drench that sucker! Saturate it ’til Awesome Orange’s raining onto the floor!
Because as pesty and destructive as termites are, I hate their carpet of poop across my bathroom floor even more! And stepping into it every day, gaaaaarrrrooooooosssssss!
Apparently there’s hope on the horizon! Today I awoke for the first time in a week to almost no termite poop! Yey! Meanwhile, I’ll continue with the paper towels to catch and monitor:
It’ll be totally awesome if this degreaser kills off the termites. A case of Awesome Orange totally living up to its name!