Venting {ahem} on what’s bugging the bathroom

What’s in this picture? A new Nissan Sentra* goes to the lucky one who first identifies it!

*cyberspace auto

termite poop

Don’t feel badly if you don’t know. I didn’t either until this:

floorpic

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.

bathroomvent

Zoomed in, you can make out the old metal grate and wood:

ventclose

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:

termite feces

My investigative researcher skills lead me to the Internet. That’s when I learn what those are.

Termite feces.

GROOOOOOOOSSSSS!!!

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:

awesomeorange

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:

floorwait

It’ll be totally awesome if this degreaser kills off the termites. A case of Awesome Orange totally living up to its name!

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3 thoughts on “Venting {ahem} on what’s bugging the bathroom

  1. Ugh! We had carpenter ants back at the old Albanian coop and it’s one of the small comfort of moving away before it becomes too much of a problem but this…

    Ugh! Hope the landlord does something about this!

    • Oh my, Carpenter ants are are destructive as termites and, likewise, not a problem to neglect. In curiosity about home remedies for ants, I found this site — which possibly interests you not at all! 😉 http://pestkill.org/ants/carpenter/ Did not know they could be so big in length! {yech}

      Speaking of ants, summer brought the annual sugar ants at my last residence (with the assaulting roommate). They’re tiny and harmless but annoying as hell! They were everywhere on the kitchen counter, along the bathroom walls and shower. Couldn’t eradicate ’em, only bear ’em out. And spray a lot of water infused with peppermint oil!

      • Thanks for the tips, so far insects have blessedly yet to elect residence in my new place but I keep them in mind.

        I had sugar ants coming in 2 years ago through the dishwasher which I manage to evict through a vinegar cycle every month in the summer time.

        As for the carpenter ants, they were mainly confined to a decaying wooden structure adjacent to the ramp near my front door and had yet made the jump when I left but I know for a fact some of the other apartments had nests inside them, mainly due to water seeping in from apartments above.

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