Tackling Termites And More

Jonathan Montalbo
Owner of Aloha Termite Kauai Inc.

Please tell us about your business. We are a full-service pest-control company. We take care of all your general pests: ants, roaches, centipedes, rodents, fleas, ticks, bed bugs and termites.

What are the most common pests on Kauai? Everything. We have a perfect climate for just about everything, even scorpions, on the West Side.

Why did you start this business? I’ve been in the industry for many years. I was running a company for my uncle on Oahu, and it got to the point where it was time to do my own thing. Part of his business plan at the time was working here. There was a need on Kauai, and in order to provide the right service, someone had to be here full time. So I decided to buy my uncle’s interest here and started my own company. I opened the business in 2007 but started working on Kauai in 2002.

What is the difference between ground termites and drywood termites? All termites can be wood infesting and eat cellulose. Ground termites also can eat furniture as long as it’s cellulose based. There is a common misconception between the two termites. All of them can fly; that’s their mating process. The difference between the two is that the subterranean termites live in the soil; they need the moisture from the soil in order to survive. Their colony sizes are extremely large and they’re very aggressive. They’ll do a lot of damage to a structure really quickly. The drywood termites are the ones commonly noticed when people see the droppings. Their colony sizes are much smaller and they’re not as aggressive; they can get enough moisture that is naturally in the wood to survive so they will not have contact with the ground.

How do you know if you have ground termites? Mud tubes coming up on the outside of your home. A lot of people, unfortunately, notice the damaged wood first. It could be door frames, anything, depending on what they get to first. And because there are so many different kinds of construction types, there isn’t one particular spot in your home to know you have them. They can go through anywhere connected to the ground.

What can you do to help prevent them? The best thing to do for ground termites is to be vigilant. Be active — look around outside and keep vegetation away from the outside of the house so you can get a good look at it. And don’t be scared to ask a professional for help. That is not something you want to delay; they do too much damage way too fast. On average, they eat 1 foot of a 2-by-4 in one month. Ground termites can receive preventative treatments. Drywood termites, on the other hand, cannot be prevented. It’s just luck of the draw. Sooner or later it’s inevitable you’ll get them, and there is only one way to cure the problem once it exists.

What’s one thing that sets your business apart from others? We try to cater to everyone’s needs. We’re a melting pot; everybody’s different and everybody wants different things. We’re in the customer service business first, and in order to serve the customer you have to try to make everyone happy.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business? Being able to help people and being able to be a part of the community — being able to help customers, providing a service. Also, helping my employees and helping their families and being able to see it all. You get enjoyment from that.

Do you have a business motto? Service with aloha. We are a service business and we strive to provide a level of service that I’m proud of.


—Coco Zickos