How to Get Rid of Termites?
Do-It-Yourself Termite Removal
Are you worried about a termite infestation? If yes, then you might be looking for the best way on how to get rid of termites. If that’s the case, we can help you do that. Of course, learning important details about termites should be your first step on achieving the success of getting rid of the termites at home.
First, what are termites?
Ever have an idea about what termites are? “Termites are much like ants, but they can do allot more damage” said Michael Higgins from Pro Termites, the Australian termite specialists. Termites are referred to as colony pests which might come in different types. “They feed on cellulose and this means every home has this opportunity to play as the host to this silent killer” he added.
Also, these pests could appear in any plant or wood materials without even an indication of their presence. They are specifically intended to tear away strong cellulose materials; however, they would feed on a book a lot easier as they will feed on cabinetry.
Regardless of your home’s location, termites can be present. They are a constant and an ongoing threat in every season. So, it’s very important that you’ll have a pest control plan ready to be done any time. And take note as well that it doesn’t take long for these pests to cause an extensive amount of damage in your home.
Common Types of Termites
Since termites are considered insects, they have six legs and three main body parts. However, they are unique in their ability to weaken and damage certain structures.
So, here are the different types of termites that you should know:
These species prefer to feed to damp wood especially wood which is either directly in contact with the ground or is damaged. Logs, lumber, and stumps tend to invite Dampwood termites. They are brownish in color and they don’t usually make contact with soil and don’t make tunnels too.
The moisture needed by these termites is pulled from humidity and the would they usually consume. Drywood termites could access a home by exposed furniture or wood and they could build nests in dry wood that is above the ground. So, the resulting damage might be widespread and extensive. The color is usually tan or light brown.
Being introduced in the 1940s to the US, these termites are known to be the most destructive among the subterranean termite species. They access homes by wood which touches the soil, and unsealed cracks or joints also offer easy entry for them. Wet soil and moist wood practically attract them so they reproduce a lot faster and consume more wood compared to other types. Formosan termites are yellowish-brown in color.
Being seen all over the continental US, these ones prefer warm and humid climates. They live in the soil around and under homes. Their entry into structures comes from the mud tubes that they build to connect the soil with the wood. And their color is creamy brown.
Be aware of these types for you to be able to implement the right plan on how to get rid of them.
Now, how does a termite infestation starts?
You should be able to tell whether a termite infestation is beginning in your place to avoid further damage. There are two main ways on how termites begin to infest your house and that is through the ground or by air.
For instance, a Drywood termite kind of infestation would typically happen once a current colony sends out flying insect swarmers. If these ones find a wooden crevice in your place, they begin to shed their wings, next carve out a little nest and finally begin to lay eggs to start a brand new termite colony.
Subterranean termites, on the other hand, have their colonies underground so they might enter the house through that foundation. As they forage for food, subterranean termites stumble upon a rich new food source and that is your house. They commonly build mud tunnels over foundation walls in order to access the wooden parts of the structure.
You should always be mindful about these termites if you want to avoid great damage due to termite infestation. To help you avoid such thing, after knowing the process on how termites begin to infest your place, you should also learn the signs of termite infestation.
What are the signs of a termite infestation?
If you don’t want severe damage in your place, it is best to be watchful about the signs of infestation earlier before it’s too late. In fact, termite infestation is compared to cancer, if you’ll be able to detect it early, then chances are pretty good, but catch it late and the needed treatment is definitely intensive and painful.
So, it’s more than crucial to learn the signs which include the following:
Winged Termite Swarms
Seeing a swarm of winged termites in your place is a sure sign that there is a nearby termite colony. Winged termites are likely to swarm around a light source. You should be able to determine the difference between a winged termite and a winged ant. Winged termite has equal wing length, straight antenna, and broad waist while the winged ant has unequal wing length, elbowed antenna, and a pinched waist.
Discarded Wings of Swarmers
The termite swarmers would usually not keep their wings for long. As they shed their wings, that means they are in search of places to build their new nests. So, if you notice small piles of these discarded wings on places such as window sills or being caught in spider webs, there is a possibility of termite colony nearby.
The subterranean termites eat through the wood and so they create the termite galleries. These are referred to as empty spaces left in the wood as they burrow through it. In most cases, termite galleries run parallel to the grain of the wood.
Also, subterranean termites build mud tubes or also refer to as a shelter or foraging tubes as the links between the colony and the food source. These are made of debris, soil, and wood and protect the colony against predators at the same time conserve moisture. These tubes could be found at the foundations of the home or in the structure if you have a subterranean termite infestation.
As Drywood termites munch through the wood, they leave behind their fecal droppings. These droppings or the frass are pellet-shaped and they look like heavy grains of sand or sawdust. There might be a possibility of termite infestation if you find mounds of termite droppings, either in or around your home.
Indeed, termites love moist and dark areas. And this is the reason why they live just below the surface of the wood and bring in moisture into the termite galleries. The moisture could cause the wood to swell. If there are termites in a wooden floor, the floors would eventually swell.
Termites would eat your house from the inside out and this is the reason why they are so insidious. You can consider a piece pf wood normal on the outside but it could be infested with termites in the inside. Simply tap or puncture the wood once it’s hollow. The damage might be very extensive if the cracks and fissures begin to appear on the surface.
Bear in mind these signs as these would help you to avoid much more damage of termite infestation. The sooner you noticed these signs, the sooner you’ll prevent the infestation from happening and cause severe damage to your home.
So, how to get rid of termites by yourself?
The earlier you noticed the signs, the better. You can perform your own way of getting rid of the said pests and avoid too many expenses especially when professional help is already required. So, here are some of the ways on how to get rid of termites by yourself:
For the first method, use cardboard. Cardboard is known to be made of wood fibers and you might be able to attract termites through dampening some cardboard and putting them in an area wherein you notice a presence of termites.
If the termites gather on the cardboard, they could be disposed of immediately. In this method, close maintenance is then required. Make sure to dispose the cardboard the moment you see termites gathering, instead of letting them fester and multiply.
For the second option, the use of the nematodes is considered to be beneficial. Nematodes are microscopic worms which act as parasites on different pests and that include termites. Once nematodes are in the pest’s digestive system, they release a bacterium which eventually kills the termites. Indeed, working nematodes into the soil that is near the termite colony is an effective termite killer.
Nematodes are available for purchase online and in-store, as these worms are considered to be a very cost-effective way of getting rid of the termites in your yard or house.
Another great method is the use of Borax. Borax is referred to as a standby DIY treatment for pests including termites. Like for instance, boric acid powder or other sodium borate product could be very effective since boric acid can fatally damage the nervous system of the termites.
Here’s a DIY Borax paste recipe that you can do at home:
Prepare the ingredients including a part of water and a part of borax or boric acid water. For those with a powder form, simply mix it with water. This recipe could depend on how much you want to use. If it’s mixed together, you can use a paintbrush to cover the wood surfaces throughout your place. Also, you can use the same recipe having two parts of water so it becomes a thinner solution then add it to the spray bottle and spray the wood surfaces as your spot treatment. Look for borax or boric acid as the active ingredient if you want to buy a termite control product or a pre-made spray.
There are also substances like neem oil or orange oil that could also help in getting rid of termites. The said essential oils kill the insects slowly by preventing these termites from shedding their shells or laying eggs. The termites die right after direct exposure to orange oil or neem oil, so you have to focus on the infested areas and spread the oil over any wood surfaces, nests, obviously infested materials.
You can also make your own essential oil spray recipe by these steps:
Be prepared with two cups of water, 10 drops of neem or orange oil, and a couple of drops of dish soap. So, in this recipe, the dish soap would help suspend the oils within the water and prevent separation. Once you don’t have the dish soap, you can simply use the recipe without it and make sure to shake the solution before every use.
This diatomaceous earth is made from silica and it indeed damages the exoskeletons of the termites and dehydrates them too. Simply sprinkle it on the infected areas and around your home’s foundations as it would kill current termites and it discourages future infestations.
There are experts that would recommend the use of food-grade diatomaceous earth since this is less harmful once inhaled and also non-toxic to animals and humans.
Other recommendations include the use of items such as cayenne pepper or white vinegar to control termites. You have to spread the vinegar over the infested areas or simply sprinkle the pepper over the infested areas to kill the termites.
The said methods are considered to be slower than the other options, but they discourage the termites from returning. Termites are averse to these types of products and would be repelled from their odors.
Termite Spray and Termite Bait Traps
And also, you might want to consider the use of bait traps and spray. Termite baits use spikes or cylinder inserted into the ground in order to attract the pests. This bait is consumed and carried back to the colony wherein it is being regurgitated, therefore infecting the colony.
However, termite baiting need a lot of expertise with regards to proper placement. Most pest control companies are using professional-strength bait included in their strategy.
On the other hand, spray and power pesticides are as well available to treat the soils and the structure itself. You can consider professional-strength applications as they are far more effective in terms of preventing termite damage and protecting your home.
Most termite baits and termite sprays out in the market today are great to be used by yourself to prevent a termite infestation.
There you have it! Those are the methods that you can follow if you want to eliminate termites from your home.
But are there methods that you should avoid?
Apparently, there are methods that must be avoided as well if you are into getting rid of the termites. Some of these hazardous methods that shouldn’t be observed are the following:
Whether used or unused, dumping motor oil is considered illegal and it offers no kind of long-term protection against these termites. It might as well poison the ground and could leach into the groundwater eventually. The said oil has cancer-causing chemicals so in contact with it or simply by breathing in fumes is hazardous. It might pose a huge threat to all of you in the house.
It is never safe to set fire to a termite colony. And it isn’t wise as well to burn them out inside the tree, your place or anywhere. It would be too difficult to contain the fire and could lead to more risk.
Well, take note that randomly dumping household cleaners, bleach or copious amounts of pesticides or some other chemicals into the ground is useless. There could be thousands of more termites below the soil wherein pesticides aren’t reaching. This only creates an area of highly concentrated poison which is bad for groundwater and plants and could also be dangerous to pets, children, and wildlife.
There are many ways on how to get rid of termites but please avoid these ones!
DIY Termite Prevention Tips
After coming up with the best methods for eliminating termites at home, that shouldn’t end there. You should also come up with prevention methods to avoid another infestation. So, here are some DIY prevention tips that you should consider:
- Remove the tree branches, cellulose materials, debris and dead leaves around your house. Cellulose materials or tree branches against the wall offer an attractive food source as well as a nesting site for the subterranean termites. It could also hide evidence of termite invasion in your place.
- Utilize only termite treated wood in garden beds, retaining fence posts or walls. You shouldn’t use untreated wood to form garden beds or the retaining walls, as these would attract termites around your home.
- Repair the leaking pipes and taps. If you repair these leaks, it would reduce moisture levels that attract subterranean termites to the property.
- Do not allow climbing plants or even bushy gardens to grow against the structure. Those climbing plants that are growing against the side of the property’s structure provide the termites with entry being undetected. The roots of the plants could also penetrate the foundations of the property letting termites access which is very hard to locate.
- Ensure all the scaffolding wood is removed right after construction. Termites could often attack scaffolding and utilize it to gain access into your home.
- And also, remove all dead trees and stumps. Those dead trees and stumps are ideal sites for the termites to nest in. You have to remove these or at least have them treated to reduce the risk to the property.
Simply follow these prevention tips to avoid further damage from the infestation of termites.
FAQs About Termites
Here are some of the common FAQs and answers about termites:
- Q: Are termites dangerous?
A: Termites don’t carry diseases which transfer to humans, but they could cause major damage to properties. A termite colony might consist of thousands and big colonies could also do extensive damage to the wood at home.
- Q: How do these termites get inside?
A: Termites get inside through tiny cracks in the foundation. And if they are inside, they would take up residence in walls wherein they eat away at the wooden beams.
- Q: What is the lifespan of the termite?
A: An individual termite could live for two years. And their colonies might survive for years once left untreated.
- Q: How long will a termite damage a home?
A: Termites eat constantly. A large colony could eat close to a pound of wood within a day. Termites might be at work for number of days or weeks before realizing there is a problem because they easily hide from view.
- Q: How quick can termites reproduce?
A: The rate wherein the termite queen could produce eggs would depend on the age of the colony. In its earliest development, a queen wouldn’t produce many eggs, but once the colony gets older and more populated, the termite queen could lay as many as thousands of eggs a day.
- Q: How much does the termite damage usually cost?
A: This would depend on how long they have been working and how much is in your place. Once left untreated, it’s not unusual for the termite infestation to cost almost thousands of dollars in repairs.
Yes, termite infestation is annoying! However, if you know how to handle them properly, you’ll surely be stress-free after considering the methods discussed above. Learning the right way on how to get rid of termites is your best step in order to avoid any damage to your property. You don’t want any infestation, right? So, be watchful and implement the best plan!
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