How to Get Rid of Termites – The Ultimate Guide!
Want to find out how to get rid of termites? Out of all the little bugs that can infiltrate your home, termites can cause the biggest trouble. If you don’t nip the infestation in the butt, you can face extreme damage to your house’s foundation in just a few years. Problem is that they are sneaky little buggers.
Sometimes you only notice the infestation after a few years. And once you notice, it might be too late and you will have to face the consequences of the damage done.
What Are Termites
Termites are similar to ants. They also live in colonies and have self-organized systems with soldiers, workers and a queen. The big difference between ants and termites, is that termites are detritivores, meaning they only eat dead plants, trees or other woody materials.
Another big difference is that termites can fly. In springtime the flying workers will scout out a new spot to build a new colony. Dead trees or wood will definitely attract them. They also don’t discriminate between cold, areas and warm areas. As long as there’s an ample source of wood and enough moisture in the air, they will come marching.
Types of Termites
When you are figuring out how to get rid of termites, it helps to know what kind of termite you are dealing with. A few of the methods of how to get rid of termites will work on all the types of termites, but some of the little critters are more special and you need to deal with them specifically.
Subterranean Termites build the largest nests and they live in the soil. They are considered to be one of the most destructive termite species and are widely spread across the U.S. They can destroy a house at a frightening fast pace. They will build their colonies to connect to the structure of your house.
Dampwood Termites are mostly found in woods where there are a high moisture content. This species will seldom be found in houses. This is because homes are built from wood without any moisture. They don’t require contact with soil and prefer setting up camp in damp woods.
Drywood Termites on the other hand are found in hardwood floors and timber. They also don’t require contact with soil. On the up side, the damage they cause occur a bit slower when compared to subterranean termites.
Conclusion:The no.1 enemy of the state is subterranean termites.
Where Do Termites Come From
Termites build large colonies that can tunnel for miles and miles. If your neighbor’s house has a lot of rotten wood or trees, it will beckon the termites closer and soon you might also be struggling with a termite infestation.
If you can, try to choose a home in a neighborhood without any prior termite damage. Once termites have infiltrated an area, they are very hard to get rid of. The other problem is that termites are not just bound to the ground, they can also fly to scout out a new spot to set up camp. On a nice windy day a termite can travel on average fifty feet at a time.
Signs of Termites
Before you can create a strategy of how to get rid of termites, you need to assess if your house has been under termite attack. The big secret is being proactive and protecting your home before the infestation can begin. Look out for the following warning signs.
Wood damage usually occur behind and below surfaces such as walls and floors. If your house has wooden floors it’s crucial to keep a close eye on them, even up to once a week if it is an old house. Wood is the staple food of termites. The termites are after the cellulose found in the wood and when structural damage occur, it’s easier for them to start munching away.
You need to look under the surface of the wood to make sure no damage is present. If you have lots of wood present in your home’s structure, consider getting a specialist to check up on your house every few months.
As mentioned, the little buggers will be falling from the sky to scout out a new home for the termite family. When they land and are happy with what they find, they will twist off their wings to settle in. You will see the discarded wings on window sills, close to your doorways or any other access points.
If you see wings, you need to take action immediately. To spot the difference between termite wings and ant wings, termite wings are all the same size.
These will be found near trees or sheds, basically any place the ground connects to your house. Some termites are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and prefer areas with high moisture levels. The purpose of the tubes is to block cool or dry air to manage the moisture levels.
Break off a section and check for any termites squirming around inside. Termites are hard little workers and can rebuild a nest very quickly, so it’s not enough to just break off all the tubes from your house. You need to take action immediately to prevent any further damage to your house.
Check the Basement
You need to keep an eye on the hollowness of the wood. If the termites have already settled in, you will find hollow patches. Push the wood with a screwdriver to test its strength. If the screwdriver slips into the wood, you’ve got an infestation on your hands.
Brown Pellets of Excrement
The termites might be able to hide inside the wood, but they will be leaving a trail of droppings for you to follow. The termite droppings are dark brown pellets, yes ironically enough they are wood-colored. With your screwdriver test you will probably find the droppings close to the weakened areas.
How to Prevent Termite Damage
The best option of how to get rid of termites is to prevent them from invading your house in the first place. You need to make it as difficult as possible for them to reach your home.
Firstly you can make it tricky for them to burrow through the soil close to your house. Make sure the ground around your house is not continuously moist and you can also consider treating it with a liquid insecticide.
You can also install a termite baiting system to keep them away. Make sure there are no old rotted panels or beams in your house, especially in the basement. The replacement cost will be much less than dealing with the damage of a termite infestation. Do an inspection of your home at least once a month.
If you’ve already spotted termites, you need to trace them to the source. By finding the main nest, you can properly deal with them instead of just trying to manage the infestation. Once the termites have found a viable source of food, they will keep coming back, so you need to aggressively deal with the nest found in your yard. (or they could even be coming from your neighbor)
DID YOU KNOW?
A colony of termites can munch about one foot of a 2 x 4 floor in six months.
Make sure that there are no leaking pipes in your plumbing system. Any excessive source of moisture will be like a big billboard inviting them to come set up camp. You need to cut them off from their food source, as well as any water sources. You can also set up proactive protection around your house, such as sand or screens.
You might be so focused on checking your basement that you forget about other areas that also need routine inspections. Check that your gutters are clean at all times. Dead leaves and standing water will be just as good a substitute for the termites as a nice big chunk of basement board.
Make sure that your house is properly ventilated. This will prevent moisture build up. It’s especially important in your bathroom. You could even consider installing an extractor van to make sure excess moisture doesn’t build up in and around your bathroom area.
How to Get Rid Of Termites
You could find the little buggers and spray the living daylights out of them with potent chemicals, but you need to remember that there might be restrictions in your area with regards to the use of certain chemicals. If you are considering spraying the soil around your home, make sure you are aware of the environmental impact of the product you intend to use.
There are some other tricks to the get rid of termites. When you are considering how to get rid of termites in your home, you need to put a few different protection measures in place to keep the termites at bay.
Keep Wood Maintained
As soon as wood becomes damp, the termites will take out their knives and forks. They will have a harder time to munch down on dry wood, so the drier you can keep your floors and other wood surfaces, the better.
Termites are sensitive to temperate and humidity levels. If you can keep the temperature in your basement below 20°F, the termites will jump ship. You will have to consider using liquid nitrogen to drop the temperature this low.
Flood the Termite Nest
Once you’ve tracked down the main hub of the attack on your house, you can simple drown the little buggers at the source. If you find their small mud tubes against your house, you can dig a bit deeper down and flood the area.
Use Some Sunlight
Termites don’t like sunlight, it kills them naturally. If you can leave a few windows open during the day to let the sunlight flood in, they will either die or they will find a new home for themselves. The sunlight will also help you to manage good humidity levels in your house. If you notice a table or chair has become infested, you can place them outside for two to three days.
Cardboard Trap Method
When figuring out how to get rid of termites, this is a great creative method to lure the termites away from your house and gather them in one location for you to easily get rid of them. Take a few old cardboards, stack them up and make them soaking wet.
Termites won’t be able to resist the easily accessible cellulose found in the cardboards. Keep an eye on the stack and when you see that it has become infested with a substantial amount of termites, move the stack to a spot where you can safely set fire to all the cardboards.
But this is just a temporary quick fix method and you will need to repeat the process a few times to really get rid of all the termites. An average colony can range between 200 000 to 2 000 000 termites.
How to Kill Termites
As mentioned above, you need to be very careful when using commercial chemicals. Rather try more environmentally safe alternatives before grabbing a bottle of pesticide.
When you are figuring out how to get rid of termites, this is a great natural way to dehydrate the termites. Mix equal parts of salt and warm water in a container. It needs to very salty. Use a syringe to draw up the salty mixture and inject it into any affected areas that you have found in your home.
Killing Drywood Termite
Electrocution: this sounds like a very extreme method of how to get rid of termites, but it is one of the most effective ways to eradicate termites from your house. You can decide if you want to drill holes or not. Learn more about how to electrocute termites here.
Orange oil:. The oil can be used to kill a variety of insects. It destroys their cell membranes. Drill small holes into the infested wood and pour the oil into the hollow spaces. You will see results within a week or two.
This oil is dangerous for humans, so handle with care
Killing Subterranean Termites
Boric acid: a great natural insecticide to dehydrate the termites and stop their nervous system from working. You can either coat or spray the wood with a boric acid mixture. Wear a mask and gloves while applying the mixture, the acid can be toxic when inhaled. Also, make sure your children or pets aren’t exposed to it.
Below is a video showing how to practically use Borax to get rid of termites:
How to Kill Termites with Commercial Products
Spectracide Terminate Stakes
The stakes can be installed around in your house. On average a package will contain 15 stakes. Once installed they will be effective for one season. You should change them about twice a year. The stakes will indicate where an infestation is breaking out by popping up when an active colony is found.
Ortho Home Defense Max
This product will last for a whole year, creating a barrier to keep out a variety of different insects. Perfect for spraying around your home and in your basement. The active ingredient is called Bifenthrin and it can be found in various other professional pesticide solutions.
A great indoor solution. Perfect to fill wall voids and to treat isolated areas. It will effectively deal with a tough subterranean termite infestation. It’s been approved for use in restaurants, so it is completely safe. One can of foam will go a long way. Make sure you keep pets and children away while applying it.
A great ultra-low disturbance bait system. The Termite Monitoring Base (TMB) stays in place, all you have to do is remove the Termite Inspection Cartridge (TIC). The termites will remain in the monitoring stations and continue to feed on the bait even after the TIC is removed. Baiting stations are perfect for areas where pesticides or chemicals can be dangerous for the soil or plants.
Conclusion: How to Get Rid of Termites
You might not be able to get rid of termites permanently if they have created extensive colonies in your neighborhood. But you can make sure that they don’t launch an extensive attack on your house by following the precautions described above.
In your quest to figure out how to get rid of termites, what methods have you find to be the most effective?