How to Get Rid of Termites: A Quick Guide
Termites are known for causing significant damage to homes, and you might not even know there’s a problem. Of course, there are signs of termites to watch out for, which is going to be discussed below. Still, you’ve got to know how to get rid of termites, such as the prevention methods you can use, DIY products, and when to call in the professionals.
What Are Termites?
Termites live in colonies and feed on all types of cellulose, so any house could be a host to this annoyance. They can live in wood or plant materials and often eat cabinetry and wood slats that keep the home standing. However, they can eat almost anything, such as books.
Drywood termites are the most common ones because they consume the wood inside your home. However, subterranean termites are also present and can build a mound outside and then tunnel into the house from below.
These pests are an ongoing threat, regardless of the season. Though they look like ants, they are much more dangerous. Therefore, you need to focus on prevention and have a pest control plan you can implement when the time arises.
Signs of Termites
One sign of an infestation is when you see the winged versions trying to leave the home. You’re sure to see them around the doors and windows, but they can also be anywhere around or outside of their colony. Generally, if you’ve got a cabinet infestation, the winged pests are going to hover around that site. Pay close attention in early spring, as this is when you’re sure to see them flying around.
You don’t need to wait until spring to determine if you’ve got a termite infestation. Here are some of the other warning signs that can be seen at any time of year:
- Bubbled or cracked paint. When termites feed on the interior of your structure, they are going to reach the surface at some point. If that happens, the coating is going to bubble. You may notice frass, which is the waste from termites. Walls can also crack in abnormal ways that don’t relate to foundation cracks.
- Hollow-sounding wood. Termites are going to leave the outer surface of the item intact, but they carve through the interior. Have you ever eaten a hollow chocolate bar? The similarity between that and termite-infested wood is the same. If you tap on the wood, you’re going to hear an echo or hollow sound.
- Mud tubes. Termites leave mud tubes, but they don’t look the same as wasp or hornet tubing. Generally, those pests stay in a single place, but termite tubes spread along wood beams, exterior walls, and into crawl spaces.
During summer, you might see a lot of wings that have been discarded around doors, windows, and other areas of the home. This is an indication that you’ve got termites. If you want to know how to get rid of termites, you should work hard to eradicate them by using a professional or trying a DIY method.
How to Get Rid of Termites
Before you can kill termites, you’ve got to remove easy-to-find food sources. To do that, consider moving firewood piles away from the house. Paper, lumber, and wood debris near your foundation can be a home for termite colonies. Remove any tree stumps near the house and plant-based waste, as well.
Ensure that your vents are screened so that termites don’t have an entry point. Inspect your fences, decking, and other wood components and remove pests immediately if you see them.
You can find chemical, DIY, and non-chemical options to remove a termite colony. One popular non-chemical removal method is to install a barrier around the home. Generally, this happens when the house is built, but you can use a waterproof membrane around the foundation of an existing structure.
Termites can’t move through sand easily, so you could use sand as a barrier, too. Consider combining it with steel mesh. Nematodes can also eliminate a termite colony naturally.
Chemicals can often be purchased online or from a hardware store and can be used as a DIY method of removal. Bait is usually used and set out where a colony is likely to be present. All the termites eat from it and die eventually.
You can find three other chemical solutions approved for use by homeowners:
- Liquid pesticides designed for termite eradication can be highly effective and are applied to the soil.
- Wood treatments can be applied as necessary.
- Some building materials come infused with termite pesticides.
Make sure that if you choose the DIY approach, you use the chemicals as instructed on the can or box. It’s important that these pesticides don’t get into your home’s water system or well. Of course, it’s not going to remove the pests, but it can also cause illness.
Do It Yourself Treatments for Termites
You can find a variety of products on the market to eliminate termites. Some of them are more expensive than others.
Spectracide Terminate Stakes
These stakes are installed along the foundation of the home. Generally, you get 15 to 20 stakes in a package, and they last half a season, so you are going to have to change them out once a year. If termite activity is noticed, the stake pops out of the ground so that you are away. Then, you’ve got to eliminate them using other products.
If you require an inside solution for your termite infestation, Termidor foam is an excellent choice. It works immediately and can help with subterranean infestations. Many restaurants and feed-handling buildings utilize this foam, so it’s suitable for almost any location. Just make sure that you seal up the hole in which the infestation occurred so that it doesn’t happen again.
Ortho Home Defense Max
If you use the Ortho Home Defense Max spray, it’s guaranteed to keep the termites away for five whole years in treated areas. This is a suitable DIY solution for stored lumber and foundations of homes. It contains Bifenthrin, which is quite similar to what the professionals use.
Natural Methods of Removing Termites
Many homeowners have children or pets and don’t want to use chemicals. If you’ve tried preventing an infestation and it didn’t work, now is the time to consider a natural solution. These don’t always work, so you may still need to call a professional.
- Wet Cardboard Trap. Wet some corrugated boxes and set them up where you think you’ve got termites. When the bugs start feeding off the box, remove it from the location and burn it.
- Sunlight. Sunshine often kills termites, so if you can expose the colony during the day, it’s going to die. This works well for furniture that’s infested, though you can try UV light in places where you can’t move the infestation.
- Nematodes. Parasitic nematodes can be bought online and from some hardware stores. They like to eat termites, but they don’t harm your house.
Many times, you can take care of a termite infestation on your own. There are a variety of products available, some of which feature the same chemicals that exterminators use. Just make sure that you are careful and follow the directions. If that doesn’t work or you dislike the DIY approach, consider calling an exterminator near you for help.
By now, you know how to get rid of termites, but if these options don’t work, you may need to contact 24H Pest Pros. The professionals here can assess the situation and provide you with a pest control plan.