How to Get Rid of Termites

Termites are a major problem for homeowners. In many cases, they can lead to significant structural damage and need to be eliminated as soon as possible. Termites are a group of insects that live in colonies and feed on the cellulose found in wood. They also digest fiber from other paper products such as books, newspapers, etc. Although they don’t eat through any type of construction material immediately, termites will slowly cause damage over time by eating away at whatever wood is available to them.

If you have discovered termites in your home, the first thing to do is contact a professional exterminator. The sooner they can come out, the better chance they will have of identifying any problem areas where termites are active or have been active recently. Termite damage is very hard for an untrained person to diagnose correctly, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Identify Termites Correctly

Before taking any action, it is necessary to identify the type of termites. Mostly there are two types of Termites; Subterranean Termites and Drywood Termites. Professionals will be able to identify the type of termite based on the damage done to wood and other materials in or around your home.

Subterranean Termites (most typical) 

These are the most common type. They live mostly underground, coming out at night to “swarm” and feed. They nest in the ground, often near or behind concrete foundations. Sometimes called “damp wood termites,” subterranean termites can survive by feeding on moist, decayed wood found inside plumbing pipes, wall voids, and other moist, dark wood hiding places. You might see these insects flying about your home during the day, especially on humid days after a rainstorm.

Also See: Removing Stains from Concrete

Dry Wood Termites

Also known as “carpenter ants,” dry termites require only the cellulose found in sound dry wood to survive and can eat away at wood all by themselves. These termites don’t need to contact the soil, and their colonies won’t be found behind concrete foundations or inside plumbing pipes, wall voids, etc. These are less common in the U.S. but could be a problem if you live in certain parts of Florida or Southern states.

Identify Termite Damage

The type of termites is not always easy to identify by an untrained person. If you have seen termites swarming around your home, it’s safe to assume that you have a termite infestation. However, if you only see the damage they have done, it’s still necessary to contact a professional.

Keep an eye out for flaws in the woodwork. The most common places for termites to hide in your home are in the ceiling or floor joists, in areas where two pieces of the wood meet (commonly around electrical boxes), under carpeting close to walls, around door and window frames, on hardwood floors between structural timbers, etc. You may need to get onto the roof or up into the attic to spot it. Termite damage is often not visible from the ground.

Look for sawdust, wood-colored termite droppings, or wings. If you find sawdust on the floor of your attic, it may be a sign that termites are present. Termite droppings look like tiny wood shavings, and they will often form piles more easily identifiable than sawdust. If you see wings, you can assume an active nest nearby.

How to Get Rid of Termites

Once your home has been identified as having termite damage or an active infestation, it is important to remove the termites. This should be done as quickly as possible before the problem becomes worse.

Treat with Termite Killing Bait

Since termites are eating away at your home, there is no better time to kill them all. Professionals use bait systems to inspect for and kill any active termites in the home. They tend to be safer and more effective than traditional liquid or powder pesticides. A pesticide-free bait station is placed around the perimeter of the building, in wall voids, and inside structural timbers. Then a sugar-based liquid is injected into the ground surrounding the foundation to attract termites from nearby nests. Once they enter the bait stations, they will be killed or die shortly after. The baiting process typically takes between one and two years, depending on the size of your home and the number of termites infesting it.

Spray Boric Acid

Boric acid is a powder-like substance purchased at most hardware stores. It has been used for years to get rid of termites, although it’s not the safest choice. The best way to use this method is to find and identify all possible termite entry points around your house, such as door and window frames, vents, utility openings, etc. Then use a hose to wet the entire perimeter of your home with water. Next, you will need to find a way to get up onto the roof and all around outside. Once you have done this, make sure it is completely dry before applying boric acid or other pesticides to these areas. As an alternative option, you can try to remove the wood siding near where infestation has been spotted; treat these areas with boric acid around window frames, around doors, and on the ground.

Oil Treatment 

This method is very similar to treating with boric acid; however, oil can be used on any surface, including vinyl siding. While boric acid is applied until the entire structure is dry, the oil will need to be reapplied once it has dried or rain washes away the product. You should then reapply the oil every 1-2 months for at least a year.

Use Borate on Wood Before Priming or Painting

Since borate penetrates wood for termite protection, it can prepare wood surfaces before painting or staining. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of borate is reduced significantly if you are applying water-based products above-ground levels, such as on decks and exterior siding. Water will wash away the borate, and the termites will infest your home again.

Nitro-X is a new non-repellent termiticide that is safe for structural application and kills all common types of termites, including Subterranean, Formosan, and Drywood termites.

Maintain Your Home

Regularly inspect for termite damage and remove it as soon as you spot it. Keep your home free of excess moisture and debris where termites can hide. Also, make sure that all structures surrounding your homes, such as trees and hedges, are kept away from the perimeter.

Fill in the Holes

Use caulk to fill any cracks you find around your home. Ensure there are no unnecessary holes in your walls, ceiling, or flooring that allow termites easy access to your property. Fill in the holes and fix the leaks. These types of areas are where termites commonly enter your home, so pay special attention to these areas.

Replace Damaged Wood

If you have any damaged wood, such as a fence or posts infested with termites, it will need to be replaced. You can also opt for pressure-treated wood with natural chemicals to keep term termite sites away.

Fix Your Foundation

Whether damaged or not, make sure that your foundation is well-sealed so that termites cannot get into it. You can also install a termite barrier, which goes around the exterior of your home and is usually made of metal or plastic. There should be some sort of narrow slot in this material for termites to travel through, and it will prevent them from getting into your home.

Build a Moat

If there is already standing water around your home, remove it. Use a scrub brush or wire mesh to seal off any gaps in your foundation so water cannot enter under the house through pipes, electrical lines, etc. Termites survive by finding moist wood to live in, so the last thing you want is water near your foundation.

Call a Professional

If all else fails, call a professional. Treating termite damage can be difficult and dangerous to do independently, so it is often best to let the pros take care of any infestation. Contact a professional pest control service. They are trained to deal with termite infestations, will have the correct equipment to do so, and will be able to guarantee their work by offering a warranty on their services. If you attempt to eliminate the problem yourself without any experience or training in pest control, more damage will likely be done to your home.

Also Read: How Much Does Pest Control Cost?

Preventive measures are

The best way to keep your home termite-free. Take action against any infestation immediately and have a professional exterminator take care of it, so you don’t have to worry about it again. The longer you wait, the more damage will be done to your property.

  • Keep your furniture dry by keeping them away from moisture. Apply oil to all wooden places, especially doors and windows. It will provide the wood termites protection against water.
  • Fix or Replace Damaged Wood
  • Ensure that the wood around your home is in good condition, so there are no openings for termites to invade your property.
  • Thoroughly clean your home of any items that are full of moisture. This includes excess water around sinks and showers, damp basements, etc. All these are areas where termites are likely to find their next meal.
  • Use Borate Chemicals

Conclusion

Termites can cause a lot of damage to your home, not to mention the cost of repairing that damage. It is important to take preventive measures against termites and to act immediately if you suspect an infestation. Use the tips in this article to help you get rid of termites for good.

FAQs

What kills termites instantly?

If you want to kill termites right away, fill cracks, voids, and crevices that provide excellent shelter for termites with Termidor Foam. The odorless foam will expand and then evaporate, leaving a residue that poisons termites as soon as they touch it.

How do I permanently get rid of termites?

You can’t permanently get rid of termites. You can kill them, but they will eventually come back because termites are a fact of life in warm climates. However, you can take steps to minimize the damage by taking preventive measures and acting quickly when an infestation is discovered.

What naturally kills termites?

Borax powder, also known as sodium borate, can be used to eliminate termites naturally. The powder can be applied to any termite infestations; it will kill the insects and provide long-term prevention against future invasions.

Can I treat my home for termites myself?

No, you can not treat your home for termites yourself. There are chances that you might do serious damage to your property if you don’t know what you are doing. Contact a professional who has the knowledge and experience to treat termite infestations correctly.

See also: Common Household Problems to Fix Before You Move in

Written by


Rostislav Shetman is the founder of 9Kilo Moving. He has been in the moving and relocation industry for more than 25 years, making him an expert in his field. Rostislav started as a helper, dispatcher and driver and has worked his way up to owning his own company. He takes great pride in his work and enjoys helping people relocate across the United States of America. When he's not working, Rostislav enjoys spending time with his family and friends. They are the light of his life and bring him happiness every day.