Termite infestations are serious business, as everyone knows. These insects inflict annual damages worth billions of dollars and feed on wood. And it’s difficult to know how to get rid of termites.
Although a qualified professional should handle this task primarily, homeowners who are proficient in termite removal can effectively address minor infestation issues—provided they have the following advice, of course.
It’s critical to act swiftly if you believe termites are present in your home. When you hear hollow sounds coming from the wood and see mud tubes, you know they’re taking over.
Termites can cause a great deal of damage before you even notice they’re there, so it pays to be cautious.
Orkin, a pest control company, reports that termite damage and control cost American homeowners $5 billion annually. Keep reading to learn how to get rid of termites and also how to prevent further infestation.
What are the Types of Termites?
Before getting into the topic of the day, lets look at the different types of termites. A solitary termite does not appear menacing or dangerous, but in a relatively short amount of time, a whole colony of them can cause significant structural damage to a home.
Because of their capacity to gnaw through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper without being noticed, termites are known as “silent destroyers.” Termites destroy approximately $5 billion worth of property annually.
Despite the fact that there are roughly 2,000 species of termites recognized worldwide, the following pose the greatest risk to American homeowners:
Termites that live underground can be found in all states but Alaska. This species of termite can have up to 2 million members and lives in moist, isolated areas above ground or in underground colonies.
They construct characteristic “mud tubes” to shield themselves from the elements and to obtain access to food sources. The most damaging species in the United States are without a doubt subterranean termites.
Damp Wood Termites
Damp wood termites, as the name implies, feed on highly moist wood. Damp wood termites are larger than other termite species.
Because of the low moisture content of building wood, they rarely infest structures; nonetheless, caution must be exercised to prevent luring damp wood termites into a building.
The southwest’s desert or semi-arid regions, the Pacific coast and its neighboring states, and southern Florida are home to damp wood termites.
As opposed to subterranean and Formosan termites, dry-wood termites only attack dry wood and do not need to come into contact with the soil.
This species of termite can infest dead wood that may be near homes and frequently builds nests in roof materials and wooden wall supports.
They can be found in a wood near a water source, such as a leaky pipe or water heater, even though they don’t need as much moisture to survive as other species.
Of the more than 2,000 termite species identified by science, Formosan termites are the most voracious, aggressive, and cunning.
They originate from China. Formosans create elaborate mud nests inside building walls and are arranged into vast underground colonies.
Once Formosan termites infiltrate a structure, it can be challenging to control them due to their aggressive behavior.
Native to the Caribbean, conehead termites are an invasive species. In 2001, they were first brought to the United States.
Conehead termites were the new name for them after they were originally referred to as “tree termites,” which helped dispel the myth that they are exclusive to trees.
Despite the widespread belief that the species had been eliminated in the United States in 2003, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has verified the pest’s resurgence in Broward County.
How to Get Rid of Termites Around You
Hiring a professional service is the best way to get rid of termites. These experts are skilled at eliminating termites and assisting homeowners in maintaining a termite-free home.
Nonetheless, there are a few tried-and-true do-it-yourself termite treatment techniques for homeowners who are committed to reclaiming and safeguarding their homes.
Now that we know the types of termites, let’s look at how to get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Subterranean Termites
Termiticide treatment is the most effective way to eradicate subterranean termites. Homeowners can use these barriers on the wood within their homes or on the ground surrounding them.
The termite returns the termiticide to the colony after consuming it. Afterward, these toxins replicate like viruses within the termite population, gradually causing their death.
Another option for getting rid of subterranean termites is to apply a solution containing beneficial nematodes to the affected areas.
How to Get Rid of Drywood Termites
Both termiticides and essential oils, such as neem and orange oils, work well against dry wood termites.
These essential oils can interfere with termites’ central nervous systems when they are sprayed onto the afflicted area and mixed into a water solution.
This hinders the termites’ capacity to procreate and molt, which leads to their extinction.
How to Get Rid of Dampwood Termites
Borate is the most widely used treatment for damp wood termites. Termites apply borate solutions directly to the wood, and they have no choice but to consume it.
Borate kills the microorganisms in termites’ digestive tracts once it enter their bodies, causing the termites to starve to death.
How to Get Rid of Formosan Termites
When Formosan termites are found in wood that is not in contact with the ground, they are managed similarly to Drywood termites.
In cases where there is ground contact, structural alterations and/or modifications to remove moisture may be required in addition to the ground treatment advised for termites that live underground.
Formosan termites and other termite species can be successfully eradicated with termiticides and baits like the Hex Pro Termite Baiting System.
How to Get Rid of Conehead Termites
We advise you to collaborate with a qualified and experienced pest management professional to completely eradicate conehead termites from your property to properly eradicate this invasive pest.
It should be mentioned that treatments based on borate do not work on conehead termites.
What are the Signs You Have a Termite Infestation?
The majority of termite infestations show some telltale symptoms. Before the infestation gets worse, homeowners should look to take action if they notice any of the following signs:
- A sign of subterranean termite infestations is hollow mud tubes that extend from the ground to the structure.
- An infestation of dry wood termites is indicated by the presence of frass around windows and doors.
- Deteriorating or collapsing wood in foundation walls and above them
- Where the paper surface of the drywall is blistering and separating from the gypsum underneath
- Mounds of abandoned wings
- The most obvious indicators are mud tubes, frass, and abandoned wings, though blistered drywall or crumbling wood could have other causes.
How to Prevent Future Infestations
After you’ve managed your termite infestation, you should take precautions against new infestations. These are a few of the most popular precautions.
1. Inspect the plumbing: Moisture is the food source for subterranean termites, so have your plumbing inspected frequently to prevent leaks. In particular, you should inspect your air conditioner and roof.
2. Fill in gaps: Seal and caulk any foundation openings, as well as any locations where pipes join the wall. Seal doors and windows as well.
3. Cleaning the gutters: Regular gutter cleaning will stop wet debris from accumulating. To keep pests and debris out of your gutter system, you might want to consider purchasing a gutter guard.
4. Mulch: Soil is required by underground termites. Instead of choosing mulch, consider yard materials like gravel or rubber. Certain types of mulch may contain wood.
5. Professional inspections: The best way to prevent termites is to have regular inspections from a professional pest control company.
6. Wood management: The cellulose in wood attracts termites. Take care when stacking wood for construction projects or firewood.
Make sure approximately 6 inches are separating your patio, porch, and the ground. When feasible, use termite-resistant wood, like mahogany or yellow cedar.
How to Choose a Pest Control Service
Before selecting a pest control service, take into account the following:
1. What is the company’s standing on online review sites like Google or the Better Business Bureau? Consult your local office; the quality of service varies depending on the location.
2. How are the technicians at this company licensed and trained? For example, Orkin requires its technicians to complete at least 160 hours of training within their first year at the company.
Additionally, it provides termite prevention training to its staff members on drilling and applying liquid and foam.
3. How does this business identify and treat termite problems? While some might provide à la carte options, others might offer continuous protection.
For varying degrees of termite protection, Terminix offers three packages; however, each includes an annual inspection to avert issues down the road.
4. Does this business provide a guarantee for reservations? Many firms promise to treat again if termites return and guarantee that their treatment will stay effective for a given amount of time.
The Environmental Protection Agency advises to stay away from pest control businesses that try to upsell you on services, force you to sign a contract right away or say their products have hidden ingredients.
Do the best you can to discourage termites from showing up to your home. Plan on doing routine termite inspections after that.
Termite issues will be detected by a professional long before you do. It’s much better to catch termites early on than to wait until you start to notice damage.