It doesn’t matter if it’s a subterranean termite or a dry wood termite infestation you’re dealing with. All termites can bring thousands of dollars worth of damage to your property if you don’t take action.
Many homeowners in the United States usually don’t notice a termite infestation well until the damage has already been done. Luckily, some signs can let you know termites have infested your home.
In this article, we’ll be giving you tips on how to get rid of termites using a DIY treatment, as well as other prevention tips. We’ll also be listing out signs of a possible termite infestation and what you can do about it.
What Are Termites?
You need to understand the behavior of termites .to understand how to get rid of them completely.
Two types of termites can invade your home. These include:
• The subterranean termites, and
• The dry wood termites
Both of them are equally destructive.
The subterranean termites typically form large colonies underground and build mud tubes. Their underground nest can spread to as long as 150 feet and can hold thousands of termites. The workers travel every day from the mud tubes to the food source and back.
Drywood termites, on the other hand, do not build underground tunnels. Instead, they invade your home directly and bore through wooden structures of the house and its furniture. These types of termites can be found mainly in the house.
Subterranean termites are the most common type of termites in the United States. Drywood termites are mainly found in the southeast and southwest regions of the United States. They eat and damage wood, paper, and sometimes fabric. They can go undetected for long periods until significant damage has been done. And according to reports, termite damage in the United States alone runs into about $5 Billion.
If you’ve ever experienced a termite infestation, the first question that would probably come to your mind is, what can attract termites in my home.
Well, there are a few things that can attract them to your property.
some of them are:
1. To Build A New Colony
When a termite colony has grown to its maximum capacity, swarmer termites fly off in search of new locations to start another colony.
These winged termites usually move in pairs of males and females. When they spot an ideal environment, they will breed and start a new colony there.
All living creatures need a food source to survive, and termites are no different. The workers are good travelers that can go long distances in search of food.
Termites can leave their nest and enter your home to see what they can find and bring back to the rest of the colony members.
3. Untreated Furniture
If you bought new furniture that had no termite treatment during the manufacturing process, then you will end up inviting termites to your home. This is a common means by which they can get into a person’s house. Purely accidental.
Dampness can also attract termites. If you have adequate moisture in your environment, then termites may come to visit.
Signs Of Termites Infestation?
There are many ways to tell if you have termites in your home.
However, you may have to be very vigilant, or pay close attention to some of these signs of termites, because they are not obvious.
Let’s take a look at them.
1. Hollow Walls
If you suspect you have termites in your house and you have wooden or painted walls, then that’s where you should begin your search.
Termites feed on cellulose inside the walls and have strong jaws that can easily bore through the wood as they eat or travel. Therefore, prolonged termite activity in the walls may leave them hollow.
However, you need to tap on the walls and listen to the sound it makes to ensure that termites left the cracks. If you hear a hollow sound while knocking, you can be certain that a termite infestation caused the damage. Place your ear on the wall as you tap so you can hear the sounds clearly.
2. Hollow Furniture
Just like termite activity in wooden walls, their activities in wooden furniture will also leave them hollow. This is another clear sign of an infestation.
You can tap on the wood frames of your furniture and listen for hollow sounds. If you pick up any, then there may be termites in the wood.
3. Rickety Furniture
All the wood-chewing can damage the overall structure of your chairs, tables, shelves, and cupboards.
If you notice that your dining chairs or any other wooden furniture pieces have lost their sturdiness, then it’s probably due to long periods of termite infestation.
Months of chewing can leave wood shaky. An extra piece of evidence is small piles of wood dust close to the structure.
4. Wood Dust
When termites chew through wood, they leave behind small heaps of wood dust. If you suspect that you have termites in your home, then you should go around and look for heaps of wood dust. You should check around the areas where you have wood.
Look around your window frames, doorposts, shelves, cupboards, and any other room where you have wood. If you find heaps of wood dust on the floor where the wooden structures are, then you can be sure you have a termite infestation.
5. Discarded Wings
As we have pointed out earlier, winged termites will leave their former colonies to start another one in a new environment.
They usually shed their wings after they find a nesting spot and mate. Therefore, if you find discarded wings around any of your wooden structures, then it’s a clear sign of an infestation.
Termites are not quiet eaters. Along with the chewing comes some faint noise. Although very faint, you can still hear them through the wood. It would be best if you listened closely. Place your ears on any piece of wood you suspect has been infested by termites and listen attentively. If you hear fast chirping sounds, then there are termites in there.
You can also use your phone’s sound recorder to pick up the noise. Turn on your sound recorder and place the phone on the wood. Leave it for about 30 seconds, then replay the recording.
You can use headphones to listen to the playback to be sure the wood is infested with termites.
Can You Treat For Termites Yourself?
Termite infestations usually go unnoticed until after major damage has been done. Thus, the best way to get rid of them would be to call on a pest control professional.
A professional will recommend either a liquid treatment or a baiting system. A fumigation is also an option.
If you are the DIY type, you can treat a termite infestation yourself using practical methods. But be warned, termite treatment isn’t easy. These pests are smart and resilient, so that it would take some effort.
Your extermination methods will depend on whether you are dealing with subterranean termites or dry wood termites.
Let us take a look at how you can treat a termite Infestation yourself.
Termite control can be achieved using natural means. And what better way to get rid of a creature than with a natural predator?
As destructive as home termites are, they do not like nematodes. This is because nematodes eat all termite species.
In case you don’t know, nematodes are parasitic worms that feed on termites. The good news is, they reproduce quickly. This means there will be more nematodes to help you tackle your termite problem.
They aren’t hard to find either. You can buy a bunch of nematodes in a specialty store near you. You can also find sellers online and place an order.
As your nematodes arrive, release them into the areas where the termites are active. The rest is up to them. They will continue to reproduce and eat as many termites as they can find.
If you can release enough of them into a termite-infested area, then they will effectively get rid of termites.
2. Vinegar & Lemon
Vinegar has many uses at home, and it can also be used to get rid of these pests. Termites are no exceptions. The good news is, vinegar isn’t hard to come by. You probably have a bottle in your kitchen already.
You can make a vinegar spray and use it against them. All you have to do is pour about half a cup of vinegar into a container and squeeze some lemon juice in it. Stir thoroughly until the mixture is well blended, then pour into a spray bottle. It would be best if you went around the areas where termites have infested and spray accordingly.
Vinegar contains acidic substances that kill them upon contact. If you are dealing with drywood termites, find the holes they have dug and spray directly into them.
Termites dig fast but won’t be fast enough to outpace a spray. Maintain a habit of spraying regularly, say once in two to three days. This will ensure you get every last one of them, even the ones that hid and escaped the first time.
In the first place, a termite problem starts when they enter your home. So you need to apply the vinegar solution around your house to deter others from entering.
3. Diatomaceous Earth
DE can be used against many pest insects, and termites are not excluded. It is a potent powder that works by sucking out moisture from insects and kills them by dehydration.
Go to a pest control store to buy a box of DE and spread around the environments where termites are active. Make sure you spread it around your house to kill and prevent termites from entering your house.
As they crawl across the DE, it will be stuck on their bodies and begin to work. They will eventually lose their moisture and die.
It is one of the most trusted termite treatments you can use.
Borax powder is sold in pretty much every pest control store. You can buy a box of it and use it to kill termites in your house. All you have to do is spread the powder across the affected areas and let it kill the termites. You can also make a borax solution using some water so you can spray it into their crawl spaces.
The water from the spray will eventually evaporate, but the borax powder will remain. Be sure to spray regularly to keep the affected areas free of termites.
5. Orange Oil
D-limonene is a hazardous substance to termites, and it can be found in orange oil. It is among the few natural termite treatments you can apply in your house to ward off termites.
Orange peels are the oil source, and it can be bought from any garden or home improvement store near you. You can also purchase it online.
Here’s how it works.
If a termite makes contact with orange oil, its exoskeleton will begin to dissolve. This will be followed by a loss of protein and moisture and would eventually lead to death.
You can spray the oil on the termites when you spot them. But the more effective approach would be to spray into the tunnels they have dug so they can contact it as they crawl past.
Regular house spraying is also advised. This would get rid of already existing termites in your wooden structures and prevent more from invading. The good thing about orange oil is that it has a sweet scent. So you can give your home a nice smell and exterminate termites at the same time.
6. Water Cardboard
These pests love water, and you can use this knowledge against them by setting a simple cardboard trap.
A simple DIY approach would be to soak a piece of cardboard with water and set it in a place close to their mud tubes or any other area in your house where the pests are active. They will be drawn by the water and make their way onto the board.
When there are enough of them on the board, quickly take it outside and set it on fire. Repeat this process as many times as required until you notice a reduction in the termite population. This is one of the easiest termite treatments you will find around.
Heat can kill any living thing, depending on the intensity. As a result, even termites do not like to be exposed to sunlight, as their bodies cannot stand the heat. Therefore, if termites have infested some furniture like a chair or table, you can disinfect the furniture by taking it out into the sun.
It will only be a matter of time before the furniture starts to get warm. The termites inside will become uncomfortable and will exit the furniture in search of the closest shaded area. This termite removal method is effective during the hot summer seasons when the heat would be at its peak. It would be a bad tactic to employ during the cloudy, rainy months.
As for other wooden structures in your home, which you cannot take outside, you can buy and install UV lamps close to them. The lamps will transfer enough heat into the wood, and the termites will exit the structure.
You can install a UV lamp by your door and window. You can also install it by a termite-infested wall or ceiling.
8. Reduce Moisture In Your House
Not all termite treatments require you to apply a substance. Sometimes you have to remove the things that attract the pests.
As we have already pointed out, termites love moisture and will be drawn to damp wooden structures.
If you have a leaking sink pipe, the wooden cabinet underneath will be soaked, and that’s just perfect for termites.
Make sure you fix all leakages that can cause dampness to reduce moisture. It would help if you also kept your windows and doors open to allow good airflow. Turning your fans on will also help reduce dampness.
If the environment does not provide what a termite needs, it will be less interested in staying.
9. Perimeter Barrier
A perimeter barrier is one way you can keep a termite population away from your home. This is more of a preventive measure rather than an extermination measure.
If your home wasn’t built with a perimeter barrier, you could have one installed. This would be very labor-intensive, as there would be a lot of digging required.
The barrier has to be installed deep into the ground, beneath your home s foundation, and around the perimeter to keep subterranean termites from tunneling right through. It also has to be made of materials termites cannot chew through.
This preventive method would cost you a significant amount of money, but it would be nothing compared to what you would have to spend on termite damage.
10. Use Termite Bait System
Subterranean termite workers go out of their mud tubes in search of food, after which they will return to their colonies, which are made up of thousands of termites. The only thing better than killing one termite is killing all of them.
You can do this using the baiting system.
Baiting is one of the termite treatments that has been used for many years. The tactic is simple. Poison a worker termite, who will in turn poison the other members of their colony. This method of termite removal eliminates all the members of a termite colony around your home.
The insecticides used for baiting subterranean termites contain slow-acting ingredients or insect growth regulators. The results are not instant; rather, it is a long-term approach to termite control.
Baiting systems use bait stations, which are placed into the soil about 3 feet away from the foundations. They shouldn’t be placed at more than 20 feet gaps around your home.
You can also place the baiting system near the areas where the worker termites are very active. This could be around an old tree stump or woodpiles.
When the worker termites go out searching for food, they will find and eat the bait. They will be poisoned in the process.
As they return to their nest, they will unknowingly poison other members of the colony. The slow-acting agent contained in the bait will not take effect immediately.
This method of termite treatment may take a few months before the entire colony is wiped out.
Is It Hard To Get Rid Of Termites?
Termite infestations are hard to deal with, not necessarily in the treatment context, but in the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property.
Getting rid of termites may be difficult, but as long as you understand their habits and locate them, it can be done. The hardest part would be noticing a termite infestation before any significant damage is done.
It would take months or even years for you to notice significant termite damage. During this period, the termite population would have increased, making it harder to get rid of them.
Nonetheless, you can follow any of the treatment tips listed in this article to get rid of subterranean or wood termites. You can use bait, vinegar, nematodes, and heat to get rid of them.
If the infestation is full-blown, then you would have to call a professional pest control service to help you get rid of them. A pest control professional has adequate experience dealing with termites and will know the best approach to take.
Hiring a professional will cost more than a DIY treatment, but they are more effective and can get you better results.
How Does Vinegar Kill Termites?
Vinegar is one of the substances you can use to kill both drywood termites and subterranean termites. It is also one of the easiest forms of termite treatment.
But how does it work?
Vinegar has an active ingredient called acetic acid. It also has several trace chemicals. The acid and chemicals are poisonous to termites and can kill them minutes after they make contact.
You can apply vinegar directly on the termites or spray across their favorite crawl spaces.
You may mix vinegar with lemon juice for more effective results.
How Do You Get Rid Of Termites In The Wall?
You can get rid of termites in the wall by using boric acid. It is one of the most effective forms of termite treatment, both for subterranean and drywood termites.
It is a substance that dehydrates termites and attacks their nervous system. Boric acid is contained in most termite insecticides in the United States.
All you have to do is spray the chemical into the wall cracks and crevices. It will take a few minutes for the acid to dehydrate a termite. But, within this time, its nervous system would have begun breaking down.
Termites can cause several unimaginable damages in your home. The damages were estimated to be billions in the entire United States households.
Treatment isn’t easy, but early detection will make getting rid of termites easier. Therefore, prevention in the first place remains the best form of termite control and treatment.
Hiring a pest control professional for termite treatment may probably be the best way to get rid of termites since they have more pest control experience. However, DIY treatment is also effective.
Hopefully, this article on how to get rid of termites helps you solve your termite problem. Good luck!