How do I get rid of termites

How to Get Rid of Termites

How do you get rid of termites?

There is lit­tle doubt that your home is one of the largest pur­chases you will make in your life­time. Not only does it pro­vide shel­ter for you and your fam­ily, it is an invest­ment that typ­i­cally grows in value over time. How­ever, pur­chas­ing your home is only the first step. There are many things you need to do to main­tain your home and increase its value over time. Dur­ing your rou­tine main­te­nance checks, you may find that your home has also become a safe haven for ter­mites. You may have to learn quickly how to get rid of ter­mites before they over­take your entire home!

What Are Termites?

A ter­mite is a type of insect that feeds on dead or rot­ting plant mate­r­ial such as leaves and branches. They have a small body with wings, and are nearly col­or­less. Ter­mites live in large groups known as colonies. These colonies are capa­ble of sup­port­ing as many as a mil­lion ter­mites, pro­vided there is enough mate­r­ial to sus­tain their needs. For this rea­son, ter­mites often choose to dwell in large dead trees, piles of rot­ting lum­ber, and of course in homes!
In many cases, ter­mites can cause a large amount of dam­age before you are even aware there is a prob­lem. For this rea­son, con­duct­ing reg­u­lar inspec­tions of your home and sur­round­ing areas is vital. The sooner you real­ize you have a prob­lem, the less likely it is that you will suf­fer cat­a­strophic dam­age to your home.

The Dif­fer­ent Types of Termites

Flying Termites on colored background

Fly­ing Termites

In order to learn how to get rid of ter­mites, it is help­ful to know what kind of ter­mites live in your area. There are four dif­fer­ent types of ter­mites: the damp wood ter­mite, the dry wood ter­mite, the sub­ter­ranean ter­mite, and the For­mosan ter­mite. Here is an excel­lent video that will help you deter­mine if you have ter­mites and what type of ter­mites they are.

Signs of Ter­mite Damage

You do not nec­es­sar­ily have to hire a pro­fes­sional in order to deter­mine whether you have ter­mites in your home. In fact, there are sev­eral dif­fer­ent ways that an obser­vant home­owner can eas­ily tell whether there are signs of ter­mite dam­age in and around the home. With a few sim­ple steps, you can deter­mine whether you have a problem.

  • Have you noticed a swarm of ter­mites or ter­mite car­casses around your win­dows? This often occurs in spring­time, and is often one of the first signs that there may be a problem.
  • Do you sus­pect you have water dam­age? If you do, look again. Often, ter­mite dam­age can be mis­taken for water dam­age. If there is dirt in the wood where the dam­age is located, it is likely termites.
  • Do you have rot­ting or hol­low wood? Pull the wood away from the ground and look for the bugs. An obser­vant home­owner can eas­ily see whether there are ter­mites or not.
  • If you have per­formed any of the above actions and dis­cov­ered signs of a ter­mite infes­ta­tion, you need to address it imme­di­ately before the dam­age is too great to repair!
  • Is there evi­dence of ‘ter­mite tubes’ or ‘mud tubes’ run­ning ver­ti­cally along the foun­da­tion of the structure.

What if I Find Signs of Termites?

If you have com­pleted your home inspec­tion and dis­cov­ered signs of a ter­mite infes­ta­tion, you are likely to feel a sense of panic and fear. After all, you know that it is pos­si­ble for con­sid­er­able dam­age to have occurred before you are even aware of a problem!

In addi­tion to wor­ry­ing about the dam­age to your home, you may also be con­cerned about the cost of rid­ding your home of ter­mites. Under­stand­ably, you don’t want to have to shell out thou­sands of dol­lars to solve the issue.

How­ever, you do not have to panic. If you have been vig­i­lant about inspect­ing for ter­mites, it is likely that you will catch the infes­ta­tion before they have time to wreak too much havoc. There are many things you can do to kill ter­mites your­self, with­out hav­ing to hire a professional.

How do I Get Rid of Termites?

There is a wide vari­ety of nat­ural ways to get rid of ter­mites your­self with­out hav­ing to call in a pro­fes­sional exter­mi­na­tor. Using one of these meth­ods can ben­e­fit you in many ways. You will be able to use these meth­ods with­out fear of expos­ing your chil­dren and pets to poten­tially harm­ful chem­i­cals. This also helps pro­tect your sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment. Another impor­tant fac­tor is, of course, the expense. While some nat­ural treat­ments require mate­ri­als you may not have lying around your house, they are typ­i­cally a much more cost-effective ter­mite treat­ment than using the ser­vices of an exterminator.

Using Sun­light to Kill Ter­mites Yourself

Ter­mites thrive in cool, dark areas, which is why your home’s foun­da­tion is such a good hid­ing place for them! You may have heard the expres­sion, ‘sun­light is the best dis­in­fec­tant’. In this case, it is true. Expos­ing the ter­mite colony to the bright sun­light is a great nat­ural (and free!) way to rid your self of them.

If you have noticed ter­mites around the perime­ter of your home or deck, make sure to pull any mulch or debris away from the wood. Expose it to as much sun­light as pos­si­ble and you will soon see the car­casses pil­ing up.

For sub­ter­ranean ter­mites, you can dig up the colony itself, and the sur­round­ing area, and expose it to the sun­light. In this way, you can kill off the ter­mites and pre­vent them from caus­ing fur­ther damage.

Card­board Traps as a Way to Get Rid of Termites

If you have a small ter­mite infes­ta­tion or have only noticed a few of the insects, a card­board trap may be all that is nec­es­sary to erad­i­cate the pests. All you need to do is place a piece of damp card­board near the area in which you saw the ter­mites. The damp card­boards emits a smell that attracts the ter­mites. Once you have col­lected a group of ter­mites, sim­ply burn the piece of card­board. This par­tic­u­lar method is com­pletely free of any tox­ins that could harm your plants or ani­mals, and has the ben­e­fit of being very inex­pen­sive. If you don’t have any card­board boxes handy, you can also use the toi­let paper or paper towel tube! That, plus reg­u­lar tap water, and you have an effec­tive means of nat­u­rally killing termites.

Remem­ber, though, that this method is best used when the infes­ta­tion is rel­a­tively small and easy to tar­get. For larger colonies or those located in hard to reach places, other meth­ods may be necessary.

Ben­e­fi­cial Bugs as a Way to Get Rid of Ter­mites Yourself

Although not tech­ni­cally a bug, there is an organ­ism called a par­a­sitic nema­tode that can help you rid your­self of ter­mites. This small (nearly micro­scopic) worm is a nat­ural preda­tor of ter­mites, mak­ing this an extremely easy way to kill ter­mites yourself.

Par­a­sitic nema­todes come in a vari­ety of forms. For exam­ple, you can pur­chase them in a box and apply them directly to the soil, or you can pur­chase a spray con­tain­ing them. They can be pur­chased at your local gar­den cen­ter or online, which makes it con­ve­nient for you! Click here for the best price on par­a­sitic nema­todes.

Once you apply the par­a­sitic nema­todes using your pre­ferred method, the organ­isms work them­selves into the area and feed on the ter­mites. This can be an espe­cially effec­tive way to rid your­self of colonies that are not easy to reach, such as under­neath your floor­ing or the sid­ing on your home.

Addi­tion­ally, these nema­todes can also help erad­i­cate other pesky bugs like fleas and gnats! There are no chem­i­cals and the nema­todes do not harm plants or animals!

Borax Treat­ments Can both Treat and Pre­vent Termites

Another easy-to-use, non-toxic way to get rid of ter­mites your­self is to use Borax pow­der. This can some­times be found in the laun­dry sec­tion of your local gro­cery store and can also be pur­chased online from many dif­fer­ent websites.

Borax pow­der can be used on exist­ing colonies by sim­ply sprin­kling the pow­der on and around the areas in which you have found evi­dence of ter­mites. If you have ter­mites under­ground, it is more ben­e­fi­cial to mix the pow­der with water and pour it on and around the area. This allows the solu­tion to pen­e­trate the soil and the under­ground tun­nels cre­ated by ter­mites who are in search of food.

It may take more than one appli­ca­tion of borax (either pow­dered or in liq­uid form) to get rid of the entire colony of ter­mites. It may also be help­ful to use in addi­tion to other meth­ods like the card­board trap method. This way, you can see whether there are still live ter­mites on the trap, and if so you can reap­ply the borax.

You can also pre­vent future infes­ta­tions of ter­mites by spray­ing a borax and water solu­tion on new wood, or on wood you have pre­vi­ously treated for ter­mites. This will help ter­mites from estab­lish­ing a colony in your home or deck area!

When Nat­ural Meth­ods Don’t Work

There are cases where you may have to resort to chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides to rid your­self of ter­mites. If you have tried all of the nat­ural meth­ods (either singly or in com­bi­na­tion) above and still find your­self with signs of ter­mites, a chem­i­cal solu­tion is the next log­i­cal step.

Rec­om­mended pro­fes­sional prod­ucts to help Kill Ter­mites Yourself

There are many dif­fer­ent types of treat­ments to both pre­vent and kill ter­mites. These ter­miti­cides can come in both liq­uid and pow­dered form. Which form you use depends on the size and loca­tion of the infes­ta­tion, as well as your per­sonal preference.

One of the best ter­mite con­trol prod­ucts on the mar­ket is called Ter­mi­dor SC. This is a highly con­cen­trated liq­uid that can be used as a bar­rier treat­ment (to pre­vent a ter­mite infes­ta­tion) as well as a treat­ment for exist­ing colonies.

When used as a bar­rier treat­ment, Ter­mi­dor SC can keep your home free of ter­mites and other insects for as long as ten years. When used to erad­i­cate exist­ing colonies, it only takes approx­i­mately 90 days.

Check out this Ter­mi­dor SC appli­ca­tion video

A sim­i­lar prod­uct that we can also rec­om­mend, Premise-75 can also be used as a bar­rier and a treat­ment. This type comes in a pow­der which is then mixed with water to treat the pests. Instead of sim­ply keep­ing them away from your home, Premise-75 actu­ally kills entire colonies of ter­mites. Addi­tion­ally, it can also be used to as a rem­edy for other wood-eating insects like car­pen­ter ants.

Although these par­tic­u­lar chem­i­cals are among the best avail­able to kill ter­mites on your own, there are other types avail­able that may do an ade­quate job. You can check in your local home and gar­den store, as well as dif­fer­ent online markets.

Ter­mite Treat­ment Cost

You may have read this arti­cle as well as many oth­ers in an effort to decide whether or not you want to attempt to get rid of ter­mites on your own. Although the nat­ural meth­ods of ter­mite con­trol are rel­a­tively inex­pen­sive, chem­i­cal treat­ments can get a lit­tle pricey. For exam­ple, one bag of the Premise-75 costs nearly $100. Depend­ing on the level of infes­ta­tion, you may need to apply mul­ti­ple appli­ca­tions of the prod­uct and may end up spend­ing a few hun­dred dol­lars to solve the problem.

Termite Treatment Cost

Ter­mite Fumigation

While this is obvi­ously a large amount of money, it is far less expen­sive than hir­ing a pro­fes­sional exter­mi­na­tor to take care of your ter­mite prob­lem. Although prices charged by exter­mi­na­tors can vary depend­ing on the area, you can safely assume that the cost to treat an aver­age 1500 square foot home will be any­where from $2000-$3000. In addi­tion to the actual cost of exter­mi­na­tion, you also have to fac­tor in the cost of board­ing your fam­ily (and pets) in a hotel for the dura­tion of the exter­mi­na­tion, which can increase that cost con­sid­er­ably. Com­pared to the cost of major repairs to the wooden struc­tures of your home, these costs are minor and should not be postponed.

No mat­ter which method you use to rid your home of ter­mites and pro­tect it from fur­ther infes­ta­tions, it is some­thing that should never be put off. If you con­duct reg­u­lar inspec­tions and take action at the first sign of ter­mites, you can eas­ily pre­vent long-term prob­lems and can pro­tect the value of your home!

Carpenter Ant Side View

Ants: How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

How to Get Rid of Car­pen­ter Ants

Car­pen­ter ants are rel­a­tively large ants that bore into soft, damp wood and build colonies inside those hol­low spaces. They aggres­sively destroy wood and can eas­ily be con­sid­ered as dan­ger­ous a pest to your home as termites.

2 carpenter ants

Ants at work

Unlike ter­mites, how­ever, car­pen­ter ants are not wood eaters. These pests chew through wood, leav­ing behind insect frass sim­i­lar to the look of sawdust.

 

 

 

Rob from A Con­cord Car­pen­ter, has a great video on find­ing the ants access point and I wanted to include it here:

Do it your­self Pest Con­trol: Car­pen­ter Ant Bait

If you are a do it your­self pest con­trol type of per­son, we rec­om­mend the Car­pen­ter Ant Bait Kits sold by Do My Own Pest Con­trol. We have had very good results using this prod­uct and rec­om­mend you try it out. I can be an effec­tive, low cost solu­tion to the problem.

 
do it yourself pest control products and supplies

How Car­pen­ter Ants damage

Car­pen­ter ants are attracted to damp wood, they ingest the wood and can cause seri­ous struc­tural dam­age to your homes foun­da­tion and decks if left unchecked.

In many parts of the coun­try, these ants are respon­si­ble for more prop­erty dam­age than any other pest, includ­ing termites.

Wood destroyed by ants

Dam­age by Car­pen­ter Ants

Car­pen­ter ants are social insects liv­ing in large colonies con­sist­ing of poly­mor­phic sub­sets. Mean­ing that they can appear in a vari­ety of sizes based on their par­tic­u­lar duty in the colony. They use the com­par­a­tively large mandibles to hol­low out gal­leries in wood for nest­ing pur­poses which can weaken the struc­ture of your home.  Car­pen­ter ants typ­i­cally nest in any hol­low area or space that is near water and/or food sources. They move in a trail car­ry­ing the food back to their nest which can con­ve­niently lead you to the colony hub in the process. Car­pen­ter ants can be found in any wooden struc­tures that have been moist­ened or soft­ened by water dam­age. These ants also like to nest in foam insulation.

Keep it clean

Car­pen­ter ants com­monly for­age for food scraps wher­ever they can be found in the home. Unlike, bed­bugs for exam­ple, who feed only on blood meals from warm bod­ies ani­mals, ants thrive in a messy home. If you leave crumbs on the floor, or food on the counter or in the kitchen sink, you are just ask­ing for trou­ble. Once in your house, it may be tough to get them out with­out pro­fes­sional help.

Check out this video on how to locate the car­pen­ter ants nest sim­ply by fol­low­ing the trail to the source

What you can do to keep ants out.

As is com­mon with nearly all house­hold pests; piles of leaves and debris near the home, stacks of wet or rot­ting wood and thick veg­e­ta­tion in direct con­tact with the struc­ture will always attract unwanted pests. It is a good idea to clear away any­thing in con­tact with the foun­da­tion so that you can inspect it clearly and look for trou­ble spots. Refresh the caulk­ing along win­dow and door seams and seal up cracks in the bricks or con­crete. Also, make sure that down­spouts from gut­ters are pour­ing away from your house and have no cracks and leaks that can dampen your foundations.

Applying window Caulking

Seal all joins

Remem­ber, bugs are going to get into your home. It is your job to make the home as unap­peal­ing as pos­si­ble for any unwanted vis­i­tors so that they will choose an eas­ier tar­get to access and per­haps decide not to stay. If your ant prob­lem in not severe, it can usu­ally be han­dled with some judi­cious upkeep and some spray­ing using some of our rec­om­mended ant con­trol prod­ucts.

How­ever, it is always a good idea to have pes­ti­cides of any kind be applied by a pro­fes­sional. Ran­domly spray­ing about your house can be a health risk to fam­ily and pets. We always rec­om­mend that you call a qual­i­fied and licensed pro­fes­sional who will apply the appro­pri­ate prod­uct to the appro­pri­ate area. Espe­cially when deal­ing with Car­pen­ter Ants that should be con­sid­ered a legit­i­mate threat to the con­di­tion of your home and should be treated as such.

House Mouse outdoors

Mice: Mouse repellent and mouse control

Mouse Con­trol: Do I need a Mouse Repellent?

Mouse con­trol and Rat con­trol are impor­tant to your family’s health and safety. The com­mon house mouse, or as I like to refer to them, ‘rat’s more adorable cousin’ may seem rel­a­tively harm­less, but these crea­tures can be a sig­nif­i­cant health risk.

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House Centipede

How to kill centipedes and eliminate them in your home

How to kill Cen­tipedes in your home:

First of all, if you have house cen­tipedes in your home, it is most likely that you have a prob­lem with other insect pests in your home as well because cen­tipedes are insec­ti­vores. What is an insec­ti­vore? Well, just like an her­bi­vore eats plants, a car­ni­vore eats ani­mal pro­tein, and omni­vores eat every­thing. Insec­ti­vore is an ani­mal (or plant) that eats insects. Thus, they are in your home because there is an ade­quate insect food source avail­able there. 

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800px-Silverfish_2007-2

Silverfish: How to get rid of Silverfish

Sil­ver­fish:

This arti­cle out­lines many tech­niques on how to get rid of sil­ver­fish. While prepar­ing for this arti­cle I saw some­thing online the other day, it said “Con­trary to the pop­u­lar belief, the sil­ver­fish bug is not a fish!”. I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea that there was a ‘pop­u­lar belief’ about sil­ver­fish. Maybe it is due to my line of work that makes that so amus­ing to me. Another com­mon name for sil­ver­fish is fish­moth, which to me is an even stranger mis­nomer since they have no wings and do not fly. The name ‘Sil­ver­fish’ is likely given due to their com­mon (but not always) pale color and fish-out-of-water habit of squirm­ing from side-to-side as a means of locomotion.

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The Common House Cricket

Crickets in the House: Advice from an Exterminator

Crick­ets in the House: How to keep out the crickets.

Acheta Domes­ti­cus (Lin­naeus), oth­er­wise known as the Com­mon House Cricket can be a frus­trat­ing pest to try to con­trol. Like all crick­ets, they are closely related to Grasshop­pers and Locust. They are eas­ily iden­ti­fied by their brow­ish beige bod­ies, pow­er­ful back legs and a pat­tern of 3 dark bands run­ning hor­i­zon­tally across the head. Like their larger cousins, they have 2 sets of wings which they do not use for fly­ing. The male cricket uses these wings (the front wings) to cre­ate the loud chirp­ing sound that most of us find charm­ing while camp­ing and incred­i­bly annoy­ing while try­ing to watch tele­vi­sion. Male crick­ets use this sound to attract the female, instead of say, stand­ing out­side their win­dow hold­ing a boom box over their head, for example.

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bed bug advice

Bed Bug Advice: How to Kill Bed Bugs

Bed Bug advice from an Exterminator

Vis­i­ble to the human eye, bed bugs are tiny, wing­less insects with flat, oval-shaped bod­ies that pri­mar­ily feed on warm-blooded ani­mals, usu­ally humans. Con­tinue read­ing

Urban Raccoon

Raccoon Removal: How to get rid of a raccoon

About Rac­coons

Rac­coon are pri­mar­ily noc­tur­nal ani­mals that feed on berries, insects, fruit and small mam­mals.  Con­sid­ered a medium-sized mam­mals, they usu­ally range from 24” – 36” in length Con­tinue read­ing

763px-Micrographia_Scheme_34-copy

Flea Killer: Advice from an Exterminator

Advice from an Exter­mi­na­tor: Fleas

Infor­ma­tion about fleas

Fleas are clas­si­fied in the phy­lum Arthro­poda , class Insecta, order Siphonaptera which means “wing­less siphon.  Fleas are tiny, less than ⅛”. They are lat­er­ally flat­tened, wing­less, brown­ish black in color, but will appear red­dish fol­low­ing a blood meal (ick!).   Con­tinue read­ing

800px-Vespula_germanica_Horizontalview_Richard_Bartz

Yellow Jacket and Wasp Control: Advice from an Exterminator

If you spot “bees” get­ting into your house from an open­ing in an exte­rior wall, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that you prob­a­bly do not have a bee prob­lem. The bad news is Con­tinue read­ing

Cockroach in debris

Advice from an Exterminator: Cockroaches

Get­ting cock­roaches under con­trol – Know Your Enemy Before You Start

Ques­tion: Aren’t all cock­roaches pretty much the same?
Answer: No! With over 4,000 unique species of cock­roaches across the globe you you can bet that these crea­tures are highly adapt­able and have evolved unique traits!

Although this is gen­er­ally true, in real­ity only about 30 species of cock­roaches are prob­lem­atic for peo­ple and require pest management.

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Roof Rat

Rats in the Attic: Rat Snap Traps and Rat Proofing

Rat con­trol: How to deal with rats in the attic.

Roof rats can cer­tainly be a per­sis­tent pest requir­ing  sig­nif­i­cant rat proof­ing work to keep them out of struc­tures and under con­trol. Here are some good tips on how to defend against a roof rat invasions.

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