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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!

Termite Treatment Cost

How much does termite treatment cost

If you are a homeowner like me, you know that the cost of maintaining your residence can often be incredibly expensive. If you have discovered that you have a problem with termites, you might panic at the idea of having to spend thousands of dollars trying to solve the problem. You might even be tempted to ignore the problem because you don’t want (or can’t afford) to spend the money. However, ignoring a termite problem is a sure-fire way to guarantee a large outflow of cash. Termites, if left unchecked, can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage in a relatively short period of time. By addressing the problem immediately, you can easily rid your home of termites yourself without calling in an expensive professional.

Termite Inspection Costs:

If you suspect you might have a termite problem, you might be tempted to call an exterminator to inspect your home. Although some Pest Control companies offer a ‘Free Iinspection’ please keep in mind that this is rarely free and usually is accompanied with a hard sell. On average, a basic inspection with cost as much as $150. However, this is a cost that can easily be avoided by performing your own inspection. Thoroughly inspect all of the wood in and around your home, especially around the foundation of your home. Some of the signs of termites include:

  • Termite carcasses and wings piled up near wooden structures.
  • Mud tunnels or tubes on wooden beams or in places like attics or crawlspaces.
  • Damaged wood that sounds hollow
Termite Damage

Termite Mud Tubes

If you find evidence of the presence of termites, you can move to the treatment phase.

The Cost of Professional Treatment:

If you were to call in a professional exterminator, he would likely use products like termiticides and termite traps to get rid of the problem. The cost of hiring an exterminator can vary greatly depending on where you live and how badly infested your home is. However, you can easily expect to pay at least $1500 for a single treatment of a chemical spray. If you have a heavy infestation that requires your home to be sealed and fumigated, your cost can be anywhere from $3000 and up depending on the size of your home. As you can see, getting rid of termites can end up being an extremely expensive endeavor. What you might not know is that the same products used by professional exterminators can be purchased for a fraction of the price, and you can easily apply them yourself*.!

Do-It-Yourself Termite Treatments:

Two of the most popular products on the market are Termidor termiticide and Premise 2 (made by Bayer) termiticide. By purchasing these products and applying them yourself, you can easily save as much as 80 percent when compared with a professional exterminator.

There are several different types of termiticides to choose from when it comes to applying the treatment. You can purchase liquid or a foam, both of which are effective at killing termites. Foam is often preferable for reaching into crevices where termites might be hiding, unseen.

You can also purchase a foamer which turns a liquid termiticide to a foam or the product can be purchased as a foam. This is often a very cost effective way to treat termites, as you can use either foam or liquid depending on the area you are trying to treat.

You can also purchase termite bait stations and termite traps, which are often better for smaller infestations.

DIY Termite Treatment Products

Termidor SCPremise 2 Termiticide TreatmentTermidor Foam
Click above for the Best Price on these products

Ridding your home of a termite infestation does not have to cost you an arm and a leg, nor does it have to be a difficult endeavor. After all, you can purchase the same products used by professional exterminators for a fraction of the price. You can also apply the treatment yourself, saving yourself even more money.*

If you need more information, you can visit this page for a more extensive list of treatment options as well as detailed instructions about how to apply them. Just remember, you can easily do this on your own and keep your money in your pocket!

* When using any pesticides, always follow the product safety guidelines for proper usage.

Roof-Rat-508x205

How to Kill Rats

How to kill rats effectively

If you have ever been kept awake by the sound of rats scurrying around in your ceilings or walls, you know what a problem these rodents can be. Of course, sleepless nights are the least of your problem if you have rats in your home. In addition to the damage they can cause to the home itself, rats can create a host of other problems. Rats carry diseases that can be harmful and even fatal to humans and pets, so ridding your home of them is imperative.

How Do I Know if I Have Rats?

There are many different signs that will alert you to the presence of rats in your home. In addition to the noises they make such as climbing in the walls, rustling around at night and squeaking, you can also tell if you have rats by looking for the following:

  • Rat droppings. No matter how clean you keep your home, it’s a fact that rats leave droppings and urine wherever they go. If you notice droppings in drawers or along baseboards, you know you have a problem.
  • Holes in boxes or food containers. Rats like to roam through your cupboards looking for food. If you notice chewed corners of things like cereal boxes and holes in bags, you have rats.
  • Nesting areas. Rats use all sorts of material to make nests, such as cloth or the stuffing from your furniture. They prefer to build their nests in out of the way places like cabinets or in a warm spot underneath a dresser.

For more information about how to tell if you have a rat infestation, you can visit this page for a more detailed list.

Are There Different Kinds of Rats?

How to Kill Rats

Roof Rat in Attic Insulation

When it comes to the type of rats you might have in your home, there are really only two varieties, the Brown or Norway rat and the roof rat. They have many of the same characteristics although they tend to live in different areas of your home. A Norway rat tends to live in the lower areas of your home, while roof rats are excellent climbers and are more likely to be found in your roof. Additionally, roof rats typically live in warmer geographical areas.

Norway rat is larger than a roof rat

Large Norway Rat

Regardless of whether you are looking for how to kill roof rats or how to kill Norway rats, the method of extermination is the same. So, while you might be curious to know exactly what kind of rat you are dealing with, it really doesn’t matter in terms of how you go about doing so.

Methods of Killing Rats

Black Rat

Black or Roof Rats on conduit

Even if you have what you think are only a few rats, it is vital that you take steps to get rid of them as soon as you become aware of the problem. In addition to carrying disease and causing damage to your home, rats are prolific breeders. If you don’t take the problem seriously, you are likely to end up with an infestation that only a professional exterminator can get rid of.
When it comes to learning how to kill a rat, you have several different options. From using poison to trying to use a live trap to everything in between, there are as many different ways to rid yourself of the problem.

Using Poison to Kill Rats

There are many different brands and kinds of rat poison available for purchase. Rat poison is effective and also has the benefit of being easy and inexpensive. You open the box, follow the instructions, and wait for it to do its work.

Rats in the AtticOne of the best products to use is Kaput Rat and Mouse Bait. It looks like food to rats and other rodents, but is a poisonous substance that will begin to kill the rodents within a few days. You simply place the poison in the areas you have seen sign of rats and make sure you have fresh bait every couple of weeks until the infestation is gone.

Kaput Rat & Mouse Bait – 32 placepacks – $35.99
from: DoMyOwnPestControl.com

 

Rat Traps that work

Using Live Traps

If killing the rodents is distasteful to you, you may also be interested in how to catch a rat in a live trap. There are different types of live rodent traps available at home and garden stores, all of which are designed to capture live rats without harming them. The problem with using a live trap is that you still have to get rid of the rats once they have been captured. You have only two options: to release the rats in an area away from your home (which is ineffective, as they will find their way back to your home or will find someone else’s home to inhabit), or to kill them once you have trapped them (which negates the purpose of using a live trap in the first place). We have also heard of places that will take rats to feed to reptiles. This is highly inadvisable! Rats can carry a variety of diseases as well as ingested poison and this can seriously effect any potential predator.

Using Snap Traps

The most effective way of getting rid of your rat problem is to use the old-fashioned snap-style traps. There are two different basic types of traps, both of which are effective at killing rats.
The Victor spring/bar rat trap is likely the type of trap you are most familiar with, especially if you have ever seen episodes of “Tom & Jerry!” These are simple wooden traps with a metal bar that, when triggered, comes loose and traps the rat. This particular trap has been around for many years and can be used over and over again.

Traps for Rats in the Attic

Snap Trap and Pedal Trap (T-Rex Trap)

Another snap trap that is commonly used is the T-Rex or pedal set trap. This particular trap is easier to set than a spring bar trap, but follows the same principle. You set the trap, bait it, and when triggered it flips down and traps the rat.

While both of these traps are easy to use and are extremely effective, they do require bait. Peanut butter and cheese are commonly used to bait spring rat traps, but the T-rex trap cannot be used with peanut butter (it can damage the trap itself). However, Rat Attract bait can be safely used in both types of traps and is inexpensive to use.

Electronic Rat Traps

If you are determined to not have to deal the unpleasantness of snap traps. There are several good options available for humane electrocution of the pest. Often called ‘Rat-Zappers’, the top 3 electric traps are the Victor M240, the Raticator Max Infrared Zapper and the Rat Zapper RZC001. All three of these are recommended for indoor use only. Just like any rodent bait or snap traps, these items should be kept away from children or pets.

If you would like more information on how to trap and kill rats, you can reference our e-book,“How to Get Rid of Mice and Rats – Eliminate Rodents.” In it, you will learn more about the problems rats can cause for you as well as useful tools to get rid of them once and for all.

Carpenter Ant Side View

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Ants

How to Get Kill 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.

Carpenter Ant Damage

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

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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