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
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.
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!