Tips for Getting Rid of Termites Yourself

Those who have dealt with termites are aware that these pests can cause a vast array of damage, with a strong focus on the wood in your building. Unfortunately, damage to wood can affect more than just materials that involve that material, particularly if the damage is severe and leads to structural issues. Because of the potential damage associated with termites, it is important to take steps to get rid of termites as soon as you notice any potential signs of them. The most effective solution will be to hire a professional to eliminate the termites for you, but the following methods can get you started in the meantime.

Recognize Some Signs of Termites
Before you can start looking at how to get rid of termites, you need to make sure you feel comfortable spotting them. You may spot winged termites trying to leave your home, specifically spending time by the doors and windows. Or you may spot the winged species of the pests by the colony. There are also some indications of termites that do not specifically require you to spot the insects. If you notice cracked or bubbled paint, then termites may be eating the interior structure and be approaching the surface. Or perhaps you notice that what should be solid wood sounds hollow. This could indicate that termites have eaten the interior of the wood. Or you may spot mud tubes outside. You can tell the difference between these mud tubes from termites and those from other insects since termites tend to spread out, including in crawl spaces, along wood beams, and by exterior walls. By contrasts, hornets or wasps will keep their mud tubes in a more concentrated area.

Wet Cardboard Traps
For those who want to stick to natural solutions to deal with termites instead of resorting to harsh chemicals immediately, cardboard can be very useful. Just grab some old corrugated boxes that you are not using anymore and get it wet. Place the wet cardboard in the area you suspect the termite colony is. The insects will start feeding on the cellulose that is in the cardboard. Once you notice this happening, just take it somewhere safe and burn it, killing the termites in the process. Of course, this method is not going to take care of all of the termites in a colony. It can, however, help you reduce the number of termites you are dealing with while you get a better long-term solution in place.

Expose them to Sunlight
Termites are usually killed by sunlight, which means that if you can somehow expose the colony of termites to the sunlight in the middle of the day, you will kill it. In the case of termites in furniture, this means that moving the item in question outside to the bright sunlight may be enough to kill the termites. In cases when you cannot bring the infested item or area to the sun, you can try recreating the effect with UV lights designed to mimic the sunlight. Remember that for this solution to work, you may need to clear back roots, landscaping, and brush. It is also worth noting that like the wet cardboard, this method may not get the full colony. It is unfortunately unlikely that you will be able to expose every single termite in the colony to sunlight or a UV light.

Get Rid of Mulch
In addition to landscape modification to let light shine down on the termites to kill them, you can also try to keep them away by taking away elements of the landscape that provide food. The perfect example would be mulch. While mulch is great at ensuring your plants get plenty of nutrients, it is essentially an endless buffet for termites. To start off, mulch is fully made out of cellulose, meaning that every component of it attracts the termites. To make it even more attractive, mulch maintains moisture incredibly effectively. Thanks to the appeal of mulch, simply removing it from the area next to your home can sometimes be enough to dramatically reduce or completely eliminate your termite problem.

Using Nematodes
One very popular and fully natural method of getting rid of termites without professionals is to use nematodes. These are actually worms, making them a fully natural solution. Parasitic nematodes feed on a range of nuisance insects, including termites. They may or may not be able to completely rid you of your termite problem, but they will at least make a dent in it. As a bonus, they will also eat more than 200 other insect pests that may or may not be ruining your garden, such as Japanese beetles.

Use a Liquid Barrier
For the best results when dealing with termites, you will likely want to combine some of the natural control methods with chemical methods. Using a liquid termite barrier is the perfect option for preventing and minimizing invasions. This method will work by creating a barrier that poisons any termites that come into contact with it. Any termites already in your home will stay there, but new ones cannot get in. You can also use the liquid barrier around tree stumps, wood piles, and anywhere else the termites consider a snack.

Using Chemicals Directly
You always want to be cautious when using chemicals inside your home, but you can still apply chemicals directly to termites when they are not in a living area. These are used in pinpointed locations to minimize the risk to you, your family, and your pets. One example would be a termite-killing foam.

Using Poisoned Bait
Poisoned bait is another useful solution for dealing with termites. It still relies on chemicals but in smaller quantities than the liquid barrier would. The bait attracts termites who see it as food. They then bring it back to the colony where other termites eat it and die. The poisoned bait methods also work as termite detection since you know the termites are present if they used the bait station. For the best results, place the bait stations strategically around your property.

Using Boric Acid
If you are not sure if you want a chemical or a natural solution for termites, consider boric acid. It works to kill termites, along with most other harmful insects. Experts believe it negatively impacts their metabolic and digestive systems. It is not fully natural but is much less toxic than other chemical methods. Just be careful where you use boric acid around humans and animals. Ideally, you will use the above methods as interim methods to fight the termites or reduce their colony before hiring a professional to kill the remaining insects and prevent new ones.

Go back to the Home Pest Control home page or email us for more info about Tips for Getting Rid of Termites Yourself