In the range of creepy crawlies that can make themselves at home on your property or in your house, termites are one of the most frustrating. Not only do termites emerge as annoying little pests, but they can also do a massive amount of damage to your house.
If you notice the signs of a termite infestation, you need to move fast to eliminate the threat and prevent them from returning. Read on for the best ways to get rid of termites when they have moved into your home.
Why Are Termites So Bad?
Apart from being bothersome pests that seem to appear everywhere you look, the very structure of your house is at risk if you are dealing with a termite infestation. Because termites feed on cellulose, the organic fiber found in both wood and plants, any parts of your house composed of wood are potential meals for termites.
Having termites in your house is serious but may not be detrimental if you act fast and decisively to eliminate them. You can choose to try at-home solutions to termites if they have not established themselves too firmly or source a pest control company.
The key is to get rid of them as soon as you notice their presence and prevent lasting or irreparable damage to your house by their powerful little jaws!
How Can You Tell if You Have Termites?
Knowing if you have termites is half the battle, but luckily termites like to make themselves known when they move into your house. If you listen to the telltale sounds and watch typical signs of termite infestation, you will notice them quickly. More termite evidence includes:
- Clicking Sounds—A faint clicking noise within the walls of your house is likely the sound of soldier termites banging their heads against the interior to warn other termites of danger. This can be quite noticeable, depending on the room.
- Evidence Of Swarms—Because termites tend to swarm when creating a new colony from subterranean nests, they will shed their wings in obvious piles.
- Frass—Spotting small, oval pellets along the baseboards or windowsills of your home can be a sign of termite droppings, also called frass.
- Hollow Wood—Hearing a hollow thud when you knock on your walls instead of a hardy thump is a sure sign of termites having eaten the interior of your structure, especially if the wood gives way easily when you apply pressure.
- Live Termite Sightings—Termites are not typically spotted in the wild unless you come across a nesting or feeding site, so if you see termites around the house, they have likely moved onto your property.
- Mud Tubes—Because subterranean termites create mud tubes that connect their food source to the ground where they live, spotting them is a good indication of termites feeding on your foundation.
- Peeling Paint—Drywall damaged by termites is compromised and lets in moisture, leading to peeling or bubbling paint.
If you notice one or more of these signs, it’s a good idea to take a closer look and ascertain whether or not you have a termite problem before removing them.
How To Get Rid of Termites Yourself
Once you have identified the termite infestation and the primary locations where they seem to be living and eating within your house structure, it’s time to take decisive steps against them. The following are at-home remedies to try before calling professionals in.
1. Beneficial Nematodes
Beneficial Nematodes is one of the best chemical-free methods of dealing with termites if you only have a minor bug problem. Alternatively, beneficial nematodes can be used to prevent the appearance of termites, so they do double duty!
Beneficial nematodes are a completely natural remedy, as they are tiny roundworms that attack and feed on termites and other problematic insects.
Also known as Steinernema Feltia, these worms do not affect humans and pets, nor will they attack good insects like earthworms, ladybugs, or praying mantises. These microscopic roundworms only attach to harmful bugs, like termites.
By attaching to the termite’s body and feeding on it, the roundworms release bacteria that are detrimental to the termite and cause blood poisoning and death. The roundworms finish the cleanup job by eating the rest of the termite.
Because they breed and multiply their forces while eliminating your termite problem, beneficial nematodes are a great option for natural, hassle-free insect removal.
2. Boric Acid
Known as the middle ground between natural pest solutions and chemicals, boric acid is available in most hardware stores in powdered form. Boric acid harms the termites’ metabolic and digestive systems but maintains low toxicity for humans.
To apply boric acid to a termite problem, you can sprinkle the powder onto the area directly by using a powder duster and inserting the product into cracks and crannies where you suspect termites to be living. It can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Or, by making a borate solution, you can treat the affected wooden surfaces themselves. This is best done by creating a 2% concentration solution, dissolving one teaspoon of boric acid into about eight fluid ounces of warm water.
Spray this solution across wooden surfaces that termites target and saturate infested soil areas. Just ensure that children and pets cannot reach the areas, as it can still cause digestive system upset if ingested.
3. Chemical Treatment Foams
Because some chemical treatments cannot be used inside the house due to fumes and safety concerns, termites dwelling in your walls might be harder to eliminate effectively. However, that’s where using a direct chemical treatment comes in.
Experts recommend using a dry chemical treatment foam that is odorless and safe to use indoors. This dry foam can expand to many times its original volume, so it is perfect for getting into the nooks and crannies that termites like to hide in.
Select a product with a flexible nozzle for the full range of effects, and allow the expanding foam to fill up spaces you otherwise cannot get the product into. It also leaves a residue that is poisonous to termites and remains for up to a month.
4. Diatomaceous Earth
A non-toxic insect remedy, diatomaceous earth comprises hundreds of tiny fossilized creatures whose skeletons are made of silica. It is also one of the best types of natural pest control available to homeowners.
Because of their composition, the microscopic skeletons of these dead creatures essentially act like razor blades for insects walking over them. Termites crossing diatomaceous earth barriers will get their shells sliced open, dehydrate, and then die.
5. Pesticide Barrier
Using a liquid pesticide barrier will not only deter and kill termites already living and feeding within your house but also works to prevent future infestations from taking place.
These pesticide barriers are best applied around your entire foundation and specific areas where termite activity is most present. Most products are slow-acting and non-repellant so most chemicals will spread to the infestation’s heart.
Because the product is spread by any termites that come across it and return to the nest, a single insect can distribute the pesticide to the rest of the infestation population. Furthermore, it is undetectable to termites, so they won’t go out of their way to avoid it.
6. Poison Bait
For homeowners who are uncomfortable with large amounts of chemicals being spread around the property, poison bait might be the best solution. Found at a variety of local hardware stores and even some grocery stores, it’s a cheap and effective method.
Poisoned bait attracts foraging termites, bringing the chemicals back to the rest of the colony with them. The harmful substances in this bait will slowly kill all termites who come into contact with it, effectively clearing out their nest from the inside.
Generally, poison bait needs to be replenished every few months until your termite problem is solved to keep on top of any newly hatched termites that might have avoided the first doses.
When Should You Call in Professional Pest Control?
Generally, it’s best not to wait too long to contact a professional pest company if you are struggling with a termite infestation. Dealing with them alone is possible, but even the best at-home remedies or chemical products might not work.
If the termite infestation has reached a point where your home structure and the integrity of your property are in danger, it’s a good idea to call in professionals. Termites can do a significant amount of damage to your home, so you don’t want to risk that.
Plus, because termites can be found both within the ground and inside your drywall, it can be exceedingly difficult to ensure that your DIY treatment has gotten all the problem areas, colonies, and infestation nests. If you have doubts, it is best to call!