Termites are those pests that destroy your house in silence. The signs of having them may show up after about 5 years. The thing is that you need to find them before they cause big damage. So, you are on the right page. We are here to help you to learn everything about termites: how to identify the, how to kill them & more.
Types of Termites
In order to use the right treatment, you need to know the different types of these pests. Well, there are 2,000 species of termites in the whole world, so we are going to talk about the most important types you may encounter.
If you live in the US, then you need to know that there are only 50 termite species in this region. Also, please be aware that not all the species of termites destroy the houses and we will not enumerate those inoffensive types.
Drywood Termites: you can find them in parts of Southern California, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, Georgia, New Mexico.
Subterranean Termites: they live everywhere in the US, except Alaska. They are very common in hotter climates.
Dampwood Termites: you can find them in Montana, Oregon, Northern California, Washington, Idaho, Northern Nevada.
|Type of Termites||Their Behaviour|
|They destroy wood structures, furniture, but also flooring and window and door frames.|
It is not a type that thrives in moisture from soil.
They eat the wood from within.
When having the right conditions, they are able to survive even in Northern climates.
Once they are in your home, they are able to breed fast and create new colonies.
|The most destructive type.|
They can survive only underground, as their name says.
In order to maintain the humidity level they need, subterranean termites create mud tubes.
You may find these mud tubes they build on the walls, wood or even in cracks.
They can access your home from underneath.
|They are able to survive without soil, but they need high levels of moisture.|
They tend to prefer decaying wood.
Dampwood termites don’t usually invade homes, as they need a free water source.
What Do They Look like?
Before fighting the enemy, you absolutely need to know what does it look like, right? Well, termites are very small in size and soft-bodied pests. Their colour is usually gray, white or brown and their colonies are very well structured. Each member has an important role. There are queens, workers, soldiers and swarmers in a colony. Anyhow, the general characteristics you are:
- Termites don’t have eyes
- Termites’ abdomen and thorax seem to form just one body segment
- They have 6 legs, but the form may somehow differ depending on the type of termite.
Generally speaking, termites are similar to flying ants. Actually, a lot of people tend to mistake termites to be ants. Of course, there are some BIG differences between ants and termites:
- Beside ants, termites have a straight waist and not a pitched one.
- As regarding the wings, you need to know that termite wings are all the same length. On the other side, ant wings are of different length.
- Termite antennae are straight, while those of the ants are bent.
A termite may live from 2 to 50 years, depending on the species. Moreover, its life span is related with its social role in the colony. A termite goes through three stages during its life. Firstly, the queen of the colony lays the eggs. Those eggs will hatch as nymphs and the final stage is that of adult termite. The adult termite is able to play a role in the internal social order of the colony:
- The queen (sometimes there are more queens in a colony, if needed)
- The reproductive (you can recognize them because they have wings)
- The soldiers
- The workers
Signs of Termite Activity
If you live in termite prone areas, then it is highly recommended to check your house periodically. If the signs are not so visible or you haven’t noticed them yet, look carefully. Believe us: you must detect an infestation before it goes wild! Termites are dangerous pests and they are able to eat up your house, if you ignore their presence. Here is evidence that you must consider:
- You find termite droppings (it is also called frass and it is basically fecal material left by termites)
- You tap some wood and it sounds hallowed out (this is because some termites eat wood inside out, damaging its structure)
- You discover mud tubes or tunnels on interior or exterior walls (those tunnels are the path from the nest to food source of the colony)
- You notice some cracks on painted wood surfaces
If it is still unclear for you, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Your home is your biggest investment and you want avoid any damages regarding it.
How do You Get Termites?
I know all of us often wonder why do termites enter our homes. Well, as we said earlier, termites thrive in moist, warm and in places where is plenty of wood. You have many things in your house that are made of cellulose and even wood, so this is perceived as an invitation to termites! It feels like heaven for them. They can’t resist to that tasty book in your library, or to that crispy vintage furniture!
Still, the termites may come to your place simply because they can. Yes, this is right. There are probably some openings or cracks in your house foundation, roof or walls. So this makes it easy for them to reach a food source. Then again, the reason could be just the fact that you live in in an area that is susceptible of termite infestation. You are on their territory, my friend!
How to Kill Termites
You deserve to know that this is not an easy mission. Still, if you are patient and tenacious, you will succeed. Firstly, follow the rules below and you will reduce their number.
- Remove any of their food sources: wood piles, lumber or any other paper debris you may have especially near the foundation of your house.
- Caulk and seal any openings, cracks or any other points to your house. Also, make sure to put screens on your windows and vents.
Now that you have solved these issues, you can put your gloves on and let’s kill some termite colonies!
1. The ARSENIC Treatment
This is a simple remedy you may try. It works because termites are social insects. Once you apply the substance on one member, it will spread it in the colony. So go and buy some arsenic dust. When you notice termites in your house, sprinkle some powder on them and they will carry it to the other members.
2. The BORAX Treatment
This is also called sodium borate and it is a white powder. This substance too has to be applied on the termites you encounter. Then they will share it with the others.
3. Boric Acid with Propylene Glycol
You need to buy boric acid which contains propylene glycol, as the last one liquefies the borate. Then pour the substance into a spray bottle and generously apply in the areas where you have seen termites. Moreover, it is odorless, so the smell won’t persist on the wood!
4. Termite Bait Systems
There is on the market some sort of hollow plastic stakes. These stakes contain both food for termites and insecticide. So, the termites come to eat and shortly after they die. You can find such products on Amazon. Here is one example: Spectracide 95852 Terminate Termite Detection Killing Stakes.
5. Termite Insecticides
These products have high efficiency, but you take some risks when using them. You need to choose between being safe or getting rid of termites. Of course, you need to find a way to achieve both of the goals.
Here is one insecticide on Amazon that will help you kill the termite colony: Spectracide Terminate Termite Killing Foam2.
If you are dealing with drywood termites, you need to try this method. They may find your internal wood structure to be delicious food, so they are hard to get at using chemicals. But don’t worry, we reveal you this awesome solution. It is true that it is more expensive, but it works for sure. Not to say that it has to be performed by a pro! WARNING: the residents of the building may not be allowed to live in the house for up to one week. Fumigation is a toxic method! The good part is that this option is effective for sure. Moreover, you won’t need to cope with any residues after that.
7. Call a Pest Management Professional
These men are trained to do this. They know all about it and they are able to make this job better then you, for sure. A pro knows to recognize the type of termites in your house, they can choose the correct treatment and they know when and how to apply it properly. If you feel overwhelmed, call them now!
Termites Treatment Cost
The cost involved when you want to eradicate termite population in your house varies. If you go for a DIY treatment, then you will pay some dollars. Though, if you opt for hiring a pro, the situation will change. The prices may be different depending on the region, but the costs are somewhere between $500 and $5000. Of course, there other factors too that set the price: the complexity of the problem, the size of the population, etc.
How to Prevent Termites?
Because it is better to prevent than to cure, we have some advice for you:
- Periodically check your house of broken tiles, cracks and other openings.
- Don’t store cardboard boxes in the attic. Instead of it, keep your papers and items in plastic boxes.
- Inspect your house from time to time and carefully search for the above mentioned signs of termite activity!
- Don’t place the furniture close to walls.
- Put screens on your windows and also keep the doors shut when it is the swarming season.
- Remove wood debris.
We hope that now you feel more comfortable. You are informed and ready to act. We gathered in this article all you need to know in order to eliminate termites: how to identify them, how to kill them & a lot of useful advice. Now, the method to use it’s only up to you. We only wish you good luck!