Termites cause billions of dollars of damage every year, meaning that it's just a matter of time when they will show up at your home, too. So, the best thing to do is to be well-prepared - you need to know how to spot them on time before the damage is done, and then how to react appropriately so that you get rid of them for good.
The warning signs
To react effectively, it's important to know how to determine if your home has termite problems. Here are a couple of tell signs:
- cracked wood - check for cracks in your home, especially if you notice paint is chipping away. If you find any, seal them to prevent termites from entering your home again.
- a hollow knock - termites eat wood from the inside, meaning wood in your home will look perfectly normal until it doesn't. Knocking on a piece of wood will help you determine if there are termites inside - if you hear a hollow sound, it's probably an infestation.
- specks of mud - termites create mud tubes to have an environment filled with moisture. Check your home for mud splatters - if you find any, you have a problem!
- winged creatures - termites feeding off the wood will be hidden, but you can spot reproductive termites with wings around springtime. Another possibility is that they have already found a place for their new colony, in which case you'll notice wings which they have discarded.
Natural ways to remove termites
If you are more for a natural approach, there are several ways to deal with termites:
- use the sun - the sun will probably kill termites, but only if you are able to expose the infested piece of furniture to the sunlight. In another case, you can try using UV lights.
- wet cardboard trap - place it near the place where you suspect termites are. When termites start feeding of the cellulose, you can remove the cardboard and burn it.
- buy nematodes - this type of worms can be bought in stores, and they feed off termites.
- remove mulch around your home - mulch is like a dessert to termites, so sometimes simply removing it can successfully deal with a termite colony.
DIY chemical treatments
If you want to use chemicals for removing termites, there are several options for you. Still, it should be said that many termiticides are highly toxic for your health, meaning it's of utmost importance to follow the label to the word. Otherwise, you will risk exposing yourself and others to toxic substances. Pest management professionals like the ones in Termex Pest Control are better equipped with the knowledge and tools needed for appropriate application of termiticides, but if you want to try on your own, here's what at your disposal:
- foam - foam products like Termidor foam can be quite effective but you need to make sure you have sealed up the void after you have applied the foam so that nobody comes into contact with it.
- stakes - you can install them around your property in a couple of minutes. A package of stakes usually comes with 15 stakes and will last a whole season. In most cases, you'll need to change stakes twice a year. When the stakes detect termites, they pop out of the ground, showing you the infested spot.
- long-lasting solutions - some of them can even last up to 5 years and are very useful for infested home foundations and lumber that you have stored. You can make up to 32 gallons of spray, and the chemical in it is similar to the professional solutions, so you can take a shot with it.
The fact is that most of the DIY chemicals in the end cost as much as it would cost you to simply call a professional and let them handle termites. Of course, the size of the termite colony will affect the price but so it will affect the amount of a DIY solution you use. The bigger the problem, the higher is the price, but it's the rule for everything, right? You can choose to hire a pest eliminator on a monthly basis but if there is a heavy infestation in your home, then a weekly visit from a professional may be a wiser thing to do. These visits can last for up to 3 months until termites have been completely removed.
If you expect an effective treatment, you'll probably pay up to 60$ but you will be sure that a professional handled it much better than you would have, so it's money spent well.
Termites are truly the biggest problem of all for households and they can cause damage bigger than those caused by hurricanes and tornadoes, believe it or not. That's why it's necessary to provide appropriate action in case you spot them in your home as soon as possible.