Learn how to get rid of termites yourself and save BIG MONEY!
Termites are the most common and costly wood-destroying pest found in the United States. Most are the subterranean type and feed exclusively on wood and wood products. They are found in every state and are responsible for 95% of termite-related damage. Each year thousands of homes require treatment for the control of these pests – with the cost of damage and treatment exceeding $1 billion.
Signs of termite infestation include the mud tubes they construct to move from the soil to the wood and swarming of winged adults in the spring and fall. Darkening or blistering of wooden structures is another indication of an infestation; wood in damaged areas is extremely soft and easily punctured with a screwdriver.
Termites are small (1/4 – 1/2 inch long), creamy white, tan or black insects; wingless or winged.
To determine if the insect you see is an ant or a termite look for the following:
- Termites have relatively straight antennae.
- Ants have elbowed antennae.
- The abdomen of the termite is broadly joined to the thorax.
- The abdomen and thorax of the ant are joined by a narrow waist.
- Termites have two pair of wings (front and back) that are almost equal in length.
- Ants have two pair of wings — the front wings are much larger than the back wings.
Subterranean termites are social insects that live in colonies. A colony has three castes: a) reproductives (king and queen), b) soldiers, and c) workers. Colonies are initiated in spring and fall when swarms of winged male and female reproductives leave a nest. Termites shed their wings, pair off and build a nest near a source of wood and moisture in the soil. After mating, the female (queen) begins laying eggs. The eggs hatch after a few weeks or months (depending upon species), and the emerging nymphs mature over a period of 2-6 months. Most become workers or soldiers. When the nest reaches its maximum population, some of the nymphs develop into winged reproductives, and the cycle is repeated.
Homeowners can get rid of termites naturally by following these NINE simple techniques:
Eliminate wood contact with the ground. Ideally, wood should be at least 8 inches above the soil. Pull soil or mulch back from the foundation and support steps or posts on a concrete base.
Prevent moisture from accumulating near the foundation. Termites are attracted to moisture and are more likely to enter a structure if the soil next to the foundation is consistently moist. Install, fix or relocate downspouts, drains and gutters. Repair leaky faucets.
Never store firewood, lumber or other wood debris against the foundation. When stacked against the foundation they offer a hidden path of entry into the structure.
Use decorative wood chips and mulch sparingly, especially if you have other conditions conducive to termite problems.
Apply Bora-Care directly to untreated wood surfaces. Formulated with a concern for the environment, Bora-Care is a borate based insecticide and fungicide that is used for the interior and exterior control of wood-boring insects. Its patented formula penetrates deep into the wood providing long lasting protection.
Dust Boric Acid lightly into cracks, crevices, wall voids and other insect hiding places. This fine powder clings to the legs, antennae and bodies of insects and acts as a stomach poison when consumed during grooming.
Spray Orange Guard, made from citrus peel extract, to kill on contact. Approved for organic use, Orange Guard is a broad spectrum insect killer that’s safe to use indoors and out. Repeat applications may be necessary.
Apply food-grade Diatomaceous Earth for long-lasting protection. Made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms, that look like broken glass under the microscope, DE kills by scoring an insect’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder. Contains NO toxic poisons!
Least-toxic botanical insecticides should be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.