Termites are a huge problem and the fact that they eat through virtually everything makes it harder to treat them. If you are living in a termite prone area, then you must, ideally, get your house inspected every 2 years. Here are some not so easy ways to get rid of termites along with some preventive measures.
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1. Preventing termites
The best way to preventing these bugs from invading your property is to ensure there is no fluid accumulation in your house’s foundation. Check your downspouts, gutters and splash blocks and have these diverted away to ensure there is no surface water accumulation near the property. If you are building a new house, deter termites by using inedible foundation. Other ways include:
- Installing copper termite shields
- Wrapping stainless steel meshes around pipes
- Using pyrethroid filled plastic sheathing within walls
- Post-construction baits
2. Avoid mulch near the home
Cellulose in wood, mulch and paper is the termites’ favorite food. So avoid stacking wood, mulch, lumber, newspapers etc near the foundation and within crawl spaces. Do not allow vines and trellises to touch the house. Take measures before you construct the home. Avoid or minimize use of mulch next to the foundation.
3. Look out for tell-tale signs of termite damage
The best way to prevent termites is to be on the lookout always, especially if you know of neighbor’s properties being invaded by these pests. This way, you can catch and treat the infestation before it spirals out of control. Some of the tell tale signs include:
- Hollow sounding wooden furniture when tapped with a screwdriver
- Soft wood that can be easily probed with a knife
- Gritty brown film present on the furniture.
- Pencil like tubes of earth and wood pulp which are termite walkways.
Fumigation using sulfuryl fluoride kills dry wood termites in 3 days. However, it is best to get professional exterminators for the job. This is because these experts monitor the house with gas monitoring lines which ensures higher levels of success of treatment.
5. Tent the house
A tent job is the most effective way to treat termites. Your exterminators will put your house under a canvas and bag all food items. You and your family members will need to vacate the house for 36 to 48 hours. Try to stay with friends during this period or put up in a motel. Vikane gas used for treating homes for termites can kill bugs, pets and people as well. So it is best to stay away from the house during treatment. If needed, warn burglars away from the tented home by posting signs about termite treatment.
6. Liquid nitrogen injections
Liquid nitrogen injections effectively freeze the insects at -292 F and kill all the bugs. This method can get 99% of the insects at lower temperature of 120 F.
7. Microwave energy and electricity
Zaps of microwave energy and electricity are known to get nearly 93% and 80% of the termites respectively. Talk to expert pest control agencies for these options.
8. Boric acid
One of the natural methods of killing termites is with boric acid. Sprinkle boric acid powder all around the wooden furniture and your house to get rid of termites. When these insects walk through the powder it sticks to their legs. They carry it back to their nests where the bugs ingest it while grooming each other.
Homemade termite killer recipe
To get rid of termites and carpenter ants use the following formula:
- 4 tbsp grape jelly
- 1 tbsp boric acid
- 3 tbsp canned feline food
Integrate the ingredients. Lay a teaspoon of this recipe in areas where termites are nesting. (Take care not to keep pets around the area). The workers will bring it back to their queen and kill her. You need to replicate this bait every few days to eliminate all the bugs.
9. Essential oils
Many bugs including termites hate the smell of strong essential oils. Use oils like lemon, orange, peppermint, eucalyptus, clove, tea tree and pennyroyal. These oils also make your house smell good without sending a fortune in room fresheners.
10. DIY termiticide
Many termite insecticides are available in the market. Here are some good products:
Use them as per product label instructions.
11. Use baits
Three types of baits are available:
- Stomach poisons or ingested toxins
- IGRs or insect growth regulators
- Microbes or bio-insecticides
Baits are a relatively new technology and can take a few weeks to show results. You must use them with other integrated pest management techniques for best results.
Having termites in your home or office is no fun. Talk to a professional exterminator to guide you further.