Learning how to get rid of termites is a good idea, especially if your house is mostly constructed from wood or other cellulose-based materials. Termites may not carry disease or germs, but they are dangerous to the overall structure of construction (a building). The biggest problem with termites is that they are quite small and they aren’t visible. Sometimes you don’t even know they exist until you notice some damages to your house. So, how do you spot the signs? And how to deal with these pesky creatures?
What Are Termites?
Before you learn about how to get rid of termites in the house, you need to understand the basic facts about the bugs. They are basically colony insects that are divided into 5 general categories. Their variants are many – up to hundreds, but the major types are only 5. Termites like to eat cellulose, a substance that can be found in wood or plant materials. They have tough jaws which means that they can consume the toughest cellulose. But they will eat just any cellulose they can find, so don’t be surprised if they also like consuming your books. For them, eating the cellulose on cabinetry or the book is just the same.
Different types of termites would lead to different types of lifestyle and habits. Dampwood termites, for instance, like to build nests within a construction, while Subterranean termites prefer living on the ground. Formosan termites are pretty aggressive while Drywood termites aren’t.
Termites’ infestation is a continuous threat that will happen in every season. Termites can create a colony in no time, and once they do, they can create serious damage (even destruction) to the building. That’s why it is advisable that every homeowner has a pest control plan and also a regular way to do the check up. You would want to know when the insects start coming to your house – and you would want to prevent them from building their colony.
Signs of Termite Infestation In House
Don’t underestimate it when you see winged creatures started flying around the house. They may like to gather around the doors and windows, but you may also find them outdoors. Observe your house when it is early spring. If you see winged insects hovering around a piece of furniture or you can find them around the doors and windows, then you need to come up with a plan on how to get rid of termites at home.
But in the event that you don’t want to wait up until the springtime, you should be aware of these signs:
- Solid woods with hollow sounds. If you have wooden parts or structure, try to check on them by tapping them. They may look solid, but if the sound is hollow, then you have termite infestation issues. You see, when they feed on the cellulose, they will eat the interior while leaving the outer form intact. They like to dig in the wood, like creating a tunnel. When you tap on the wood, you will know whether it sounds hollow or not.
- Mud tubes on the outdoor setting. If you see mud termite tubes, then be ready with a plan. You should be able to tell the difference because termite tubes aren’t similar to wasp or honet tubes. Whereas hornets (or wasp) tubes tend to clump or congregate together within one spot, termites tend to spread out. Check crawl spaces, wood beams, and exterior walls for the tubes.
- Cracked or bubbled paint. As it was mentioned before, they like to eat the interior of the wood. When they are about to reach the surface, the coat (the paint) covering the surface will bubble. You may also see frass inside the bubble – frass is the termites’ waste. If you see this, then you definitely have termite infestation problem.
- Discarded wings. This especially happens when spring turns to summer. If you find plenty of these wings around the house, or mostly around a wooden structure or furniture, then you need to set up plans on how to get rid of termites.
How to Prevent Termites?
In case the infestation issue hasn’t yet happened, you can always perform some preventive actions so they won’t be able to come and create colonies within your property.
Cut off the Food and Liquid Supply
For a starter, make sure that you remove the food source. They are interested in coming to your property because of food and water. If you take them away, they won’t find your property appealing. Make sure to remove any wood piles away. Clear out your property from paper debris, lumber, or firewood piles. If you have metal containers to store those woodpiles, use them. Termites won’t be able to chew their way through metals.
Make sure that there are no cellulose-based materials that are close to your house. Remove any stumps close to your house. If you keep the firewood, don’t stack them close to your house. As it was mentioned before, it would be better to use metal containers to store them. Remove mulch or any lumber that may be attached to the construction. You don’t want to provide easy access for the termites to reach to your house easily. Check the house for any leak. Fix them if you find any.
Seal the Holes
Any small cracks, crevices, or holes will provide ideal entry points for the termites. Open windows or unsealed doors are like inviting them in. If you want to prevent them from coming, installing screens on the door and windows will definitely help. If you find cracks or holes, no matter how small they are, seal them. Never underestimate them by thinking, “Oh, they are too small. There’s no way that the termites would enter.” Termites ARE ABLE to enter the smallest cracks.
As it was mentioned before, termites won’t survive without food and water. You should check around the house and find places where water pooling often happens. If you find such an issue, figure it out how to deal with them. Be sure that termites will gather around water source, and water pool is definitely the ideal condition.
Consider cleaning out the gutter regularly too. Clogged gutters will lead to leak, and leak will create humid condition. Again, termites love such a condition, so it is best to treat it from the start. Regular gutter cleaning won’t only prevent termites’ infestation, but it will also create better and longer-lasting solid foundation for the house.
Better Air Flow
Moisture buildup is the effect of poor air circulation. If you have such a condition at home, you want to improve the quality of the air flow. Focus on areas with high water level, such as bathrooms. It would be a good idea to install the venting fans to promote better air flow. Install them within the highest spot on the ceiling. This will prevent moisture from lingering around the wall and lead to wall dampness – which termites really like. Once the air flow is improved, you should notice that the dampness issue will disappear.
Natural Termite Control
Not everyone likes the idea that they have to use products with chemicals in their house. If you are one of them, then you can consider some of the methods to deal with the bugs naturally. These options on how to get rid of termites naturally won’t involve any insecticides or chemicals – you just need to depend on Mother Earth – and some of the natural elements – to work on their own.
Wet Cardboard Trap
If you have plenty of unused and already-damaged cardboard in the garage or the attic, then you already have the perfect bait. Using the wet cardboard trap is one of the best natural methods on how to get rid of termites effectively. Remember that the termites love cellulose so much and cardboards are full of them. Simply wet the cardboard and place it on spots where the colony is located. You should be able to see them swarming the box to eat the cellulose. Once it happens, remove the box right away and burn it.
Do you know that sunray can also kill the pesky bugs? Termites can be killed with the sunlight. Simply expose the colony to the sunlight when it is super bright (and hot) and you can kill the entire colony. If you suspect a piece of a furniture has been infested by the termites, then just take it outside and let it under the sun. What if the colony is located in hard-to-reach areas? Well, this is tricky, but you can always use the UV lights. When you check a colony, make sure to clear it away from roots, brush, or any landscaping item. Then you can buy a big light that can emit strong UV lights to kill them.
You can also use nematodes to deal with the termites – and they are easy to find and buy. If you can’t find them at the offline stores, you can always buy them at the online stores. Nematodes are parasitic worms – and they LOVE eating termites. So, having the nematodes to combat the bugs can be quite effective. But don’t forget to follow the directions carefully so you can have a safe application and use.
For termites, mulch is their continuous food supply that they love so much. It’s like having a continuous buffet where they can eat anything that they want. Not only mulch is rich in cellulose, but it also holds off moisture very well, especially when wet. If you suspect that mulch is the biggest reason why the termites are present, then you need to clear it out. Yes, you will have to work extra hard with the inspection and the removal, but the idea of not having to deal with them is very worth it.
If you find that all of the methods on how to get rid of termites are too complicated or too overwhelming for you, you can always ask for help from the professional pest control. Yes, you will have to spend extra but at least they have everything covered. It’s important that you follow their instructions for your own safety and your family’s. Based on the mentioned how to get rid of termites methods, feel free to choose the one suitable to your preference and condition.