How to Get Rid of Termites
How To Treat Termites Yourself, Follow These Treatment Guidelines To Exterminate Them
How do I treat termites?
For the last 30+ years, customers in our stores have asked, "Can I treat termites myself ?"
Active Termite Infestation: For an active infestation, we typically suggest getting a Pest Control Service Company to do the work for Subterranean (Ground) termites. Many factors, particularly the home's construction (slab or basement), affect the treatment method. If you are determined to treat an active termite infestation, call us before you start
Termite Prevention: Treating to prevent termites is typically less error-prone for the average homeowner than treating an active infestation. There are professional termiticides and termite bait systems available to assist with the treatment process.
Drywood Termite Precaution (coastal southeastern united states, Florida, coastal western united states): Most dry wood termite cases need assistance from a trained professional.
Doing your own termite work, i.e., applying chemicals for termites, is not for everyone.
How to Identify & Inspect for Termite Activity
You will need a good flashlight, screwdriver or pocketknife and coveralls. Look at possible trouble spots closely. Often this means crawling in crawl spaces. The presence of swarmers or their shed wings almost always indicates termite activity. A complete termite inspection would mean locating exposed shelter tubes and damaged wood.
Generally speaking, Subterranean termites are found at or near ground level. However, in warmer areas of the country they occasionally occur above the first floor level.
Termite damage may be located by probing wood with a screwdriver, ice pick or knife. Inspection should be concerned with the exterior and interior surfaces of the foundation, particularly construction where wood is on or near the soil.
Start inspection in the basement and use a bright flashlight. Look for mud tubes and the activity of swarmers.
If necessary, get help from a professional pest control operator.
You should inspect in the following areas as well:
- Any wood construction in basement and crawl space (if present).
- All sills, sub floors, joists, support posts, supporting piers, basement window frames, wood under porches.
- Pay close attention to places where concrete: steps, porches, or slabs join the wooden structure.
- All the hollow blocks, cracks in cement or brick construction and expansion joints.
- Any scrap wood on the exterior, old tree stumps, fence posts and exterior frames of basement windows.
How To Get Rid of Termites
DIY Termite Control Website
Our Do It Yourself Termite Control website is dedicated to helping homeowners decide if they can do their own termite work.
Top DIY Termite Control Pages
- Find a Qualified Termite Treatment Company
- Termite Home Inspections, has a series of pictures showing damage from termites, powder post beetles, and carpenter ants to help you differentiate between the types of damage.
- Can I apply termite chemicals ? gives recommendations and instructions on how to treat for termites.
- Termite FAQ
Barrier termite treatments are designed to prevent termites from entering the structure. These treatments prevent termites that are already inside the structure from getting to the soil to get the moisture needed to survive.
If you choose a liquid termite method, it will give you faster results. You can apply the finished solution close to the termite infestation. If you have an existing termite infestation, applying a liquid termiticide may mean that drilling is required to reach the termites. Drilling through concrete or a slab and pumping the finished solution volume required to set up a termite barrier may be too difficult for a homeowner. On the other hand, if there is crawl space clearance and you can drench around your home, doing your termite work would not be difficult.
The technology of non-repellent insecticides, such as Navigator SC, Termidor SC, and Taurus SC, is an advancement over other termite insecticides that only offer repellent barriers. With "repellant" termiticides, even the smallest gap in the treated soil can be detected and exploited by the termites to gain entry into the building. They will find ways around it. The use of a repellent termite chemical is a major short-coming in the traditional chemicals used for termite control.
Navigator SC and Termidor SC are made up of non-repellent insecticides meaning they are undetectable by termites. The termites can't see, smell, taste, or avoid Navigator SC, Taurus SC and Termidor. Navigator SC and Taurus SC are the generic versions of Termidor SC and are more economical.
- The currently available chemical barrier pesticides are designed to last no more than 5-10 years. Termite Monitors and Baits can be used as a companion for controlling subterranean termites or stand-alone treatment methods.
- Professional Termite Insecticides
Instead of injecting chemicals into the soil, you can also place termite bait directly into the ground around the outside of a structure. The termites will find the bait, feed on it, and die. The technology of baiting systems for termites is continually changing and improving. We currently recommend the Trelona ATBS Termite Bait System.
Baiting colonies of termites is simple and can also be used as a monitoring tool to detect termites when they are not yet a threat to the structure. Termite baits eliminate and control conditions where the structure is untreatable with soil termiticides (near a water body, for example) or if there is a concern about pesticide use, even in structures where soil treatments have failed.
Termite Baits can be a great preventative tool but should be used together with liquid termiticide application when active termites are present.
- Avoid wood to ground contact when possible
- Exterior wood should be at least 6 inches above ground level
- Landscape timbers and mulch can be replaced with non-wood alternatives
- Move firewood, compost piles, and other cellulose material stacked close to the home
Termites like damp soil, reduce moisture around the foundation
Cut back or eliminate dense vegetation growing against the siding and foundation. Thick shrubs and vegetation can trap moisture as well as make termite inspection difficult.
Make sure gutters and downspouts are in good shape and draining water away from your foundation.
Reduce humidity in crawl spaces and fix plumbing and appliance leaks that lead to damp wood
Special Considerations for Drywood Termites
If drywood termites are common in your area, they can enter through tiny cracks. Inspect and seal as many cracks and crevices in your structure that you can find. Pay particular attention to trim boards around doors and windows.
Make sure that the exterior paint on your house is not cracked or peeling. Unpainted or unstained wood can be treated with Boracare.
Written by our resident pest control expert Ken Martin.