Termites are common and destructive pests that can cause significant damage to your home or property. While professional help is often necessary for severe infestations, there are several DIY termite control methods available that can be effective in preventing or reducing an infestation.
In this guide, we will provide you with information on the types of termites, the various DIY treatments available and their efficacy, safety precautions to take when using these treatments, and when it’s best to seek professional help.
With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how to protect your home from termites.
Types of Termites
Termites are small, winged insects that can cause significant damage to structures and furniture.
There are four main types of termites: subterranean, drywood, dampwood, and formosan.
Understanding the different types of termites is key to effective control and prevention. Each type has its own unique characteristics which must be taken into account when attempting DIY treatments for infestations.
Subterranean termites are a species of termite that dwell and thrive underground in colonies, sustaining themselves from cellulose-based food sources like wood and plant matter. What makes them so destructive is their capability to build intricate mud tubes connecting the colony with its source of nutrition: these tunnels enable rapid travel between their nest and the wooden structures that they feast on– causing severe damage within a short amount of time.
Termiticides work as a deterrent to subterranean termites, safeguarding your home or building from infestations. A termiticide barrier is created by applying the product around the base of the structure and in any soil where these pests live and feed. To provide an additional layer of protection, you can also apply termiticides directly onto wooden elements like beams and framing within your property. This ensures that there are no entry points for pesky termites!
Unlike subterranean termites that depend on moisture from the soil, Drywood termites don’t require external hydration and are able to survive within dry wood. These pests create their own small colonies inside of wooden structures and materials, making them more difficult to detect since they do not need ground contact. Unfortunately, this means that if left untreated, these destructive critters can cause significant damage to furniture or other cellulose-containing items around your home or business.
If you suspect an infestation of drywood termites, it is essential to apply a termiticide directly to the affected wood or localized area. This can be done by injecting the termiticide into minuscule holes drilled in the wood, using surface treatment application techniques, and even fumigation in extreme circumstances. The purpose is simple: terminate the colony while also protecting any additional damage from being caused by either killing or scaring away these critters.
Dampwood termites are aptly named as they thrive in damp and decaying wood. They inhabit logs, stumps, or any other type of timber that is close to the ground or a water source. Unlike subterranean termites which require contact with soil for sustenance, dampwood species do not need such connection but instead rely on their consistent access to moisture for survival.
Unlike other species of termites, dampwood termites have a distinctive set of characteristics that make them unique: they thrive in environments with high moisture levels, are significantly larger than their relatives, and can tolerate lower temperatures. Additionally, their infestations tend to remain localized rather than quickly spreading like subterranean or drywood termite outbreaks.
When dealing with dampwood termites, termiticides can be applied directly to the compromised wood or in moist areas conducive to these pests. For optimal coverage, treatment should include treating the affected wood and its immediate vicinity by creating a protective barrier around it, as well as assessing any moisture sources that may have initially attracted them. In this way, we can not only destroy the colony but also deter future infestations while addressing underlying factors like humidity levels that could otherwise lead to recurring problems.
Formosan termites are a destructive and pervasive subterranean species from East Asia that have spread to various parts of the world, including the United States. These aggressive pests can cause massive amounts of damage in an incredibly short time span, making them an especially dangerous threat to property owners everywhere.
Formosan termites are unlike other species due to their remarkable social structure, which can range from several hundred thousand to millions of members. They create secondary nests known as carton nests that protect the nest natives and help them retain moisture even without direct contact with soil. Additionally, these voracious creatures have been proven to devour wood faster than any other species and infest a variety of materials such as living trees, utility poles, and insulation foam amongst others!
To successfully eradicate Formosan termites and thwart any possibility of future infestations, termiticides should be employed in tandem with other pest control methods. This may include soil treatments to construct a chemical barricade around the structure, baiting systems designed to target the colony directly, or direct applications on infected wood or carton nests within a building. As this species is especially aggressive and their colonies complexly structured, it’s often wise to enlist professional help from experienced exterminators for optimal results.
DIY Termite Killer Methods
Let’s explore DIY termite killer methods from liquid termiticides and termite baits to borate treatments and natural alternatives.
By understanding each method’s unique advantages and application techniques, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the right solution for your specific termite problem and safeguard your home from these destructive invaders.
Liquid termiticides are a popular choice for homeowners seeking to protect their property from termite infestations. These chemical solutions create a barrier in the soil around your home, killing or repelling termites attempting to enter your living spaces.
When it comes to liquid termiticides, there are two main types to consider:
- Termites can’t detect these chemicals, so they unknowingly pass through the treated area.
- The termiticide is transferred among the colony members, eventually killing them.
- Slower acting but highly effective in controlling the entire colony.
- Termites can detect and avoid these chemicals, creating a barrier that keeps them away from your home.
- Less effective in controlling the entire colony, as termites may find alternative entry points.
- Faster acting and can provide immediate protection.
Liquid termiticides can be applied in several ways depending on their concentration and purpose. The most common application methods include:
- Spraying: Use a sprayer to apply the termiticide solution to the soil or other surfaces around your home.
- Trenching: Digging a trench around your home’s foundation where the termiticide solution can be applied.
- Rodding: Injecting the termiticide into the soil using a long rod.
- Drilling: Drilling holes into the foundation and injecting the termiticide into the voids.
As always – be sure to follow the manufacturer’s label instructions and safety warnings. If you’re unsure about the application process, consult with a professional.
Many homeowners are able to eliminate termite infestations from their homes and lawns with a more environmentally conscious approach: termiticidal bait stations.
By strategically placing attractive substances in these traps, homeowners can attract the termites away from their property and eliminate an entire colony. This unique method of pest control works by disrupting reproductive cycles, ultimately leading to population extinction without the use of harsh chemicals or toxins.
There are two primary forms of termite bait stations you can apply yourself. Here is a brief overview of how these work.
In-ground bait stations
- Installed directly into the ground around the perimeter of your property.
- Termites encounter the bait while foraging and bring it back to their colony.
- Bait stations provide a gradual but effective method for eliminating entire termite colonies.
Above-ground bait stations
- Installed directly onto areas with active termite infestations, such as wood structures or near mud tubes.
- Provide a direct food source that termites can easily access.
- Faster results compared to in-ground bait stations but do require more monitoring.
Bait Selection & Placement Tips
If you choose to leverage termite baits in your battle with pests, here are a few recommendations and tips to keep in mind:
- Choose termite bait products that contain active ingredients proven effective against termites, such as hexaflumuron or diflubenzuron.
- Place bait stations strategically around your property to maximize termite interception.
- Monitor bait stations regularly and be prepared to replace consumed or expired baits as needed.
- Consult with an experienced professional for optimal bait placement and monitoring strategies.
Borate treatments provide an enduring, eco-friendly solution for safeguarding wood from termites. Comprised of naturally occurring minerals, borates create a protective shield that is detrimental to pests yet harmless to people and animals when applied to wooden fixtures.
This preventive measure is especially beneficial during construction or renovation projects but can be utilized in established structures as well.
Wood Treatment Products
- Most commonly come in either a liquid or powder form, such as borate solutions or borax powders.
- Are used to create a protective barrier on wood surfaces that is toxic to termites but safe for humans and pets.
- Can be used during construction, renovation, or as a preventative measure for existing structures.
Methods used to apply borate treatments to wood for the purpose of termite control vary depending upon the form of treatment (liquid or powder).
- Liquid borate solutions can be brushed, sprayed, or rolled onto wood surfaces.
- Powdered borates can be mixed with water to create a solution that is applied to wood surfaces similar to liquid-based solutions.
- When applying, it’s important to ensure full coverage of all wood surfaces, including joints and crevices for optimal protection.
- It’s best to apply borate treatments to dry wood and allow sufficient time for the treatment to penetrate the wood and dry before sealing or painting treated surfaces.
Natural Termite Control
While not as fast acting as some of the chemical treatments, natural termite control is a preferred treatment for many looking to treat termite issues themselves. In most cases, natural termite control products are safer for children, pets, and vegetation in and around your property.
Leveraging the potency of naturally occurring organisms and materials, natural termite control methods target termites in unique ways while providing a safe alternative for those seeking long-term solutions to their pest problems.
Below you will find an overview (and helpful links to more of our content) of the more popular and effective forms of natural DIY termite killers.
- Beneficial nematodes for termites are living, microscopic, worm-like organisms that prey on subterranean termites as well as other soil-dwelling pests and insects.
- Nematodes can be purchased in a concentrated form that is to be mixed with water and then applied to lawns, gardens, and around the external perimeter of homes and buildings.
- Nematodes are released into the soil where they will begin seeking out subterranean termites that come into contact with the water with which they are applied. Once located, they penetrate an insect’s body and begin releasing lethal doses of bacteria.
- Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring, silica-based powder termite killer that is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms – a very interesting form of algae that lives in a house made of glass (transparent, opaline silica).
- When termites come into contact with Diatomaceous Earth powder, the powder damages their exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die.
- Diatomaceous Earth can be applied to termite-infested areas, such as around the foundation of your home, in and around crawl spaces, etc.
Orange Oil & Citrus Oil
- Orange oil (and other blends of citrus oil) contains a naturally occurring compound known as d-limonene. D-limonene is a true termite killer with toxic effects on termites but is otherwise considered to be generally safe for humans and pets.
- Orange oil termite treatments are most effective in killing drywood termites, as it works best when applied directly to infested wood.
- Applying orange and citrus oil treatments can also be injected into termite habitats, penetrating deep into the colony’s home.
Ensuring your safety and that of the environment is paramount when utilizing DIY termite treatment methods. Following these simple precautions will guarantee a successful application while simultaneously minimizing potential risks.
Personal Protective Gear
- Wear long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toe shoes to minimize direct skin exposure from any chemicals or active ingredients.
- Use chemical-resistant gloves when handling termiticides or other chemicals, especially in concentrated forms.
- Wear safety goggles or a face shield to protect your eyes from splashes or dust.
- Wear a mask or respirator to protect the air you are breathing. This is critically important when working with powder-based treatments or any of the above when used in a confined area.
Proper Storage and Disposal
Ensure that termiticides and other chemicals are kept in their original containers, labeled clearly, and tightly sealed. Make sure these items remain inaccessible to children and pets by storing them away in a locked cabinet if possible. Do not attempt to reuse any empty containers; instead, follow the disposal instructions provided with each product. Lastly, be sure to properly discard of leftovers or contaminated materials as per local regulations for safety purposes.
General Safety Guidelines
When using any product, take note of the warnings and instructions on its label and follow them accordingly. Make sure that children and animals are kept away from treated areas until the product has been allowed to dry or settle – as outlined by the manufacturer. Additionally, avoid applying termiticides close to water sources such as wells, ponds or streams in order to prevent contamination of these vital resources.
Exercise extreme caution when using ladders, drills, or any other kind of equipment to reach difficult spots, and collaborate with a partner whenever possible. Ensure the area is adequately ventilated during treatment (and after) if you’re working in confined spaces or if the product has an intense smell. In case you believe that someone was exposed to unsafe chemicals – either yourself or others – be sure to call your nearest poison control center immediately for assistance or seek medical care promptly.
By following these safety precautions, homeowners and DIY termite killers can effectively treat termite infestations while minimizing risks to themselves, their families, and the environment.