Termites Help! is the ultimate resource for termite pest control. A complete A-Z guide for home owners and building managers covering signs of termites, termite treatment, termite inspection, DIY termite baiting and termite control costs.
Termites are among the most notorious home pests that plague homes not only in the United States but in the entire world. Historically, they have existed for over 250 million years – adjusting to most climates and surviving environmental changes. In fact, termites and termite infestation have been reported in every state of the United States except in Alaska. This tells us how widespread the problem is with this type of pest.
And would you believe…
Every year, Americans spend more than a whopping $5 billion not only for termite treatment but also for repairing the damage termites have caused (according to the National Pest Management Association or NPMA).
Archicentre Australia states that the average cost of termites to the Australian housing industry is almost $4 billion per year!
Termite damage is a pandemic issue faced by many home and property owners. Why is this?
- Aside from costing homeowners a lot, this type of home damage is not covered by most homeowners’ insurance policies.
- To understand how big an impact this problem has in the lives of American homeowners, termites are considered the top threat to wooden and wood-based structures, even preceding fire and natural calamities that bring flood and strong winds.
- Contrary to popular belief, termites are not only active during the Spring season but they continue to destroy structures in and around your homes all through the year.
- Termites in homes can remain undetected for years and when they are noticed, often homeowners already have to deal with extensive and costly damages.
Now that you understand why termites and termite damage should worry you, it is crucial to defend your home, your family, and your finances. And the key to your protection from termites is educating yourself on the basics – classification, the red flags and telltale signs of an invasion, preventative measures, termite treatment options and termite treatment costs.
Also referred to as “white ants”, termites are often confused with ants. This common misconception had cost homeowners and commercial property owners a lot and learning how to tell the difference between these two pests can help those affected with infestation deal with the problem accordingly. Because of their sizes, they can easily be mistaken for each other from a distance. But if you look closely you’d notice that – termites have a pale or white color, straight and beaded antennas, and thick segmented bodies; while ants come in a shade of brown or black, and have bent antennas and obvious waists. These characteristics lead us to the fact that they are more closely related to nasty cockroaches.
Types of Termites
In the United States, there are 45 different species that are further categorized into three main termite types – dampwood, subterranean, and drywood termites.
- Dampwood Termites. This type belongs to the families Kalotermitidae and Hodotermitidae. As their name suggests, they only thrive in wood containing high levels of moisture. Because wooden structures livable to humans do contain as much moisture, they are rarely found in homes as well as other man-made wooden structures.
- Subterranean Termites. Belonging to the Rhinotermitidae family, species that fall under this category lives in the soil. What makes them a great problem for homeowners is that they are notorious for the nests that they build – being the largest that any insect in the U.S. can engineer. They create mud tubes connecting their nests to whatever food sources they can find nearby like trees, patios, decks, fences, and other wooden structures in and around houses. Pestering property owners in every U.S. state except Alaska, this main type is said to be the major cause of termite damage in American homes.
- Drywood Termites. Belonging to the Kalotermitidae family, this type of termites are often found in wood that have dried naturally such as dead trees, or have been treated to keep moisture off like seasoned timbers and hardwood floors. Some species can cause significant damage to houses but because drywood termite colonies are typically smaller than that of the subterranean type, the deterioration of an infested area happens at a slower rate.
How Do You Get Termites
For some termite species, a gap or crack that is 1/32 of an inch wide (which is twice narrower than the standard thickness of a piece of paper) is enough for an entrance into a limitless feast – which is your home. Termites feed on cellulose like wood, paper and cardboard and homes have a wealth of all the cellulose they want – this is the main reason why termites are attracted to houses.
Subterranean Termite Entry Points. Because this type thrives underground, they often enter homes below or at ground level. This makes wood-to-ground contact like porch steps, deck posts, supports, and doorframes a common entry point. Even holes in concrete blocks, brick and mortar, or foundation are used to travel through to foundations and other untreated wooden parts of the house. For cracks or gaps several feet from the ground, subterranean termites build mud tubes from the soil up to keep their soft bodies from dehydration until they get in contact with wood.
Termite mud tube. Source: Mr Flikem Pest Control Sydney
Drywood Termite Entry Points. Drywood termite infestations are commonly initiated by swarmers or alates that locate wood crevices where they’ll dig and seal themselves in a little nest to produce eggs and build a colony. If not detected, this colony can grow and cause serious damages to your home within a couple of years. Because this type of termites do not need to have contact with soil, the scope and reach of their damage is wider. Unlike the subterranean termites, their entry points are not limited to just several feet from the ground but cover the entire house from the foundation up. So to avoid the problem on how to get rid of drywood termites, it is best to have preventive measures at place which is the bigger challenge.
Signs that Termites are Feasting on Your House
Drywood termites are commonly found in warmer climates, while the subterranean type can thrive throughout the United States except in Alaska. During spring, swarms are often the most obvious sign of termite activity. However, contrary to popular belief that termites are only active during spring (due to sightings of flying termites or swarmers) these pests are actually busy throughout the year.
So how do you detect infestations to start getting rid of termites? Make sure to watch out for these signs:
- Frass: Drywood termites leave piles of wood-colored, pellet-like droppings where they have nested and eaten.
- Swarming or shed wings: As mentioned, groups of swarmers (the reproductive termites) that are out and about your home is the most common sign of infestation. These can easily be spotted because they are attracted to light and their presence indicates an active termite colony. After they have swarmed, winged termites shed their wings off that look like fish scales in small heaps.
- Earthen or mud tubes in crawl spaces, on wooden beams, or exterior walls several feet from the ground: Typically, these shelter tubes are 6mm in diameter (like that of a standard pencil) but can sometimes be thicker.
- Hollowed wood: To detect whether or not any wooden home structure or fixture has been infested, tap on it. The more damaged the wood is, the more hollow the sound it produces.
- Rippled surface or sunken areas on walls: The tunneling done by eating away on wood can leave traces of distortion on wood surfaces like uneven wall covering or bubbling paint.
Knowing how to get rid of termites will not only ensure the structural integrity of your home, but you’ll learn the first signs of an infestation and be capable of dealing with the situation before it becomes a bigger problem. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire an exterminator to take care of the problem for you, it pays to know what the options available to you are.
Termite tenting in Los Angeles. Source: Wikipedia
One termite treatment that many homeowners go for is what is known as tenting. This is where the home is covered in a sealed, nylon tent. Then the home is filled with a poisonous gas that kills the termites. This gas used is typically sulfuryl fluoride, which has no smell and no color, and doesn’t leave behind a residue. However, if it is left long enough within the home, it can penetrate any wood in the home to get to the termites living within. By sealing the bugs in with the tent, the escape or entry of any termites is prevented, ensuring that the termite population has been completely eradicated. In order to ensure that the gas reaches all areas of the home, fans are typically used to circulate the air throughout. These are also installed by the service provider as part of the process.
At the end of the two days, the tent is removed, the house is aired out, and the quality of the air is tested to see if it is safe for the homeowner to return. This process tends to take one or two days to ensure that all of the termites and their eggs are killed, meaning that the homeowner, his family, and any pets should be eradicated from the home at this time. Food, medicine and any house plants should be removed from the home entirely. Some fumigation services may even provide special bags for these items to be stored in, should the homeowner be incapable of taking these things with him. Surfaces where a person may spend extended periods of times being in contact with are also covered, such as beds and sofas.
Despite the effectiveness of this process, there are some drawbacks to its use.
- The tenting method is only effective against drywood termites. This can make if a very expensive ordeal if the process doesn’t work due to the fact that it is a different kind of infestation.
- The termite treatment of gas is not effective against the eggs, and is only capable of killing the adults. However, if the process has been successful, then there would be no adults to feed the nymphs once they hatch.
- At very high temperatures, the sulfuryl fluoride will decompose into a corrosive acid that can eat through the home’s surfaces and structure, causing more damage than originally intended. It’s important that the service provider you hire is experienced in the tenting process and removes any heat sources from the home before the fumigation process begins.
- The tenting process may not be capable of killing the termites that are deep within the foundation of the home in the soil itself. This incomplete eradication will only make it easier for the termites to remain within the “safe” zones of your home and continue to increase their numbers.
- Lastly, the gas does not prevent a new infestation from occurring. Once the home is reopened, a new colony is free to retake residence within your home once it has been aired out. This is a sign that there is a bigger problem that must be dealt with using more serious methods to completely eliminate the termite presence in your home altogether, and can make getting rid of termites more difficult than you already bargained for.
Killing termite with chemical treatments
Amongst the termite treatment options are a variety of chemical treatments that can be applied to the home and the surrounding areas in order to keep termites away. These treatments technically come in two varieties: repellant and non-repellant.
Repellants are typically used within the home itself and in the soil found deep underground surrounding the home. These are the most common type of chemical treatment, as it creates a barrier that termites are not likely to cross to enter the home. The chemical is applied to as many termite entry points are possible in order to prevent the population from increasing. However, this is not very effective against killing the termites that are near the home, as the product only works on those who come into contact with the chemical. All of the entry points may also be impossible to locate, leaving the home vulnerable in these areas that termites can still use to eat through your foundation and make it their new home.
Non-repellants work in a much different way. How this is works is that the chemical that is used cannot be detected by the termites, so they are unaware they are burrowing into the treated area, effectively killing their numbers without them knowing. An added bonus is that the chemical can be transmitted from termite to termite, affecting even those termites that are outside of the treatment zone. This seems to be a much more effective method of quelling a population’s numbers until they have been completely eradicated.
Chemical Termite Treatments. Source: Termidor
These chemical treatments can be applied to a number of different building materials throughout the home, either pre- or post-construction in order to prevent or deal with an existing termite infestation.
The treatment of any wood within the home is typically the first step, as wood foundation are the most vulnerable to attack by termites. Such treatment can also be applied to the siding and sheetrock of the home in order to further prevent any termites from settling within the structure. This chemical treatment is typically done with disodium octoborate-tetrahydrate, which prevents termites from feeding and constructing shelter tubes. However, this only prevents the construction of the mud tubes; there may still be infestation within the home even without their presence.
Chemical barriers can also be made by applying treatments to the surrounding soil of the home, but internally and externally. This kind of treatment is performed during the process of building the home, and has a number of stages that need to be adhered to. It’s a treatment that requires a lot of chemical product, so it is not a do-it-yourself project that most homeowners can do on their own.
In knowing how to get rid of termites, it’s important to know all of the options that are available to you. Termite baiting is certainly an attractive option for homeowners who aren’t interested in filling their home with a lot of poisonous chemicals. Termite baiting is a simple process that can eliminate termites in one’s home forever, and it’s not very expensive.
The baits themselves can be installed above ground or below ground, depending on the homeowner’s personal preference. In above ground, the “stations” are placed directly over the signs of active termite activity, such as wood and drywall. Below ground treatment, however, dispense the bait randomly, producing a chance that the termites will find it. It’s easy to see why the former is a more attractive option in dealing with these pests. To increase the effectiveness of below ground treatment, more “stations” would have to be installed to increase the likelihood of the bait being taken and consumed.
Termite baiting works by the installation of stations that deposit attractive material for the termites to eat. This bait typically consists of cardboard, paper, and other substances that termites would readily eat. Combined with this material is a substance that is lethal to termites, and is slow-acting. This ensures that the termites will bring the food back to its nest and share with the rest of the population, increasing the chances that the other termites will also ingest the material. If it were to kill them too quickly, then the rest of the termites would learn to avoid these areas where the sick or dead termites are accumulating.
How to get rid of specific termites types
How to get rid of drywood termites
In discovering what kills termites, it’s important to note what kind of infestation you have in your home, for one treatment may only work on flying termites, for example, and not drywood termites or subterranean termites. To tell the difference, there are some characteristics of the drywood termite that should be noted.
There are typically three kinds of drywood termites: workers, soldiers and reproductives. Workers are roughly an eighth of an inch, are without wings, and are typically white in colour. Soldiers are much the same, except that have large brown heads, and jaws that they use to defend the population. Reproductives are the only ones with wings, and range from dark brown to black in colour. The reproductives make it easy to tell what kind of infestation you have, as there will be the presence of shed wings. Other signs to look for as ejected wood pellets and fecal pellets outside of elongated wood galleries. Drywood termites also focus their efforts on the undecayed, dry wood in your home, meaning that you won’t find them in the subterranean areas of your home and in the soil, where the most damage can be done to the integrity of the home’s structure.
There are several recommended treatment options when trying to figure out how to get rid of termites that are available for dealing with drywood termites. The first such method is known as tenting or structural fumigation. The entire building is covered with an air-tight tent, and sulfuryl fluoride is pumped throughout the house to kill any drywood termite infestations.
Another method is the application of a borate preservative directly into the termite’s nest. Small spots of infested wood are drilled into and the toxin injected in order to kill off their numbers. This chemical can also be applied to the untreated wood before an infestation even occurs. Borate preservative is designed to last for the life of the structure, so they may never be the need to reapply in the future. It’s also safe to be used around people and pets, which makes it a much more attractive option than tenting.
Subterranean termites treatment
Knowing how to kill termites in your house may seem simple at first, but it’s can be more difficult than you think if you’re not aware of the kind of termites infecting your home. The characteristics of drywood termites have already been discussed, so it is time to examine their “cousin”, the subterranean termite.
Subterranean termite treatment.
Subterranean termites are much different from drywood termites, in that require a moist environment in order to survive. They will typically enter your home through plumbing fixtures and cracks in the foundation on the outside of your home. The more moisture there is in the surrounding area, the more likely they are to deem this area suitable for habitation.
The first sign you’ll see of subterranean termite are shelter tubes made of mud that they build towards and around their food source. Damaged wood and discarded wings are also signs to look for, as the reproductive termites shed their wings after they have finished mating. These wings are shaped much differently from those of drywood termites, as they are much longer and more evenly sized with each other. Subterranean termites tend to swarm during the day, while drywood termites swarm at night, making it easier to notice the wings during a time of the day when action can be taken.
The most common treatment used for subterranean termites in figuring out how to get rid of termites are the application of liquid repellants to the perimeter of the home and the surrounding area (to keep the termites away), liquid non-repellants (to ensure that the chemical is brought back to the nest and destroys the population), and termite baiting. These subterranean termite treatment options can be applied to the mud shelters or “trenches” that they’ve built as well, since these areas are where they tend to use the most in going back and forth between their food supply and their nests.
Flying Termites Treatment
Though many homeowners have come to believe that flying termites are a separate species from all others, this simply isn’t true. Flying termites are simply a stage of the reproductive termites. The wings grow in for this purpose only and fall off once it has passed. Afterwards, the termites will look for somewhere else to expand their colony, so if there is the presence of discarded wings around your home, then it’s likely that they have decided to take roost within.
They are often times confused with flying ants; the biggest difference is that flying termites only have two body sections, while flying ants have three. A second key factor is that a termites wings are all the same size, while an ant will have two sets of wings that vary in size.
Flying termites are probably the easiest to get rid, since they are more likely to be out in the open while they are trying to reproduce. If you’re focusing on killing this stage of termites, then you can simply place a bug zapper near the entry points they’re using to get into your home. They are attracted to light, and will fly right into the device.
A fly swatter can also be used to kill them physically if you find them in your home, and vacuumed up from your carpets and floors. This process can be quite tiresome and take several days to accomplish, but the only thing you’ll have to purchase is the fly swatter itself, which is quite cheap and rarely ever needs replacing.
However, the presence of flying termites is a sign that you have a bigger problem on hand, and requires more drastic measures to be taken in eliminating the colony altogether. Simply getting rid of the flying termites won’t fix the problem in one fell swoop. Baiting systems placed around the perimeter of your home and the application of liquid termite chemicals to the soil outside are effective methods of preventing and killing a termite infestation within your home.
Many homeowners are wary of taking care of a termite infestation themselves, believing that trained professionals are the only people who can deal with such a situation. However, there are home remedies for termites available so that he can take steps into ensuring the safety of his home.
DYI Termite baiting
Termite baiting kits are available on the market if you are interested in a DIY termite treatment that is inexpensive to set up. All it requires of the homeowner is to set up the stations near an area where the termites are known to thrive. This can be near the perimeter of your home and throughout your yard. Basically, the more stations you have, the more likely that the termites will find the food source and bring it back to the colony. What makes this treatment so effective is that it can be done over and over again without any risk to your health or that of your family. It’s definitely a safer alternative if you’re looking for how you kill termites naturally instead of using toxic chemicals and poisons.
However, if you’re not keen on purchasing baiting traps from the store, there is an even cheaper alternative: cardboard boxes. Simply take any that you have, soak them in water, and leave them around the perimeter of your house, both inside and outside. It won’t take long for them to find this delicious food source and start chowing down. Once the boxes have become infested with them, simply throw them onto a burn pile and kill the termites that way. It may take some time to completely eradicate them from your home, but it’s a simple and very cheap process that can be done as many times as necessary to make your home termite-free.
DIY Termite Baiting System
If you’re interested in setting up your own termite baiting system, here are the steps you will need to take. There are a variety of different baiting systems that you can choose from, each of them acting in a slightly different way.
- Sentricon: there is only a three-step process that is needed to ensure that your home is termite-free. The main agent used here is noviflumuron, which inhibits their growth.
- Exterra also uses a growth inhibitor, known as diflubenzuron.
- Firstline is similar to Sentricon, except that corrugated cardboard is used and is treated with sulfluramid, which interferes with the termite’s ability to process the food they’ve eaten.
- Subterfuge is a much newer baiting system that uses hydramethylnon to inhibit growth, and there are no initial wooden monitors that are placed within the stations.
- The Advance system also uses diflubenzuron, similar to Exterra, which has made it easier for termites to transition between the wooden monitors and the chemically-treated bait.
Step-by-Step DIY Termite Baiting
- First, there is the installation of monitoring stations around the foundation of the home. The stations are placed into a hole in the ground, and are slotted with holes to grant the termites entry to get to the food inside. Untreated wood is placed in these stations in order to detect the presence of any termites near the home. These are typically installed every ten feet or so, but more can be introduced in order to increase the chances of the termites taking the bait.
- Secondly, the untreated wood is then replaced with the bait that has been laced with a slow-acting agent, allowing them to take the food back to the colony and further spread it to the other inhabitants. This way, it’s not only the foraging termites that die, but the rest of the population within the nest as well. The presence of termite corpses within the baiting traps would lead others to avoid them altogether. The termites that have taken the bait are then placed in a separate bait tube where they are returned to the soil. By doing this, they leave behind a unique scent that the other termites can follow back to the food source, further increasing the numbers that are affected by the chemically-treated bait.
- Lastly, there is continued monitoring to ensure that the baits are replaced once the stations are empty. Allowing them to remain empty will force the termites to return to your home and continue make a feast out of it.
Using chemical treatments to get rid of termites yourself
In learning how to kill termites, chemical treatments to the soil are usually a go-to option.High pressured sprayers have been in use for decades, and are very good at applying termite chemical treatments around the home and throughout one’s yard. These sprayers aren’t too expensive, and can be multipurpose, according to your needs. This makes it easy for you to take the necessary steps in knowing how to get rid of termites yourself. At least, it makes the infestation less of a problem before you hire an exterminator if the damage is more extensive than you realize.
In applying the chemical treatments yourself, there are a few simply tools that you’ll need to get started in order to prevent any damage from coming to your home. Always be sure to read the safety label of whatever chemical treatment product you buy, as this is essentially poison you are applying to the area around your home.
To outside foundations and beam structures, you’ll need a small shovel and a five-gallon bucket. Trenches need to be dug around the perimeter of the home, and the chemical termite treatment can be mixed in the bucket and then applied to the trenches. The ratio is typically one-half gallon of termiticide for every foot of trench.
For the interior of the house, you can use a wall foamer to apply the necessary chemicals to the interior of your home. Because the termites are likely to be settled within small cracks and between areas of your home, the foam can penetrate these areas that would have been difficult to get to under normal circumstances. The termite chemical treatment is typically mixed with a foaming agent in order to disperse it effectively.
Step-by-Step guide to do Termite Treatment using chemicals yourself
In applying your own chemical treatment to prevent termites, it’s important that all steps of the product are complied with in order to ensure your own safety and health, as well as those of your family and pets. A chemical treatment procedure is designed, however, to be as simple as possible so that it can be repeated in the future.
Firstly, the foundation of your home has to be measured in order to determine how much chemical you’ll need. Depending on the chemical treatment you’re using, it will state on the instructions how much should be applied every ten or twenty feet, so by measuring, you can determine how many bottles of chemical you’ll need to buy.
The next thing you’ll need is a large bucket to mix the chemical in, a mattock grabbing hoe to apply the substance, and a shovel to dig your trenches. They should be at least four to six inches wide and four to six inches deep along your foundation wall.
Next, the chemical should be applied to the trench, marking every ten or twenty feet with some kind of marker, such as a brick or roof shingle to dam up the trench. You want an even amount of product to be distributed, as well as an effective amount in order to kill the termites.
The next step is to mix the chemical with water, according to the ratio instructions stated on the product’s labeling, and then to pour the treatment into the trenches, using the hoe to mix the dirt with it so that it can penetrate the lower layers and get to the termites living deep within the soil.
Instead of learning how to kill termites yourself, why not prevent them altogether while your new home is being built? During the construction of one’s home, there are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent the infestation of termites after completion. One such option is treated lumber. Encouraging your contractor to employ the use of these materials will keep the termites away throughout the lifetime of your home. Treated lumber typically will be stamped and state on its packaging where it should be used throughout the home, depending on the levels of chemicals it has been treated with. The most common use is in the subterranean areas of your home that will be in contact with soil, as these areas tend to be moist and can make it more enticing for subterranean termites to work their way in.
The use of treated lumber can make the overall construction costs more expensive than without them, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run from having to hire an exterminator to get rid of an infestation for you. However, keep in mind that treated lumber is not a 100 percent preventative against termites. It can significantly reduce the chances of an infestation, but it is still possible for them to get inside your home.
Another option is to treat the soil itself surrounding the home. This process has several stages that need to be taken in order to minimize the risk of one’s home to termites. This should be done before there is any slab placement in the ground in order to create a protective barrier between the masonry and the ground slab. This can be time-consuming and difficult for most homeowners to complete, building trenches and the application of the chemical product to the ground, but with care and patience, a lot of money can be saved from hiring a professional to do the job for you.
Natural Termite Treatment
If you want to know how to get rid of termites on your own the natural way, without the use of any chemicals, there are a variety of options left open to you.
Some natural oils that can be applied to the wood in your home to keep termites out and stop them from coming back. These include clove bud oil, vetiver oil, orange oil and neem oil. Vetiver oil is known for keeping termites away, while clove bud oil has been known to kill the termites within a few hours of exposure. Orange oil is very effective at killing drywood termites, due to the fact that it contains d-limonene. Neem oil is only effective when ingested by the termites, so it should be applied to aeny wood that is currently being used as a food source. What’s beneficial about the use of these oils is that they are mostly safe around people and pets. Care should be taken with clove bud oil, as it has been shown to cause liver and kidney toxicity in both cats and dogs if skin contact is made.
Aloe is another beneficial alternative, if you’re not keen on applying strong-smelling oils around your home. Simply crush an aloe plant in water and allow the mixture to sit for a few hours before straining it. Add the mixture to water in a 1:5 ratio, pour into a spray bottle and apply directly to the termites themselves. The problem with this method is that it can only be applied to areas where the termites are visible; it doesn’t cover the deeper areas of the home that you may not be aware of, allowing the numbers to recover if they aren’t taken care of.
Heat and cold treatments can be easier processes for the homeowner to use, but are only effective against drywood termites.
- For a heat treatment, it’s important to remove certain things from your home in order to prevent any damage from coming to them. Once the structure is sealed, air that reaches temperatures of 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit is necessary to kill the termites. This only needs to be done for a period of thirty to forty-five minutes to ensure that all of the termites have been taken care of. The heat treatment process involves the use of nylon tarps to create a tent around the home to keep the heat trapped inside. This way, propane heat is blown into the structure so that a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is achieved. Fluctuations are typically monitored in order to ensure that the heat is even throughout, in order to ensure that the termites won’t find sanctuary in a different part of your home. The process can take anywhere between four to twelve hours per unit in the home to be effective.
- A cold treatment, on the other hand, takes a much longer time to be effective. A temperature of fifteen degrees Fahrenheit must be attained, and must continue for a period of at least four days in order to kill a termite colony. In a cold treatment, liquid nitrogen is pumped into the small areas where termites are known to live, along with probes to measure the temperature. Any temperature below fifteen degrees Fahrenheit should kill the termites outright. This process takes at least thirty minutes per unit in the home.
Another treatment option may cause some homeowners to squirm, and involves the use of biological components: the termite’s natural predator, the nematode. These are microscopic creatures that feed on termite larvae, causing the population to decline before they can reach adulthood. These creatures can be introduced to the soil surrounding one’s home, making them very effective against subterranean termites, and are harmless to both humans and pets.
In finding the best termite treatment for your home, it can be difficult in deciding whether you should do it yourself or hire a professional to take care of the problem for you. Some methods may have advantages over others, such as the effectiveness of the treatment, cost, and the need for reapplication, making the best way to get rid of termites dependent on the personal perspective of each homeowner and how much patience he is willing to exercise in dealing with the problem himself.
There are several factors to take into consideration when considering how to deal with your termite problem. In some cases, it might be beneficial to deal with the problem yourself, while it might make more sense to hire an exterminator if the problem is much bigger than you can handle.
- Cost: this is the biggest selling point for homeowners. It is much cheaper to purchase the materials you need yourself, whether it’s a liquid chemical treatment of a termite baiting system, and applying them yourself than to hire a professional to do exactly the same job for you. However, that doesn’t mean it’s without its drawbacks. Although the initial cost to an exterminator may be more expensive, in the long run, doing it yourself may mean multiple applications in the future, and the costs can add up over time. In-store products may prove to not be as effective as the chemicals that professionals use, leaving some numbers of a termite population still alive, even after multiple uses of a product. With a hired professional, however, his training and expertise tell him what signs to look for and what further measures can be taken in the future to prevent another infestation.
- Effectiveness of the chemicals: in doing it yourself, the products provided in the store are very beneficial to taking care of small problems and preventing smaller outbreaks in the future. But products like these are rarely ever updated or modified; this is important to note because termites are capable of adapting and becoming immune to certain chemicals over time. Eventually, they can have no effect on them whatsoever, and continue to multiply their numbers without any recourse. With a professional, on the other hand, their products and chemicals are always kept up to date, and are better suited for dealing with much bigger problems than the homeowner himself can handle. It’s because they are in the business why they need to modify their treatment options in order to remain in the market.
- Required Expertise: DIYers are limited to the instructions that are placed on the treatment options themselves or to what they can find online through a simple Internet search. These are usually easy steps to follow, but do not come with the experience and training that a professional has spent years attaining. A hired exterminator is capable of identifying the problem, what kind of infestation you have, the key entry areas of your home, the various alternatives that can be used to get rid of your infestation, and provide answers to the homeowner on preventative measures that can be taken to protect the home in the future.
- Risk to Health: there is some amount of risk taken by the homeowner when using any chemical treatment options himself. Hence the continued stress on reading the instructions on products before use. Even so, some chemicals can compromise the health of those who are more susceptible, and to pets. Through the use of a professional, however, the majority of any risk that can be imposed upon the homeowner is minimized, if not removed altogether.
- Convenience: when purchasing and applying a termite treatment yourself, you can do so on your own time with no need to schedule with another person when you’ll be home. That’s one of the downfalls of working with an exterminator, not to mention the process itself may spread across a few days. However, professional and courteous exterminators are more likely to find a time that is most convenient for you and your daily routine in order to ensure you’re getting the best service for your money’s worth.
When it comes to specific methods of dealing with termite infestations, some treatments are much easier for the homeowner to apply himself than others. The termite baiting, for example, can be easily done within the span of an hour, as kits are readily available in stores for purchase, and they are easy to install. More invasive methods, such as foaming and chemical ground treatment, may not be as convenient for the homeowner as he may believe. Some degree of care is required in order to create an effective barrier against termites and to kill the ones that are already within the home in order to create a safe environment to live in. The overall cost to the homeowner is really dependent on the amount of attention he is willing to pay in applying any kind of termite treatment to his home.
Cost of doing the Termite Inspection Yourself
In considering termite inspection cost, it may help to conduct the procedure yourself in order to save some money. The cost of termite inspection with your own tools is minimal at best, and required more time and patience than anything else. The only real tool you’ll need is your eyes. Look around for any dust you may find lying around your home near wooden structures; it could prove to be something else entirely, such as the fecal pellets of the termites living within your home.
Since it is most likely that these termites came from the outside, an external examination is necessary to determine where the entry points are. Using a small penlight or a bright flashlight, examine the perimeter of your external walls for any holes that the termites could have gotten in through. Pay particular attention to any areas that are near to exposed wood, as these are more likely to be targets for termites. Discarded wings should also be looked for, as the reproductive termites will shed their wings after they have finished mating.
Within your home, the examination process is much more careful. Termites are likely to use mud and wood dust to patch up the holes they’ve left behind from their presence, but often don’t do a very good job of it. Be on the lookout for small piles of sawdust along baseboards and wooden areas of the home. The presence of air bubbles under painted wood will also tell you of a termite infestation.
When you’ve found these areas, use a hammer or the handle of a screwdriver to tap on the wood. If there is a hollow sound or the wood easily caves in/falls away, then you might have a bigger problem on your hands.
Hiring Professional Termite Inspection Services
How much is a termite inspection if you’re hiring a professional? The cost is entirely dependent on a number of factors. These costs are dependent upon the area that is being inspected, the square footage of the area, whether these areas are difficult to get to, or are deemed to be high risk. Inspection costs can typically be anywhere between $250 to $350, just for a professional to come and take a look at your home. However, due to their training, they are capable of noticing some signs you miss, had you conducted your own examination.
Termite Treatment Cost
In considering which methods to use in the eradication of this pest, one of the most important question homeowners have is how much does it cost to get rid of termites. It can be quite an expensive process, depending on the amount of damage that’s already been done, as termites are known to multiply quite quickly, since they don’t requite a lot of space to live in. Here are several different costs to consider when deciding between the various termite treatment options.
Termite treatment services cost
When it comes to a termite treatment cost, the price itself can vary depending on the expertise of the professional you are hiring, the extent of the infestation, the location, and the treatment option that is being employed to take care of the infestation. Typically, prices can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000, taking these factors into consideration. This price can seem steep to most homeowners, but it comes with the guarantee that the problem is being taken care of effectively.
How much DYI termite treatment cost?
The cost for termite treatment you do yourself can be a much more affordable option, as you only pay for the materials that you need. This is dependent on the price of the product itself. Termite baiting, for example, is roughly only $100 for a kit, and more can be purchased as needed in order to create an effective methods of dealing with termites. However, the cost of the materials should be considered in relation to the amount of square feet that is being treated. Having a particularly large home or yard can cause the costs to add up exponentially, and make it just as expensive as hiring a professional. Asking yourself how much is termite treatment should take into account all of the factors that are considered by a professional.
Estimation of termite treatment cost
|HIRING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES VS. DIY TREATMENT||METHOD||LINEAR FEET/SQUARE FEET OF BUILDING||ESTIMATE PRICE|
|Hiring professional services||Chemical extermination||150-linear feet around/ 1250-square foot||$1,350-$2,500.|
|Hiring professional services||Chemical extermination||200-linear feet around/ 2500-square foot||$1800-$3100|
|Hiring professional services||Baiting||1,250-square foot||$1500|
|Hiring professional services||Baiting||2,500-square foot||$3000|
|Hiring professional services||Termite fumigation/ Termite tenting||1,250-square foot||$1,250|
|Hiring professional services||Termite fumigation/ Termite tenting||2,500-square foot||$1,250|
|Do-it-yourself||During construction||2,500-square foot||$750|
|Do-it-yourself||Using chemicals||240-linear feet||each Termidor 20 oz ($60) will treat 60 feet x 4 = $240|
|Do-it-yourself||Termite baiting system||200-linear feet||around $200|
Termite Extermination Cost: What is the Cost of Termite Control
With all of the treatment options, inspection costs, infestation reports and renewal periods to protect your home, the termite control cost can easily range from the lowest $800 to the highest $7,000, and that doesn’t take into account all of the factors that were mentioned above.
The termite extermination cost alone can be between $500 to $5,000, which may include the cost of preventative measures to keep out termites in the future. However, the costs may vary according to the method used. For example, the termite fumigation cost for a home that is 1250 square feet can be between $1,000 to $3,000, while a 2500-square foot home can be between $2,500-$4,000. These termite tenting cost also doesn’t take into account the structure of the home, the extent of the damage, and the duration of tenting depending on the level of infestation.
It’s important to weigh the costs and the benefits in deciding whether to undertake such a project on your own or place the care of your home in the hands of a professional. It may seem tempting to save some money doing it yourself, but getting it done right the first time can prevent further increased costs in the future.
Drawbacks of this method
- Only works on drywood termites: Despite the effectiveness of this process, there are some drawbacks to its use. Firstly, the tenting method is only effective against drywood termites. This can make if a very expensive ordeal if the process doesn’t work due to the fact that it is a different kind of infestation.
- Only kills adults termites. The gas is not effective against the eggs, and is only capable of killing the adults. However, if the process has been successful, then there would be no adults to feed the nymphs once they hatch.
- Risk of creating acid. At very high temperatures, the sulfuryl fluoride will decompose into a corrosive acid that can eat through the home’s surfaces and structure, causing more damage than originally intended. It’s important that the service provider you hire is experienced in the tenting process and removes any heat sources from the home before the fumigation process begins.
- Not foolproof. The tenting process may not be capable of killing the termites that are deep within the foundation of the home in the soil itself. This incomplete eradication will only make it easier for the termites to remain within the “safe” zones of your home and continue to increase their numbers.
- Does not prevent future infestations: the gas does not prevent a new infestation from occurring. Once the home is reopened, a new colony is free to retake residence within your home once it has been aired out. This is a sign that there is a bigger problem that must be dealt with using more serious methods to completely eliminate the termite presence in your home altogether.
15 Practical Home Protection Tips Against Pests
Prevention is always better than cure, and it is the same in the case of pests. Below are some essential pest prevention tips.
- Clean your floors regularly. For best results, vacuum or sweep to get rid of the food and residue that usually attract pests.
- Do not leave dishes unwashed after use. Always wipe down the sink.
- Clear drains that appear to move slowly. Water is known to draw pests indoors, so fixing and preventing blocked drains is important to do.
- Residues may attract bugs. Always wipe residues on the outside of your food containers, including butter, peanut, oil, and honey containers.
- Store your foods and food items only in tightly-sealed containers, especially flours, sugars, bulk mixes, and other dry foods. This is the only way to prevent pest infestations.
- Do not eat or keep spoilt vegetables or fruits. The over-ripe fresh foods are known to invite fruit flies, ants, and similar pets.
- Always keep a lid on your trash. This ensures that the foul smell does not escape while keeping pests away. Use only bins and buckets with lids as your garbage and recycling containers.
- Never leave your garbage and recycling containers unkempt. Wash down the outsides and insides regularly.
- Trim the foliage around your property regularly. This includes bushes, shrubs, flowerbeds, and trees, especially when they touch your home. Overgrown foliage facilitates the infestation of pests into your home.
- Do not leave your floor drains, ducts, windows, and vents uncovered. They serve as homes or entry points to pests when left open. Screens come handy in covering them.
- Clean up any timber in your yard that can attract termites.
- Don’t install irrigation pipes around your home. Termites prefer damp soil.
- Take care of any water leaks around the home and ensure good drainage. Check for a leaking hot water system or garden taps.
- Clean up any kids toys which can become home to spiders and other creepy critters.
- Finally, when fighting termites, nothing beats a year-round termite protection and control program. Bring in a professional termite controller to put one in place for you.