If you have found evidence of termites in your home, it’s essential to act quickly: Left untreated, a termite infestation can quickly do thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and furniture.
Before engaging in any of the termite treatments suggested below, know that it’s extremely important not to try to tackle a termite infestation alone unless you are dealing with a very small colony. Always consult a pest control professional if you have anything more than a single localized termite colony invading your home, both for safety reasons and because it’s extremely difficult to completely eradicate termites once they have “spread”.
Proven Termite Solutions: Tips From The Experts
When handling a termite infestation, you have two basic choices: “Natural” chemical-free solutions and chemical-based solutions. Some people prefer natural solutions as they believe they are safer for their families, whereas other people choose chemical solutions owing to their efficacy and speed. You should discuss which option is right for you with your pest control provider before proceeding as the type of treatment needed will depend on the extent of the infestation in your home.
Natural solutions include:
- Barriers: To prevent termites from entering your home, you can install a barrier around the foundation of your home, making it very difficult for them to burrow in.
- Nematodes: These small worms prey on termites and so can be used to combat infestations. Nematodes systematically consume the termites’ larvae until the colony is gone.
- Fungi: Certain types of fungi are very harmful to termites, causing them to swell up, go blind, and die after contact.
- Traps: Termite traps can be constructed out of cardboard—pieces of cardboard are sprayed with cellulose that attracts large numbers of termites. Once the cardboard pieces are completely covered, they are burned, drastically reducing the number of termites infesting the home.
- Heat fumigation: This process, which absolutely must be handled by a professional due to the risk of fire if improperly implemented, uses high temperatures to kill termites throughout the home without the use of chemical agents.
- Orange Oil: This natural oil, which is harmless to humans, is extremely toxic to termites and as such it is often applied to termite-infested areas as a chemical-free method of destroying colonies. Note, however, that it is usually only suitable for “spot treatment”.
Chemical solutions include:
- Chemical dusts, e.g. Arsenic and Permethrin. These dusts are extremely toxic, and so must be handled by a professional, but they remain in use as a viable solution for extremely difficult-to-remove termite infestations. Note that only a very small amount of dust must be used, so professional cleaning afterwards should mitigate any risk to you and your family.
- Chemical baits. Traps are baited with a chemical solution that the termites feed on, resulting in death. Termite bait needs to be applied strategically so as to trap the termites as they leave their tunnels, so once again, professional assistance is advised.
- Pesticides. While pesticides are economical, they are not recommend if you have termites within your indoor furniture or other inhabited spaces of your home as they are highly toxic. They may, however, be used on primarily outdoor infestations, e.g. around your home’s foundation, your deck, or patio space.
- Gas fumigation. Gas fumigation, usually referred to as “termite tenting”, is a process wherein professionals cover a severely-infested house with a tarp “tent” and then circulate gas throughout, eradicating termites very effectively.