Out of all of the different creepy crawlies out there termites are one of the most dangerous. If you fail to spot the early signs of termites, in only a few years they can begin to ruin the foundation of your home. It’s usually a good idea to seek the help of termite pest control services, but there are a few things you might want to try yourself first.
Different types of termites:
This type of termite is usually found living in the soil, and they tend to build the largest nests that are connected by trees and structural timber. Found throughout the whole of the U.S., these termites are long, narrow and oval and can vary in color from creamy white to dark brown or black.
Slightly bigger than the subterranean termite, the dampwood termite is usually found in woods that have a high moisture content thus in places such as the Pacific coastal states, the desert, or semi-arid southwest. It’s unlikely that this is the type of termite you’d find in your home.
Drywood termites don’t need to have contact with soil which is why they can be found in hardwood floors and timber. This is the main species that are responsible for damage to homes although they do destroy them slower than subterranean termites. You’ll usually find this type of termite on the coast from South Carolina to Texas and along to California.
Signs that you may have termites
Before you start contacting termite companies – how sure are you that you actually have a problem? Here are a few signs that might help you figure it out.
Damage to wood
Termites are known for causing damage to wood, particularly behind and below floors and walls. It’s worth checking these surfaces once a week to see if any damage can be seen but if you’re not entirely sure then look for a company that will offer you a free termite inspection.
Termites have wings and will shed them when they find a good place to burrow into the wood. Unlike ant wings, termite wings tend to be the same size.
To survive, termites need a certain temperature, and they will usually thrive in places that have moisture. They will create tubes or tunnels out of mud to block any cool or dry air and retain this moisture. These can usually be found near trees, sheds or where the ground connects your house.
Look for brown or wood colored pellets of excrement near the weakened wood. It’s usually worth looking for these with a flashlight.
Test your wood
As we know, termites will weaken the wood in your home so go to the basement and check to see whether your wood is hollow or not. You can do this by pushing it with a screwdriver, and if any wood falls out, it’s likely that you have a termite problem.
Getting rid of termites
Depending on the type of termite that you’ve identified is causing problems in your home, here are some of the most effective ways to get rid of them.
Termites can’t live in -20 degrees (Fahrenheit) or less nor can they live at temperatures hotter than 120 degrees. Microwave termite control is site-specific and an effective method against drywood termites. Similarly, some professionals opt to use liquid nitrogen to kill the termites by freezing. Both are these tend to be popular as they are quick, non-toxic solutions.
Set up a cardboard trap
Head to your local DIY store and get your hands on a cardboard termite trap. These use bait or liquid termiticide to kill the termites when they go into the trap. You need to check the traps regularly, but some termite pest inspection companies offer this as part of their service.
Expose the wood to sunlight
Although it may not be as effective as other methods, exposing wood to sunlight can be helpful to slow down the termite process until you hire a professional to get rid of them for good.
Permethrin or arsenic dust
When used correctly, both of these chemicals will give you immediate results. If a termite comes in contact with one of these, it will pass it on to the rest of the colony. In the case of arsenic dust, the chemical will be transmitted from the dead termites to the others who will begin to feed on them.
Nematodes are microscopic roundworms that seek out and feed on termites and other insects parasitically until they die. Arguably, this is the safest method for termite control but it tends to take around 2-4 weeks for maximum control to occur and a lot of people want a termite treatment that’s a lot quicker.
Hopefully, you now have more of an idea about termites, so the next step to take is to get rid of them for good.