Termite Control: The DIY Termite Control Method
Though they are tiny in stature, termites are one of the most destructive insects to a household that and do serious damage to the structure of your home. Termites are a silent destroyer and are often hidden away from the naked eye in the bowels of a home, munching away on the foundation. Termites are wood eaters because they mainly enjoy cellulose which wood has plenty of.
No one wants to have to deal with a termite infestation, but unfortunately, if there isn’t proper prevention treatment plan put in place, a termite problem may be hard to avoid. You should not let the thought of termites and termite control scare you away from saving thousands of dollars by tackling the job yourself. Now that the industry allows for professional quality termiticides which can be purchased and applied to your own property, there is no reason not to.
There is an assortment of new technology on the market that can assist you in your termite control, and at Solutions Store we offer a full line of termiticides and wood preservative.
There are over 2,000 different species, which all have distinct scientific names. However there are only three three major types of termites found in the United States and that are likely to target your home: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Their scientific names are Reticulitermes flavipes, Zootermopsis angusticollis, and Incisitermes snyderi, respectively.
In the southern part of the United States there is an estimated range of 15-25 colonies of termites which reside in any given acre of land. So if you think your home might be completely termite-free, think again. Your home is your most important investment so it is crucial to take the necessary measures to protect your home and keep termites away.
Termites are soft-bodied and pale-colored insect resembling maggots which feast on wood. The queens and kings are larger sized versions of the worker termites and there are also winged termites which fly and much like ants, leave the colony to reproduce and create more colonies.
Behavior of the Three Common Termite Types
Subterranean termites are the main type of wood pest and the biggest creator of destruction to homes and structures in the U.S. Black to pale yellow-brown in color, these termites create gigantic colonies and studies say they can consume over 15 pounds of wood weekly. Termites can also travel long distances in search of wood, journeying up to 100 yards from their nests to access wood. typically live in the soil and reside in nests away from wood structures and homes. They eat dead plants and trees but mainly get their nutrition from cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood. The worker termites journey into homes and began taking wood that make up the structure of your home and take it back to their colonies. Subterranean termites are rarely out in the open because they need to be around moisture to survive.
Drywood termites are white to cream in color and able to survive on little moisture other than what they consume in the wood. Unlike the subterranean termites, drywood termites have much smaller colonies.While they also consume cellulose from wood, they do not do damage to the extent of subterranean termites. You can find drywood termites in furniture, dead trees, telephone poles, etc.
Dampwood termites are larger than both the drywood and subterranean termites and have a flattened brown head with long dark brown to black mandibles. Dampwood termites require more moisture than drywood termites and can be found around wood with high moisture content or decay, hence the name. Typically they can be found around the home in rotting deck planks or damp wood around leaky showers, tubs, and poorly ventilated areas of the house.
Termites are often confused with ants because they can look similar in appearance from a distance. The key to distinguish between the two lies in the fact that the termite workers do not have a well pronounced waist while ant waists are more noticeable. Also termite workers have soft bodies and are light colored, unlike an ant.
Once it has been confirmed that you are indeed dealing with termites, the next step is to determine what type of termite they are because depending on if you’re dealing with a subterranean termite, a dampwood or a drywood, the method of treatment and products to use may vary.
Aside from observing how they look, you can also find out what type of termite you are dealing with by observing their behavior as was noted in the characteristics section above. If you are still unsure, you can gives us a call or send us a message at email@example.com with a photo of the insect and we can help you determine quickly what it is.
It is highly recommended that you check your home or building for termites at least once a year. We understand that doing a termite inspection on your own around your home may seem like a heavy task but if you follow the easy steps we provide, we can help you inspect your home for termites successfully and smoothly.
If you have a home where wood comes into contact with the ground or there are areas that are difficult to inspect on your own, that is when it would be best to have a professional inspect your home for termites. But for the most part, termite inspection is really easy to do by looking at the wood structuring around your home in the attic, in furniture, outdoors around the perimeter of the house by just using a household flashlight and using a pocket knife or screwdriver to feel and observe through narrower, hard to reach areas.
What to Look For
When scanning your home during the inspection process to see if you have termites infestation the main things to look out for are damaged wood, mud tubes and any live termites you may find.
Damaged wood. Look for wood that looks to be crumbling. This usually indicates that termites have gone through and feasted on the wood. Examine the wood and tap it with a tool to hear or feel hollowness. You can use a knife or screwdriver to inspect pieces of wood and to check if there were any tunnels made.
Mud tubes. As was mentioned, termites love soil as it provides a ton of moisture they need to survive.Subterranean termites will often make their nest in the soil and build little tunnels in the soil called "mud tubes" that runs from the nest to a wood source for food. If you are to discover mud tubes then there is definitely a termite infestation. However if you find none, that doesn’t mean that you are termite-free as they can use more than one method that termites travel to and from sources of food.
Discarded Wings. If you find wings near windows or sources of light, this may be another indication of an infestation. Swarmer termites usually shed their wings during the swarming process.
Buckling or bubbling paint or brittle drywall.
Common Problem Areas
These are common areas to inspect to see if you have an infestation.
Wooden elements of construction in basements and crawl spaces
Window sills and frames (particularly in the basement), support posts, sub floors, supporting piers, joists, and wooden decks or porches.
Areas where concrete elements meet wood, such as in steps, slabs, or porches
Cracks in brick construction, expansion joints, or cement where termites might have gained entry
Wood piles and debris near the foundation including tree stumps, exterior basement window and door frames, and fence posts.
Once you find an infestation in your home and know the type of termite, it is time for treatment. It is recommended to follow a simple two step process to eradicate the termite infestation. This consists of treating the active infestation your found, whether it be the nest directly if you found it. The second would be to implement a bait system by digging a trench around the perimeter of your home to eliminate any other remaining termites that you haven’t eliminated directly.
We here at Solutions offer a full line of termite control products for any size job, from pre-treats, spot treatments to soil perimeter treatments. We also have termite Bait stations. Some homeowners select to do both termiticide application around the perimeter and also installing the termite bait monitors for the ultimate control and monitoring system.
Step 1: Directly Treating the Nest
If you found the termite nest indoors in your home, it is recommended that you apply control products to it directly. We recommend using a non-repellent product to directly treat the nest because it will allow the termites to grab the product and take it to other termites within the colony. You can use an aerosol foaming spray like Fipro or concentrated liquid termiticide like Reclaim IT or Taurus SC. If you need help choosing the right product for your specific infestation situation you can call us and we will help you right away.
Step 1B: Drilling into voids or wood:
Sometimes an area of infestation may be hard to access. That is when drilling holes into wood or drywall may be required to gain access to an area suspected of having an infestation. Then you can apply your preferred control product.
It is recommended that when drilling holes to drill holes every few inches or so until you find a spot where your drill bit is able to drill through relatively easily with little to no resistance. This will indicate that termites were present there and would be an ideal area to apply product.
Step 1C: Apply termiticide directly into the drilled holes.
After applying the termiticide using a non-repellent product it is important to be patient as it can take some time, at least up to 90 days to eliminate the infestation completely.
Step 2: Creating a Termite Trench to Apply Bait
Once the nest has been dealt with directly with repellent it is then important to treat the exterior perimeter of your home to ensure any traveling members of the colony are eliminated as well as to prevent new colonies from intruding upon your home.
Trench shovel or pickaxe for digging
5 gallon bucket
Using the pick axe or trenching shovel dig a trench, 5” wide, 5” deep, and 10' long, right up next to the concrete foundation of the house.
Mix termiticide chemical and apply to the trench:
Mix up 4 gallons of chemical at the above rate in either a 5 gallon bucket or a wheelbarrow. Take the dirt from the trench and mix with the chemical until it is a muddy slush. Pour the slush back into the trench, spreading it as evenly as possible.
Repeat as necessary every 10 ft around the exterior of your home.
Drilling through concrete:
If you are experiencing an active infestation, you may want to contact a professional pest control company to drill any concrete areas around the house that may need to be treated underneath. Doing this will ensure a good solid barrier around your house, helping to protect it from termites.
Spot treatments are available with foaming agents that contain the same active ingredient as the soil termiticide but has been already put in a easy to apply foaming agent. These should not be stand alone treatments, they will work great if you know the area that the termites are located. Foam can be applied to wall voids, window frames, etc.
Wood preservative treatment is also another form of termite treatment that is prevents the wood from being digestible to wood destroying insects. These products can only be applied to unfinished, unpainted or sealed wood. Can be applied pre or post construction to exposed wood, that maybe you are dealing with a termite repair or an area with moisture issues.
Your home is your biggest investment so any homeowner will try and go above and beyond to protect the home and put in preventative measures, especially against structure destroying insects like termites. It is important to note though that doing a thorough preventive measure requires a lot of laborious work that could be time consuming. If you feel you can gut it out and do it yourself, by all means, more power to you.
The trench building and termiticide mixture from the control phase also works as a preventative measure, deterring any new termites from intruding upon your home.
Also you can prevent a reinfestation by:
Eliminating areas that are conducive to termites by fixing damaged wood
Reduce areas that have excessive moisture
Remove debris from close to the structure or under the structure.
Make sure the soil line is below the slab, remove excessive mulch as these give termites easy access and ground contact.
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