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How to get rid of termites

Out of all of the myriad of insects, rodents, reptiles, and other pests that annoy and cause discomfort to homeowners everywhere, none are more dangerous than termites. Termites alone can destroy the foundation and properties of a home in just a few years. 

Good to know: The beginning of the destructive work of termites may not be noticed until five years after the infestation. By then it may be too late. 

Would you like to learn how to get rid of termites quickly? Termites can cause serious damage and threaten entire livelihoods. Learn how to fight termites before it's too late! In this article, you will find the steps you need to take in order to get rid of this pesky infestation.

No question about it, termites are natural architects. They build slender towers as high as a house and extensive hills with ingenious ventilation systems from the earth, excrement, and water. But they have little respect for man-made architecture. They devour sleepers, studs, and rafters because wood is at the top of their menu. The vegetarian insects are also said to have attacked sugar cane, tea, and coffee plantations as well as banknotes and court files. The economic damage amounts to billions of euros worldwide each year.

Termites are sometimes called "white ants" because of their social organization in hierarchical colonies (termite mounds) an organization similar to the ants. By their appearance (the belly is attached to the thorax), they are closer to cockroaches. There are 2,600 species of termites classified by families.

There are roughly two types of termites: earth termites and wood termites or dry wood termites. As far as we know today, almost 3000 species of termites are known, which are divided into seven families:

  • Mastotermitidae
  • Termopsidae
  • Hodotermitidae
  • Kalotermitidae
  • Serritermitidae
  • Rhinotermitidae
  • Termitidae
  • It’s important to determine what type of termite you have. There are basically two types of termites that can infest your home: subterranean and wood termites. The former can be found both in the earth and in the wood in and around your house, while the latter can only be found in the wood (not in the earth). 

    Subterranean termites are mainly found in warm, coastal areas - such as California, Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia. Wooden termites can be found everywhere in America or e.g. Australia. None of the termite species is native to Germany.

    Subterranean termites can be found in wood and compost heaps around the house, in addition to the wood of the foundation. Subterranean termites typically do far more damage than wooden termites and require other methods of their eviction or eradication.

    How termites look like

    Termite metamorphosis is incomplete: adults are very similar to larvae. after several successive molts, the larvae in the hierarchy of the termite mound are assigned to workers and sterile soldiers or to nymphs destined to become sexually grown adults in order to ensure reproduction. These well-defined roles prove how much termite societies are organized and governed by collective rules.

    Termites, who can grind with their mouthpiece, are part of xylophagous insects since they feed on the wood they dig, as well as capricorns and rillettes. Very strong insects, termites are able to cross the masonry of a building (always starting from the floor of a house as they live in the ground) to gain access to the wood on which they feed.

    Good to know: termites like most types of wood (except some exotic ones), which makes them even more dangerous!

    Termites can be found almost everywhere in the world. It is predicted that these voracious insects will spread even further in the world due to climate change and globalization and will adapt to the new habitat.

    These insects can do serious harm to your home. They are a particularly bothersome pest as they can cause serious harm to your home and are known to be difficult to get rid of. The chaos with termites on the apartments is certainly one of the most impressive. They work underground, start at the foot of the building and gradually rise up due to many materials (also in masonry!)

    While most native pests are just annoying, termites can wreak substantial and costly damage. The destructive insects eat their way through the wood and can bring down an entire house. The spread of termites is particularly a problem in areas where there is complete ignorance of the topic of wood protection, i.e. prevention. It is all the more important to recognize the infestation as quickly as possible.

    How to detect termites

    If your floors sink, your foundation is partially hollowed out, or holes appear in the wood, these are clear signs of a termite infestation.

    It is best to check infested wood in foundation beams with a screwdriver and flashlight. By tapping on the wood, you can quickly spot hollow areas. Then put the screwdriver in there as a test. The wood gives way and falls

    lt apart, termites have taken root there. Also, check for any termite droppings nearby. These are wood-colored or dark brown globules and are another indication of a termite infestation.

    You might also come across a termite nest. Such a nest consists of a dense network of tunnels and tubes either in the wood or in mud if it is a subterranean termite species.

    When we see the presence of termites, they have already made big progress in destroying your property and their damage can threaten the structure of the house and undermine the safety of its residents. Termites are a hazard that is taken very seriously by the authorities, to the point that specific legislation applies to them in various countries.

    If you can see yellowish spots and maybe small holes in the wood, this is an indication of termite infestation. If parts of your house or wooden furniture in the living area are made of pine, cypress, kapok, balsa, or alder, you could actually have become a victim of termites, because the little pests love these types of wood.

    If you notice any of these wood chewing creatures or any signs of their activity, it's important to deal with them right away! 

    How to fight termites

    If the suspicion has actually been confirmed, you should act quickly. Because the pests reproduce quickly as soon as the sex animals lay eggs, they quickly develop into a large colony. The colony multiplies even more dramatically when it develops secondary and tertiary sexually mature insects over time.

    Termite traps

    Termites love wood and cellulose. You can take advantage of this preference and set up a cardboard trap. To do this, take a few pieces of cardboard, moisten them, stack them on top of each other, and then set the trap in a place where you suspect the insects will be, even if the termite burrows are not always easy to find. 

    Set up a cardboard trap. Take a few flat strips of cardboard, moisten them, and stack them on top of each other in an area where termites are likely to be. Termites feed on cellulose (cardboard), so this is an excellent trap. If the box is infested with termites, remove it to burn in a safe place. Repeat this several times if necessary.

    Note: This trap does not solve the termite problem. It's a quick fix for removing hundreds of termites at once. Combine this method with other solutions that are a little stronger such as high-tech devices - ultrasound insect repellers.

    Nematodes

    Try harmless nematodes (roundworms). Benign nematodes (harmless to humans) are small thread-like worms that are used as natural parasites against garden vermin, including termites. [3] These worms look for a host, such as a termite larva, and burrow into it, usually killing them within 48 hours. They use the host's body as a breeding ground.

    You can purchase benign nematodes from your local garden center or online.  For use in the soil at soil temperatures above 16 ° C, nematodes should be used immediately after purchase. If you can't use them right away, put them in the refrigerator. Leave them in the ground early in the morning or after sunset; the UV light will damage them.

    Sun exposure

    Expose your wood to sunlight. If the termite-infested item isn't your entire house, just a piece of furniture, or some other item that you can move around, place it in the sun. Termites thrive in the dark, and the sun's heat will kill them. 

    On sunny days, move your furniture outside for as long as possible - preferably two to three days. This method works especially well with the cardboard trap method.

    Frost

    Freeze the termites. If you live in a rainy area and cannot expose your furniture to the sun, you can consider the freeze method as an alternative. Put your wooden furniture (or parts of it) in a large freezer and leave it there for two to three days. 

    While this method can be difficult with larger pieces of furniture, after a while you should definitely run out of termites

    Boric acid

    Boric acid is often used to combat termites because it is considered to be extremely effective. Boric acid is one of the most common and effective ways to get rid of termites. In fact, it is the most important termite insecticide. Boric acid damages their nervous system and dries them out.

    The best way to kill termites with boric acid is to use a bait station. Rub or spray some wood (or other similar material with cellulose) evenly with boric acid. Place a boric acid bait in the garden near the house or in an open termite mound. Check the bait station regularly and re-spray if necessary. You should see termite carcasses nearby.

    Use vinegar

    Not only does vinegar kill termites, but it also prevents more termites from nesting in your home. Vinegar can be mixed with water in a 1:1 ratio for the most effective use.

    You can pour the vinegar water into a spray bottle and use it to spray the mixture onto furniture and walls.

    Try orange and clove essential oils

    You can find clove oil at most health food stores, pharmacies, or stores that specialize in perfumes and cleaning products. Clove oil can be used to kill termites on floors by wet wiping floors with clove oil. You end up with dead termites and a great smelling house.

    When looking to get rid of termites, many people do not want to use products that are toxic to humans or pets. For this reason, orange oil is the best choice because it kills termites easily while not harming other residents.

    You can put the orange oil on a damp cloth and use it to wipe surfaces that have been infected by termites. You can also use it to wipe pieces of furniture so that they don't get infected too. Keep in mind, however, that orange oil will only work with small populations of termites.

    Kerosene or lubricant

    Kerosene and lubricants are also used to fight termites. However, there is one drawback to this: they can be toxic to pets and humans. For this reason, you should be careful when using these substances.

    Take a damp rag and use it to wipe off furniture that has been infected by termites. If you're using lubricants, consider using a spray bottle.

    Termite prevention steps

    Locate the nest

    You have to find the termite nest. Once the nest is found, plant bait traps and poison the termite queen and workers. You need to place these traps where the termites are gathered for the best effect.

    It is very difficult to identify the presence of termites in a house because the larvae of which make a sound when digging the wood, termites don't make any noise while they dig their galleries in the woods; don't leave sawdust behind them, which would be an indication of their presence. Instead, we have to rely on holes that can be seen on the surface of the frames and floors.

    Seal entry points

    It is important that you do not have easy access to your home. Check your basement space and attic insulation. Look for gaps, cracks, and other signs that termites can find their way inside. Carefully examine your external foundation and look for cracks or possible entry points. Seal any gaps around cables, wires, and pipes that go into your home.

    Create a barrier around your home

    When dealing with termites, remember that defense is just as important as attack. There is a second class of termite venom that you spray into a canal that you dig around your home. This creates a long-term barrier that wards off or kills any termites that try to get close to it.

    Don't give termites a reason to come back

    Keep all debris away from your home, deck, and foundation. It is especially important to keep firewood at least a few feet away from your home. Even other types of debris can attract termites if they accumulate near your home or related structures.

    The following measures can be used to prevent termites.

    • Make sure your house and apartment are dry. Termites prefer cool and humid places. Reduce leaks or standing water in and around your home. Termites are attracted to cool and humid habitats because they need water to survive. 
    • Pay particular attention to moisture, otherwise, termites will invade you. Make sure all leaks and stagnant water both inside and outside your home are secure and dry. Sweep or vacuum up unwanted water if possible.
    • Dirty, wet gutters are also ideal homes for termites, so keep your gutters clean for extra protection.
    • One way to prevent termites is to add permethrin, an insect repellent, to paint, wood polish, or even to the concrete mix. 0.1% in the mixture is enough to keep the termites away. The remedy does not harm people.
    • Keep wood away from your possessions. Termites obviously prefer to feed on wood, so keep large amounts of firewood and other loose logs and branches away from your home. Having large amounts of wood in a property is like an invitation to a termite feast. 
    • If you need to store wood near your house, cover it completely to keep it dry; this will minimize termite attraction. If you have to use wood, treat it with permethrin as mentioned above.
    • Seal all the crevices in your house. By simply sealing and closing the windows, doors, and cracks around your house, you are taking the first and important steps to ensure that no termites can infest your home. Gaps around electrical wiring and plumbing are another way for termites to nestle in your home.
    • Flyscreens on the doors, windows, and porch are also a necessity if you want to protect yourself from termite infestation.
    • It helps to spray pesticides once a week and to plug any holes near the termite infestation with boric acid.

    Conclusion

    Your home is probably the biggest investment you have ever made and your most important property. Therefore, it is necessary to take the right steps so that your home is protected from termites and to rid your home of them immediately if they have already invaded you.

    If the termites have only spread through a piece of furniture, you have a good chance of getting rid of the insects quickly. However, if the whole house is already colonized by pests, you won't be able to do much on your own. 

    To date, dangerous insecticides or microwaving the whole house have been used to combat termites. Now a safe but effective technology can help. Easily available online, insect control products are the first and foremost step you need to take to get rid of these pests. High-technology gadgets such as ultrasound insect repellers are indispensable because they emit high-pitched sounds, undetectable by humans and pets but annoying to insects. This is highly effective, but non-toxic to humans and pets. Such a method offers you a chance of rescue in the fight against termites.