Termites are those little critters that take up residence in your house and start doing damage to it. By the time you discover that they are in your home, they may have already done a substantial amount of damage to your house. In fact, nationwide, termites do billions of dollars’ worth of damage, according to the EPA. Therefore, it is imperative that you put in place a plan of action for proper termite control. Termite control comes in three steps:
The following is a brief breakdown you can follow to help get rid of termites.
Obviously, the first step in the process of termite control would be to try and identify if you have a termite problem, in the first place. Unfortunately, unlike many other pests, termites do not advertise their presence very well. This makes it more difficult to identify them. Don’t expect to see them coming out of the soil or any food sources such as the wood structure of your home. In fact, most people may not even realize that they have a termite infestation until they come across a nest of them while doing construction or house-related maintenance. As far as finding termites in your home is concerned, using a flat head screwdriver to probe exposed wood of the house can help. If you find any hollow spots in the wood, then it is a telltale sign of the presence of termites.
Subterranean Termites go through 3 stages in their life; eggs, larvae, and adulthood. The adult phase is when they turn into termite flies. However, even when they are in their larval phase, they are capable of doing damage. Identifying adult termites is fairly straight forward. Looked at from above, the wings will form an “X” shape and they will be of equal length. From egg to adult, termites can live for several years, however, the queens can live for much longer than that. That is why it is important to get rid of the queens for the total eradication of termites.
Prevention of termites is a multi-step process. There is no such thing as a one-fix solution for it. Termites are fond of water or humidity. Therefore, make sure there is proper drainage around the house so that no excess water from rain stays on the ground. If you notice the water around the building is not moving then it is time to put in place a drainage system using proper grading. It is also a good idea to keep an eye on gutters and spouts to make sure they are doing their job well.
Inspect the house and see if there are any cracks or any other damage such as leaks in which termites can use to enter the house. If they are present, then they should be plugged up using cement, grout or caulk. If your house has vents, then make sure they are not blocked. If trees or plants around the house are touching it, then make sure to trim them back. If you keep a stockpile of wood or firewood, keep it away from the house. Last but not least, you should have the house inspected at least once a year by a professional to help with termite control.
Treating for Termites
You have done a termite inspection of your house and you have reasonable doubt that the house has a termite infestation, now what? There are several treatment options and they can be divided into two basic types; chemical and non-chemical treatments.
If you are planning on going the DIY route for termite control, then there are minimum risk pesticides or termiticides available on the market for you to use. However, in order to use more powerful termiticides, it is better to enlist the help of a professional. The main thing to remember is that it is recommended to only use termiticides that are approved by the EPA. The EPA has approved the following termite control products for termite control:
- Wood termite treatments
- Termite Baits
- Termiticides applied for liquid soil
- Building materials injected with termiticides
As the name shows, non-chemical termite control does not involve pesticides. These usually include putting up barriers near the foundation area, during the construction of the house. Some examples of physical barriers are certain types of sands and steel mesh. There are biological products such as fungi and nematodes that are somewhat successful, and not harmful to humans.
Termite Control; An Ongoing Battle
The truth is there is no simple solution to get rid of termites. It requires constant attention, especially if you live in humid areas. However, occasional inspections will go a long way in preventing major issues as well as expenses.