How To Get Rid Of Termites – Naturally, Effectively and Prevenatively

If you’re looking to find out how to get rid of termites, chances are you already have signs of termites, which means you really need to act quickly to prevent any serious damage to your home. Every year in the United States, termites cause billions of dollars worth of damages to homeowners, and you don’t have to be part of this statistic. Do you have termites in your home? It’s time to act fast to prevent and serious damage! In this guide we’ll be covering the real ways to kill termites and preventing them from coming back.

Although termite tenting and hiring a pest control expert is extremely effective, it’s also very expensive and can also put you and your family out of your house for days on end. Before you spend time and money on termite tenting, why not try a few of our methods to get rid of termites yourself, and how to prevent future termite infestations!

What Are Termites And What Type Of Termite Species Are There?

Before we jump into how to get rid of termites, it will be helpful for you to understand what termites are, what their purpose is, and what type of termite species are around in your area.

There are two main species of termite in the United States, the subterranean termite, and drywood termite. When you have a termite infestation, it’s important to understand which species of termites are in your home because they both require different treatment methods to eliminate.

Subterreanean Termites:

Subterranean termites are the termites that cause up to 95% of all home and structural damage in the United States. They tend to live in the foundational wood of your home, certain soils around your home, compost piles, or any other compostable material. These are the termites that create mud tubes and tunnels to travel throughout your home.

These types of termites tend to do more damage compared to drywood termites because they have saw-like jaws which are designed to shred wood. Orkin says these are the termites that you should look out for in order to protect your home.

Identifying Subterranean Termites:

Size:

Subterranean termites are generally between 1/8th of an inch – 3/8th of an inch in length and are narrow and tubular in shape.

Color:

Workers are a tan/cream color, while soldiers are the same color but have a brown head which is a key identifier.

The reproductive or colony termites come in two main colors depending on their role in the colony. Primary reproductive termites are usually black or brown, and supplementary reproductive termites are creamy-white and color.

Mud Tubes:

If you notice mud tubes, this means you have subterranean termites. Drywood termites do not create mud tubes.

Mud tubes are used for termites to travel and navigate through your home, like a road system.

Size Of Colony:

Subterranean termites come in colonies that are extremely large in size, often ranging from 100,000 even up to 1,000,000 individual termites.

Drywood Termites:

Subterranean, as their name suggests live underneath soil and in other compostable materials.On the flip side, drywood termites can live simply in wood.

Drywood termites do not use mud tubes, and generally tend to live around coastal regions where it’s warmer and more humid.

These types of termites generally aren’t quite as destructive because they aren’t as effective and chewing through wood, and their colonies are much smaller in size, which means it takes longer for them to cause significant damage.

Identifying Drywood Termites:

Size:

Drywood termites are slightly smaller in size, and generally range from around 1/8th inch – 1/2 an inch in length, and are also narrow and tubular in shape. They often are confused with flying ants, but you can tell the difference based on their slim and tubular shaped body.

Color:

Most drywood termites that actually cause damage to your wood are white in color, but can range to be slightly tan and creamy in color. Winged drywood termites are usually yellow to light brown in color, not to be confused with flying ants which are black or brown in color.

Mud Tubes:

Drywood termites don’t create mud tubes.

Size Of Colony:

Drywood termites have smaller colonies than subterranean termites, and usually live in colonies of around 2,500 other termites.

Signs Of A Termite Infestation:

No matter if you have subterranean or drywood termites, there will be key signs of an a termite infestation that you should look for. Because termites like to be inside the structure of your home, it can be difficult to spot some of these signs unless you make a point to regularly check the cracks and crevices of your home, joints, crawlspace, etc.

  • Sawdust and Wood Debris: As termites eat through wood, they often leave behind sawdust and other signs of wood debris. This usually creates small piles of debris around or under where they have been digging.
  • Hollow Wood: If you have an area that you think might be infested, try giving it a tap and seeing if the wood sounds hollow. If you hear a soft or hollow thud, this usually means that termites have been actively eating out the inside. You can also use a screwdriver to give the area a poke, and if it gives away easily, that’s a pretty clear sign of termite activity.
  • Frass or Termite Droppings: Termite Droppings or frass, can be a key indicator of advanced termite activity. As they eat their way through wood they need to poop out the waste, and this is in the form of frass. Frass will build up in tight piles that look similar to small piles of sand.
  • Swarm Evidence and Piles Of Wings: As termites swarm and attempt to create a new colony, they shed their wings. This leads to a scattered collection or even piles of old termite wings laying around.
  • Termite Head Banging: If you hear a weird quiet banging type of sound coming from within your walls it could be termites head banging. Exactly as the name sounds, when termites detect a threat, they’ll posture up and start shaking their body and banging their head to make noise and attempt to scare off the predator.
  • Peeling Or Bubbling Paint: As termites enter your drywall they break the barrier between paint and drywall, and they begin to let moisture and humidity in behind your paint, which will lead to peeling or bubbling paint.

How To Get Rid Of Termites:

Getting rid of termites fast and effectively is extremely important to protecting your home and your family from structural damage.

1. Identify Which Species Of Termites You Have:

By determining whether you have a subterranean termite infestation or a dry wood infestation, it will guide your treatment options moving forward. If you see mud tubes, this means you have subterranean termites!

2. Eliminate Subterranean Termites Using Termiticide Barriers And Termite Baits Traps

Subterranean termites can be effectively eliminated and removed using termiticide barriers around your home such as Taurus SC, or by using a termite baits station that attracts termites to the poison bait, which they then bring back to their colony and slowly kills the entire colony. Termite barrier treatments will also help to protect your home from future termite infestations. That being said termite bait stations are the recommended and most effective treatment methods to keep termites under control! Liquid treatments and bait stations provide long-term termite protection!

Some people have also experimented with using beneficial nematodes. Beneficial nematodes are parasites that are brought back to a termite colony and then will slowly eliminate the entire colony.

3. Eliminate Drywood Termites Using Termiticide And Foam Treatments

Drywood termites tend to live inside wood and firm structures, so it’s a bit trickier to get treatment in an effective location. This can involve drilling small holes into wood that has an active infestation and using a foam insecticide to fill the hole with termite poison. You can also attempt to use natural termite treatments such as citrus oil which has been known to prevent dry wood termites from laying eggs. Create this mixture by mixing two cups of water with 10-15 drops of citrus essential oil.

4. Create A Boric Acid Perimeter Around Your Home

Boric acid is a key ingredient in most termiticide treatments and can be placed as a perimeter treatment around your home to help prevent future infestations. By creating a perimeter around your foundation using boric acid, you can give yourself a little bit of extra reassurance and future protection against termites in your home.

5. Use Diatomaceous Earth To Get Rid Of Termites

Diatomaceous Earth is a common natural termite treatment, which comes in a powder form and does a good job of dehydrating termites and eventually killing them. It’s not as effective as professional termiticide treatments, but can be a decent solution if you’re looking for a DIY treatment.

6. Hire A Professional Termite Control Service

Although it’s always great to try to solve issues yourself. For something as serious as a termite infestation, sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. By calling in a professional termite control service it will allow you to have the peace of mind that the termite issue will truly be gone! In serious cases, if you call a professional pest control professional is worth every single penny!

How To Prevent Termites In The Future:

Preventing termites is just as important as getting rid of them. By preparing your home so it doesn’t look attractive to termites, you’ll be able to properly prevent them in the future. Here are some of our quick tips on how to prevent termites in the future, and protect your family and your home!

1. Ensure any wood siding is at least six inches off the ground on the exterior of your home. Termites use earth-to-wood contact to gain access to your home, for shelter, moisture and food. By ensuring there’s some separation, you’ll help prevent termites from gaining access to your home in the first place.

2. Reduce moisture near your homes foundation. Termites are in search of moisture and will pick their next home based on the amount of moisture available. You should focus on diverting excess moisture away from your foundation as well as reducing the moisture in your crawlspace or basement via vapor barrier in your crawlspace or using de-humidifiers.

3. Don’t store firewood near your foundation or inside your crawlspace. Termites are constantly on the hunt for food sources, and anything that they resemble as food will attract them towards your foundation where they’ll eventually make their way into your foundation and home’s structure.

I hope you’ve found this guy on how to get rid of termites to be helpful and provide you with a little bit of insight before you go out and spend money and call a professional pest control service to kill termites in your home. If you are worried about a termite issue with your new home, you can sign up for a termite bond, to ensure that you’re always protected!

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!