Disclaimer: Please exercise caution when treating your home with chemicals or insecticides. If you decide to use the products listed in this guide, it is important that you follow the instructions on the label carefully. I have also listed natural/organic pest control solutions at the bottom of this page to provide you with alternative treatment options.
Getting to Know These Pests
There are over 40 different species of termites in the United States alone! Each of these species is classified under 3 groups: subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. The group name identifies the living environment and meal that each species prefer. One thing that all these termites have in common is that they can all infect your home through structural cracks or wood that sits near the soil. A queen is capable of laying thousands of eggs at a time. In just a few years, you could have millions of these pests eating away at your home.
Why it is Critical to Get Rid of Termites Fast
Termites are extremely dangerous because they will destroy structural beams that support your house. The severity of the damage will depend on the size and species of the colony. Now you can understand why it is critical that you learn how to get rid of termites fast. In addition to structural beams, these critters will also eat their way through posts, wall studs, ceiling supports and sub-floors, carpet, paneling, furniture, money and books. They will chew their way through pretty much any cellulose-based plant materials.
Step 1: How to detect a termite infestation
Signs of an infestation are not always easy to find. It may require some serious detective work to determine if your house has any problems. The best way to start is with a screwdriver and flashlight. Begin in your basement or crawlspace and search for obvious signs of damage. Here is a list of things you should look for:
- Mud tubes
- Termite excrement
- Paint that appears to be bubbling or peeling
- Solid wood that sounds hollow when you knock on it
- Crumbling wood
- Pinholes in drywall
- Sagging floors or sheetrock
- Winged insects in or around your house (look like ants)
- Discarded wings
*If you do not notice any obvious signs of termite damage, take your screwdriver and inspect your support beams, floor beams, etc. Tap on any wood you can find to see if it is hollow.
Start killing the Termites Immediately!
If you detect termites, start the process of killing them right away. It is possible to get rid of termites yourself and it will save you hundreds of dollars. You just need to know which pest control products to use and how to apply them properly. It is important that you do not cut any corners or buy any cheap ineffective products.
Step 2: Getting Rid of Indoor Termites with Spot Treatments
Termidor FOAM is what the professionals use. It uses active ingredient called Fipronil. This product is the perfect solution for spot treatments inside of your house. The foam expands at a 30:1 ration, creating a dry foam that can be applied to any areas where termites are found. One ounce of spray will become 1 quart of foam within 5 seconds.
Target pests: Termites, Ants*, Powder Post Beetles (most common species)
For use in: Effective for termite treatments in homes, apartments, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, motels, hospitals, nursing, warehouses and other infested areas.
Additional Information: Foam can be applied as a pest control solution in and around residential or commercial structures that require termite treatments. This product is safe for pets and can be applied from the interior or exterior of used according to labeled instructions.
Why is it the most effective solution for termite control?This product is a “nonrepellent”, which means that termites cannot, smell, taste, or detect Termidor. This allows them to contact, ingest and spread it throughout their colony. Termidor is enginerred to kill termites slowly so they have enough time to transfer the chemical to as many other termites as possible. That is what makes termidor the preferred choice of most pest control companies. It is the most effective and fastest way to get rid of termite infestations.
One of the most important steps in termite control is to make can’t get into your home in the first place! If they are already inside, this will ensure that they don’t come back once you get rid of them. Begin by sealing every possible crack and crevice you can find with sealant. Some important areas to focus on include:
- Door frames
- Window frames
- Cracks in the foundation
- Voids/gaps where wires, cables and pipes lead indoors
- Install insect screens on all vents leading into your home
Eliminate termite grub! Get rid of ALL wood debris around your house. This includes brush piles, logs and wood. It is OK to keep a wood pile if you elevate it off the ground. Termites are unlikely to find it if it does not contact the soil. Try to avoid wood mulch for landscaping. If you can’t avoid it, keep it at least 6 inches from the foundation of your home.
Excess moisture attracts insects. Excess moisture inside or outside of you home will attract pests. If termites do not have access to water, they will die. Here is a list of things that could reduce the moisture in your home:
- Inspect faucets and water pipes to make sure there are no leaks
- Make sure your attic and crawlspace/basement are properly ventilated. A good cross breeze will keep humidity down.
- Clear/clean gutters. Termites will also eat cellulose-based materials like the junk in your gutters.
- Avoid spraying anything made of wood when watering your yard. This includes the house, shed, garage, wood piles, fences, etc.
Step 3: Create a Termite Treatment Barrier around your House
Spectracide Termite Killing Stakes are made with hexaflumuron, an insect growth regulator. It stops termite growth and interferes with the formation of their exoskeleton. The EPA in the United States has classified hexaflumuron as a reduced-risk pesticide because it poses less risk to human health (and the environment) than existing pest control treatments.
This kit includes 15 termite killing stakes, complete with pop-up indicators to notify you of activity. The set also includes a digging auger, informational materials on termite behavior and a graph to properly plot your stakes into the ground.
Active Ingredient: Hexaflurmuron – 0.5%
Target pests: Termites
For use in: To provide an effective barrier of protection around homes, apartments, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, motels, hospitals, nursing, warehouses and other areas that require termite treatments.
Additional Information: Spectracide termite killing stakes only take a few minutes to install and a pop-up flag alerts you if termite activity is detected. The stakes go deep into the soil to kill foraging termites. This kit also includes education materials on termite behavior.
Natural and Organic Termite Control
If you would prefer to go the “natural route”, here are a few organic ways to get rid of termites:
- Beneficial Nematodes: This is the best way to control termites biologically
- Boric Acid: This is the most commonly used organic pest control product
Frequently Asked Questions
A. Just because a neighboring house has termites, it does not mean your house will have them. However, it could mean that your home is a higher risk. It is probably a good idea to do periodical inspections.
Q. Why do I have termites if my house is only 1 year old?
A. If your home is brand new and you already have termites, it is possible that your home did not get a continuous termiticide barrier during contructions. Or, the barrier may have been compromised during constructions.
Q. How do I tell the difference between termites and ants?
A. These 2 insects have very subtle differences so you need to know exactly what to look for. Ants have a constriction of the abdomen between the thorax and the rest of the abdomen while termite’s bodies are broadly joined. That is the main characteristic to distinguish the difference between the two species. In simpler terms, ants have a slim waste and termites do not. Also, the antennae of termites are not elbowed like you will find on an ant’s antennae’s.
Q. Does wooden mulch really put me at high risk for a termite infestation?
A. All sources of cellulose will attract termites. Damp conditions underneath of a food source is the type of enviornment where these insects will thrive. Again, use care not to place mulch against the foundation of your home. If possible, try to avoid using it altogether.
Q. How much does a professional termite treatment cost?
A. The cost will vary depending on the company and the size of your home. The average home will typically cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 dollars to treat for termites.
Q. Do the termite killing stakes actually work?
A. These stakes do kill termites. It is important to maintain and service each unit according to the labeled instructions. If not properly maintained, dead termites will collect around the stations and act as a repellent to the rest of the colony. If this begins to happen, they will move past your barrier to find other food sources.