Termites can cause significant damage to woodwork as well as the furnishings in buildings. Reports show that in some countries a loss of up to 10% of the total capital outlay of buildings is attributed to termite destruction.
Why do termites destroy wood?
Great question! Termites have special protozoa in their digestive system that helps them to digest wood. Wood is therefore their source of nourishment.
- Dry wood termites - These types of termites live as small colonies in dry wood without establishing any connection with the soil. They are prevalent in humid coastal regions and they are responsible for the destruction of wooden structure only.
- Subterranean termites - They establish their colonies primarily in the soil i.e. underground. They enter buildings through from the foundations or from any ground that is adjacent to buildings. They then advance upwards from the floor as they destroy whatever that comes on their way. They can also enter through any crack or opening that occurs during masonry and joining. In most cases, they build their nests in stumps of dead trees or create colonies in form of dome shaped mounds on the ground.
Can we use DIY methods to kill termites?
Yes of course. You can learn how to get rid of termites in a number of reliable ways. The first task that a person needs to do is to identify them before they can cause irreparable destruction.
3 Methods for Identifying the Presence of Termites
Once you suspect they may have entered your home, there are a few different ways to detect their presence.
- Use of sniffer dogs - Well trained dogs can easily locate the existence of termites.
- Use of gas detectors – Termites expel a gas of a specific composition, and a detector can determine whether or not this particular gas mixture is present.
- Acoustics - Instruments are used to listen for the distinct sound of termites that are feeding on your home.
Natural ways for killing termites
Termites are creatures whose existence can be cut by the use of natural measures. These measures are cheap and they can be carried out by anybody since minimal or no expertise is required. Some of the natural treatments include:
Removal of stumps, roots and any other termite attractive debris - This technique is best suited for the subterranean termites. The removal will interfere with their normal functions. The removed materials should also be destroyed in order to kill any termite that is found.
Deep digging - This will make it possible for the underground colonies of the termites to be destroyed.
Destroy all wooden mulch - Mulch is normally infested with termites within a very short time especially in termite prone areas. To destroy such termites, mulch should be destroyed. It is advisable to avoid use of any other wooden mulch if cedar mulch cannot be obtained.
Flooding the soil - Flooding the region infested with termites is one of the most effective methods of killing termites because water will drown them.
Heat fumigation - Subjecting the termites to temperatures of more than 120°F for a minimum of 35 minutes will kill them. This method, however, needs some guidance for implementation.
Low temperatures - A low temperature of less than -20 degrees Fahrenheit is known to terminate the existence of termites. To achieve this, liquid nitrogen is used.
Microwave spot treatment - This method involves the use of electromagnetic energy at microwave frequencies. It needs a little technical knowledge for it to be successfully implemented.
Use of nematodes - Breeding of nematodes in the termite infested area is a significant step in killing them. Nematodes feed on termites and within a very short period of time, the entire termites colony will be exterminated.
Chemical methods of killing termites
Use of arsenic dust - Arsenic trioxide is very effective in that it will even if few termites come in contact with the chemical, all the members of the colony will be victims because in the event of their grooming the chemical is transferred to each. Due to their cannibalistic nature, dead termites will transmit the drug to those who feed on them.
Depending on where you live, there may be laws against the use of arsenic trioxide by anyone other than a licensed professional, so be sure to look into this before delving into this solution. It can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Use of permethrin dust - It is very useful essential where immediate effect is needed.
Use of bio-blast - This involves the use of a fungus that infects and kills those with fungal spores.
It is important to note that the use of chemicals should be undertaken with extra care since they can be quite dangerous and can cause injury if not death. It is of the utmost importance to keep the chemicals out of reach of like children and animals. In the end, if safety is a concern (and it should be), hiring a professional rather than killing termites yourself might be the most suitable course of action.
You can do it, but is it worth it?
While you may be able to fight off the infestation on your own, it’s possible you end up just prolonging and exacerbating the situation which can end up costing you much more than calling a professional right away. The scenario where you’re most likely to be successful on your own is if you catch them early, so stay vigilant.
If you think you might be over your head, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a quote from a professional just to see how much it might cost to have them do it.