How to Do Termite Control and Termite Prevention at Home

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Termite control and prevention involves recognizing the signs of termites, and understanding how to safely carry out termite treatments. Learn how to do termite inspections and when it is best to call a termite exterminator.

  • Watch for signs of termites when doing a termite inspection. Usually one of the first signs that show there are termites in a house is the appearance of a large number of winged flying termites. These are new males and females leaving the existing termite colony to set up new ones of their own and their presence means that the existing colony has been around doing damage for some time, usually years. Piles of shed wings along walls and window sills are a sign that termites are active and looking to make new nests. Mud tubes along foundations, basement walls, and interior walls are another noticeable sign of termites. Infested, damaged wood often goes unnoticed because the termites usually hollow it out and leave a thin outer shell to protect and hide their presence. Dry wood termites will leave piles of wood dust and droppings under boards they have infested. Knock on wood baseboards to see if they are sound. Check well in areas where wood may get wet, such as around outer doors and windows, bathrooms and kitchens, damp basements, places outside where rainwater sits near the house, around gutters and downspouts, and where outside faucets are next to the house.
    The best and surest pest treatments for termite infestations is through licensed termite exterminators who are trained in termite recognition and habits, and who know how to safely work with the dangerous chemicals involved. Having said that there are some things that home owners can do to act as their own termite exterminator. It is important to carry out termite inspections on a regular basis to keep ahead of the insect pests.

  • Practice termite prevention methods because by the time a termite colony becomes apparent they have already done considerable damage. If building a new house be sure the soil under the slab is pretreated and all subsurface wood -old tree stumps and waste wood, are removed. Use treated wood whenever possible especially where it will contact the ground. Use barriers between any wood and the ground such as metal shielding. Grade the surrounding land so that water will not drain toward the house. The use of a layer of pure sand some 2 ft deep around the foundation has been found to stop some termites. They cannot dig through it to reach the foundation. For already existing houses one of the best termite prevention measures is the use of soil termite treatments around the foundation through trenching and saturating the soil with a termiticide. Demon, Prelude, Prevail, Tribute, and Dragnet are products for this purpose. A trench is dug along the foundation some 12 inches wide and 4 to 6 inches deep and then the soil is saturated with the correctly mixed up pesticide. If the house is off grade and there is a crawl space, trenches must also be dug along the inside walls of the crawl space. The soil has to be saturated down to the foundation base or footing. If there is a slab, then termite treatment will mean drilling holes every foot or so to inject the treatment under the slab - not exactly a job for the average home owner. Subterranean termites that live in the ground are prevented by treating the soil to kill the colony. Other measures to take for termite control, are to keep the house dry. Termites are drawn to water damaged wood so check for leaks and wet areas. Fix leaky faucets, and repair gutters that don't drain as they should. Dry out any damp wood and spray it with spray on termiticides such as, Bora-care, Borid, Timbor, or Borrada. These Boron based pest control products are safer than other pesticides and have a very long residual effect. If winged termites are seen outside after rainy spells, fumigants can be used to keep them from setting up colonies in a house, by killing any that get in before they dig into the wood. Use termite fumigants in basements and attics where termites might enter unnoticed. Termite tenting, used with commericial fumigants by a licensed exterminator, is a termite treatment for active colonies already in a house.

  • Find and treat the main termite nest. If termites are found actively eating wood in a house, if flying termites are swarming inside the house, if their mud tubes are seen on walls or if piles of their sawdust like droppings are noticed, then it is a sure thing that an active nest is nearby. Sprays and spot termite treatments that will kill these found termites can be used, however these will not give total termite extermination. The main colony must be wiped out or it will simply breed more replacements. Besides boron based sprays that are considered some of the safest to use, there are pyrethroid sprays for killing termites such as: Flee, Permethrin Pro, and Dragnet but these are more dangerous to use. Termite baits in the form of dry granular pellets or pesticide impregnated wood pieces can be used around active colonies to wipe them out. Some brands of these include, Advance, Hex-Pro, Firstline, and Subterfuge. These products are considered some of the most environmentally safe termite treatments because their application is limited in area and they only target the termites. Other types of termite control products include injectable sprays, foams and fumigants. These should be considered only spot treatments and will not destroy colonies or protect untreated areas. Fumigants can be used to kill colonies of termites that do not live in the ground but usually whole house treatments by exterminators are necessary because these types of termites can have several colonies in one house.
    There are many other termite control products out there for termite treatment. It is important to research each and be sure of their dangers and usage before buying them.
    Under resources below there are links to other pest control articles. Please rate this article and any others you check out, thank you. All contents copyrighted by Aupoet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Any professionals hired should be licensed and should guarantee their work.
  • Local extension services may be able to give information about termites and their control in your area.
  • Most of the products available now have a limited life time and must be reapplied regularly. Keep a notebook to know when to reapply.
  • If you decide to DIY be sure you understand the dangers of any products you use
  • Protective clothing and gear are a must.
  • Keep track of children and pets around poisons.

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