Termites are a highly socially advanced insect, which divide their labor among gender lines, take care of their young, and produce colonies that utilize a self-organized system of activity. They feed on dead plant material such as wood, paper, as well as cloth. According to the National Pest Management Association, termites ravage homes in the United States to the cost of $2.5 billion annually.
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Prevention is Key
Prevention is the easiest method to avoid an infestation of termites. Simply rearranging a few things around your house can help. Termites get inside homes via wood-to-wood contact or wood-to-soil contact. Therefore, it is necessary that you remove all wood away from the outside of your house. You should clean up any pieces of stray lumber, piles of firewood, and haul away stumps and fallen or rotting trees. It is also recommended that you have at least six inches of foundation between your home and the ground. Generally, termites will not climb far in order to reach their food source.
Killing Termites Yourself
One of the oldest and easiest do-it-yourself ways to kill termites is with the use of boric acid. Boric acid is inexpensive and can usually be purchased in its white powder form at your local pharmacy or hardware store. If you already know you have an infestation or have discovered a termite colony near your home there is a method to rid them. Find some wooden stakes, mix the boric acid with water, then treat the stakes with the mixture. Bury the stakes around your house or near the colony. Be sure to use many of these “bait stations,” as a single colony may contain up to a million termites. Check the stations frequently and continuously add more boric acid treated wood.
Time for a Professional
If you suspect that your home has been infested by termites it is recommended that you contact a professional to inspect the infrastructure of the house as well as to apply the necessary chemicals to kill the termites. There are generally two treatments that an exterminator may use to rid your house of termites: Liquid and bait treatments. Liquid treatments are nothing more than a liquid pesticide. Pesticides are the quickest, cheapest and oldest method of killing termites, but they can seep into water supplies. Many of the older forms are even considered environmentally unsafe. Bait treatments are a newer method of killing termites, but are not as fast-acting as pesticides. Baiting relies more on the slow destruction of the entire termite population as the poisoned bait is carried back to the colony. Also, the bait treatment requires frequent monitoring by a professional.