Termites are very minute insects that creep into a homestead in colonies. If left unattended they end up eating anything wooden in their path. Termites in house, therefore, be detected and destroyed in good time before they flatten your home.
But if they are found to be on your structure then a suitable method must be selected to exterminate them. There are very many ways to get rid of termites, and we are going to look at some of them.
Nature gives problems as well as solutions. The truth to this statement is in the fact that for almost any naturally occurring problem, there is its equivalent solution, if not better.
Natural ways of exterminating termites are increasingly getting adopted on a wide-scale basis due to their limited interference with the ecosystem.
The method that is selected to destroy termites will largely depend on whether the pests are outdoors or inside the house.
Each of these two calls for different methods because, for example, you can not introduce birds or reptiles inside the house with ease.
- Using Biological Termiticides
Termites can be controlled in a way that will not cause any damage to the environment. Nematodes are small insects that have been used widely to kill entire colonies of termites.
These do occur in the soil naturally and feed on the termites. They also eat the termite’s larvae, hence are very effective in the elimination.
Nematodes work by infesting the entire tract of the termite hill and releasing bacteria into it. It is this bacteria that eats and kills the termites and their larvae in a matter of days.
In the spirit of environmental conservation, nematodes are not harmful to human beings or any other inhabitants of Mother Earth.
Thus, they are not cumbersome, dangerous nor poisonous to store.
Other biological predators of termites include flies, wasps, spiders, and bats. Certain bird species also feed on termites.
- Using Organic Materials
Organic matter changes the chemical composition of the soil making it unpalatable to the termites. When the pests have no source of food they are likely to pack and leave your compound.
This biological effect can be achieved by adding compost manure to your soil, or any other organic material. It also goes hand in glove with the avoidance of using fertilizers of the non-organic type.
Sometimes homeowners tend to maintain their lawns by adding non-organic fertilizers to the underlying soil. This practice encourages termites to live on because of the increased plant soft tissue that the termites can feed on.
- Using Preventive Methods
Termite extermination can also be done with great effect if the homeowner starts off with fool-proof preventive methods.
Although there are numerous ways in which termites can be prevented from attacking the house in the first place, one needs to choose a method that befits him or her.
For instance, raising the house above the ground greatly reduces the chances of getting a termite attack.
If all else fails, pest control’s termite treatment can really help you in warding off termites.
Termites in AZ, specifically in Phoenix, can cause a lot of damage to your home, and to any wooden objects inside it. If you suspect that there may be termites in your house.
Don’t rely on the naked eye to see the damage from these pests. It can be hard to perform a termite inspection by just looking at the outside of the wood. That’s because they do the most damage insides nooks and crannies of wooden items.
By the time you notice anything on the exterior, the inside of the wood is probably riddled with termite passages.
The first thing you need to do is to determine what type of termites may have infested your property. Check the whole house, beginning with the inside going to the outside yard.
A point to note is that termites usually start from the ground, so you might be able to find them in your garden’s soil. If you find them there, then you should use a specific termite control product that is meant for soil.
When dealing with these subterranean pests, make sure you purchase a product that is primarily manufactured for soil even if it is listed that it can be used for both wood and soil.
Go through the instructions carefully since most of these products are highly concentrated chemicals that need to be dissolved in water before application. It’s very important to follow the instruction for these products as they can be quite toxic.
Check all the areas of your house that are made of wood, and look if there are holes or burrows in them. This can include sheds, and obviously, stacks of firewood. Most regions experiencing high humidity levels will tend to have to deal with drywood termites.
You will find anti-termite products particularly formulated for drywood termites in home improvement stores and also in hardware shops.
The products vary in terms of application, and the most common types are either sprayed or painted on the affected areas. Again, follow the instructions to the letter.
Termite bait may also come in handy in controlling termite infestation. These can be used to reinforce the chemicals you apply to the infected regions. In cases where you apply termite control products, some areas which are deep inside the walls, soil, posts, and other hard to reach spots, may not be reached.
Baits will help wipe out all the termites that were still in hiding at the time you applied the control chemicals. These bait stations will lure them out from hiding, and kill them upon ingestion.
The above measures can help control and eliminate termite infestation if you catch it early enough. If you think that your invasion case is particularly bleak or widespread, seek a professional pest control service company to help you with both the detection and killing of these insects.
They will understand how to completely eliminate the infestation, prevent further infestation. They can do so quickly, safely and with minimal continued loss of possessions.
Termites are pesky little critters that can tear through your belongings quicker than you might think. Early detection and control will surely help mitigate the losses and can also help prevent future infestation. The following are some suggestions to help you detect some types of termites and control them on your own.
When determining if termites are present there are many signs including:
- Sagging of floors or ceilings
- The wood when tapped on sounds hollow
- Discoloring of ceiling
- Crumbling wood of any structure type
- Peeling or bubbling of paint on walls
- Windows or doors become easily jammed
Arizona is commonly encountered with Subterranean Termites, Dry wood Termites, Damp wood Termites, and Formosan Termites. Here are some colony size and characteristics for these pests:
The colony consists of workers, soldiers, queen, and king. The colony typically exists under the soil and will hold 60,000 to 1 million termites. They will build mud tubes or tunnels from the soil upward to where they can feed. These tubes also help keep the termite protected from weather conditions and the sun.
Dry Wood Termites
The colony population is low averaging 4,800 termites; the population includes nymphs, soldiers, queen and king. These termites build their colony within wood structures. They can swarm in spring and summer. They remain active during winter.
Damp Wood Termites
The colony is made up of soldiers, nymphs, queens, and king. They are not typically found with structures, they require damp wood to survive.
This species of termites is on average ten times larger than the subterranean termite colony population size. The soldier Formosan Termites can reach a size of 350,000 to 2 million termites.
More Information About Termites
Termites are active in the winter especially in Arizona with a warm climate. Termites do not go into a state of hibernation during the winter months as some pests do, Termites need to keep their daily routine through each season.
An average termite colony can consume up to 16 grams per day (0.08 mg per termite) or 12.9 pounds in a year.
Termites are less active in the winter and the termites that do not seek shelter in time may not make it through the season of cold temperatures. However, your home is the shelter they seek and becomes a great resource for warmth and food.
Termites will find shelter from the cold in the foundations and walls of your home.
Catching an infestation in the winter would work to the homeowner’s advantage since the swarm season is right around the corner which is the reproductive time for termites.
With the combination of rain and warm weather, spring and summer are typically swarm season.
Seeing termite swarms is a sure sign of termites being present in a surrounding area, finding mud tubes or tunnels are as well. At the rate, termites reproduce an infestation or colony that should be handled immediately to reduce the amount of damage and the size of the population.
Protect your property. Have your home inspected by a certified termite exterminator on a yearly basis. A termite colony is capable of reaching maturity after 2 years.
How can you find out whether your house needs a termite infection? Knock on the wood and see if it is hollow. If you find them becoming hollow then it is a warning sign. If you find winged insects in and around the house that is another evidence of termites.
Cracked paint and discarded wings only confirm your suspicions. If you identify more than one of these symptoms you better get a termite inspector to inspect the house.
There is absolutely no surefire way of knowing how much it is going to cost you to exterminate those intrusive termites.
If you are looking for hiring a good termite inspector then you are in one of the following situations. You have lived too long in a house that did not go through a termite inspection or you are planning to sell or buy a new house.
However, you can get closer to the actual price by getting an estimate at first and then after inspection the most effective method is settled on.
The estimate will take into account various factors including how severe the infestation is and the method of extermination.
Methods of Extermination
There are various methods by which termites can be exterminated if they are found to be infesting your home. Chemicals, baits, and fumigation are just some of the ways that can be used.
Others include the use of heat and microwave. Each of these methods costs differently from the other because of the components involved and their varied costs:
Normally extermination by a chemical method is determined on the linear footing. In this method, the area in question is measured and a price quoted based on corresponding costs.
In addition to the area to be covered, this method also takes into account the type of chemical to be used. Therefore, it means that if an expensive chemical is used then the cost is going to be higher. The good news is that those high-end chemicals are likely to do a better job of exterminating the termites than the cheap ones.
Extermination by Baiting
The estimated costs of bait extermination are usually a bit higher than the chemical method. This is because it is an environmentally friendly method. It also calls for the use of more specialized skills.
It is also determined by the nature of the bait that is used. Some of the baits may have to be brought from a distant location hence the rise in costs.
There are instances when it is deemed that the only way that will be effective is to fumigate the entire building. This is especially if the termite infestation is on the inside of the building as opposed to outdoors.
The actual fumigation involves sealing the entire building and then pumping gas into it. Usually, the cost of fumigation has a very little variation with the chemical method.
What are termites? Generally, termites are social insects and they are usually found in colonies just like ants. In every colony, there are numerous classes of termites and you can identify these classes according to their characteristics.
In a termite colony, the highest class would be the queen termite. The queen termite is the biggest termite that you will ever see in a colony. Its main and only job is to lay eggs in order to increase the number of termites in the colony.
Because of the large body of the queen, it is unable to move on its own and it requires several worker termites to be able to move.
The termites responsible for protecting the colony against their predators are the soldier termites. These soldier termites have distinctly large jaws that enable them to fight against their enemies and protect the colony.
There are also reproductive termites in a termite colony that would develop wings and usually leave the colony to create their own colony.
The lowest form of termites is the worker termites that are responsible for damaging the properties. Worker termites have underdeveloped eyes which make them blind, but they are capable of working 24/7 because they have a lot of responsibilities in the colony.
Termite identification is definitely the most important step in preventing infestation and damage to your properties.
How Do You Get Rid Of Termites?
The best way to get rid of termites is to create a barrier between the colony, which lives in the ground, and the building above them. These barriers can be created by using termite repellent and other chemicals.
However, you should also be sure that you avoid creating conditions that are conducive to infestation. That means making sure that there’s no contact between the wood in your home and the soil, including removing boards from crawlspaces and basements.
You should also make certain that every area has enough ventilation and drainage, so as to discourage soil conditions that favor termites.
If you keep your home unfriendly to these pests, you’re much less likely to suffer from them.
A professional termite inspector will know how to identify the signs of termite infestation. During a termite inspection, a pro will find any pests, and let you know what your options are for eliminating the problem, if there is one.
Finding a good termite inspectors is fairly simple. Talk to friends and relatives, and ask if they have anyone to recommend. If you don’t have anyone who can give you advice, try your local phone book.
The check should include all spaces inside the house, as well as basements, attics, crawlspaces, and the outside of the home. Your termite inspector should write down all findings on a form, and then help you decide on a method of eliminating these pests. Even if live termites aren’t discovered, treatment may still be suggested if there’s past evidence of an infestation.
Termites have been around since the days of dinosaurs and although one termite can hardly do any damage a colony of these insects can cause untold damage. Termites are so effective as a colony that they can effectively bring down an entire structure.
You can tell that you have a termite infestation from several signs including the presence of flying termites which are known as swarmers. The flying termites comprise of female and male termites that have left the colony to create a new one. When it rains and you notice hoards of flying termites entering the house in search of light then you have a colony of termites nearby. Sometimes you may not be able to see the flying termites themselves but you can see their discarded wings nearby.
You can also tell that you have termites when you hear slight but distinct banging sounds in your wooden walls or floor. This is caused by the head banging of the termites against the wood. The head banging is done by soldier termites to signal to the rest of the colony that there is danger nearby.
Finally you can tell that you have termite damage from the scent of mold and mildew that emanates from the pests.
Hollow or papery sounding timber that when you tap reveals a thin veneer of the wood. This is a sign that the timber inside has been eaten away. Sometime the wood has been eaten away so much that the veneer crumbles even with the slightest touch. In some case the termites will only leave the paint on the wood.
Termites also cause hollows in the wood which compromises the structural viability of the wood. For example, if the termite has damaged floor boards by drilling holes into the wood so when you vacuum the floor the vacuum cleaner goes clean through the floor.
Interior damage to the structure may not become apparent until the termites have done extensive damage. In fact, the damage can look similar to water damage with swollen ceilings and floors and buckling wood.
Termite damage also causes furrows inside the wood and this is especially common in antique furniture and houses. When the severity of the damage reaches such levels you have to call in an exterminator because there are no DIY solutions that will work.
Termites typically cost Americans over 5 billion in damaged structures annually. These pests are not only insidious they are excellent hiders so you may not know you have an infestation until it is too late. When you realize that you have an infestation it is best to call in the professionals immediately to gauge the extent of the damage.
Houses and buildings that have lots of wood should invest in a termite control program to make sure that their valuables do not get eaten away.
Termite bait is rather toxic, to say the least, but in the hands of the experts, this is probably the only way to keep these creatures at bay.
The creatures just love the cellulose in wood and must keep searching for new sources of food to keep the colony alive.
Once they have found a good source, unfortunately, a house, for example, will burrow deep into the fabric of the building and keep eating. They lay scent trails along their burrows to let other members of the colony where the food source is and this is why the common household spray will not get rid of them.
It may kill off the ones right there but there is sure to be a whole army coming up the rear.
Signs of infestation are rather easy to notice. Sand like dust around the base of wooden structures or even strips of painted wood which cave in when touched is two prime examples.
These creatures eat from the inside out so they virtually eat right up to the paint barrier. This then means that this wood starts to get very weak so it could mean that the structure of the building will start to suffer in the end.
Many methods of eradication have been tried in the past and they have had some degree of success. However, none of them have actually attacked the colony and it is here where the queen resides.
Even if most of her workers are killed off, this queen will still produce young for years and this is why an infestation is hard to stop.
Newer methods of eradication have taken the habits f these creatures into account and a rather innovative way of control was discovered.
Older methods would include digging deep trenches all around the infected property to form a circle. Within these trenches, gallons of toxic chemicals were poured to form a toxic barrier to stop the creatures from getting to the house. However, eventually the chemicals would break down and the whole thing would have to be repeated over again.
These days, tubes are sunk into the ground around a building at regular intervals and poison bait laid in them. The habit of laying scent trails to a good food source made sure that they would keep coming back to this feeding station and leading others there too.
The queen would be taken food from this source and eventually would succumb to the poison. Without this queen, the colony inevitably dies since it is only she who can lay the eggs.
The great thing about this method is that the tubes stay in position indefinitely while being monitored by operatives and computers to make sure that there is no re-infestation. Historic buildings have used this method too since no trenches could be dug around them.
These little creatures called termites defy the odds to find their way into the most unusual places and all in the quest for food. Ways on how to get rid of termites abound of course, but some of them seem to be having more effect than others.
Anyone who sees any signs of these creatures invading homes or other buildings should never ignore the problem.
If they do, they are surely going to have some rather huge repair bills in the future, that is, if the damage can be corrected. Indeed, these creatures do not know the difference between a beam holding up the roof or a priceless antique that was handed down through the family so any signs should be acted on immediately.
Signs include sawdust type material around the foot of desks or chairs, hollow-sounding wood when it is tapped or brown tube-like growths that traverse inedible areas like concrete.
The dust is the creature burrowing its way into the wood to eat the cellulose. The hollow sound in wood is because these creatures eat from the inside out of anything that they find tasty.
They will even eat right up to the paint so just do some careful checking around door and window frames to ensure that nothing untoward is happening.
The brown tube-like growths are the act of these creatures making tunnels for themselves to move through. Their bodies are rather soft and moist and they cannot be allowed to dry out.
Therefore, when they are migrating from door surrounds to ceilings, for example, they will make tunnels to take them there.
Since this is where the new food supply will be, they also lay down scent trails so that other members of their colony can find their way easily without too much foraging. This is why when the pest is in residence, more will follow.
The usual method of clearing up these creatures is to dig a deep trench in one complete circle around the house.
Then, operatives pour in many gallons of some rather toxic materials to try to make a barrier to stop them coming in. Although this does delay them a bit, the chemical will eventually break down and they will come again.
There are new systems available which are a little more high-tech than this method. Feeding stations, deep inside tubes, are sunk into the garden at regular intervals.
Then, these are baited with poison after which they are monitored to see where the colony is situated. Since they can be even one kilometer away, it is important that the foragers take back some food to the queen.
As she is the only one who will lay eggs, once she is killed off, the whole colony will die eventually.
The wonderful thing about this system is that not only do the tubes stay unobtrusively in place for many years they can be monitored every few months to look for signs of feeding.
Winged ants, for example, never used to take up residence in our homes until we started giving them ‘bridges’ right into our living rooms, etc. Now, how to know if you have termites or carpenter ants in your house?
With this new invasion, so to speak, has come the need for carpenter ants extermination services which will rid the home or building of this pesky little critter.
The main problem is that we now plant trees right next to our houses, or we put wooden decking right next to the house, and this is how these creatures gain access.
Indeed, they do not do so much damage, unlike termites, but they do burrow into wood and make themselves a gallery to live in.
Since most colonies are no more than about four thousand strong, this really should not present a big problem for the householder, but this does not deter those who just cannot stand the thought of them being in the home.
One easy way to stop them from coming in is to have high concrete walls around the garden. Since most people do not want to feel trapped inside their properties, this is not really what most people will do.
Secondly, cut down any trees which are close to the house so that they do not find their way into the place? Again, people just love having greenery next to the house, but if they really want to stop the invasion, this will have to be done.
If they can also have a cement yard around the perimeter of the home then this too should stop them in their tracks.
These creatures also sprout wings when they want to find a place to set up a new colony. This is why many people fear them so much since they think that they are biting and stinging insects.
However, the winged phase in their lives only lasts a very short time and allows for a new colony to be set up away from the original one.
Once they have found a place, the wings fall off and this is what people see as an infestation.
The powders and sprays which are on the market are not that effective since the creatures may be far from the entrance hole in the wood where they first entered. The main gallery will also have to be found in any treatment is to be effective. This usually calls for experts in the field to come in and do the work.
Try finding local companies to undertake this kind of work since they may have to come back at some point to redo the spraying.
One important thing to remember is to wash down all surfaces with hot water, and perhaps bleach, to not only get rid of the spray residue but to discourage these creatures from coming back.
These are highly toxic chemicals and no one should take their use lightly, particularly where kids and pets are in the vicinity.
Without termites, our ecosystem would suffer, unfortunately, we cannot count on them to just stay outside and feed on dead wood, branches, tree stumps, and plant debris. They come inside for more.
If you think you have termites in your home or outside your home, you need to take the necessary steps to rid your property of these destructive insects with DIY termite prevention before they do more damage that can become irreversible. They work quickly and early detection can stop their wrath on your home.
Termites do not discriminate, they will invite themselves into your home whether you invite them or not. You can prevent the unwanted guest with a little work and a keen eye to changes in your home that is caused by termites.
Colonies are everywhere and unless you look carefully, you will never know if you have termites in your yard or home.
The termite works together systematically to build colonies and reproduce as the workers build and feed the colony. The soldiers stand guard for the colony and the king and queen reproductive.
Most termites thrive with humidity and this makes underground termites common in many areas with high humidity.
The nests or mounds are built to maintain a certain temperature to survive and the mounts and underground colonies are built with environmental controls and airflow. Termites do not like light; therefore, they go undetected by homeowners.
Organic matter such as mulch attracts termites and provides a way for termites to travel from one location to the next. Wood mulch is made from many different things including grass clippings, pine chunks, wood shavings and bark to name a few.
This wood retains moisture, which termites thrive on and is usually placed along the foundation of homes. Here come the termites and you gave them a ride right to the door.
If you spot termite activity in your home, it is probably due to accidents more than knowledge. Most of us do not know what we are looking for with termites, and some of us do not even check our homes.
Healthy trees and plants have their own defense against termites, and if scientists would ever find a way to protect our wood structures with the same defenses, we may someday start to win the fight against termites.
One thing out on the market is Blockaid, which causes termites to starve rather than feed on our wood structures. This toxic material, when put on wood, will repel termites because they cannot eat after ingesting this toxin.
Boric acid, although this cheap treatment is considered safe around children, your pets may not have the same fortune.
The diluted boric acid aids in the treatment of ridding your mulch of termites and is a chemical used in insecticides.
Use with caution around pets and other wildlife so you have no additional problems. This is just one of the methods to get rid of termites.
Check monthly and look for signs of termite activity. The basement, attic, and walls along with the outside ground soil and the foundation need to be checked to prevent termite infestations from ruining your home and costing you money to repair their destruction.