Pest Resources

How To Get Rid Of Termites

A case of termites is serious but do not worry we can help you to get them eliminated from your house. 

These tiny creatures can cause a lot of structural damage if left, but it is possible to get rid of them yourself. There are many ways you can get rid of termites yourself using natural methods or chemicals.

In this article, we will guide you through DIY ways to get rid of termites and how to track them down in the first place.

We can also offer some tips on how to prevent termites in the future.

Tracking down termites

You might not spot termite infestations in the home straight away.

After a while, you may notice termite activity, this can be in the form of sagging floors, hollow parts of the foundations and holes in your furniture.

How To Look For Signs Of A Termite Infestation

Start off by looking for telltale signs in the attic for a termite infestation.

Hollow wood is a sign of termite activity, we advise you to take a flashlight and go down to the basement, take a close look at crawl spaces and foundation beams.

Push the screwdriver into the wood to check if it has become hollow. If the screwdriver goes into the wood easily you may have a termite infestation.

Another sign is termite droppings, they are wood-colored pellets if you find some near wood chances are you have a termite infestation.

You may discover termites tunnels made from mud and wood.

Take a look at your home’s foundation check for cracks and have them filled.

A sign of a termite infestation is the discovery of a termite nest. Subterranean termites build tunnels and tubes from mud. A drywood termite will build a nest inside the wood itself.

Image credit: gailhampshire

When soldier termites feel threatened they make a clicking sound, if you hear this sort of noise it could be termites.

You might find a pile of discarded wings, this happens when the females and winged termites shed their wings and leave to start a new colony. Flying termites are often mistaken for flying ants.

Have you discovered peeling paint and damage to drywall, the termites cause this damage by letting in the air between the paint and wall.

There are other reasons for this happening but if you find this has happened along with other signs it could be down to termites.

Which Type Of Termites Do I Have?

Before we talk about how to get rid of termites you need to know which termites you have as this can make a difference to the method you use to kill termites.

There are three main types of termites you will find in homes around the U.S.

You will need to know which type you have to kill termites efficiently.

Barriers can be made for subterranean termites whereas drywood termites need a spot treatment or fumigation to kill termites.

Here Is How To Identify The Two Main Termites:

Subterranean termites

A subterranean termite infestation can be found in foundational wood, soil and compost piles in the yard. They are commonly found near the home’s foundation.

To travel around the home they create mud tubes out of soil and wood materials.

They are known to cause more damage to your home than drywood termites, in fact, given time they can destroy an entire house.

The subterranean termites have saw-like jaws which enable them to do so much termite damage.

The subterranean termites tend to be around 1/8 of an inch long.

Subterranean termites have a caste system, the workers are cream in color, soldiers are cream with a brown head.

Then there are the reproductive termites these termites are brown/black.

Subterranean termites live in extremely large colonies which can have 100,000 to a million subterranean termites in the colony.

Drywood termites

Unlike subterranean termites that need soil and wood to make mud tubes, the drywood termites need only wood. They do not create tunnels to move around.

Drywood termites tend to produce a lot of droppings in areas of close proximity this is because they eat and live in small spaces.

Drywood termites are found around the warmer coastal areas of the United States.

Drywood termites vary in color and can be up to 1/2 an inch.

The termites that destroy the wood are cream-coloured but the winged drywood termites can be any color from tan to yellow.

Drywood termites live in colonies a lot smaller than the subterranean termites, numbers being around 2,000-2,500. 

Drywood termites tend to be the most commonly found termite in the home.

Formosan termites

These termites are a species of subterranean termite and they live in soil, but they are more aggressive and destructive and are known as the super termites.

Dampwood termites

Dampwood termites are larger than the subterranean termite species, they love to be in damp and decaying wood and are not usually found in soil.

To get rid of these termites you need to take a look at the plumbing, is the roof leaking? Replace any damaged wood with termite-resistant wood.

Can I treat termites in the home myself?

Yes, you can use DIY methods for a drywood termite infestation rather than using a professional pest control company which will probably end up costing a lot more.

You can treat termite-infested wood using natural termite control or you can use chemical termite treatments.

How To Get Rid Of Termites (Subterranean)

Some states vary, but you may be able to buy a form of pest control professional level barrier that is applied around the outside of the home as a termite killer.  Termidor foam is a great product to try for this and it is available online or in your local hardware supply store. Termites do not sense it and will eat the wood treated.

These barriers are also spread by an infected termite to other termites in a termite colony, causing death to the entire colony.

You can buy chemicals that can be used inside the home. Apply foam directly to cracks and crevices where termites will be, it expands and then dries leaving a poison behind that will kill termites if they touch it. The poison will last for around a month or so.

You can also buy termite bait, the termite baits are placed around the outside of the home’s foundation it will attract foraging termites to the bait station and the poison, which affects the growth of termites when they try to molt, they will die. Like the foam, the termite bait is also brought back to the termite colony and affects the other termites.

Beneficial nematodes are natural parasites, therefore, a natural method to get rid of termites.

Beneficial nematodes burrow into their host and the parasitic nematodes will release a bacteria that will kill termites usually within a few days. Parasitic nematodes can be bought online or in stores.

Mix up the beneficial nematodes with potting soil and water and place them in infested areas where you suspect termites in your yard.

A cardboard trap made of two pieces of wet corrugated cardboard will make a great bait trap. The cellulose in the cardboard will attract termites, and they become trapped, when this happens you can take it outside and destroy it.

Check the traps often, if too many termites lay dead it will deter other termites.

How To Get Rid Of Termites(Drywood)

Termite damage can be treated by drilling holes into infested furniture etc, drill a hole every 10 inches, if you drill into a nest you will notice the tension. Fill the holes with termiticide and fill the drill holes with wood.

A natural way to get rid of drywood termites is by using orange oil and neem oil. Both reduce shedding and laying eggs.

Mix with 2 cups of water and a few drops of dish soap and 10 drops of one of the essential oils, mix up in a spray bottle and apply to the affected wood. You will need to reapply again in a few days.

Boric acid is great for killing termites, it will kill off termites by causing dehydration. Boric acid is not very expensive to buy and you can buy Boric acid online or in stores. Please be aware that Boric acid should be used with caution as it can be harmful to other beneficial insects, pets and people.

Apply the Boric acid in cracks and crevices, walls and floors in an even layer. Boric acid can also be used in a bait station, coat some wood or cardboard in Boric acid and put the bait station in the yard.

Diatomaceous earth is a natural method to get rid of termites and works in the same way as Boric acid. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on affected areas and termite mounds.

Top Tips

Termites do not like sunlight and heat, expose your wooden furniture to the sun to get rid of termites. Leave the furniture out in the sun for as long as possible ideally 2-3 days for the full benefit.

Termites do not like the cold either if you have access to a very large walk-in freezer you could place the furniture in there, ideally leave for 2-3 days if you can.

Termites are found in all states except Alaska!

You could have your home professionally heat-treated, contact a pest control company that can provide this type of service to see if it is possible in your home.

A mix of white vinegar and lemon juice in a spray bottle is worth a try, these two household favorites will get rid of small infestations of termites when sprayed on furniture. Do a test area first.

How To Prevent Future Infestations Of Termites

There are some important things to do to help with termite control below are some of our top tips.

Fill in all cracks and crevices, check your home all around for them to prevent a termite problem.

Inspect vents and cover with termite resistant mesh this will allow air to come in but prevent termites and other harmful pests from getting in.

Do not leave logs near the house this will attract the termites to the cellulose in wood that they love.

Remove tree stumps from the yard as they will attract a termite problem.

Subterranean termites will be attracted to mulch to build their mud tubes, with this in mind use rubber or gravel rather than mulch containing wood.

Clean out gutters and pipes often, they provide a warm damp place for termites if left to build up with leaves etc. Clean up any wood debris in the yard.

You can arrange for a professional pest control company to perform an inspection of the property at different intervals during the year, they can let you know if you have a termite problem.

If you have soil around your house, especially moist soil have it replaced with sand, subterranean termites are unable to build mud tubes in the sand which will repel termites.

If you are building a home from scratch with wood then you should use termite-resistant wood.

Termite prevention inside the home

Keep your home as dry as possible, do not leave any standing water in the home.

Dry showers after use and don’t leave floors really wet. The water could seep into baseboards causing damp.

What Is The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Termites?

The fastest way to get rid of termites is through professional pest control services. They have the products and knowledge for killing termites much more quickly than your DIY methods.

Professional pest control services

How to get rid of termites using a pest control company, firstly find a pest control company with a good reputation, good feedback, and guarantees. Most pest control companies will offer guarantees for termite removal.

The amount of damage termites can cause will justify the costs involved when using a pest control company.

The pest control company will carry out a thorough inspection of your home and discuss with you a treatment plan and use the termite control methods available to them.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Rid Of Termites?

A pest control professional will need to come and inspect your home before they can give you a price for termite treatment cost. Exterminating termites is not a precise process.

Do Termites Bite?

Thankfully not, they may be able to bite through wood, but they will not bite us or our pets.

And Finally,

We hope you now know how to get rid of termites, if you ever feel you cannot control the termite infestation call in the experts as the damage these little pests can cause can end up costing you a fortune.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop us an email we do our best to respond a quickly as possible.

Why not take a look at the rest of our website we have lots of helpful information and tips on a variety of pest control problems.

Good Luck!

Ronald has 25 years of pest control experience under his belt. He scrutinizes each pest control method, product and process. Each pest resource we list on our website goes through an in-depth fact checking process.

Read more here.