How to Spot and Treat Termite Infestations Yourself
Termites can pose a huge risk to your home. If you don’t treat a termite infestation, it can cause thousands of dollars of damage to your house and, if left long enough, it can even lead to becoming structurally unsound and dangerous to you and your family. Termite control is an important part of maintaining your property and keeping it safe.
Prevention is the first step you should take when it comes to termite control.
Signs of Termites
Knowing what to look for is important. Termites provide very specific signs that they are infesting your house and proper inspection and identification is key.
- Termites can cause damage to your subfloor that can make your wood flooring look as if it has water damage. This can also be seen in bubbling or uneven paint. Basically, if it looks like water damage, check for termites.
- Hollowed or damaged wood in your house is another sign of termites. They can leave behind hollowed wood which usually has a honeycomb interior and an empty sound. This wood can be below or behind surfaces like walls, floors, and more.
- Discarded termite wings can be found near closed windows and doors. These wings look a lot like the wings of flying ants. Termites shed their wings when they find a place to land because once they find a home they won’t need their wings again.
- Termites tend to live underground and their colonies can grow to immense sizes. Keep an eye out for mud tubes around your foundation. Termites use these tubes to travel between their food source (your home) and their colony.
There are some measures you can take yourself when it comes to termite control. If you have seen evidence of termites in your yard, but not in your house, termite bait stations can stop them before they ever get to your house. These bait stations will draw the termites away from your house and work to kill the nest of termites before they reach your house. Also, be sure to keep any wood piles away from your home. They are very great homes for termites and can lead termites to your home’s foundation if they are placed too close to your house. This includes piles of mulch and tree stumps as well. Applying termiticide around your home is another great DIY way to prevent an infestation in your home. If you want to be extra safe near any wooden structures, you can create an 18-inch gravel bed between the wood you want to protect and dirt. This acts as great natural termite prevention and doubles as good drainage.
It is important to make sure that you are actually dealing with termites. There are other insects that can present as termites, like the bark beetle. So it’s a good idea to get a professional termite inspection before you start treating the area.
How Do I Kill Termites in My House?
Natural DIY Termite Treatments
Once you see that termites have made it to your house, it is time to take further action. There are some natural termite treatments you can try, especially if you find them early enough. Nematodes are a great option. They are parasitic worms that eat termites. You can purchase these worms and let them loose in the infested area. The worms will reproduce and, as long as you introduce enough of them into the area, they will eventually eat all the termites in the area. This can be a very effective natural solution. Vinegar is another natural substance that can kill termites. Simply spray the infested area and wait for the termites to come feed on the wood. This is a great solution for termite treatment in walls as well. Finally, wet cardboard can help you lure the termites away from your home. Termites love wet cardboard just as much if not more than they love wood. Simply give them some time to start gnawing on the cardboard, then pull it out and burn the termites attached to it. Repeat this process as often as necessary.
There are also plenty of chemical agents that can work to get rid of termites. Treating the infected area with these chemicals can work to get rid of the infestation rather quickly.
Can I Treat Termite Infestations Myself?
Can I treat the termites myself? While there are plenty of options for DIY termite treatment, termite infestations in your home come with a time limit. If you let them go for too long they can cause costly damage to your home. If the termites are simply infesting a pile of firewood or a wooden bench in your yard, the situation isn’t as dire as if they are chewing on the foundation of your house. Depending on the size of the colony, termites can start causing damage to your foundation within 24 hours. A mature colony of termites can consume the amount of wood it takes to make one board foot of a 2×4 in just 24 hours.
If the termites have reached your house, time isn’t on your side. Termites tend to create large networks of tunnels underground and it can be hard to know whether you have killed the whole colony or not and there is a chase that they will come back. This is where professionals come in. If you find termites in your walls or under your house, it might be important to call a professional. The termites will continue to cause costly damage to the structure of your home while you work on finding the right DIY solution. Your job is to take various precautions to keep your house safe, but once the infestation starts, it is best to save yourself the time, money, and headache of doing it yourself and call for professional help.