How to Get Rid of Termites
Termites are prominent in the southeast and responsible for causing the economy millions in damage annually. The cost of their elimination will often vary depending on the extent of damage and the length of time they’ve infested. Fortunately, there’s a couple of things you can do to prepare yourself.
Most homeowners realize they have termites when they discover hundreds of tiny flying ants littering their carpet. Upon closer examination, it becomes obvious these ants are not really ants, but instead, Formosan swarmers, a sign of a much larger problem at hand. Swarmers will emerge in the event of an underlying infestation, normally behind the baseboards, in load bearing walls, crawlspaces, door frames, and the underside of hardwood floors. Tapping along the edges of the wooden parts of your home and listening for a ‘hollow’ sound is often done by professionals to locate the source of the infestation. The presence of termite dirt, or mud tubes, is also common. These are called termite tunnels and represent the tip of a potentially large iceberg. Over time, homes can shift and wood can become rotted with sunlight and water. If you have any rotting or moist wood on the outside of the home, use it as a starting point for your inspection.
- Search for the source. If you see swarmers, the colony is close by. Using a screwdriver, knock along the wooden areas you suspect activity. When you hear a hollow sound, you will know you are close by.
- Carefully poke through the wood with the screwdriver. You are looking for mud tubes, but be careful not to disturb the colony. Sometimes these mud tubes can be seen crawling up the side of the house.
- Get a free inspection. If you can’t locate the source yourself, get a free inspection from your local termite company.
Hopefully the infestation is limited to a single area – in most cases it is. The term ‘spot treatment’ is used in the professional field to describe termite treatments in a confined location. These treatments cost anywhere between 300 and 400 dollars. If activity is detected in other parts of the home, a ‘full liquid’ might be necessary, which is a spot treatment on the entire home. Full liquid treatments are costly and run in the thousands.
The number one product for termite control in the professional pest control industry is Termidor SC. It is mixed at .06% concentrate and injected into the soil where activity is found. The soil around your home is dug up at 1 foot in depth, 5 feet from the center of the infestation (in both directions) before it is filled with a few gallons of Termidor. This process is known as trenching (a 10 foot trench, 1 foot deep, 4 gallons of Termidor). The liquid is injected using a special pointed hose called a rod, which is pressed deep into the soil for penetration. Eventually the trench will fill up and the liquid is then recovered with loose soil. Termidor in soil last about 5 years. In most cases, interior treatments for termites are not necessary, as the mud tubes extend from the walls to the outside of the home. Premise foam is a product used to treat infested door frames and windows and can be used to supplement any Termidor treatments on the exterior. For more information about treatment tips and getting rid of termites yourself, please visit our termite FAQ.
Following a spot treatment, it is recommended the homeowner seek preventative maintenance through termite baiting. Bait programs are designed to monitor the termite activity around your home and treat it before it causes any problems. Termites are a fact of life and there is nothing anyone can do about it. They are in the ground around your home, in your backyard, and beneath your lawn. Many people think removing wood items is sufficient and will go as far as to replace the wooden mulch around their home with pine straw. That is not the case - termites feed on cellulose, which is found naturally in the soil, so changes in landscaping aren’t effective. Some bait stations can be purchased from the Home Depot and other home appliance stores and are designed to let you know when there is activity, but they can be set off by heavy rain as well. The Advance Termite Baiting System is the best in the industry and used by hundreds of companies. Most companies monitor on a quarterly basis (once every 3 months) for no more than a dollar per day. For tips on installation, please visit our termite FAQ.