Professional extermination delivers a guaranteed result in eliminating the pest; however, it also comes with a bigger price tag. Most Americans have to dig their pockets to shell out as much as $3,000 to eradicate the pest on their property. Not everyone could spend such amount so this is where the home termite control methods would come handy.
Some ingredients of home solutions are readily available in the household. If you’re looking for a potent kill, there are commercially available termiticides but that would require a higher level of precautions and skill of application.
1. Using essential oils and household items
Some kitchen and laundry items like bleach, salt, and cayenne pepper bear abrasive chemicals that can kill the termites. These are relatively safe than using potent chemicals that will require you to follow certain application instructions. The most common household items you can use are the following:
Essential oils. The likes of orange, neem, canola, rosemary, clove bud, and vetiver oils are excellent for killing and repelling future infestations. Orange oil, for example, has high levels of d-limonene that can deliver up to 96% mortality rate on the mites.
Boric acid. Boric acid or borax crystals are known to have excellent disinfecting properties. If used on termites, the pest will die upon contact as borax salts would dry up their soft exoskeleton.
Aloe vera gel. The gentle hair regimen is also a reliable home termite control ingredient. Mixing the gel with water will give you a handy spray that you can use on the affected wood.
Salt. Diluted salt in water could be used as a termite spray, but to trick the pest into a higher mortality rate, soak cotton balls in the solution. The mites would munch the cellulose-rich cotton together with the salinity that will kill them.
White vinegar. Although this isn’t the most efficient home remedy, white vinegar could still kill a large population of termites. Once applied to wood, the acidity would kill the pest and prevent it from coming back.
2. Applying pesticides
Using sprays and powder pesticides are the most common in home termite control. The products are available in local supermarkets and it’s easier than mixing household items. Just practice proper safety measures before using any spray or termiticide to cut the health risk it poses.
The good thing about these chemicals is that homeowners could already purchase concentrates that will produce gallons of potent solution. Some could be at par with what professional exterminators use during treatments. Right now, these are the two highly used termiticides in the market:
Termidor. This is a popular choice among household because as a concentrate, it can produce hefty amounts of solution that can be used against mites and ants. It has a lasting effect within 10 years but it may take some time (about 90 days) to fully eradicate the termite population. The good thing, though, is it has very low resistance tendencies.
Taurus SC. Like Termidor, Taurus SC contains the Fipronil chemical that acts harshly on termites. It also has low resistance levels but it does not kill Formosan termites efficiently. The pest should at least touch the treated area for the termiticide to take effect. Please note that Taurus SC is strictly for outdoor use only.
3. Home Termite Control: Letting the sunlight do the job
In case you don’t have the budget to purchase termiticides, you can simply open your windows and doors to let the sunlight in. You can also bring out infected furniture and small objects to sit under the scorching heat but make sure that the material isn’t heat-sensitive.
One reason why termites prefer to stay in the dark is that of their vulnerable exoskeleton. The likes of Subterranean and Formosan have to maintain the moisture of their bodies to survive. This explains the branching mud tubes that they use as means of transport.
Direct sunlight can kill every single termite on the infested material. However, this natural method could be hard to utilize if the affected areas are hidden from the windows. Therefore, these are just for small objects that you can easily air outside.
Do this during the hottest time of the day and avoid the material from catching rain. It may just replenish the surviving mites and start the production of mold and mildew.
Letting sunlight penetrate your home would also be a good step in preventing a possible infestation. The heat will remove excess moisture that has accumulated due to the use air-conditioners and humidifiers.
4. Releasing nematodes
If the homeowner prefers to use non-chemical home termite control, the exterminators would utilize natural nematodes. These organisms prey on termites and are usually microscopic in size. There are commercial products that contain parasitic nematodes that you can use on your own. Usually, this method doesn’t pose any harm if used in small amounts.
If the infestation is in your garden, you can introduce the organisms to the soil and they will go straight to business. They will feed on subterranean mites hiding under the ground and they will hunt for the pest and kill them by disemboweling the bodies.
Take note that nematodes have life cycles too and some would be better applied during summer. Special roundworms are the most used nowadays. It has to be sprayed or introduced once a day for a week to ensure that the organism has adapted to the environment. But like termites, special roundworms hate sunlight so be sure to apply this during the night.
It’s a little difficult to use this as the soil should be at a temperature not lower than 60F, otherwise, the nematodes will die. Still, using nematodes are effective, as the organisms won’t stop until they eradicated every single termite in the area.
5. Setting up baits for home termite control
Tricking the termites into their death is what baits do. A cylinder is buried under the ground containing clean cellulose material. Once the termites established its way to the food source, a toxicant will be added to kill the termites as they ingest the food. This method has high success rate given that the baits won’t be disturbed either by pests, humans, or natural elements. Some of the famous baits are:
-Firstline System Kit
Baits are easy to set up, especially now that there are commercially available models that can be mounted on the soil right away. There are wooden monitors used here to check if the termites had already attacked the baits. Keep in mind that for this method to be successful, there should be numerous baits placed in the garden. Detection time varies per property but it can be as fast as two weeks or as long as a few months.
Ground baits target subterranean termites harboring under the ground and it will surely feed on multiple spots. In the case of drywood mites, an above the ground bait could be installed. It’s a station placed near the harborage and it can be hanged on wood foundations or chopped firewood. This method yields faster results as the pest no longer need to dig under the ground to find the bait. However, it’s rare to use above the ground baits as a standalone solution.
6. DIY heat method
Heat method is usually used as home termite control for the drywood type that harbors inside the property. More often, professional exterminators using specialized heating machines and fans administer this. You can purchase the heaters but that would mean shelling out as much as $50,000 for exterminating the mites. Not to mention your lack of skill, doing heat methods by yourself poses a high risk of fires and explosions.
This is why spot heating is a better option. The infested area, say a beam, would be covered with a vinyl sheet. Heat probes would be inserted thereafter to produce intolerable levels of heat that will kill the pest. A high-output propane heater could be used here. This is best for hidden areas like the attic, basement, bedrooms, and porches. Avoid exposing wooden materials directly into fire as it would combust and perish along with the termites.
In contrast with the heat method, the cold method is also utilized. Liquid nitrogen is injected into the infested area to freeze the termites to death. The substance is relatively safe but always wear safety masks and gloves to avoid the possible irritation.
Cold treatment is used for crawlspaces and hard to reach spots on the property. Sometimes, small holes are drilled into the wood to give way to the injection and to target the colony.
These home termite control methods would only be effective if performed with precautions. As much as household items are safe, always use it with the same caution as the termiticides and heat method. Wear masks and gloves to cut the danger of acquiring irritation or injuries. If the infestation is beyond your power, seek professional help immediately. Do you have something to add? Ping me below in the comment section!