Let’s face it: No one likes termites. This is the kind of household pest that can negatively impact just about anyone. One of the worst things about termite infestations is that they can happen in hardly any time at all. Worse yet, if you don’t know what to look for, you can find yourself with a termite infestation before you even have a chance to understand what has just happened.
Termites can be tricky, to be sure. However, there are a number of natural ways in which you can get rid of them. Furthermore, there are several things you can learn about termites, in order to keep your home from ever becoming infested again.
There are several things about termites that you are going to want to keep in mind. While they are extremely small, that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. One of the more troubling aspects of dealing with termites is understanding that they can be extremely prolific. Worse yet, they can go undetected for years, causing damage to your home or other structure every step of the way. Too many people find themselves at a point in which they are not only dealing with termite infestations, but costly damage from everything the termites have been devouring.
And when it comes to what termites eat, you are talking about a sizable menu. These colony pests come in five different types, and they prefer to feed on anything that contains cellulose. Unfortunately, this is an ingredient that you can find in a wide variety of things that make up your home. Wood fixtures and wood furniture are the two most common things termites will target. As you can imagine, this amounts to a pretty sizable list!
With the ability to appear in woods and plants without any indication of their actual presence, it doesn’t really matter what kind of termites you are dealing with. The five major types of termites that you are going to want to watch out for include conehead termites, dampwood termites, drywood termites, Formosan termites, and subterranean termites. All of these termites share certain traits. However, by the same token, all of these termites feature unique traits that are important to study on their own terms.
Remember that when it comes to cellulose, termites aren’t picky. While they prefer things like wooden doors, wooden shelves, wooden floorings, and similar items, they will just as happily get what they need from books, magazines, and more.
Do You Have A Termite Infestation?
Depending on where you live, being wary of termites is just a fact of life. At the same time, keep in mind that there are a number of things you can do to keep termites out. There are also things you can do to deal with infestations, if that is the point you have gotten to. While there is something to be said for calling professional termite exterminators, you shouldn’t disqualify the natural possibilities. There are several effective possibilities that you are going to want to try, before you call in the termite killers.
To begin with, you should make it a point to know what to look for. The signs of a termite infestation are numerous, and not all of them are terribly obvious. In many cases, if you don’t know what to look for, you can actually miss them entirely.
These detritivores can measure just one centimeter in length. This is something that is consistent across all the different types of termites that you are likely to encounter. However, it is worth mentioning again that different types of termites can present different problems. For example, if you are battling subterranean termites, you’re talking about pests that usually build their homes in the soil. Their intricate, elaborate systems for tunnels combine with mud tunnels to create massive colonies. It is from this home base that a house such as yours is definitely going to appeal to them. Drywood termites choose a different tactic. These creatures like to set up shop within the wood they are eating. It isn’t unreasonable to find an infestation of these specific termites in your walls, or even within your pieces of furniture.
Colony maturity presents its own set of infestation problems. At this point, winged, swarming examples are going to be visible around your windows and your doors. Most often found in the spring season, winged termites are going to be attracted to strong sources of light. They are going to look for opportunities to mate, and they are also going to look for chances to establish new colonies. What this means is that you can very quickly find yourself with a termite infestation that features multiple colonies. This is something that is fairly consistent across the different types of termites that are currently in common existence.
As you can tell at this point, termites are no laughing matter. Not only are these insects capable of breeding and spreading quickly, but they can cause substantial, expensive damage over a prolonged period of time. Thankfully, as we mentioned before, you are not without measures to protect your home, eliminate termite infestations, or both of these things.
Steps To Protect Your Home From Termite Infestations
Small, consistent steps can go a long way, when it comes to keeping termites out of your home. The worst thing you can do is imagine there is no problem at all. There may not be, but depending on where you live, it stands to reason that you need to take the potential threat of termites seriously.
Eliminating moisture problems throughout your home is a good step towards prevention. Repairing things like a leaky faucet, a leaky water pipe, or a leaky AC unit are all good things to try. Diverting water from your foundation can also prove useful. Keeping the gutters and downspouts clean is another good step that is worth keeping in mind. Removing excess plant covers and wood mulches is yet another possibility to explore.
Sealing entry points around your water lines/pipes and utility lines/pipes can also go a long way towards keeping the termites out of your home.
You should also take steps to remove food sources for termites. While this sounds impossible, there are a variety of things you can still do. Avoid having firewood, lumber, or papers near your foundations or crawl spaces. Stumps and similar pieces of debris near your home can also provide termites with a point of entry, so make it a point to get rid of those, too. Screens on outside vents can keep termites at bay, and the same can be said for checking your decks and wooden fences for any signs of damage. When it comes to potential triggers for termite damage/infestation, look for swarms of winged insects near doors/windows, cracked/bubbling paint, termite droppings, wood that sounds hollow upon tapping, or discarded swarmer wings. You should also pay attention for mud tubes that can be found along the exterior walls, within a wooden beam, or even in your crawl space.
With termite feces, look for small piles of what looks like little pebbles. A sagging floor or wall is another thing to keep an eye out for, and you certainly want to be concerned, if you happen to spot any sagging points in your ceiling.
Any holes or cavities within your walls should be cause for concern.
The above represents just a few of the preventative measures you can try. In terms of natural treatments for infestations, there are several possibilities you can explore.
Natural Tricks To Deal With Termites
Although termites are a natural part of the ecosystem, that doesn’t mean you should have to put up with them in your home. One of the first things you are going to want to try, in terms of dealing with the creatures is the famous cardboard trap. When it comes to natural ways to get rid of termites, this is one of the best and most well-proven methods out there.
Your cardboard trap is going to contain the cellulose that is certain to attract female termites. Gently spray the area with water to make that wood scent even more irresistible to them. Placing this piece of cardboard near an impacted area will attract a mass of them. They will then get stuck to the cardboard. All you have to do then is dispose of the cardboard. The preferred method is with fire.
There are several other things you can try. The simple combination of sunlight and heat can actually go a long way towards killing off termites in droves. Digging up outdoor nests can kill subterranean termites through exposure. Simply leaving pieces of furniture outside on a bright, warm day can accomplish something similar. While this method obviously won’t kill all of the termites, it can nonetheless prove to be useful for wiping out a nest or two (or more).
Parasitic nematodes are another popular, natural way to kill termites. A parasitic nematode is a small worm that likes to feed on things like bacteria and fungi. Certain groups of these parasites also like to feed on small bugs like termites. Are you beginning to see the possibilities? All you have to do here is bring in a natural predator for termites, introduce that predator to the colony or infestation areas, and let everything work itself out. More often than not, this is a great way to kill a lot of termites. At the same time, you don’t have to worry about whether or not the nematodes are going to become problematic later on. They won’t.
A Few More Tips For Dealing With Termites
Injecting something known as orange oil into holes in which you know lead to termite nests can work wonders. With this trick, there are situations in which you can get rid of the termites in as few as three days. However, depending upon the severity of your infestation, it may wind up taking just a little bit longer than that.
Have you considered electrocution? Believe it or not, but this is another proven method for killing termites that you are going to want to try. There are products available that can help you to utilize this natural component to kill termites. Simply make sure you don’t shock yourself in the bargain!
Liquid nitrogen can provide you with a degree of cold that can wipe out a nest with relative ease. At the same time, if you keep in mind the tip above to put your furniture out in the sun, consider the sharp contract between temperatures. If you can create a situation in which a termite nest moves from very hot to very cold very quickly, the odds of the termites being able to handle such changes is going to be pretty low.
There are a variety of essential oils that you can try, as well. A good example of this would be clove bud oil and vetiver oil. Not only can essential oils wipe out some of the termite nests that you are currently dealing with, but they can make the conditions almost intolerable for future infestations. This is a good short-term method that also provides long-term benefits. In terms of killing and preventing termites, a measure that combines both of those things is always going to prove to be a really good idea.
Combining the 1/4th cup of white vinegar with a full cup of olive oil can provide you with a formidable weapon against termites. Pouring and combining these things into a spray bottle gives you a liquid that gives you two key benefits. Not only will the spray make your wooden furniture look good, but it will also destroy any termite nests that might exist within the items.
These are just a few of the things you can try. Remember that you can take measures that can keep the termites from ever overwhelming things. However, when you find yourself with even a suspicion that you might be infested, take steps to deal with the problem as quickly as possible. You will certainly be glad you did.