Termites are insects of the order blattodea. They’re known to cause damage on billions of property without being detected as they’re quite the cryptic insects.
Most people will mistake termites for pesky flying ants thus ignoring taking necessary measures to inspect and exterminate them. It is therefore necessary when you see a flying insect looking alike with the flying ants, get on your toes and ensure that you’re really having a termite infestation and not a flying ant’s infestation and since they can be had to spot, look for signs of an infestation.
Termites are social insects which live in colonies with a variety of castes with each having specific tasks to carry out. The ultimate guide on how to get rid of termites will enable you to identify termites and the best methods to do away with an infestation.
How to get rid of Termites : A Step-by-Step Guide
What are termites (characteristics and appearance)?
Termites also known as swarmer’s are winged insects which resemble flying ants. They have a straight waist with straight antennas and are about 0.16-0.6 inches long, the largest being the termite queens.
However, the non-reproductive termite castes are wingless and use their six legs to move about and perform their respective tasks.
Termites will surface during the winter season when the weather conditions are warm and rainy. They have two pairs of wings which are equal in size.
Termites will always look for areas within your home. They feed on dead plant materials and cellulose in wood, soil and animal dung. They can cause a lot of damage on crops, wood, buildings and even forests.
Types of termites
1. Drywood termites; they will use roof line or exposed wood to get into your house especially in your attic. Look for holes or frass near dry wood which they’ve created galleries in and most likely are feeding on it and they don’t require moisture to survive.
They’re about 3/8” long and are oval shaped with long narrow bodies. They’re lighter in color compared to dampwood termites.
2. Formosan termites; this are the largest of the termite species and cause the worst kind of damage. They will consume dead wood and plant materials and they live underground in soils where they build mud nests.
Their bodies are long oval and narrow and are about 0.5 inches long with yellowish brown color.
3. Dampwood termites; they prefer damp and rotting wood which they’ll use to get access inside your home. This is especially through wood which meets damp soil on the ground near your house.
They’re larger in size (0.5-0.7”) compared to other termites and have a long narrow and oval shape. They’re brown in color.
4. Subterranean termites; this termite species are about 1/8 to 1” long with long oval and narrow shapes like all other types of species. They have a cream brown appearance and like Formosan termites, they live underground in colonies or in wet areas above the ground where there’s soil.
They’ll consume wallpapers, plastics, and wood as well as fabric materials from plants.
The life cycle of termites
Termites undergo through incomplete metamorphosis which involve egg, nymph and adult stages. Only the king and queen termites are fertile and involve themselves in increasing the numbers of their population while the other castes e.g. workers, soldiers are sterile.
The king mates with the queen for life and she takes up the role of laying eggs, this only happens when they have found a suitable spot to bring up a colony. Once they’ve established a good nesting area, they’ll proceed to mate.
At the beginning of the colony, the female will lay about ten or twenty eggs but as the colony gets older, she can lay up to 1,000 eggs a day. The eggs hatch into termite nymphs which undergo a series of molting stages until they’re adults which takes several months.
The development time period will depend on the colony population, food supply and temperatures. Workers and soldiers will live for up to two years or less whilst the queen can live up to ten years or more.
To know more about Termite Life cycle, you can check : Termite Life Cycle
Signs of a termite infestation
According to Entomology, discovering winged termites indoors almost always indicates an infestation warranting treatment.
Since they use mud-like material to create their nests, they will leave trails behind of this building material which is made of saliva, soil and faeces. You may also spot a few of them flying around the lampshade or any other source of light.
However, due to their secretive trait it may be difficult to note an infestation or maybe confused with flying ants. Since they’re silent destroyers of wood especially, you may note holes on wood or come across damaged wood by this wood-boring insects.
When inspecting your home, look for this signs and use a torch so that you’re able to clearly identify affected materials since termites are secretive which proves to be difficult spotting them.
DIY termite treatment procedures
- Identify the signs of a termite infestation and individually inspect your house to find out the termite’s level of infestation and identify the type of termites you’re experiencing.
- Termites will most likely be in contact with your house near the foundation where the soil and your house meet.
- Installing barriers around your home is a good way to control termites and slow them down from infesting your home. When building your home’s foundation, use sand and steel mesh to shield your home from termites.
- If using chemical solutions, purchase termicides which are liquid pesticides specifically designed to get rid of termites.
- Apply termicides on soil and any other infested areas and spray the termicides. For the termicides to work efficiently, follow the instructions provided.
- Alternatively set up some cardboard traps where termites are likely lurking around.
- Place several cardboard traps together in a stack, then wet them one by one.
- Leave them out on the termite affected areas and keep an eye on them as termites are likely to come feasting on them since they have cellulose.
- Once the termites have raided the cardboard, take it out and set it ablaze somewhere far away from the vicinity of your home.
- Reapply this method severally until you’re sure that all the termites are gone.
You can also read an explicit discussion on DIY Tremite Treatment
Best baits for getting rid of termites
The commonly used baits and probably the best for use when baiting termites are cardboards, paper or any other dead plant materials which termites love. The baits are manufactured with a slow-reacting lethal substance which kills the termites at a slow pace but are effective.
The bait needs to be tantalizing and delicious to the termites and since it is applied on the affected soil, it has to stand out among woodpiles, tree roots, structural wood and stumps among other delicacies to termites.
Baiting is an alternative for using liquid termite insecticides. Advance Termite Bait System is an advanced technology based bait with improvements which is recommended by most on termite treatment.
This two are odorless, tasteless and can’t be seen by the termites which makes it easy for the termites to bump into them easily and will work their magic.
The main aim of applying termicides is to create a chemical barrier which repels and kills the termites. This barrier inhibits the termites from accessing soil and moisture which they need for survival.
How to kill termites
- First things first, remove any termite food source whether inside or near your house.
- Then seal off any entry points either using screens to shield your home or caulk to cover up any cracks and crevices near the foundation of the house.
- Insecticides have been used over the years to get rid of termites and they come in many forms ranging from liquid insecticides to gaseous ones and even in form of foam.
- Foam insecticides have proven to be a great way of killing termites as well as other insects as they penetrate the ground spreading the poison fast enough and killing the termites pretty fast too.
- Boric acid is an effective termite extermination powder which works by dehydrating them. On choosing an appropriate termite bait, coat it with boric acid which you can either apply in powdered form or as a solution which will act immediately as the termites feed on the bait.
- Flooding soil is another efficient method to apply if you want to kill some subterranean termite species. Identify the infested are and pour as much water as possible and since they can’t swim, they’ll drown and die.
- Nematodes are parasitic worms on termites and any other garden pests. Introduce them in soil where termites are likely to be and since they’re good at searching for hosts, they’ll find the termites, burrow into them which leads to their death. Nematodes will target newly hatched termites thus controlling their population growth.
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