How To Get Rid of Termites

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How To Get Rid of Termites

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Termite infestations can be a real problem for homeowners, with some causing significant, permanent damage. These pests settle in a house, feed on the wood of the house and destroy it.

If not treated promptly and appropriately, termites can cause extensive and often permanent structural damage to a home. Homeowners can use DIY methods to control small pests and prevent future ones, but in most cases hiring an exterminator is your best bet.

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Time required: Several hours to a few days
Difficulty: expert
Estimated costs: $8 and up, $800 to $4,000 for professional service

Tools & Materials

Before you start…

Here's how to get rid of termites before you start

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Before a homeowner begins treating their home for termites, they should first determine where the colony is located and the extent of the damage. Because termites can live within the walls of a home, it’s best to call an exterminator to assess the damage, find the colony, and make an offer. Large termite infestations should always be treated by a professional exterminator as they have the experience, knowledge and commercially available products to combat them.

termites versus ants

Homeowners should determine if they have a termite or ant infestation. Flying ants are often mistaken for termites because both have wings and antennae. However, the damage inflicted by flying ants is not nearly as destructive as that of termites. Flying ants are also easier to care for and most homeowners can get the job done.

Tips to get rid of termites

  • The best way to get rid of termites is to prevent an infestation. Homeowners should take regular measures to prevent termites, such as: B. Regulating the amount of humidity in the house.
  • Once the initial kill is complete, homeowners should continue to regularly treat their homes for termites.

safety aspects

  • Wear appropriate safety goggles and masks when using hazardous chemicals.
  • Termites can hide in gutters and pipes, so make sure their ladders are secure when investigating high ceilings.

How to get rid of termites Determine termite infestation

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STEP 1: Determine the type of termite infestation.

The first step for any homeowner who thinks they have a termite infestation is to look for signs. Inspect sagging floors, holes in woodwork, and any hollow parts in the home’s foundation. If the wood falls apart easily, this could be a sign of a termite problem.

Homeowners also need to determine what type of termites are infesting their home. The most common varieties are underground, drywood, and wetwood. Underground termites are found throughout the United States and thrive in both soil and wood. Drywood termites are found primarily in coastal states such as California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida and live exclusively in wood. Dampwood termites live in the West and Pacific Northwest but are occasionally found in Florida.

STEP 2: Eliminate underground termites with termitecide barriers, termite baits and beneficial nematodes.

Underground termites can be eradicated by a variety of methods. Termitecide barriers and termite baits are professional-level products that establish a perimeter around a home. If a termite eats treated materials and returns to its colony, the termite will die and spread the venom to other termites. Beneficial nematodes are natural parasites that can be used as another eradication method to poison and destroy a colony.

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STEP 3: Destroy drywood termites with essential oils and termiticides.

Treating termite stains involves drilling holes in the wood where termites nest, filling the holes with termiticide, and sealing the holes. Drywood termites can also be eradicated with household items like essential oils. Orange and neem oil inhibit termites’ ability to molt or lay eggs. Mix 2 cups of water with 10 drops of oil and a squirt of dish soap, then spray on the affected area.

How to get rid of termites Spray boric acid on wood

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STEP 4: Spray boric acid on wood, garden and all infested areas.

Boric acid is an ingredient found in most termite insecticides and is a reliable method of eliminating colonies. It’s available at any hardware store and works by dehydrating and killing the termites. Spray it on any area where termites are present.

STEP 5: Make a DIY trap out of wet cardboard.

Another do-it-yourself solution is to create a cardboard trap. This simple method requires you to stack two wet pieces of cardboard on top of each other. The cellulose in the cardboard attracts the termites and they get stuck in the pieces. You can then take the box outside and burn it. However, this is not an efficient method as it may not kill all termites or the colony.

STEP 6: Use diatomaceous earth to get rid of termites.

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring rock that is processed into powder. As with other treatments, spraying the powder around the infected area will dehydrate and kill the termites.

How to get rid of termites Hire a professional

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STEP 7: Hire a professional if you need help or if the infestation is too large to treat with DIY methods.

Due to their scale, termite infestations can be difficult to eradicate completely. Unless the infestation is limited to just one area, it is in a homeowner’s best interest to call in a professional exterminator to treat it.

STEP 8: Set up preventive measures.

The best way to get rid of termites is not to have them. There are simple preventatives that any homeowner can purchase and use easily to prevent termite infestations.

Termites can be a difficult pest, especially in warmer weather. For minor infestations, there are many DIY solutions that homeowners can use and apply to get rid of termites. However, when it comes to a large infestation, homeowners should call a professional exterminator to solve the problem.

Get professional advice

Find licensed termite experts in your area and get free, no-obligation estimates for your project.

HomeAdvisor logo+ BobVila.com logo