How to Kill Termites

The Secrets of Finally Eradicating These Insects

The ideal solution is one that will kill termites already infesting your home and which will stop the problem from occurring again in the future.Once you’ve gotten the bad news that your property has been invaded by termites, the next decision is how best to deal with the problem, how to kill termites in your house.

Call in the Pros-STAT!

The most efficient solution to a termite infestation is almost without exception hiring professional exterminators. While the dedicated do-it-yourselfer may feel that no obstacle is too great or enemy too implacable to deal with, the truth of the matter is that there exists no effective means available to the homeowner to wage a successful war against an invading termite colony. Professional exterminators alone have the necessary federal licenses and permits to obtain dispense the most deadly pesticides and the knowledge and training to apply treatment that does not endanger the occupants or pets in a home. They have special equipment at their disposal that will insure the most thorough treatment possible for killing termites at every stage of development.

Professional exterminators will also be able to precisely identify the species responsible for an infestation. How to kill drywood termites can differ from methods used to kill subterranean termites or dampwood species. Knowing precisely which kind of termite is posing the threat is more than half the battle of defeating them.

Calling in the professionals may bring about visions of that most extreme of treatments—termite fumigating by tenting—a process by which an entire home is enveloped in tarps and termiticidal gas is pumped through the structure. While this is a valuable treatment it is also generally the method utilized as a last resort against extensive infestations by mature colonies. Depending on the extent of the infestation and the type of termite involved, there may be other options available to kill termites without tenting/fumigation. A reputable exterminator will carefully inspect the property and be able to offer an array of choices for treatment, as well as advising which the best for the level of infestation detected is.

Killing Flying Termites

The lucky homeowner is the one who notices the presence of termites in the earliest phase of an invasion—during a swarm. Termites establish colonies by sending out winged “alates” who pair off, mate and burrow into new nesting sites to establish colonies. Alates are usually first noticed outside a house, swarming around outside lights as well as along cracks and imperfections in siding and foundations. Being able to kill swarming termites in this stage of development can prevent a colony from settling in and doing serious damage, although their presence in any number is also a very strong indication that a mature colony is in residence nearby and quite possibly already infesting your home.

Alerting to the presence of winged termites should initiate a call to pest control experts to conduct an inspection and evaluation. If the intent is just to kill winged termites, this is one stage where over the counter pesticides may have some use, as will so called “bug zapper” devices (electrical discharge insect control systems) which attract flying insects and kill them by contact with high voltage wires. While both of these methods of killing flying termites may work, they are not any kind of insurance that a breeding pair will not still find its way into your home and begin to nest. Spot treatments as deployed by a professional exterminator which target the likely entry points in walls and foundations may be very effective at this point in a termite invasion, especially when combined with termite monitoring and bait systems placed in the ground surrounding the structure.

Natural vs. Chemical Extermination

With so much attention given in the news media to the dangers of pesticides which pose health risks to humans and pets as well as danger to the environment itself, another consideration for the homeowner may be how to kill termites naturally, without resorting to the use of chemical termiticides. There are any numbers of options available which fall under the “natural” banner.

One of the most effective is the use of beneficial nematodes—a parasitical worm that feeds upon termite forms at all stages of development. Introducing these organisms into the soil surrounding a property is valuable in fighting subterranean species that nest in the ground around a structure and travel via mud tubes into the structure to feed. Other natural solutions to termite infestations include the use of low toxicity pesticides such as borax which is a naturally occurring substance that is often used to pre-treat construction materials to make them termite resistant and repellent.

Also falling under the natural banner are mechanical means of killing termites in your house. These treatments include:

• Microwave extermination

• Extreme heat and cold applications

• Electrical disruption

As might be expected these are methods deployed only by professional exterminators who must be fully licensed in their use and have access to the specialized equipment necessary to perform these methods without damage to structures or inhabitants.

One more promising natural method of termite extermination is the use of orange oil, a substance distilled from the rinds of oranges as a natural byproduct of the production of orange juice. The mechanism responsible for orange oil’s effectiveness is not entirely understood but it seems to undermine the integrity of the exoskeleton of the termite and to act as a desiccant on the internal workings of the termite form. Knowing how to kill termites with orange oil often requires direct application into active termite galleries, as the substance does not transfer as efficiently from termite to termite as efficiently as other chemical pesticides; as such is the case orange oil is best deployed as a spot termite treatment method.

The good news about a termite invasion is that it is a slow process that takes several years from the time of first arrival by a mating pair of winged termites until such time as a structure is prone to significant damage, which allows the homeowner to formulate a plan of effective action with the advice and assistance of a pest control expert.