Termites and bulldozers have one thing in common; they both can bring your precious home down. However, you can see a bulldozer a mile away and maybe scamper for safety, but it may be too late to identify a termite infestation.
That makes termites the most dangerous pests – don’t you agree?
There is an adage that advises us to know our enemy to defeat them effectively. We must study their behaviours to determine the best course of action to deter them. Well, the same applies to termites. Let’s learn a bit about termites.
The Different Types of Termites
- Subterranean Termites:
These guys are throughout the US and build one of the largest nests. They have an extended, narrow and oval body and creamy to black or dark brown bodies. They are one of the most destructive. They can create a rumble out of wooden structures or your home in a short time.
- Dry Wood Termites:
These are common in west coast California, Texas and South Carolina. They are from the Kalotermitidae family.They love all types of dry wood and don’t need any soil contact.The dry wood termites are home destroyers but do it at a much slower rate than their subterranean counterparts.
- Damp Wood Termites:
The damp wood termites are from Hodotermitidae and Kalotermitidae families. These termites are fond of high moisture content wood. As a result, you will rarely find them in your home since the wood there is not damp and hence inhospitable. You may, however, find them deep in woods where moisture is in plenty and sheltered.The damp wood termites have either brownish of creamy white bodies. They are common in the Pacific coastal, southern Florida and semiarid areas.
It is critical to identify a termite attack promptly to prevent further damage and loss. But what are the telltale signs?
- Wings: if you wake up one of these fine mornings and five several wings around your home then you may be having termites setting up residence within your property. You will thus need to act quickly before their next course of action.Typically, termites will get rid of their wings when they find the perfect spot to bore through wood and make their home. They will no longer need to fly again.
- Wood Damage: termites eat through the wood to find cellulose. If your home has wooden floors, it is important to conduct inspections at least once a month. Termite damage on wood is not difficult to identify.And if you are not very sure whether it’s a termite attack or normal wear and tear, then you can always employ the services of professional – they have the right tools to be sure.
- The Screwdriver Test: typically, wood is solid and can never be hollow unless something is working overtime to eat its insides. To test whether there are termites around, poke several beams with your screwdriver. If it is hollow, the screwdriver will go right in easily, and that would confirm a termite attack.
- Mud Tubes: if there are termites in your property, you may find tubes where your wooden structure links with the ground. Termites are sensitive to heat and construct the mud tubes to maintain their structures at a particular temperature and moisture. If you poke the mud tube, a few of them may come out.
- Termite Droppings: you can also identify the presence of termites by their droppings. Take a flashlight and look for dark brown pellets where you suspect there are termites.
The Different Ways you can get Rid of Termites
Boric acid is one of the most versatile and effective pesticides you will find – it kills various insets. Boric acid is relatively safe in comparison to other methods such as a liquid barrier and others. The method acts by interrupting metabolic and digestive systems upon contact.
Borax, as some circles refer to it, is cheap and easy to use. Unfortunately, it may not last very long and is unlikely to kill an entire population at your home.
The poisoned bait method is for those not too comfortable with pesticides around, especially if there are kids and pets around. Poisoned baits work by utilising an attractant for foraging termites which then spread the poison to others.
Poisoned baits may prove cost-effective and deadly against subterranean termites. Its shortcomings include ineffectiveness against dry wood termites.
The principle behind this termite control method is to create a barrier around the house to kill any termite that comes in contact with the insecticide. Terminate like Termidor Termicide is fully undetectable and spread by contact. It is slow acting and affords sufficient time to spread the active ingredient across the population.
However, the method may prove costly if you have a sizeable property. It is also not effective on particular types of termites such as the dry wood termites.
Direct chemicals like the Termidor foam have a nozzle that you can use inside your home in crevices and cracks. Direct chemicals take care of the visible termites in your home. They are time and cost-effective. But they are unlikely to remove an entire colony. You will need to employ other methods.
You can still opt for a biological method like beneficial nematodes to get rid of the termites. Well, beneficial nematodes are roundworms that feed on other insects like termites. They act by attacking termites and other harmful insects and releasing gut bacteria that eventually kills the insects. The microscopic worms can bleed and multiply within a short time and move between hosts. However, they are not quite efficient against some varieties of termites and insects. They may also not kill an entire colony.
It is the most natural method of pest control made from fossilised remains of diatoms – organic organisms. The pesticide works by disintegrating the exoskeletons of insects, exposing them to dehydration and eventual demise. You can use dichotomous earth both indoors and outdoors, even around pets and babies, without worrying about toxicity.
Unfortunately, the dichotomous earth may not be effective against subterranean ants. They may also not exterminate an entire population of termites. Dichotomous earth will also not be effective in places where there’s high moisture. Remember it works through dehydration.