When it comes to insect infestations, preventing them from setting up shop in your home is always the best move, but sometimes, even your best efforts can’t keep them away. A termite infestation can be particularly problematic as they can really do a number on your house. There are several DIY strategies that may help get rid of them. But, if you find your efforts are not working, get in the professionals as soon as possible, lest you risk major structural damage to your home.
If you are interested in natural methods, you might try nematodes. These microscopic worms have been touted as a natural treatment for dealing with all manners of pests. You can easily find them at a gardening store. They come in a sponge, which you then squeeze into water. This ‘nematode water’ is then sprayed in areas known to have termites. Not only will it help kill off any termites that directly come into contact with the solution, it will also help eradicate the colony as the nematodes will be brought into their ‘home base.’
Orange oil is another natural treatment that may help kill those pesky termites. It contains a substance called d-limonene, which has been shown to destroy the cell membrane of insects and dissolve their exoskeleton. When it comes to killing termites, you want to drill some small holes in the wooden items on which they are feasting, and put the oil in the hollow spaces.
Sodium borate is a powerful insecticide, and is one of the more popular DIY solutions for killing termites. Mix it with water and spray it on all wooden surfaces around the home; don’t forget about any wooden structures under your home, as these tend to be the ‘hotbed’ areas for a termite attack.
Sodium borate works by interfering with electrolyte metabolism, and cracking their exoskeletons, which eventually dehydrates them.
Poisoned bate can be highly effective in killing termites. The best kind is the wooden spikes that are placed in the area around your home; the termites feed on the spikes, and carry the poison back to the colony. This type of method works so well because termites feed off each other while grooming. This method is not one of the fastest, but one of the most successful.
You can effectively kill termites with portable microwave devices; if the wood is treated for the right amount of time, and you have accurately detected where the termites are located, this method can have an efficacy of up to 90 percent. To give you an idea of timing, one to two feet of a wooden board may need anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes of exposure to the microwaves. You do not need to drill holes in the wood. You can either buy or rent the device.
This last method can be very effective since termites thrive in cool, dark areas. But, obviously you are limited to using this technique with wooden objects that can be removed and laid out in the sun—so, not going to work for the beams under the house. Leave the item out for at least two to three days.
Kelli Cooper blogs about all things home from insect control to interior design; if you are in need of a termite professional in the San Francisco area, she recommends checking out Pacific Coast Termite.