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How to detect and deter termites

Talking about termites invading your house is never pleasant. To start with just how they look and to finish with all the cost of treatment and repair makes everything about termites unpleasant, but if the problem appears you should be aware of how to get rid of termites

First signs 

Of course, it’s extremely difficult to indicate the precise moment when the termites start to infest your house, but at some point, there are sure signs of their presence. Even if you don’t see a termite nest, there are other ways of identifying termite infestation in your living place. But before using any ultrasonic pest repellers or other ways to eliminate the parasites, you need to be sure about what type of termite you have.

Bulging

As they are living and eating wood, you can notice some changes in the wooden elements of your interior (floor, ceiling, walls, wood trim, etc.). They look like someone has done a quickie work and put a sticky-back plastic on a surface, where there are air bubbles left. Termite-eaten wood looks just the same. 

Tubes of mud

The insects build them to move safely on walls, and they have a very particular look. The veins of these tubes may indicate the current presence of termite nest in house. To check if this route is still active, you need just to break the tube – if there are cream-colored insects moving inside, it’s their current way to provide the nest with all needed. This is what termite damage interior walls look like:

Heads up!

There can be flying swarms inside or outside your house. They look pretty particular, but there’s a difference in the place where you noticed them: seeing them inside means for sure that you have a termite nest on house, but streams flying outside are not a definite sign. 

Sawdust or similar

Any insect-eating wood leaves traces of sawdust which can look different. The main point is that when you see such traces near something wooden, your house is infested. But not necessarily by termites. 

To know for sure if there are termite mounds in house of yours, address professionals.

Professional termite detection

Pest control services have specific equipment which allows determining the infestation of a house by these insects, and what’s no less important is that a pro can identify the species of termites. It’s a crucial point in building a further strategy to eradicate the problem, because some treatment methods may not affect particular species. 

The USA is the territory for the four types of common house termites living. They are:

  • subterranean;
  • formosan;
  • drywood;
  • dampwood.

This list goes from the most frequent to appear to the least. Furthermore, the nest of the termites of the last type is easy to kill just by blocking the free access to the water and moisture. 

The presence of termites can be identified by:

  • dogs;
  • acoustic meters;
  • moisture testers;
  • long and thin tools;
  • IR scanners;
  • scanners emitting waves on a specific frequency;
  • cameras on flexible pipes.

The termite detectors can inspect the surfaces and what’s behind them on different levels. Some are indicating just the approximate location of large clusters of parasites, others allow specialists to see them through the walls and all the finishing. 

What does a termite nest look like?

The termites use the particles of sawdust and ground to build their nests, so they look specifically. In the pictures below, you’ll find examples of what a termite nest looks like.

A termite nest on outside wall. A termite nest on wall inside the house. 

Termite nests in ground can look variously, though the main peculiarity is that there is just a small part of the whole nest that you see up the ground. The rest is deep underground, so the bigger the top part is, the bigger the entire nest is. 

Be attentive to notice the termite mounds in yard, as it can be a sign of their early presence inside your living place. 

Ways to eradicate the parasites

There are two types of treatments to get rid of termites in the house: using toxic matters and non-toxic ways. The first group helps to eliminate the population more efficiently and to provide the resistance to their return for a long period. The main disadvantage is that some of the methods affect the environment or leave residues. The non-toxic ways of house termite nest eradication are safer for people and the environment, but the resistance is almost zero. 

Use of chemicals 

The chemical treatment is the most widespread, some of them a house owner can do by himself, but remember that efficiency depends directly on the level of professionalism of the one operating the process. Types of the chemical treatment may include:

  • installing baits attracting the insects, which then carry the poisoned particles to the nest causing the whole nest to die;
  • solutions or foams having boron as a part of the composition;
  • insecticides applied pointwise (requires drilling);
  • aerosol disinfestation applying toxic gas;
  • soil treatment, including the territory around and under the house (may affect the wells).

These methods are possible to combine in order to create a complex effect.

Use of non-toxic ways

Among the methods which do not require using pesticides, there is only one truly efficient – it’s preventive preparations and constant support of the house and equipment in proper condition. If they have appeared, house black termites can be eradicated by heat (the entire house is heated up to 120℃) and by electric current (applied pointwise). To treat the entire house in both cases you’ll need $1 200 and up, so despite these ways requiring no chemicals to use, the technology is still pretty expensive. The price is conditioned also by the rarity of such treatments available. 

In general, it should be said that every insect-related problem is manageable to tackle, but the crucial point is the approach you choose. And the best is to prevent pests from invading your residence. 

Sources:

https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/termites-how-identify-and-control-them#know

https://www.thisoldhouse.com/pest-control/21014998/how-to-detect-and-deter-termites

 

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