Do It Yourself Termite Control
Summary: Treating houses that have become infested with termites takes patience and persistence. You should make sure that any pest control company you hire is as determined as you are to treat your termite problem until it is solved. Or, you can try do-it-yourself termite control techniques.
The first thing that you need to do when approaching a termite problem is to do a termite inspection of your property. You could do this yourself by looking for signs of termite damage, or you can hire a trained professional to do it for you. If you suspect that you have termites, I would recommend that you consult a professional first. If you have already received a professional opinion and still would like to try to tackle the problem yourself, then lots of information is what you require.
A proper termite inspection will often pinpoint where termites are hiding. Termites are attracted to water damaged wood, so places that are exposed to moisture, or anywhere where wood is touching soil, are good places to start looking for termite activity. Sometimes, however, there will be no clear signs of termites other than old damaged wood or old, abandoned termite tunnels.
If you suspect termites draw a floor plan map of your house. Mark doorways and windows, as well as gutters, down spouts, air conditioning drains and other places where moisture collects. Also, note locations of tree stumps, wooden playhouses, or stacks of firewood. You should be concerned about the spots where termites might be gaining entry to the house or objects that might attract termites.
There are liquid treatments and bait treatments for termite control. In this article I am going to focus on bait treatments. They are easier to install, require no drilling of concrete slabs or trenching along foundations, and they do not poison the soil, as do liquid termiticides.
Once you have located your termite “trouble spots” you will need to dig holes in which you will insert the bait stations. You can do this with a hand auger or power auger that you can rent from any tool rental store.
The bait holes should be about six inches deep, one or two feet from the foundation of the building, spaced about ten feet apart. The bait station may be loaded with monitor stakes, which do not contain an active ingredient, or an active bait ingredient, depending upon the manufacturer. The top of the stations should be pushed into the soil, level with the ground. Make sure that the soil is packed closely, but not too tightly, around the termite monitoring device.
There are many different brands of bait designed for termites like Firstline, HexPro, Subterfuge, Spectracide and Advance. The baits work by attracting the termites to feed on the bait which contains a slow acting poison that the termites carry with them back to their colony. Baits work slowly, but they can destroy an entire termite colony. Some products use a wooden monitor to attract the termites, while others start right off with active bait. Which product you use should be based upon product reviews found on the web.
Mark the locations of the bait stations with surveyor's flags so that you do not forget where they are if they get covered by mulch or snow. You need to monitor the stations once a month to check for termite activity. If termite activity is discovered, replace the monitoring stake with the active ingredient supplied by the manufacturer or replenish active bait, as needed.
When you see that termites are no longer feeding you can assume the colony has been destroyed. Replace the interior monitors and continue to inspect the monitors once every two months. New termite colonies often take up where old colonies once were active.
Bait stations, even when properly placed, are not a guarantee of successful treatment against termites. Professionals will have more experience dealing with termite infestations, so they will have a better chance of placing bait station in places where termites are likely to feed. Professionals also can spray chemicals around the perimeter of your house to prevent against termites in the first place. Professionals use an integrated pest management approach to dealing with termites to take away favorable conditions such as removing wood that has been exposed to moisture.
Termites damage houses slowly. They do not buzz-saw a house like represented in cartoons. So, even if your attempts are ultimately unsuccessful, it will not hurt to take some time to try a do-it-yourself approach. If you continue to see termites after several months, however, I would recommend biting the bullet and calling a pest control company that specializes in termite treatments.
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