Every year, termites cause $5 billion in damage across the United States. That’s no surprise considering that an individual infestation can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a building. It might be tempting to purchase termiticide from the hardware store and try to kill the pests yourself. But if your efforts fail, not only have the termites enjoyed additional time to dine on your dwelling, but you will have to contact a pest professional after already spending time and money on the problem. Termites are difficult to control, so we suggest you seek out a pest control expert if you discover an infestation. Professional pest controllers know which system will best exterminate the termites on your property, and they understand regulations you might not consider or know exist.
Depending on the situation and your preferences, a pest control professional will employ one of four treatments to kill the termites that have invaded your property.
Liquid Soil Treatment
One of the two most common treatment methods is liquid soil treatment. With this method, the pest control professional will spray a termiticide (insecticide formulated to kill termites), such as Termidor®, around the base of the building. This spray makes a “lethal zone” that the termites cannot sense. Termites will eat material covered with the termiticide spray and carry it throughout the colony and spreading it to other termites. The spray affects the termites’ nervous system, and they’ll die in approximately 11 days.
Pest control professionals may come back on a scheduled basis to reinspect the property and see how the application has worked. If needed, they may reapply the spray.
Bait Solutions for Termites
The second common method for killing termites is bait. Most bait solutions use an insect growth regulator or a combination of metabolic inhibitors and toxins that affect termites’ nervous system. The most tested bait-type termite control on the market is the Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System. When installing a bait trap like Sentricon®, pest professionals first identify where the traps need placed. They will then augur holes around the property, in some cases through concrete, and place the traps in the holes.
Termites love the bait even more than wood. They share the bait, and the colony soon dies out. Like with termiticide spray, pest professionals might monitor the property and replace the bait as needed.
Another method pest professionals sometimes use is a direct-wood treatment. This treatment method works best for drywood termite colonies that are compact and haven’t spread through the building’s structure. With this method, the wood itself it treated with a liquid, aerosol, or dust that contains chemicals that will kill termites. Applications that treat the surface of the wood have a limited ability to penetrate into the colonies. Some direct-wood treatments, however, apply the treatment through pressurized means directly into the termites’ nest, where it travels through their tunnels.
Another direct-wood treatment provides preventative protection. It is possible to pretreat lumber to make it distasteful to termites. Borate formulations are often used for this. Borate disrupts termites’ digestive system, but it is unclear how it does so.
Fumigation is sometimes used to dispel a widespread termite infestation. It affects the colony instantaneously, but it is also the costliest method.
During fumigation, professionals tent the building with impermeable material. They then pump fumigant, such as Vikane® gas, into the building. The fumigant reaches inside every pore inside the building, leaving no wood beam or rafter untouched.