Termites can cause a lot of damage to both homes and outdoor furniture. So discovering an infestation can really sting. Fortunately, they're not the most difficult pest to treat, and there are often a number of things you can do at home to minimize the damage while waiting for pest control services like Fowler Pest Control. Here are six natural ways to rid your home of termites.
1. Cardboard Box Trap. What better method of trapping termites than by using their favorite meal as bait? Find a small cardboard box and spray it with a fine mist of water. This will help draw out the smell of wood and cellulose, thereby attracting nearby females. Place the box, lid open, in an area where they tend to congregate, and let it sit for a day or so. Then when you have enough termites trapped, close the lid and burn the box.
2. Sun Exposure. Termites hate the sun. As a matter of fact, too much sunlight will actually kill them. If you know where they are nesting or tend to hang out, do what you can to expose the area to sunlight. This can usually be accomplished by locating the subterranean nest and cutting back shrubbery, removing weeds, and trimming any overhanging trees and limbs. If you have outdoor furniture that's been affected, you can also move the pieces of furniture out of the shade and into the sunlight.
3. Moisture Elimination. Termites thrive in damp environments, so anything you can do to dry things out can only help. Once again, the sun is your friend when it comes to achieving this, so the more sun exposure you can give your property, the dryer it will be.
Inspect the perimeter of your property for water leaks, and ensure that you have adequate drainage, too. If you notice any areas where water is pooling, you'll want to address this right away by clearing out your gutters and drain spouts, and making sure your yard is sloped to allow for water runoff. If your yard isn't draining correctly, either because the sloping is poor or your home is at the bottom of a hill, you can talk with a contractor about having trench drains installed around your property.
4. Parasitic Nematodes. If you've tried other measures to get rid of termites, you may want to give parasitic nematodes a run. There are a number of different species available, and they target different strains of termites in different ways. For example, the Heterorhabditis bacteriophora nematode will actively seek out termites, using bacteria in their guts to kill up to six different types of these pests. The Steinernema carpocapsae nematode uses a "sit and wait" strategy, standing on their tails and jumping on the backs of termites as they pass by. The bacteria then infects the insects and they later die.
It's important to know which species of nematode you'll need and how many feet of your home is affected as this will determine your investment. For instance, you'll need at about 23,000 Steinernema carpocapsae juveniles for every square feet of termite infestation. Most nematodes can be purchased online or from home and garden supply stores.
5. Orange Oil. Orange oil contains an ingredient called d-limonene, which is toxic to termites but completely safe for people. You probably won't be able to eradicate an entire infestation, but you can get rid of the termites where it's applied.
To treat effectively, you'll need to drill into the wood that's affected, then pour or spray the orange oil directly in the holes. Whether you'll end up needing additional treatment depends on the size of the infestation, the age of the colonies, and what types of termites you have.
6. Sodium Borate. Also known as "borax," this substance is toxic to a number of pests, termites included, but perfectly safe around people and pets. A borate solution can be sprayed onto the surfaces of wood when new homes are being built, helping to prevent an infestation down the road. But for treatment, you'll need to spray nests with a liquid solution or sprinkle powder around the colonies. Most professionals recommend using borax in conjunction with other treatments.