Nothing is quite as damaging to a house as termites. They can eat through wooden and plant-based materials until there’s nothing left. Here’s your guide on how to get rid of termites.
Given the potentially disastrous effects of a termite infestation, we’ve called in the experts to tell us how it’s done. Danny from Pest-Ex gives us the details on just how to get rid of termites once and for all.
How to tell if you have a termite problem
There are different kinds of termites that can infest your home: dry wood termites, subterranean termites, and damp wood termites. Before taking any measures to eradicate termites from your home, it’s wise to determine whether you have an infestation and identify what type of termites you’re dealing with.
Here are some tell-tale signs that termites might have made themselves at home:
Have a look around the foundations of your house, including wall edges and posts, and if you find mud tubes, you likely have an infestation of termites. These mud tubes look like thin brown tracks made of dirt or mud and run along flat surfaces. According to Danny, mud tubes “protect termites from light and ants”, so they can safely travel back to their colonies.
How to get rid of termites
Once you have determined that you have termites, it’s time to get rid of them. It should be noted that before taking action, hiring a professional is always encouraged. That way, you can be sure that you’re removing all of the termites that have infested your home.
1. Use a chemical termite barrier treatment
Danny says the best product on the market for treating termite infestations on homes where the foundations are built into the ground (eg. slab homes) is Termidor. Termidor is a chemical treatment which does not repel termites, yet is poisonous once ingested. This means that once they return to their nest, they will infect other termites in their colony.
To use Termidor as chemical treatment, Danny and his team inject it into the soil around the perimeter of the house at 10 litres per metre. While Danny says this treatment is very effective, it will also be more effective when used by a professional — otherwise, you likely won’t be able to have access to the warranty that Termidor provides.
2. Use a baiting system
Another method for treating a termite infestation is to use baiting systems. This method is suited to homes where the foundations of the house are elevated off the ground.
Danny recommends the brand Exterra, which allows you to build baiting stations around your house. The baiting system poisons the termites slowly, similarly to Termidor, meaning the termites will return to their colony and poison other termites as well.
DIY methods for preventing termite infestations
“The best way to keep termites away or get rid of them is to reduce the risks of a termite attack to your home and be aware of the early signs of an infestation,” says Danny. Here are the best ways to be ‘termite conscious’.
1. Reduce moisture
Reducing moisture around the edges of walls and wood in your home will decrease the likelihood of termites being attracted to your house. This means keeping an eye out for dripping taps, leaking downpipes, and poor drainage.
2. Keep slab edges exposed
Make sure the slab edges of your house are always exposed, with at least 75mm space between them and the ground or mulched areas. This will reduce the chance of termites accessing the foundations of your home through mulch or soil.
3. Check your electrical metre box
Not all homeowners know this, but you can actually check your metre box to determine if there has been a termite treatment done to your home in the past. Knowing when the last treatment was done will allow you to determine whether you ought to do a thorough examination of your home.
4. Physical barriers
Your home may have a physical barrier installed into the brickwork already. This will last 10-20 years, so it may be worth asking your landlord or real estate agency to check if this has already been done, and when.
5. Install ant caps
Ant caps are metal sheets that are installed in the sub-flooring of your house. While they don’t prevent termite infestations, they make infestations far more visible upon inspection. Without ant caps, termite infestations in the floors and foundations of your house will be far less easy to spot. This means infestations could progress without you noticing them in time to prevent extensive damage.
Tips for reducing toxins used in termite removal
The idea of using heavy chemicals around your home may not sound like the most appealing idea. While they are a surefire way to remove a termite infestation, there are some natural alternatives (though they may not be quite as effective in eliminating termites).
Reduce mulch surrounding your home
One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of a termite infestation or to mitigate an existing one is to remove mulch around the home. Danny says, “keep garden beds and mulch levels lower than your weep holes or slab edge. Termites can easily enter over your slab edge or through weep holes if covered by ground level or mulch”.
He further suggests: “keep mulched areas around the home to a minimum. If you do have mulch, make sure it is treated mulch or cypress mulch available from most landscaping suppliers”.
Termites hate sunlight, so if you suspect you have an infestation in your furniture or other items, put them out in the sun for around three days. Note that this method won’t work if you have an infestation within the structures of your house, as you can’t expose these directly to sunlight.
Cardboard is an effective termite removal method because it contains the same compound as wood and other natural materials: cellulose. Get some cardboard, dampen it with water, and place it near or around the area where you have a termite infestation. Once the cardboard is infested with termites, take it outside and burn it.