How to Treat Termites in Walls?
Subterranean termite is a crafty pest. The insect prefers concealed, damp and dark out-of-sight places, that is why sometimes it is rather complicated to find the presence of termites’ colony nest inside a house and the problem of termites’ infestation becomes serious and sometimes irretrievable.
Termites have gone further in their eating “habits”: it is easier for them to eat cellulose than to devour just the wood pieces, that is why termites have become a frequent “guest” in walls, no matter what material they are made of.
Can one be absolutely sure that there are no these nasty insects somewhere except basement, furniture or other wooden structures? Are termites beginning to eat everything they are able to find? Today we will try to answer these questions and give you some necessary information how to avoid and get rid of these insects inside your house.
What Treatment Measure Is the Most Effective One?
Subterranean termites live inside the soil and reach above-ground level food sources via special tunnels that workers build of saliva, mud and their feces.
Walls can draw these nasty insects in case they are in direct contact with the ground (soil).
Wall damage also tends to go undiscovered for long periods of time, as it may begin so far below the level a human can see.
The total surface area of walls that is exposed to the soil is extensively larger than other parts of a house. This large surface area attracts termites as a food source, as many insects can feed on the same piece of wood without having to travel and forage too far beyond their nest.
Fortunately, there are a lot of treatment measures against termites in walls today. We will speak about the most effective measures, as well as “organic fight” against these dangerous insects in a house’s walls.
If pest damage is limited to one or two walls (in case they are made of sheetrock that is easy to replace), it can be replaced in sections.
Advantage: fast repair without using chemicals.
Disadvantage: if termites caused damage to a sheetrock, they may have damaged wall studs or ceiling joists near this very sheetrock. In this case, it will be very difficult to repair.
If there is no opportunity to replace wall materials (walls are made of solid material, brick, for example), you can use the so called “baiting station”. It uses the termites’ natural behaviors to cause the nest and colony to die of starvation (i.e. without cellulose and moisture).
The process uses a special baiting system to kill the workers responsible for feeding the entire colony. The “bait” contains cellulose food the ingredient called “sulflurimid” (or other chemicals) that is fed to the termites. As a result, working termites die, so they are no longer able to feed their colony, so it dies of starvation.
Advantage: when one use baiting system there is no need to scatter dangerous chemicals all around the house to control the termites.
Disadvantage: it takes time for termites to eat out the stake. It also will take a long period of time for colony to die. Besides, they can produce a new worker caste.
Fumigation. For termite species that don’t travel on the soil or for killing working or flying stages of termites, this method of eradication is usually required.
Gas or heat fumigation of a house is a perfect way to treat termites that fly and can nest in the attic and ceiling of a house.
Advantage: kills adult termites on contact. Can eliminate other nasty insects in a house.
Disadvantage: very difficult process performed only by a specialist. Do not deal with underground colony and eggs.
Another alternative is to treat infested walls with Termidor or Premise (in foam, spray, liquid). These chemicals are applied into the wall voids and exterior soil near the problem wall.
Also, the process involves drilling holes into slabs to apply the liquid underneath the home and create an adequate barrier of protectability.
Advantage: Termidor and Premise kill termites on contact. It means, that the adult insects will die immediately (in 12-24 hours).
Disadvantage: these chemicals have nothing to do with underground nest with their eggs. It means, that there is no use of single treatment, since in a month or two termites will restore their population.
Since termites are discovered, it is very important to take a combination of measures against these nasty pests: it is recommended immediate spraying of Termidor or Premise into the wall voids and exterior soil near the problem drywall before installing bait stations.
Advantage: Termidor/Premise plus baiting station inside a house is the best solution ever. It will deal with termites that are already inside the wall and with those under the soil level. This method is considered to be the most effective one.
Disadvantage: one should carefully check baiting station and the overall situation with termites in a house.
Here you can learn more information about effective termite control remedies: Bora-Care, Boric acid, Borate, Fipronil, Chlorpyrifos, Chlordane, Borax, Timbor, Termidor, Terminator, Phantom, Lorsban, Biflex, Terro. You can choose different forms, such as – foam, liquid, powder.
Is It Possible to Lead “Organic War” Against Termites in A Wall?
Today there is a tendency to use natural materials and substances in all areas.
Termite elimination is not an exception to the rule. But are these organic treatment measures so effective as non-organic chemicals? Let’s have a look at these treatment ways:
Orange oil (or other essential oils with distinctive scent) is more or less effective due to the active ingredient that can eliminate a great variety of insects, by means of dissolving their exoskeleton and destroying their cell membranes, thus leading to insects’ death.
Drill small holes into the infested wall and spray the oil-water mixture into the hollow spaces.
Effectiveness: it will not solve an already serious problem. Can be true for other insect, but not for termites.
Boric acid. This natural insecticide destroys their nervous system and dehydrates them. You can make DIY baiting stations for your house based on cellulose and boric acid and place them near infested walls.
Effectiveness: more or less effective. Needs regular observation and replacement.
Salt. Soak cotton balls with water-salt mixture and put them into the drilled holes in the walls. This mixture will scare the termites away.
How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Termites Inside a Wall?
It is a rather difficult question to give a precise answer.
This time depends on various factors: the overall humidity level in a building and temperature, used treatment measures, disposition and condition of vent system and water pipes, the material of walls and density of termites in the area.
Approximately, to get rid of termites using the most effective treatment measure (liquid termicide plus baiting system) will take from 3 months to 1 year (one treatment will not solve this problem entirely, you will need 2-3 treatments).
If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:
- All types of termites. Are they harmful to humans? Can they bite you? And what is the difference between drywood and subterranean ones?
- What does swarmers of different species look like: drywood, subterranean, formosan?
- Signs of infestation outside and in the house: in walls or furniture.
- How to treat them at home and in the yard: in wood or in fence. How long this process lasts and what is pre-construction and soil treatment?
- What does termite holes look like? What is droppings and is it toxic to humans? Do termites make noises?
- Posible termite damage, how does it look like? Examples of damage in walls and wood floors.
- All about flying termites: how do they look like, swarming season and what to do if there are swarmers in your house?
- How do they do nests and mounds? How to find it in your garden or inside the house?
- Termite life cycle – from egg to larvae. And social hierarchy: workers, soldiers, queen.
- Did you know that termites can infest living trees, for example a palm or a pine tree. They also like to live in stumps.
- You can prevent the infestation by using barriers, such as: HomeGuard, Physical systems, Safeguard, Stainless steel mesh, Kordon.
- If you want to get rid of termites naturally, learn more about such methods as: heat or cold treatment, orange oil, using nematodes.
Termites is a very serious problem that badly needs the work of a specialist. We recommend you not to rely on DIY treatment measures and always try to consult with a specialist.
Once neglected, termites’ colony can rapidly grow and invade the whole house destroying all necessary house structures as ceilings, walls and floors. Do not forget about annual inspection that is also better to entrust to a specialist.
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