There’re so many possible methods of fighting the termites that it’s hard to choose what to use without special knowledge.
Many people are used to the idea of the traditional insecticide bug spray.
The question is – is it good for fighting the termite’s infestation? And if not, are there other way sprays can help you? Let’s look into this problem.
- Termites and their habits
- How can the bug spray be used against termites?
- Spraying as wood treatment
- Spray against active infestations
- Useful articles
Termites and their habitsTo understand what are the best methods of fighting termites, you need to learn your enemy’s habits. First of all, there’re two major termite families that are threatening the households. The drywood and subterranean termites.
Drywood termites usually have small or medium-sized colonies. They nest and form the colony in the wood itself and they prefer soft untreated timber. In case of drywood termites’ infestation, it is quite common to find the nest exactly the same place where they hollowed wooden structure.
Sometimes the infestation can be small and local (only one plank of doorframe, for example) and can be easily fought with simple methods (easiest – burning the object). In other cases, the infestation can take over many wooden elements important for the structural integrity, and endanger the stability of the building itself. In this case, the large-scale fumigation is needed.
The best methods to use against this species are:
Subterranean termites do not nest in the wood. As the name says – they like to expand their colonies underground, somewhere in soil. Usually there’s no sign above the ground that will help you to detect where the nest is placed.
The colonies are normally bigger than the ones of drywood species and, in case of Formosan “super termite”, can reach up to millions of individual termites. Because these termites do not stay permanently in your household, but only forage in it, you can notice their presence on the lowest parts of your house.
Cellar or ground floor – that’s what they prefer. Subterranean termites thrive in places where they can find enough moisture and this is also distinguishing them from drywood termites. To get rid of these pests for good you need to destroy the nest, otherwise they will keep coming back again and again.
The methods best for using against subterranean termites’ infestation are:
How can the bug spray be used against termites?
The insecticides in form of liquid sprays are some of the most popular ones on the market.
But are they efficient when it comes to termites? Well, if you think about using them as a bug spray that kills on contact, these sprays will have very limited efficiency. Let me explain you why.
Termites are really silent insects, it’s very hard to see the infestation before it leads to the obvious results – hollowed wood, weakening of wooden structure and damaged timber. You will never see the termite’s workers crawling around your house.These pests use specially built corridors inside the wood or mud tubes, that keep them well covered from bare eye. It’s hardly imaginable that you will cut inside the wood just to find few individuals to spray.
There is only one period you will see termites freely walking around your house. This will be a swarming period. Winged termites usually don’t fly too far away from the nest, so if the nest is inside your house – you might feel a bit crowded.
Termites may also come from the outside, if brought by the wind or attracted by the light in your window. This swarmers sometimes do not pose any danger to your house, but having them crawling around is simply unpleasant. And, in the worst case, couple of those can be a future king and queen of the colony that they will build in your mom’s armchair.
So in this case you can use the spraying termicide that are killing on contact, for example:
- Carpenter Ant & Termite Killer – this is a concentrate by Bayer that can be used for spraying or as a barrier soil treatment method.
- Spectracide spray – To apply it you have to spray the areas that are most likely to have alive termites inside, such as corridors in damaged wood, structural voids, cracks in the wood and so on.
- Raid Ant Killer 26 – this spray kills over 15 different insects on contact.
For the localized indoor use none of those sprays should pose any danger to your or your pets health when applied correctly. But still better avoid application close to the food products and directly on animals.
You might have heard about the famous Termidor insecticide as well. Of course, it also can be used in form of spray. But the fipronil, that is an active ingredient of this product, is highly toxic and not eco-friendly.While being extremely efficient as an insecticide for the soil treatment, Termidor is hardly any better as a spray than any of less toxic chemicals listed above. Plus, it’s use requires a special license and professional execution. Not mentioning that the shipment is prohibited to certain states.
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, Term out spray.
Spraying as wood treatment
Another type of spray you can use is the one that has a residual effect and will add to the wood protection against termites.
This is a prevention method, so it will help you the best if you treat the wooden object, which has just arrived into your house, straight away.
The use of sprays like these will be the best for the furniture, window sills, door sills and other exposed woods. It’s not easy to use them for the structural timber, that can be hardly accessible.
Wood treatment is one of the primary methods of prevention of the drywood termites’ infestation. It can also contribute in the protection against subterranean termites if the termicide is applied to the possible entry points.
One of the eco-friendliest ways of treating the wood is to make your own spray with boric acid. While being chemical insecticide it proves to be less toxic and environment damaging than many others. For this you will need to buy the boric acid with propylene glycol.
All you have to do now is to pour it in the paint sprayer and apply to the wooden areas you would like to treat. Stay on the safe side and use mask and gloves when handling insecticide, because inhaling boric acid will not do any good to your health.The brands that you can find on the market that have borax powder as main ingredient are Timbor (it’s designed to be used in existing structures) and Bora-care (specially for the newly built houses).
Another popular termicide is Premise, with the Imidichloprid as active ingredient. This chemical is eco-friendly and causes the termites to stop feeding and socializing with other termites. This is an effect of the chemical that is derived from tobacco plants and nicotine. Additional plus – the dead insects make other termites to start avoiding treated area in fear of repeating the same fate.
Then, there’re common kill-on-contact sprays with promised residual effect, such as Raid Ant Killer. Theoretically, if applied to the wood in the areas from which subterranean termites might come, they should make it impossible for them to enter. But be careful, Raid products were never aimed specifically for termites, though in some ways they can be used against those pests.
One more product that is available on the market is Wondercide EcoTreat. It’s a treatment based on cedar oil. So, it is a natural insecticide, non-toxic and can be applied even in presence of children, though strictly outdoors (this company has another product for indoor use – Wondercide BioDefence).
The manufacturer offers you to spray the dilution of this termicide against active infestations of drywood termites as well as for the prevention. But, professionals would not agree. So I would recommend this treatment as a supplement to your house protection and not as a main fighting method.
Spray against active infestations
There’re some products on the market, that promise not only prevent, but also stop the termite infestation. For example, the Cedar Bug-Free Termiticide.
The promise of this s product is that whether wood is sprayed with it, the liquid penetrates the wood and dissolves the eggs and larvae of termites’ nest (obviously we’re talking drywood termites here).
It also kills the adult termites with the smell, that is supposed to be overwhelming for their lungs. And after all this, it leaves a barrier of smell that prevents the new infestation. For people this smell should be pleasant cedar odor.Important! If you suspect a termite infestation in your house, we strongly recommend you to start with calling the professional exterminators, instead of trying methods with unknown efficiency and loosing time and wood.
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.
- 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.
So, in short, what is good and bad about usage of sprays for termite killing:
- Bug sprays that kill on contact can mostly be used on the winged reproductives in time of swarm and hardly can reach the worker termites inside the wood.
- There’re couple of spray products that promise elimination of the active infestation by penetrating the wood. The alarming moment is that none of those is coming from big well-known reputable companies, such as Bayer, for example. So, while they can have a level of efficiency, the promise is a little suspicious.
- Sprays can be successfully used for wood treatment, as a prevention method, protecting the wooden structures even before termites arrive.