Unlike any other pests, termites do not carry with them disease-causing pathogens but they are the most destructive insects when it comes to industrial structures. They are also very hard to detect and sometimes, extermination means do not completely eradicate the whole number of termites swarming in your own territory. There are three considerations that should be thought of first before any homeowner starts annihilating termites; the common sites for termite colonies, the methods of extermination, and the difficulties commonly encountered in the process of extermination.
I. Common Sites for Termite Colonies.
Termites typically build their colonies in hidden areas and infest your home before you even get to notice their presence. By then, the damages caused would already be too great to save. However, there are five common sites where they usually settle.
a) House walls and wooden frames of the ceiling.
The most effective way to check on their colonies is to find bulges on walls and traces of fine powder of wood that termites leave behind.
Colonies that are built inside cabinets are usually small but there could be other colonies in other parts of the house. You need to move objects out of the cabinet to fully check if there is a mound in it and destroy it immediately together with the shelter tubes.
c) Tool sheds.
Termites build their colonies in tool sheds because they have a very low risk of being noticed since tool sheds are not usually visited and checked by homeowners. If they do, they would just get one item and do not move everything in it. Thus, it is very convenient for the termites.
This is the most common site. There could possibly be numerous colonies built up in the garden because it is very ideal for the survival of termites. They have abundant supply of food, moisture and the temperature is fairly regulated.
e) Basements and attics.
Like tool sheds, these two areas of the house are not frequently visited by the household members so they provide ideal refuge to termites. Sometimes, there is more than one colony built in the attic or in the basement. In order to find them, you can check on their shelter tubes and track them out to be lead to their nests.
II. Methods of Extermination.
When your house is being infested by termites, it is highly advised to let the professional pest control specialists to get rid of them. However, this does not mean that you could not do the extermination process yourself and by doing so, here are the following methods you could use.
Like any other pests, termites as well are susceptible to baits. You can use fabrics, soft and damp woods or old papers and add a certain amount of pesticide. Place the bait near the suspected site of their colony and leave it. Consequently, the downside of this method is that the queen and the king might not be subjected to being poisoned if the workers that forage for food would die before they could even feed the others and pass on the poison. If the queen and the king remain alive and capable of reproducing, your effort would be put in vain. Their population could increase rapidly and eventually replace the poisoned ones.
b) Chemical dusts and aerosol chemicals.
Chemical dusts could be injected into the colony or spread around their site of settlement. When they get in contact with it, the chemicals abrade the outer surface of their skins and dry them out. Since termites need moisture to live, they could easily die in dehydration. These chemicals are also poisonous enough to immediately kill the termites when they get to ingest them. Aerosol chemicals such as carbamates and organophosphates, on the other hand, kill termites when they get in contact with the poisons or when they inhale them. These aerosol chemicals attack the nervous system of these insects and also serve as repellants.
c) Pressure-treated wood.
Woods that are saturated with chromates copper arsenate and ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate could immediately kill termites after they consume the poisoned food.
This method could only be used if you are certain of the location of the colony. You need to detach the nested area and put it inside the microwave. Ten seconds to ten minutes of exposure using a power range of 700 to 2000 watts is enough to kill all of them, even those that are in the innermost part of the colony.
e) Heat and Cold.
Termites are in grave need to maintain the regularized temperature of their bodies and the colony itself in order for them to survive. Extreme heat and coldness would eventually kill them. In applying degrees of heat, you can tent the colony and use propane burners to heat the air then blow them in the structural piece which has their colony. Chilling, on the other hand, could be done using liquid nitrogen that lowers the temperature down to 20 degrees below zero. Exposure to any of these extreme temperatures should last for at least thirty minutes to efficiently exterminate the whole colony.
f) Electrical guns.
The use of electrical shock with 90,000 volts of power has already been widely used for several years but it is only efficient if the spot where the colony is has already been identified. Thus, it is effective in killing termites but only for spot treatments.
Health organizations highly recommend this method instead of the usage of insecticides and pesticides. Borate is EPA registered and has been known as safe for the health of the household members. Effective as it is, this chemical is odorless, colorless, water soluble and has a natural P. You can apply it by using it as liquid sprays but regular application to the infested structures should be done to increase its efficacy. If the colony is within the wall or the wood, the liquid borate should be injected with great amount ensuring that it has really reached the colony. It is only effective if the termites ingest it.
III. Difficulties in Extermination.
All of the discussed methods are good for extermination but there are complexities of the termite dilemma which make them uneasy to fully annihilate. Failures in some cautions before the extermination procedures may lead to the failure of the whole termite control process.
a) Failure to find all colonies in the area and failure to know the exact sizes of the colonies. Certain sizes call for different degree of extermination. For instance, if the colony is very big, you need to apply a bigger percentage of whatever method you are using to get rid of it.
b) Aerosols, chemical dusts and borate sprays have the tendency not to reach all the chambers of the colony. Thus, not all termites are being killed.
c) Failure to eliminate all termites. If after the extermination process, there would still be even at least five termites left, these individuals are very capable of starting on a new colony again.
d) Detaching the infested wood or structure in your house in order for it to be treated may cause you a very high cost in the repair and replacement. The accessibility and the range of destruction post a great difficulty to the homeowner as well.
Termite control is truly not as easy as exterminating mosquitoes and cockroaches. It involves a lot of considerations just for you to make it ideally effective. If you have any doubts of being able to handle the problem well, you could always check the internet, newspapers and specialty magazines for highly trained and educated pest control specialists. Inevitably, you would be paying a big amount for their service but come to think of it, paying them is a lot better that paying for all the reconstructions and replacements due to termite damages.
Have a nice day and stay away from termites,