So you’ve got a termite problem but you don’t have the money to hire a professional exterminator to do the job for you. You’d like to know how to get rid of termites on your own.
We can help.
It should be noted at the outset however, that it is very difficult to 100% get rid of termites on your own without the aid of a licensed professional. That’s because they have access to insecticides and eradication tools that you as the “average Joe” quite frankly does not. With that said, we’re going to cover a number of DIY treatments and methods to get rid of termites on your own beginning with the most basic and fanning out from there.
Top DIY Termite Killing Solutions
Use cardboard as a trap.
Take a couple flat strips of cardboard, wet them, and stack them on one another in an area where termites are likely to be. Because termites feed on cellulose (cardboard), this makes for an excellent spot trap. When the cardboard is infested with termites, take it out in a safe area and burn it. Repeat multiple times, if necessary.
- Note: This spot trap will not solve all your termite problems. It is a quick fix to remove several hundred termites, often at a time. Combine this method with other fixes to deliver a more powerful punch.
Get “Eco-friendly” and try nematodes–the beneficial variety.
Using beneficial nematodes can be a great way to get rid of termites on your own. Beneficial nematodes are super small worms, that are natural parasites to garden pests, including termites. These nematodes search for hosts, such as termite larvae, and burrow into them, usually causing death within 48 hours. They then use the host’s carcass as a place to spawn. Yummy.
- You can purchase beneficial nematodes at your local garden supply store or online.
- Nematode Application: they are typically added to water and sprayed on the termite nest where they then infect the termite workers or kill the queen.
- For use in soil temperatures above 60° F, nematodes should be used immediately after they are purchased. If you do not use them immediately, store them in a refrigerator. Plant them in the early morning or after sunset, as UV light will harm them.
Expose your wood to sunlight.
If the termite-infested item is not your home but rather a piece of furniture or an item that can be removed from your home, expose it to sunlight. Termites thrive in darkness, and the heat and light from the sun will kill them. On a sunny day, place your furniture outside for as long as possible – preferably 2-3 days. This method works well in conjunction with the cardboard trap method for capturing/killing the termites.
Freeze the termites.
If you’re in a rainy area and can’t expose your furniture to sunlight, or in a particularly cold climate, consider an alternative of freezing your furniture to kill the termites. Place your pieces (or parts of your pieces) of wooden furniture into a large freezer for 2-3 days. Although this can be tricky for large pieces of furniture, if you’re able, the freezer method should guarantee the death of the termites. Remember to handle the item of furniture carefully since glue joints are very fragile when frozen.
Use boric acid.
Boric acid is one of the most common and effective ways to get rid of termites on your own. In fact, it is the main insecticide used in many store-bought termite insecticides. Boric acid shuts down the termite’s nervous system while dehydrating it.
- The best way to kill termites with boric acid is to use bait stations.
- Coat or spray wood (or another cellulose material) evenly with boric acid.
- Plant the boric acid bait in the garden near your house or in an open infestation.
- Check on the bait station regularly and replenish it with boric acid as needed. You should see the termite carcasses nearby.
Use Orange Oil
Studies have shown Orange oil can also be used to eliminate a variety of drywood termites (which are the kind that would infest your home). Orange oil is an extract that is gotten from orange peels. It is insoluble in water. In order for it to work, you should drill holes into the infested wood and pour in the orange oil through the holes. Be cautious when using orange oil as some people are allergic to it. Orange oil kills the termites through direct contact or by starving them to death as it greatly deters feeding. Orange can be purchased at many local grocery stores or online.
Purchase and use termite-control products.
Readily available at your local hardware supply store, using termite-control products is the first step you need to take to get rid of these harmful pests. According to the University of Kentucky, a great way to treat termites is with a pesticide called terminate. It costs a little under $100 for a box. You can also use a liquid termite-killing product known as termiticide. You can use the pesticides in conjunction with termite baiting systems. Lay the bait near infested areas and spray the termiticide on those same areas. Here are some tips for using termiticide.
- First, dig a trench a few inches deep and a few inches wide.
- Then, spray termiticide every 10 feet around the base of your home. You can also spray the termiticide in 12-inch holes in the concrete in front of doors.
- Spray until it the termiticide reaches the top of the hole. Many professional termite exterminators use termiticide.
Is it worth it to get rid of termites on your own?
While you may be able to fight off the infestation on your own, it’s possible you end up just prolonging and exacerbating the situation which can end up costing you much more than calling a professional right away. The scenario where you’re most likely to be successful on your own is if you catch them early, so stay vigilant.
If you think you might be over your head, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a quote from a professional just to see how much it might cost just to have them do it. Nevertheless, hopefully this article has provided you with a few helpful tips of how to get rid of termites on your own.
The other thing to note is that getting rid of termites on your own isn’t usually a “one shot” thing. Often termite treatment packages will include follow-up visits for a period of time to make sure that all termites have been removed from the area. It is very difficult to get immediate confirmation that your action has completely fixed the problem.