Last Updated: February 2, 2023
Many of us have faced a termite infestation in our homes at least once. If you’re facing such an issue and wondering how to get rid of termites, this article will help you solve your problem.
Termites are considered one of the most damaging pests with a big appetite. These tiny insects feed on dead plant matter, decayed wood, woodchips, leaf litter, and soil. And though distantly related, they can be confused with white ants.
Getting rid of termites can be tricky because each type has unique biology and behavior, impacting the region where they live and build nests and their damage capability.
Approximately 50 termite species are found in the US, each of which falls into three major types: subterranean, dry wood, and damp wood.
With up to two million members per colony, subterranean termites are from the Rhinotermitidae family that live in the soil and build the largest nests of any insects in the US. Their nests are linked via mud tubes to food sources like fence posts, trees, and structural timbers in houses.
Subterranean termites can be found in every state of the US, except Alaska. You need to be aware of what kills subterranean termites because they’re also responsible for the majority of the termite damage globally.
Subterranean termites are divided into the following six main categories.
These termites are typically found in the Rocky Mountain States, the Midwest, the South, Southwest, and the West Coast of the US. And these are divided into the following three primary castes.
- Adult reproductive: These are typically a half-inch long, dark brown or black in color with transparent wings.
- Soldiers: These are the same size as the adult reproductives, with long mandibles to fight predators.
- Worker: The appearance of these termites is similar to light-colored ants.
You should learn how to treat termites and the common signs of their infestation, such as piles of shed wings near doors or windows or mud tubes in houses.
Desert subterranean termites are found in southeastern California and southern Arizona. They’re typically tiny in size and can easily thrive in dry conditions. The cast workers are usually cream-colored and have a similar appearance to that of ants. The soldiers are with rectangular heads and prominent mouthparts. In comparison, the 1/2-inch long, yellowish-brown adult reproductives are flying termites.
The colonies of desert subterranean termites are massive—typically more than 300,000 members. So if you don’t know how to get rid of subterranean termites, you’ll be stuck with them. Their survival largely depends on such food sources as structural timbers in houses, utility poles, and woody plants (e.g., cactus).
Eastern subterranean termites are found in parts of New England, the Midwest, and the East Coast of the US. They are known to be more organized and functional because each colony member has a specific function to maintain the stability and success of the entire colony. Therefore, learning how to get rid of flying termites can be crucial.
These workers feed the colony, while the alates have wings and leave the existing colony to find a new one. The primary protectors of the colony are the 1/4-inch soldiers, who use their jaws to fight intruders.
These termites are famous for their destructive feeding, causing such serious damage as weakening and collapsing of whole building structures.
Formosan termites originated from China but can now be found in the US states of Hawaii, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, and California.
Learning how to kill Forsman termites is crucial, as they’re known as the most aggressive and voracious species—impossible to control once forming a colony or infesting a structure. They build massive underground colonies, which include mud nests contained within walled structures.
Due to their large colonies, they can consume incredible amounts of wood compared to other termites. So if you’re wondering how to get rid of Forsman termites naturally, call professionals.
Dark Southeastern Subterranean
New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhodes Island are the states in the US where the dark southeastern subterranean termite can be found. These 1/3-inch black or dark brown termites feed on pine wood, plywood, and structural lumber. Typical infestation signs include their characteristic mud tubes, honeycombed damaged wood, and partially digested wood.
Western subterranean termites can be found in the US states of Washington, Nevada, and California. The colony is well-known for its queen, which is its reproductive engine. The queen can produce more than 2,000 eggs daily. So how do you get rid of termites which are multiplying at such a high rate? First, you could exterminate them with some of the best poisons available, such as Termidor SC, Cyper TC, Phantom Termiticide, and Premise 75 Termiticide.
These termites typically eat decayed wood, stumps, and fallen trees. But they have a peculiar shared feeding system, called ‘trophallaxis,’ which involves a give-and-take process between colony members.
Signs of western subterranean termites infestation involve damaged wood with mud-packed hollow sections, partially digested timber, and a honeycomb appearance in the wood.
Suppose you’re wondering how to get rid of dry wood termites. In this case, you should first know that dry wood termites are from the Kalotermitidae family, found in the US states of Florida, Alabama, Texas, and parts of California, as well as Mexico.
These termites live in structural timber, dead trees, or hardwood floors. In contrast to subterranean termites, this termite doesn’t need soil to survive.
Some types of dry wood termite cause significant damage to homes, but their colonies are quite smaller than those of the subterranean termite, causing damage at a slower rate.
Drywood termites have two main subcategories:
Western Drywoods are found in the US states of Arizona and California. They typically have around 3,000 termites in their colonies that commonly attack exposed wood, such as window frames, doors, and attics. So if you’re searching for a way to get rid of termites in the house, you probably have problems with western dry woods.
The soldier caste has a brown-colored head and two large mouthparts, while the 1/2-inch alates have black wings. Common signs of dry wood termites infestation are piles of fecal pellets, shed wings, and blisters of the damaged wood surface.
The US states of Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and Florida are where southeastern dry wood termites are found.
They’re quite similar to other dry wood termites in appearance, but their colonies aren’t as big as the subterranean species. In addition, these species can survive without much moist soil. Signs of their infestation include fecal pellets, shed wings, and dead termite swarmers.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of dampwood termites, you first should know that they are from the Hodotermitidae and Kalotermitidae families, live in high moisture woods, and most don’t require contact with soil. These termites can be found in the states of Montana, northern Nevada, Washington, and northern California.
Since these species need moisture to survive, they aren’t frequently found in homes or other man-made structures. Dampwood termites are divided into the following sub-categories:
- Desert Dampwood: located in the southwest of the US, including California, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico.
- Florida Dampwood: south Florida and the Florida Keys
- Nevada Dampwood: Montana, Idaho, and Nevada.
- Pacific Dampwood: Washington, Oregon, and California.
|NOTE: Each year, around 600,000 homes are damaged from termite infestation in the US.|
Termite Infestation Signs
Specific red flags of infestation will help you prepare home remedies for termites. Note the following top five signs of termite infestation:
Swarmers or Discarded Wings
If you notice termite swarmers or their discarded wings near your doors or windows, it’s time to take steps and thoroughly inspect your house.
Check out the home’s foundation because subterranean termites build mud tubes there to provide moisture.
Check if there is hollow-sounding wood (or blistering pieces) in your home since termites tend to eat the wood from the inside out.
Bubbling or Uneven Paint
If you have termites in the wall, you first need to check if there is any bubbling, uneven or peeling paint because this is usually a sign of moisture build-up, which could mean either water damage or termites.
If you find a tiny pile of something that looks like pellets outside or inside your home—indicative of wood-eating pests—it’s probably a sign of a drywood termite infestation.
|Termites are considered the world’s most damaging pests.|
|Approximately 50 termite species are found in the US.|
|The three major types of termites include Subterranean, Drywood, and Dampwood.|
|The western subterranean termites are well known for their queen termite, producing more than 2,000 eggs daily.|
How to Get Rid of Termites
To get rid of termites in your home, consider these six methods:
Type of Termite Infestation
Determine whether the termites are subterranean, dry wood, or damp wood. The most common type in the US is the subterranean termite, which thrives in wood and soil. Drywood termites, which live only in wood, are found in coastal states. And damp wood can be located in the West and Pacific Northwest, as well as in Florida.
Termite Baits and Termiticide
You can use various methods to eliminate subterranean termites, such as termite baits and termiticide barriers in a perimeter around the home. Another way of how to kill subterranean termites is by using such natural parasites as nematodes.
Essential Oils and Termiticide
Make holes in the wood where dry wood termites nest and fill the holes with termiticide. (Make sure the holes stay closed.)
Getting rid of termites with a home remedy is the first thought that comes to mind when discovering termites in your home. Home remedies can be very effective in exterminating dry wood termites.
Neem and orange oils inhibit a termite’s ability to lay eggs or shed skin. In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of water with 10 drops of oil and a squirt of dish soap and spray it on the infestation.
Boric acid is a reliable method for exterminating colonies. It works by dehydrating and destroying the termites. You can find it at any DIY store.
Diatomaceous earth (naturally occurring rock crumbled into a powder) is also what kills termites. Just sprinkle it around the infestation, and it will dehydrate the termites.
If the infestation is too large to handle, it’s best to call an exterminator. You may think, however, that such a service is covered by a home warranty policy, but home warranty providers don’t typically cover termite infestation.
|NOTE: Americans spend around $5 billion annually to control termites and repair the damage caused by them.|
What Attracts Termites?
Some types of termites search for food sources that contain primarily wood and cellulose; others live in the ground near your home’s foundation and prefer damp and softwood.
Outdoor woodpiles, tree stumps, mulch, roofs, and basements are the most frequent places that attract termites near or inside your house.
Avoid Getting Termites
To avoid getting termites, make sure that there isn’t standing water or moisture in your basement, crawl spaces, or low-to-the-ground places that aren’t easily accessible. Clear gutters are also essential to prevent still water from building up.
How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Termites?
The period of termite treatment depends on how big your house is. Typically, exterminators do the job in one day. The products used should protect your home against re-infestation for up to five years. But it’s advisable to have your house inspected every year.
|NOTE: If a termite infestation is not treated, it could eventually destroy your entire house.|
How Much Does It Cost to Get Rid of Termites?
The cost for termite treatment depends on where you’re located, how large the infestation is, and what type of treatment you need (fumigation, direct chemicals, sprays, liquid Taurus SC, Termidor SC).
On average, the cost for termite treatment ranges from $250 to $390. But depending on your location, prices could also vary from $75 to $1,495.
It’s crucial to take immediate action if you suspect a termite infestation in your home. You can try to solve the problem on your own with the various methods mentioned above. But if the infestation is too large and severe, you should contact a professional exterminator. Then, once your problem is solved, ensure to have your house inspected each year.
Termites are attracted to cellulose materials, wood, moisture, warmth, and darkness.
Yes. According to the team at termite Phoenix, salt is a very effective termite killer.
Suppose you’re dealing with a termite infestation and wondering how to get rid of termites in the most efficient way. In this case, it’s advisable to hire a pest control company to utilize the appropriate insecticides rather than managing the situation yourself.