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Do Home Remedies for Termites Work?

cleaning products that some say can be used as home remedies for termites

If you spot termites in your home, what do you do? Across the internet, people have posted home remedies and do-it-yourself methods for tackling these pests. These techniques range from using vinegar to using the sun to using microscopic worms. However, not every method has been scientifically proven to work. Here’s a run-down of home remedies for termites to help separate fact from fiction.

Vinegar

One method you might have heard about is to spray pure vinegar or a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice onto the termites or possible infestation areas. Similarly, some articles mention spraying window cleaners containing ammonia on termites or on your walls. Liquids like vinegar or window cleaners can help kill termites if you spray it directly on them. But, you’ll want to keep in mind that subterranean termites that do the most damage live the majority of their lives underground.

That means that you are unlikely to see a termite outside of the reproductive stage, when swarmers serve as scouts to venture out of the colony each spring to find a new home. The bottom line is that subterranean termite colonies can have as many as a million members, so just killing a single termite here and there will do next to nothing to address an infestation. So, unfortunately, there isn’t proof that these substances work for controlling the many, many termites that you cannot see in your walls or for preventing future infestations.

Orange Oil

Similar to vinegar, another home remedy suggested by some is to spray orange oil or other essential oils like clove, neem or garlic oil directly on the termites or areas around your home. Although these oils might harm the termites that you see, scientific studies have found that essential oils do not help prevent a termite infestation in your home or control termite colonies. This is likely for many of the same reasons that vinegar or ammonia-based spray are also unlikely to be a viable termite control method on their own. The primary type of termites that are most destructive will be attacking your home from the bottom up through soil, so you are unlikely to see termites until a significant amount of damage has already been done.

Borate Sprays

Scientific tests show that borate sprays can help with termite control. This solution is most effective if your builder uses it on wood when they construct your home. However, borate sprays can also help with termite control after construction.

The most effective way to use this substance is to mix boric salts with water and spray it on exposed wood or in wall voids. This can help limit termites because it can kill or control them in areas where you can apply the spray. But, as with other techniques, it cannot help control termites in areas the spray does not reach. So, this approach is also not a good bet to protect your biggest investment.

Sunlight

Another method for killing termites is to drag wooden furniture into the sun and away from moisture. There is some evidence that this method can help with drywood termite control, the varieties of these insects that do live about ground. Unfortunately, like with other methods, exposing your furniture to sunlight will not help target a termite colony in your home. So, you’ll only hope to salvage one particular piece of furniture using this approach.

Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that online sites and specialty stores promote as an environmentally friendly way for homeowners to treat termites and other pests. They work by feeding on termites and other pests. Limited research has shown that these types of biological control agents have had some success in controlling termites, but most studies have only been conducted in laboratory settings.

As with the other home remedies we have already discussed, nematodes might be effective if you spread them directly into a termite colony, Therefore, just adding them to your lawn is unlikely to reach the colony. In addition, there are several different types of these microscopic worms. Not all nematodes feed on termites, and it’s hard to know if you are buying the right kind of worms. And, while there are other creatures that eat termites, there is no guarantee that this natural pest control will actually get the colony under control. And who wants to risk significant structural damage to your property if you aren’t sure these tactics will be effective?

Since these home remedies for termites won’t curb the significant damage these insects can have on your home, the best way to control termites is to contact a termite control professional. While you might be able to use home remedies to control the termites that you see, many of these products only harm the termites the solution comes in contact with, which will only be a tiny fraction of the termite population on your property. The unfortunate truth is that when you see a few termites, there are likely hundreds if not thousands more.

A licensed pest control professional can inspect your property and use proven methods to target both the termites you see and those you cannot. These pros have the training and experience to help you choose the best termite control solution, help get rid of the existing termites and help prevent future infestations.

For most homeowners, it feels as if their termite problem came at them from left field. If you’re in this situation, you’re not alone.

termites that just appeared in a home

Termites Just Appeared: What Happened?

Sometimes, it seems like termites just appear out of nowhere. You don’t see any of these pests, and then, all of a sudden, they are all over the place. This often happens in spring or early summer when termites are swarming. Swarming happens when adult termites leave the nest in search of a mate and a place to begin a new colony.

If you spot flying termites outside, it means that there is likely a termite colony somewhere in your neighborhood. This might not be a sign that you have a termite infestation in your home. However, it is still a good idea to take preventative measures to keep the termites from entering your home. Pest control companies offer termite monitoring systems that are scientifically proven to provide a barrier to termites coming onto your property and damaging your living structure.

If you spot a termite swarm inside your house, then you likely have a termite colony either inside your house or close to your home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are a number of other kinds of flying insects besides termites that swarm. For example, carpenter ants also swarm during mating season.

What Should I Do Next?

If you spot swarming termites, it is wise to contact a specialist right away instead of trying to tackle the problem on your own. It is typically hard for most homeowners to figure out whether they have a termite infestation in their house or if they are dealing with some other type of pest. Many winged insects and the destruction they leave behind can look similar.

To make matters more complicated, home remedies that work on one type of insect might not work on termites. Additionally, these methods usually only treat the insects that you see and cannot get to the termite colony or help control a broader infestation. If you try to handle an infestation without professional assistance or wait to call a pest control professional, the problem can grow larger, and then you might risk an even bigger headache and more damage down the road.

Pest control technicians can help identify what kind of insect is in your home and can create a pest control plan to treat your particular problem. Termite control professionals also have the training and experience to help prevent future infestations so you can have peace of mind that your biggest investment will remain protected.

termites in a bathroom

What if I Found Termites in My Bathroom?

You might see termites in your bathroom because moisture can attract these pests. More specifically, moisture attracts subterranean termites. Subterranean termites actually need to be in a moist environment to survive, which is why bathrooms can be vulnerable to subterranean termites. Additionally, some bathrooms have features that might make the space even more attractive.

For example, if your bathroom has a bath trap, termites and other pests can use this to enter your home. A bath trap is a hole that builders sometimes leave under bathtubs to make it easier for plumbers to service the tub. Moisture can collect in the area and attract termites. Bath traps are especially attractive to pests if the builder left behind the cardboard or wood that they used to make the trap.

These bathroom features can attract a number of different pests besides termites, including ants, cockroaches and millipedes. Unfortunately, for the untrained eye, it can be difficult to figure out if you have termites or if you have bugs that look like termites.

Both termites and ants are less than half an inch long, but each insect has some characteristics that might help you confirm whether the pest that you see is actually a termite. For example, termites have straight bodies, while ants have pinched waists. Ants have bent antennae, while termites’ antennae are curved. Additionally, both adult reproductive termites and ants develop wings, but their wings look different. Termites have four wings that are around the same size and are clear, while ants have two long wings and two shorter wings.

What Can I Do About Pests in My Bathroom? 

If you spot pests in your bathroom, you might have a professional spread a layer of concrete in the bath trap. However, this will only help deter some pests and might not be effective for termite control. As an alternative, a professional can install a gravel particle barrier, which is typically a more effective way to keep termites out of your home.

If you have noticed signs of a termite infestation in your bathroom or other areas of your home, it is best to contact a pest control specialist. A professional will have the knowledge and experience to help identify what kind of pest you have in your home and determine the best way to handle the pest problem. They can help you take care of all of your termite control needs and help protect your home.

ABC Can Treat and Prevent Termite Infestations

Finding termites on your property can come as quite an unpleasant surprise. These pests are extremely destructive and, as we mentioned, some colonies can contain up to a million members. If you have found termites or spotted signs of termite activity, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our professionals use scientifically backed methods of termite control, so you don’t have to worry about these pests. We also offer ongoing pest management, so you have one less thing to worry about, which is often great news for a busy homeowner.

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