Subterranean termites frequently nest in the soil for moisture and then burrow into the soft, damp wood that is found at the base of building structures. These bugs are usually identified around and under the foundations of homes and they can cause a significant amount of property damage within a very short period of time.
If you’re currently battling one of these infestations, finding the right subterranean termite treatment is essential for preserving the structural integrity, aesthetic appeal and overall value of your home.
The Elements Of A Good Subterranean Termite Treatment
Like many insects, termites can thrive in the natural environment. Thus, while it is possible to eliminate all termites that are living and nesting in various aspects of your building structure, it is not possible to eliminate all termites in the local, natural environment. Due to this fact, any good termite treatment is a multi-pronged effort that is focused on both elimination and long-term prevention.
Preventative measures are the cumulative efforts that you will need to make in order to ensure that your property is less accessible and less desirable to these insects. Given that subterranean termites have very specific requirements for moisture and feed exclusively on wood and wood materials, your prevention plan can include:
- Extending or altering downspouts so that they effectively direct moisture away from the foundation of your home
- Pulling all landscaping and mulch a proper distance away from the building foundation (at least six inches)
- Eliminating trash and any damp debris stored near the home
- Pulling up or grinding down dead tree stumps in your yard
- Removing or covering standing bodies of water
- Identifying and repairing all plumbing and structural leaks
- Making sure that no foam insulation, brick veneer or siding extends below the soil grade
- Stacking firewood away from the building structure
- Cleaning out your gutters
- Ensuring that there is no direct, wood-to-ground contact with patios, decks or porches
These efforts will prevent new termites from congregating on or near the property, however, they will not eliminate an existing infestation nor stop the near-constant damage that an existing infestation is causing. Thus, you will need to implement strategies to locate and eradicate existing colonies within the building materials. Some of the most common subterranean termite treatments for eliminating existing colonies include:
- The application of liquid termiticide to create a chemical barrier between termites and the soil that will ultimately result in dehydration
- The use of repellent termiticides which are extremely toxic to termite colonies but have little or no effect on humans and other mammals
- The use of termite baits to suppress colonies that are currently living in or around local soils
- The application of non-repellent termiticides which cannot be detected by termites that are tunneling into the soil
The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Termite Baiting Systems
If used with diligent, preventative measures, a termite baiting system can be one of the most effective subterranean termite treatments available. This is because a baiting system functions in accordance with the natural feeding and social habits of these insects. Food, saliva and secretions are commonly shared throughout colonies, which ensures that the poisons within a baiting system are distributed to all insects infesting the home.
The primary drawback of a baiting system is the fact that it can take termites several weeks or even months for these insects to discover bait. Given that a termite colony eats constantly, significant property damages are likely to occur if the baiting system is not discovered in a timely fashion or if baiting is not used as part of a multi-pronged treatment. It is also important to note that a bait system is often placed in-ground and thus, it is not likely to have any immediate impact on termites that are currently foraging inside of the home.
Repellent termiticides can create an effective barrier that prevents termites from entering the building structure and causing further damage. Unfortunately, however, it is very difficult to apply a perfect barrier beneath a house that has already been constructed.
Moreover, termites have proved to be adept in detecting these chemicals and thus, they are likely to move to any areas beneath the home that have not been properly protected.
The primary advantage that non-repellent termiticides have over repellent chemicals is the fact that termites are unable to detect these products. Non-repellent termiticides are a relatively new addition to the subterranean termite treatment industry.
They do not cause death on contact, but allow termites to live long enough to transfer the chemicals to other insects within the colony. These products serve the same purpose as baiting systems, but termites are more likely to come in quick contact with non-repellent termiticides than they are to discover bait.
Creating A Multi-Pronged Plan
The best multi-pronged plans contain two basic elements: prevention and elimination. Each aspect of your subterranean termite plan should be specific to the layout of your property, the habits and location of the termite colony and the amount of property damage that has already been sustained.
These things will determine whether you should use prevention and baiting systems, prevention and non-repellent termiticides or prevention and any other subterranean termite treatment for elimination.
How Pest Control Professionals Can Help
Having pest control specialists perform a comprehensive termite inspection is one of the best things that you can do to create an all-encompassing and effective termite plan for both eradicating bugs that are already foraging on the interior of your home and for deterring new colonies from setting up camp.
Working with these professionals will help you avoid the unnecessary costs of implementing treatments that are not well-suited to the nature of the infestation that you are dealing with. It can also limit the amount of time that it takes to get a wholly effective treatment in place given that seasoned pest control professionals are capable of choosing the perfect, multi-pronged plan for your home and the surrounding soils.