Can over the counter chemicals kill termites? (Yes, but not well)


While there are some pests that can be killed with do-it-yourself methods, you may want to think twice about going this route with termites.

Although they generally spread quite slowly, termites can cause serious damage to your home and end up costing you thousands of dollars. This happens when a termite infestation goes on unchecked which happens often because termite infestations are not typically detected by homeowners until they have grown quite large.

Once termites have made their way into your home they can be difficult to exterminate without specific tools, chemicals, and experience. However, you may be able to take certain actions yourself to delay termite infestations and prevent termites from entering your home in the first place.

Table of Contents

  1. Different Control Approaches for Different Termites
    1. Drywood Termite Behavior
    2. Subterranean Termite Behavior
  2. List of Over the Counter Chemicals That Can Kill Termites
  3. Downside of Do-It-Yourself Termite Treatment
  4. Further Resources for Over the Counter Termite Solutions:
Video explaining how to use Borax to get rid of termites

Different Control Approaches for Different Termites

There are two main types of termites, subterranean and drywood termites. Both of these leave behind different evidence of their presence and both are attacked with different methods. So your first step is determining if you have subterranean or drywood termites in your home.

There is more to it than this but generally subterranean termites enter your home from the ground and build little mud tubes from the ground up your foundation until they reach wood. Once they reach the lumber in your house of course they will start to burrow in there and spread.

Drywood Termite Behavior

Drywood termites usually reach your house via swarming. When they reach the adult stage of their lives, they sprout wings and fly away… literally. They can sometimes be in the hundreds or even in the thousands. It just depends on how large of a colony they are leaving from.

They then take off in search for new real estate to develop in if you will. Often you may find drywood termites on your porch or window sills. If you want further clarification, do a little more research on identifying the difference between subterranean and drywood termites as well as seeing what kind are prevalent in your area.

Subterranean Termite Behavior

With subterranean termites, it can be nearly impossible to kill them on your own. They tend to make their colonies 5 to 10 feet in the soil which makes it nearly impossible for you to do your own termite treatment. A professional would likely be needed to dig a trench around your home and then as they refilled the trench treat the soil with termiticides.

If you find subterranean termite mud tubes on the foundation of your house you can certainly remove them and place some vinegar or orange oil termite treatment on your foundation to deter the termites for a while. But it is only a matter of time before they will make further attempts to get to the wood in your home.

Now let’s say you find drywood termites on you porch swing or window sill. This may be a little bit easier to deal with on your own without calling a professional pest controller.

To get rid of these termites you could simply drill some small holes in the infested portion of wood and inject vinegar or orange oil treatment. There are also several “over the counter” termiticides that you can purchase at places like Home Depot.

Again, treating the termites you see is like treating skin cancer by putting a band-aid over it. You may kill the visible termites but where there are a few termites, there are likely many more termites lurking in a colony. Without the tools that professionals use to detect termite colonies and activity, it can be very difficult for you to achieve the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is termite free.

List of Over the Counter Chemicals That Can Kill Termites

  1. Vinegar
  2. Salt Water
  3. Orange Oil Termite Treatment

Downside of Do-It-Yourself Termite Treatment

  • Required drilling of structure and concrete slab can cause damage if done incorrectly
  • Drilling or trenching requires equipment and experience that most homeowners do not have.
  • Can cost 2.5 times more than using a termite control professional since effective treatment requires approximately 150 gallons of diluted termiticide (The amount can vary depending on the size of the structure you are treating).
  • No guarantees with DIY methods whereas many extermination companies come with a guarantee of some sort.

Further Resources for Over the Counter Termite Solutions:

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