If you are a homeowner, then you know what it’s like to live under the constant threat of a termite infestation.
Termites are often dubbed ‘the silent destroyers’, as they can slowly eat into the very foundations of your home, hollowing everything from the inside out.
The worst part is that termites can silently continue to pulverize your walls and furniture for years before any visible signs of their existence appear. Therefore, you have to keep up a diligent vigil against these stubborn pests.
Subterranean termites live in the soil and build an elaborate system of underground tunnels to access food above. On the other hand, dry-wood termites live inside the wood that they feed upon and are often responsible for turning your walls and furniture into sawdust.
Termites don’t just destroy your wooden walls and furniture. They’ll also attack your books and magazines.
They say prevention is better than a cure, and the same can be said for managing termites. However, if despite all precautions, these sneaky pests are able to gain a foothold in your home, here are six methods that you can use to get rid of termites.
- Method 1: Boric Acid
- Method 2: Orange Oil
- Method 3: DIY Cardboard Trap
- Method 4: Diesel or Paraffin Oil
- # Using Diesel Oil
- # Using Paraffin Oil
- Method 5: Sunlight
- Method 6: Diatomaceous Earth
Method 1: Boric Acid
Boric acid is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used as an insecticide for decades and is specifically recommended for eliminating termites and carpenter bees. In fact, treating wood with a solution of boric acid is one of the most effective remedies to prevent a termite infestation.
When sprinkled over infested areas, this abrasive white powder gets stuck to the exoskeleton of the insects. As the exoskeleton deteriorates, the termites face death through dehydration.
When consumed, boric acid affects the nervous system of the termites and acts as a poison, killing them from within.
Note: Boric acid is toxic and must be kept out of the reach of children and pets. Use caution during application, as it can be toxic if inhaled.
Single-Step Method: Sprinkle boric acid at the infested site
- Simply take some boric acid powder and sprinkle it into the sites infested by termites.
- Alternatively, you can slowly dissolve boric acid in propylene glycol (3.5 pounds of boric acid in 1 gallon of propylene glycol), then mix 1 part of this solution with 1 part of water. Spray it in the infested areas.
- To deter termites, spray this solution around the perimeter of your house, the crawling space under your home and even your basement.
Reapply daily for 1 week to completely eliminate the termite colony.
Method 2: Orange Oil
Orange essential oil, extracted from orange peels, contains D-limonene that acts as an extremely effective insecticide. It works against a wide variety of insects including flies, mosquitoes, ants, crickets and mites.
D-limonene also works effectively to get rid of termites, as its high citric acid content dissolves their exoskeleton, thereby causing death through protein loss and dehydration. It is particularly effective against dry-wood termites.
Additionally, orange oil is nontoxic and safe for use in homes with pets and children.
Single-Step Method: Apply orange oil on the infested areas
- Just rub some orange oil in and around the infested areas.
- For more serious infestations in your walls or furniture, you can tap the wood to determine their feeding sites (i.e., the hollow spaces). Drill some holes and inject the orange oil. Most of the insects will die on contact. Any survivors will starve to death, as orange oil kills their appetite.
Reapply the oil in 2 to 3 days for complete termination. To prevent another infestation, apply orange oil every few months to keep termites at bay.
Method 3: DIY Cardboard Trap
Termites love to munch on the cellulose found in paper, wood and cardboard. So, you can set up a simple trap using some wet pieces of cardboard to draw the termites away from your wood furniture.
Step 1. Build the trap
- Stack 3 or 4 sheets of cardboard together and secure them with brown tape.
Step 2. Wet the cardboard
- Put some water in a spray bottle and squirt the water on the stack, saturating the cardboard completely.
Step 3. Set the trap and kill the termites
- Place the wet cardboard trap near the termite-infested area.
- Check the trap after a few days. It will be full of termites.
- Wear gloves and carry the trap outside of the house.
- Set it ablaze, effectively killing all the termites.
Reset the trap as many times as required to get rid of termites.
Method 4: Diesel or Paraffin Oil
Another effective way to both treat and prevent termite infestations is by using fossil fuels like diesel and paraffin oil.
# Using Diesel Oil
Single-Step Method: Treat the infested site with diesel oil
- Fill a small spray bottle with diesel oil.
- Spray the diesel oil directly on the wood that has been damaged by the termites.
- Continue spraying until the damaged area is completely covered in diesel oil.
Repeat every few days until the termites have been eliminated.
# Using Paraffin Oil
Single-Step Method: Apply paraffin oil at the infested site
- Fill a small spray bottle with paraffin oil.
- Spray the oil directly on the site attacked by termites.
- Keep spraying until the site of the infestation is completely saturated.
Repeat every few days until the termites have been completely eradicated.
Method 5: Sunlight
Exposing termite-infested wood to sunlight is a simple and safe way to get rid of termites.
Termites are extremely vulnerable to sunlight and die upon exposure to both heat and light. This method is especially useful in eliminating subterranean termites.
Single-Step Method: Place infested wood pieces outside during peak sunlight hours
- Move the infested wood pieces outside and let them sit in the sunlight during peak hours when the sunrays are strongest.
- Let the ultraviolet rays heat things up and eliminate the termites hiding inside the furniture.
Do this every day for at least 1 week to completely eradicate the termites.
Method 6: Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a finely crushed powder consisting of the fossilized remains of diatoms, which are tiny marine phytoplankton with skeletons made of silica.
DE consists of microscopic silica shards that get lodged in and destroy the termites’ exoskeletons. Once the exoskeleton has been severely damaged, it eventually results in death via dehydration. It is also an effective remedy to get rid of bed bugs.
And, if you have a pooch at home DE can also be used to remove ticks from dogs.
Note: Wear a mask while spreading diatomaceous earth to prevent inhalation.
Single-Step Method: Spread food-grade DE at the infested sites
- Sprinkle food-grade DE on the areas infested with termites.
- You can also spread food-grade DE along the earthen foundations of your home as a preventive measure against subterranean termites.
Do this once daily until you get rid of termites.
- Make sure that there are no pieces of dead, rotting wood or mulch near your home, especially near your crawl space or basement windows, as they often are home to damp-wood termites.
- Build your wood shed at a distance from your house to keep termites away.
- Make sure that your home’s foundations remain clean and dry, as termites thrive in moisture.
- Air out your wood furniture in strong sunlight at regular intervals, such as every 6 months, to prevent the growth of termites.
- Termites cannot survive at temperatures that are too low or too high. Apart from sunlight that provides high temperature, you can also flood termite colonies and feeding sites with ice cold water for complete evacuation.
- Regularly inspect and check for termite colonies around and underneath your wooden porch and even your stone or concrete foundations.
- Repair any cracks, crevices or spaces in your home with durable materials, especially in your basement and outer walls.
- Get a proper plumbing and drainage system for your house, and make sure to do regular checkups and maintenance.
- Get yearly termite checkups and treatments to prevent and control infestations.