Termite infestations are no joke. Once they spread, they can be hard to control unless you get rid of them completely. This is especially because termites are difficult to spot until they have done damage – and by then they would have already built colonies in your home.
Termites can cause havoc, not only to the foundation of your home but also to your furniture, books, and even important and hard to replace documents. Before any damage is done, it’s wise to consider preventative actions and termite treatments. Likewise, frequent professional inspections will also help spot any bugs that get through early on before it’s too late.
There are many different ways to combat and prevent termites from attacking your home. Keep reading to learn about them so you can take action now to effectively control termites!
5 Ways to Keep Your Home Free from Termites
1. Protect the Foundation of Your Home
One of the first things you can start with when it comes to termite prevention is to ensure that there is a distance between any wood from your home and the soil. This can involve using a cement base or pillars instead of wood – especially for wooden patios or stairs.
Experts recommend at least an 18-inch distance between any wood and the soil, however certain areas or building codes may have differing measurements. If you need to store wood, it’s recommended that you keep it at least 8 inches off the ground and 20 feet away from your main home. This distance helps deter termites from creeping up your home.
However, this isn’t a one-and-done defence. For the best results, pair this with other preventative measures.
2. Repair Your Home to Stop Leakage
Some of the most common causes of termite infestations are the presence of wood and moisture – especially in poorly maintained homes with lots of cracks and crevices. These provide the perfect environment for termites to build colonies and survive undetected until you discover major damage.
That’s why it’s a good idea to do a regular overall repair of your home to fix any leaks, cracks, or features that might invite moisture. This has the added benefit of reducing the risk of mould, which can also cause structural issues and health problems.
It’s also a good idea to get rid of any pilled-up scrap wood or broken furniture since these are particularly attractive to termites. A clear and clutter-free house will also make it easier to spot infestations early on before they spread.
3. Pre-Treat Your Home
A great way to prevent infestation is to have a professional pre-treat your home. This can include termite soil treatment or wood treatment.
Before priming or painting wood in your home, you can spray the surface with borate – one of the most commonly used and effective termite repellents. Likewise, there are green-label certified liquid termiticides that can be used in the soil around your home to create a barrier that blocks any wandering termites.
Not only do termiticide treatments help stop future termites from passing through – but they also kill termites that return to the soil from your house to breed. Though it’s possible to DIY termite treatments, it’s best left to the experts who know how to deal with the harsh chemicals and what the best method is to get the most thorough coverage.
4. Have a Comprehensive Termite Inspection
As we mentioned, termites are incredibly hard to spot until they have done considerable damage. Unlike other pests that usually make themselves known, termites can be hard to distinguish from non-threatening insects or may not even be visible to the average person.
That’s why the first thing you should do when moving into a home is to have a comprehensive termite inspection. With luck, you’ll catch early infestations before any damage – or major damage is done.
Even with preventative measures, such as keeping wood from touching the soil, repairing leaks, or termite soil treatment, you can’t be 100% sure that a termite infestation won’t occur. The best thing to do is schedule regular comprehensive inspections. If you’re not sure how often you need one, a good rule of thumb is to have them done at least once a year.
5. Remove Existing Termites
If you have just moved into your new home, conducted a termite inspection, and found an infestation, the next thing you’ll need to do is have the problem taken care of properly. With luck, you’ll be able to get rid of the entire colony and prevent any future ones from occurring.
There are several ways to eradicate an existing termite problem. The right solution often depends on the severity or complexity of the infestation – which is why it’s advisable to hire a professional who can determine the best course of action.
DIY solutions are possible but you might run the risk of missing out on hidden parts of the colony. When that happens, your unfriendly visitors are likely to return.
Baiting is another method that is equally effective, less expensive, and non-toxic, but may take several months to completely eradicate a colony. This involves inserting tubes of bait into calculated areas in the ground for the termites to eat, which then kills them. Baiting systems are slow-acting since they only hit immature worker termites that forage for the food outside of the main colony. The bait consists of an insect growth regulator that stops the ability of termites to moult. As a result, fewer and fewer termites are able to collect food which eventually starves the colony.
Successful baiting involves regular monitoring and maintenance of the bait units. Though it’s possible to DIY, professionals can help you check and maintain the traps, and place the traps in the most effective locations in the first place.
Not only is termite soil treatment a good way to prevent termites, but also this method is great for killing existing termite colonies. Pyrethroids and organophosphates are commonly used, though every chemical has its pros and cons. When dealing with this kind of treatment, it’s advisable to consult with professionals to determine which should be used for your specific situation. Chemical treatments are injected into the soil around termite colonies.
Likewise, borate, as mentioned above as a preventative primer for wood, can also be used to kill existing termites. This works by disrupting the digestive system of termites, making them unable to break down what they eat.
Certain natural methods – meaning non-chemical – can also be effective for moderate infestations. These include the use of nematodes, fungi, or natural oils. Nematodes can be bought in garden supply stores and sprinkled around infested areas. They eat termites, multiply easily, and pose no danger to humans, animals, or plants. In fact, nematodes are quite beneficial to your soil.
Certain types of fungi, like the Metarhizium Anisopliae, are also used to control termite populations. It’s common and likely found in your backyard. When placed properly, the fungus can spread to the colony and penetrate the termite's exoskeleton, which then kills them. Pest-controlling fungi can typically be easily bought, but it’s still recommended to consult professionals who can tell you how to go about this process.
For termites that have gotten into your furniture, you can spray the piece down with orange oil and neem oil. Both are known to kill or repel termites. Both oils are typically diluted with water. Spray down your furniture several times a day for several days. These oils are non-toxic to humans but may affect birds and fish.
These methods, however, aren’t as effective for large infestations. In those cases, chemical treatments and professional help will be necessary.
There are many options for termite control in Singapore. As with anything, taking preventative measures comes out cheaper and will stop potentially major structural damage. However, it’s hard to say that each preventative method will work a hundred per cent. That’s why regular inspections by professional exterminators are recommended.