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How to Kill Subterranean Termites: Your Guide to a Bug-Free Home

Updated on: March 23, 2023

As a professional exterminator, I've seen my fair share of termite-infested homes, and let me tell you, it's no walk in the park.

In this blog post, I'll help you put a stop to these unwelcome guests and reclaim your home. So buckle up, because we're going on a subterranean termite-killing spree!

Know Your Enemy: Subterranean Termites 101

What Are Subterranean Termites?

Subterranean termites are the most destructive wood-eating insects in the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage each year.

They're found in every state, with infestations more prevalent in warmer southern states. These pesky insects eat wood 24/7, and over time, they can cause significant damage to a building's structure, sometimes leading to a total collapse.

Termite SpeciesGeographic RangeDamage Potential
Native SubterraneanMost of the United StatesHigh
DrywoodLess CommonModerate
Formosan (Invasive)Western United StatesVery High

Identifying Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites live in large colonies and build extensive networks of tunnels in the soil to access their food source: your home's wooden structure. They construct mud tubes to travel between their underground nest and their food, which is a telltale sign of their presence.

Keep an eye out for these mud tubes, as well as discarded wings from swarmers or visible damage to wood, which may appear hollowed out or filled with mud.

Let's Get Down to Business: Killing Subterranean Termites

DIY Treatment Options

You might be tempted to try your hand at a do-it-yourself termite treatment, but be warned: DIY treatments can be risky and may not be as effective as professional methods. Some popular DIY treatments include:

  1. Bait stations: Bury bait stations around your home to lure and poison termites.
  2. Liquid termiticides: Apply liquid termiticides to the soil around your home, creating a barrier to prevent termites from entering.
  3. Borate treatments: Apply borate solutions to exposed wood surfaces in your home to deter termites.

However, I highly recommend consulting with a professional exterminator to ensure the most effective treatment.

Professional Treatment Options

When it comes to killing subterranean termites, you're better off leaving it to the professionals. Here are some common treatment options provided by professional exterminators:

  1. Soil treatments: A professional exterminator will apply termiticides to the soil around your home, creating a barrier that termites cannot cross.
  2. Bait stations: Similar to the DIY version, but with the added expertise of a professional exterminator to ensure proper installation and maintenance.
  3. Wood treatments: A professional can apply termiticides directly to the wood in your home, either as a preventative measure or to treat existing infestations.

Natural Remedies

If you're looking for a more natural way to deal with termites, consider these options:

  1. Nematodes: These microscopic worms can be introduced into the soil around your home to feed on termite larvae, helping to control the population.
  2. 2. Diatomaceous earth: Sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around the foundation of your home to deter termites. This natural powder can damage the exoskeleton of termites, ultimately causing their death.
  3. Beneficial insects: Introduce natural predators, such as ants or spiders, to your yard to help keep termite populations in check.

Keep in mind, though, that natural remedies may not be as effective as professional treatments, especially when dealing with a severe infestation.

Prevention is Better Than Cure: How to Keep Subterranean Termites at Bay

The best way to deal with subterranean termites is to prevent them from infesting your home in the first place. Here are some tips to help you keep your home termite-free:

  1. Reduce moisture: Termites love moisture, so fix any leaks or drainage issues around your home and ensure proper ventilation in crawl spaces.
  2. Remove wood-to-soil contact: Make sure wooden parts of your home, such as siding, don't touch the soil, as this creates a direct pathway for termites to enter.
  3. Use termite-resistant materials: If you're building or renovating your home, use termite-resistant materials, such as pressure-treated wood, for the foundation and structural elements.
  4. Regular inspections: Schedule routine termite inspections with a professional exterminator to catch any signs of infestation early and treat them before they become a significant problem.

The Bottom Line: Don't Underestimate Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites are not to be taken lightly. These pesky insects can cause extensive damage to your home and cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.

Termite Damage ImpactEstimated Cost (US)
Annual Damage$1 Billion to $7 Billion
Average Repair Cost per HomeSeveral Thousand Dollars

Take the necessary steps to prevent termites from infesting your property, and if you do find yourself facing an infestation, consult a professional exterminator for the most effective treatment options. Don't let subterranean termites eat you out of house and home – fight back and protect your most valuable possession!

Frequently Asked Questions About Subterranean Termites

We understand that you might have some burning questions about subterranean termites, and we're here to help! Here are some common questions homeowners ask about these pesky insects and their answers:

How long does it take for subterranean termite treatment smell to dissipate?

The smell of termite treatments can vary depending on the chemicals used. In most cases, the odor should dissipate within a few hours to a couple of days. Make sure to ventilate the treated area well to help speed up the process.

What time of year is best to apply subterranean termite ground treatment?

The best time to treat your home for subterranean termites is during the spring, when termite swarms are most active. This allows for the most effective treatment and the best chance to catch and control infestations before they can cause significant damage.

Should I consult pest control after seeing one subterranean termite?

If you spot a single termite, it's a good idea to contact a pest control professional for an inspection.

While one termite might not seem like a big deal, it could be a sign of a larger infestation lurking nearby.

Will subterranean termite treatments kill other bugs?

Some termite treatments may also be effective against other pests, such as ants, cockroaches, and spiders. However, the primary focus of termite treatments is to target termites specifically.

If you have concerns about other pests, discuss them with your exterminator, who can recommend the best course of action.

Can fumigation kill subterranean termites?

Fumigation is a treatment method primarily used for drywood termites, not subterranean termites.

Since subterranean termites live underground and have extensive tunnel systems, fumigation is generally not an effective treatment option. Instead, soil treatments and baiting systems are more suitable for subterranean termite control.

In Conclusion: Stay Vigilant and Act Fast

Subterranean termites are sneaky, destructive pests that can cause significant damage to your home if left unchecked. Stay vigilant, watch for signs of infestation, and take action quickly if you suspect termites are present.

Whether you choose to tackle the problem with DIY methods or call in a professional exterminator, the key is to act fast to minimize the damage and protect your home.

Remember that prevention is always the best strategy, so take the necessary steps to keep termites at bay and maintain the value of your most significant investment: your home.


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