One of the most disturbing things for a homeowner to discover is small piles of wood dust underneath furniture. Those piles of wood are a telltale sign of the presence of one of the most destructive pests in Indian homes: termites!
Know your enemy
There are two types of termites commonly found, and knowing which one you’re dealing with will make remediation that much easier.
Subterranean termites prefer living in moist conditions and can be found both in wood and in the soil. These are termites you are likely to find living under homes with wooden foundations, feasting on the wood.
Drywood termites are their more dangerous cousins. These pests do not need moist conditions, and, as their name suggests, build colonies in dry wood wherever they can find it. These are the critters you will find in your furniture, in wooden walls, and eaves.
There are two main reasons that make dealing with termites more difficult than dealing with regular pests. The first is that, due to their size, spotting termites in your home is close to impossible. And the second is that by the time you see telltale signs of their presence, a lot of the damage would have already been done.
In this short read, let’s discuss some top tips for preventing an infestation and how to get rid of termites if the infestation is inevitable.
Recognizing their presence
We all know that small piles of wood dust underneath furniture are indicative of the presence of termites. However, here are some other signs that confirm that you have a termite problem.
- Termite droppings and/or wings in the area surrounding wooden furniture.
- Holes in the woodwork that fall through when pushed against with a sharp object.
- Mud tube formations on the walls of the house.
While the first two indicate the presence of dry wood termites, the third one is a sign of subterranean ones.
“Prevention is better than cure,” as the old adage goes. Let’s take a look at what you can do to prevent a termite infestation.
Aloe vera provides natural protection against termites. Apply aloe vera gel to your wooden furniture periodically, especially before the onset of the monsoons.
A mixture of four parts water to one part white vinegar also works efficiently in keeping termites at bay.
Get your wood treated with Borate before you build your furniture. Borate or borax powder is very effective against termites.
Moisture is very essential for subterranean termites to thrive. This can be avoided altogether if you keep your home as moisture-free as possible.
Those who live in humid areas would do well to invest in a dehumidifier. Your air conditioner can also help in keeping your home cool and control moisture in the air during the summer.
Subterranean termites gain access to your home’s foundation through the soil. This makes having your door open out into the garden a terrible idea.
Experts advise that to avoid an infestation of subterranean termites, maintaining a minimum distance of 18 inches between your home and where your garden begins is essential.
The best way to stay on top of possible termite invasions and to mitigate the amount of damage caused is to have a periodic pest inspection done by qualified professionals.
That way, you not only have better chances of finding out about the infestation before it completely destroys your wooden furniture, you also have expert advice on the best ways to rid yourself of these pests.
While we’ve looked at options to prevent a termite infestation, knowing how to kill the termites in your home is also of paramount importance. Let’s now take a look at some effective anti-termite treatment options.
1. Make use of sunlight
Termites thrive in dark and cool environments. Pick up all your infected furniture and put it out in the summer sun for two or three days at a stretch.
Not only will the termites be killed by the heat, but the sunlight will also dry up all the extra moisture from your furniture.
2. Cardboard box traps
Cardboard makes the perfect termite trap. Since it is primarily made of cellulose and has a woody smell to it, termites find cardboard irresistible.
All you need to do is wet cardboard boxes a little with water to make the smell even more tantalizing and leave those boxes near your termite-infested furniture.
Within a few hours, you will find termites thronging in the open cardboard box, and you can burn the box to rid your home of the termites.
3. Boric acid spray
Boric acid is a non-toxic combination of water and borax powder which is known to be effective in killing termites.
Make a solution of borax powder and water. Fill this solution into a spray bottle for ease of use. Then, spray it on the wooden furniture.
While it may take a few applications for the termites in your home to disappear altogether, the method is nonetheless effective. For increased efficacy and a quicker turnaround time, you could try pairing this method with the cardboard box traps.
4. Natural oil treatments
Orange oil contains a compound called d-limonene which kills termites as soon as they come into contact with it.
Neem oil, on the other hand, kills termites when it is ingested by them. Spray either of these natural oils on the infected surfaces repeatedly to achieve the best results.
5. Natural-born killers
This may sound a little bizarre, but it turns out that certain worms are very effective in stopping the spread of termites.
Parasitic nematodes are small worms that burrow into and kill termite larvae in two days. These worms are available on online marketplaces, and you may even be able to source them from your local nursery.
MyGate is India’s largest apartment management software, benefiting thousands of housing societies, developers, society facility managers, and millions of homeowners in every Indian city.