The Best Termite Killer
Welcome to our best termite killer guide. We are going to take a look at the top rated products that are needed to remove termites from your home. Before we discuss the best way to get rid of termites and how to prevent termites it’s important that we understand the termite lifecycle to have a better chance of eradicating them entirely and to prevent them from returning.
Did you know that termites have been on Earth for approximately 250 million years and are believed to have evolved from close ancestors of cockroaches. Surprisingly, termites play an important role in Earth’s ecological system and help by infesting and consuming dead and dying trees, enabling new growth in the environment. As with all pests, including mosquitoes, termites are here to stay due to their very important ecological role. However do not feel guilty when you eradicate them from your home. It is suggested that for every one human being on Earth, there is 1000lb of termites. There is an abundance!
What is interesting about Termites is their fascinating and complex social structure within the termite colony. Let’s take a look at their lifecycle and their social characteristics a bit further.
Life Cycle of a Termite
The life cycle of a termite begins with termite eggs (laid by the termite queen) which are small and white. It is uncommon and difficult to see termite eggs as they are usually laid deep inside the termite nest. Within a few weeks, the termite eggs hatch into termite larvae. Termite larvae undergo several occurrences of molting whilst being nursed by termite workers assigned to the role of looking after the termite larvae. After several molts and shedding of their exoskeleton, termite larvae reach adulthood and are assigned into a caste.
The three termite colony castes are: workers, soldiers and reproductive termites (also known as alates, nymphs and swarmers). Interestingly, the three different castes have a distinctive and identifiable physical appearance and are responsible for different jobs in the termite colony.
The workers are responsible for building tunnels and looking after the other termite castes. The soldiers are responsible for combat and defending any threat to the colony (but cannot feed themselves), and the swarmer termites are born with wings (also known as the winged termite) and are responsible for reproducing.
How to check for termites
Have you noticed what looks like flying ants around your home? These winged ants may very well be termites. Winged termites have different physical characteristics to a winged ant. Winged termites have four wings of equal size and straight antennae. Winged ants’ antennae bend at 90° angles. Winged termites have a straight-sided waist, whereas a winged ant has a constricted waist. Ensure you thoroughly check any winged ant like insects flying around your home for these characteristics
Inspecting for winged termites is not the only way to check for termites. In fact, it is possible that you may not even see termites. Other signs to check for include:
- Termite swarmers – if there is a presence of winged termites flying around your home is a common indication of an infestation. If you identify swarming termites outside your home, this is a natural occurrence and does not necessarily mean that your home is infested, however, there is a good chance that a nearby structure is.
- Damaged wood and sagging floors/ceilings: Termite activity can damage the structural integrity of the home and the wood may have a damp, spongey look and feel and will yield a dull thud when knocked with a hard object.
- Termite tubes/Mud Tunnels – a termite tube looks like a narrow width tube of mud spanning out in irregular patterns upwards in the direction of the wooden structures of a building. Termites travel through these tunnels to get to their food source.
- Termite wings – if you identify wings discarded by termite swarmers near window sills or cobwebs, this is indicative of an infestation within your home.
- Termite Noise – Another common indicator is an audible noise heard upon probing an infested structure. The sound is similar to that of someone swiftly typing keys on a typewriter, however it is an alarm signal produced by the soldier termites to warn the workers of a threat by banging their heads on the wood.
- Termite Frass: frass is another word for termite droppings and can be seen in the form of piles of termite pellets with a sawdust type appearance. The termites push the termite frass out of their nest, in turn making a pile on the ground/floor/window sill.
Subterranean termites vs drywood termites
Before we get into our guide on termite extermination, it is worth mentioning the difference between subterranean termites and drywood termites. Subterranean termites (also known as white ants) usually build their nests underground and work their way up by building mud termite tunnels into the structure of which they have infested. If moisture conditions are high enough, it is possible that this species of termite will build their nest above the ground. Subterranean termites cause 95% of all termite damage in North America and an estimated $1 billion each year is spent on repair costs and control measures due to this species of termite. Subterranean termites feed “with” the grain of the wood rather than against the grain.
Drywood termites live in undecayed wood with a low moisture content and do not require contact with the soil. They can tolerate prolonged dry conditions and make their home in structural lumber, dead limbs of native trees and utility poles and posts with as little as 3% moisture content. Drywood termites are commonly found in warmer regions such as Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, Texas and Louisiana.
Best way to get rid of termites
In this section, we are going to look at how to get rid of termites yourself. You are going to get up close and personal with termites and a commonly asked question that people ask before taking on the challenge of DIY termite extermination is: do termites bite and can termites harm humans? Generally, termites do not bite humans. The Soldier termites which are responsible for protecting the colony become aggressive if their nest is under attack but their jaws are very small and you probably wouldn’t feel or see the termite bites as they are so small. In saying that, it’s advisable to be cautious when their nest is disturbed.
You are also going to be working with chemicals that are potentially harmful to humans. You must ensure you have appropriate protective clothing when using insecticides and other harmful chemicals and always follow the instructions on pesticide labels.
The types of products used in our guide include:
- Termite foam
- Termite poison
- Natural Termite Treatment
- Termite bait
Unfortunately you may be looking for a termite fogger or a termite bomb, however these products are unlikely to help you as the insecticide released from a termite fogger or bomb is not capable of reaching the termite colony which is the goal in treating termite infestations.
If you have a full termite infestation, it is advisable to contact a pest management professional who can treat the infestation. They may employ a method named termite tenting which, as the name suggests, is where a tent is placed over your home and a fumigant is released. This process may take a day or two, however it is usually very effective.
If you don’t believe you have termites yet, be proactive and take preventative steps before it’s too late!
Termite foam is best used for spot treatments rather than full infestations. If you have noticed termites in a retaining wall, nesting in furniture or in a confined area of your home, termite foam is a very effective termite killer. Our team have reviewed two top rated termite foam products both from highly reliable brands within the termite killer industry. Check them out below!
Have you noticed termite activity in your house? If you are looking at how to get rid of termites in a wall or other void that can be re-sealed so there is no direct contact with the pesticide, Termidor foam is the product to be used.
The Termidor Foam can either be placed directly in wall cavities and any sort of void that can be re-sealed and it can also be sprayed directly onto termite nests, stumps, posts or power poles. Termidor foam also works on ants and carpenter bees.
Bayer Advanced Termite Killer Foam
Bayer termite foam is a simple to use insecticide that requires no mixing or preparation; simply spray it into the damaged wood and the foam will expand at a 30:1 ratio getting in to hard to reach areas, killing termites, capenter bees and ants.
The termite foam is suitable for use on damaged wood, between wooden structures or into crevices and cavities. The termite foam is not sufficient to treat a full termite infestation in solitary and must be combined with other products, however it is perfect for spot treatments.
The active ingredient in the Bayer termite foam is Imidacloprid, a moderately toxic insecticide which acts as an insect neurotoxin. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency considers Imidacloprid to have the potential to run off into surface water and leach into ground water. Therefore, please ensure you only use Bayer Termite Foam in places where the soil is not permeable.
RESULT: An inexpensive termite killer that requires minimal preparation to treat your termite problem. Check out the youtube clip for a quick demonstration of how to use Bayer Termite Foam.
Natural Termite Killer Products
If you are looking for a natural way to get rid of termites, there are options available. We have reviewed Orange Oil (only suitable for drywood termites) and Beneficial Nematodes, an incredibly effective termite killer suitable on both subterranean and drywood termites. Check out our reviews below!
Orange Oil Termite Treatment
Termite orange oil works by spraying or injecting the oil concentrate into the wood where the termites are living. The termites that have direct contact with the active ingredient (D-Limonene) or eat the wood that has been treated with the orange oil will dry out and die. Warning: Orange oil will not treat a full termite infestation and is effective as a localized termite treatment method only.
If you are looking at how to get rid of subterranean termites, orange oil termite treatment will not be suitable as it only treats drywood termites.
Termite Orange Oil has the active ingredient of D-Limonene, a naturally occurring biodegradable compound extracted from the peel of oranges. If you are looking for a natural way to kill termites, orange oil for termites is the way to go. It is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and is recognized as safe by the US FDA.
Not only is it a natural way to get rid of termites, it is incredibly versatile and can be used for cleaning, in the garden and as an air freshener.
Result: If you are looking at how to get rid of drywood termites, orange oil is a very effective termite killer and suitable for confined infestations such as furniture and localized structures.
Beneficial Nematodes for Termites
If you are looking to purchase a product to kill termites naturally without toxic insecticides, beneficial nematodes will do the job. Beneficial nematodes seek out and kill soil-dwelling insects and are particularly effective on subterranean termites due to their preference of nesting in soil.
Beneficial nematodes work by producing bacteria which is then injected into soil-dwelling insects consequently killing them. The bacteria is released by the nematodes as a means to create food and hospitable conditions for reproduction, so as soon as food becomes scarce, they will begin searching in areas for more food.
Beneficial nematodes are living organisms and should be used as soon as possible. If immediate use is not feasible, they should be used within 2 weeks and stored unopened in the fridge.
In order to apply the nematodes, they must first be mixed with water and applied with a hose end sprayer. For best results, apply to the soil early in the morning or predusk when the temperature is cooler and the sun is not as bright. Water immediately after application and attempt to water the treated area every 3-4 days in substitution of rain. Soil temperatures should be at least 44°F in order for the nematodes to survive and thrive.
You will not see immediate results and it takes approximately 2 weeks before effects are visible, however if you have followed the instructions, they will be a very effective termite killer for your home. Watch the youtube video for directions on how to apply nematodes.
Result: Beneficial nematodes are a brilliant natural way to get rid of termites if applied correctly! Ensure you follow the instructions accordingly to achieve the best results.
Termidor Termiticide kills termites through contact and ingestion. Its advanced formulation includes fipronil, a moderately toxic slow acting insect killer. The slow onset of death is beneficial in the fact that it allows time for the infected termite to return to the nest and infect any other termite that it comes in contact with. This is known as the Transfer Effect™. The below youtube video demonstrates the transfer effect in more detail and is well worth viewing.
Termidor Termiticide can be used as a preventative measure or to treat infestations (ensure you combine with other infestation treatments for the best results.) Termidor Termiticide creates an almost inpenetretable barrier around your home that prevents any termites from breaking through.
Termidor Termiticide is easier and quicker to apply than alternative termite treatments. For example, Termidor only requires shallow trenches to be dug and the active ingredient spreads down into the ground, forming a protection zone as deep as a conventional treatment provides. However, conventional treatments require significantly deeper trenches to be dug around the perimeter of the home. This is costly, disruptive and potentially damaging to the area around the home.
Result: Termidor is a reliable and reputable brand that invests significantly in their products. A very effective termite killer.
Spectracide Terminate kills termites and carpenter bees on contact and features a battery powered sprayer enabling you to treat infested areas quickly and efficiently. It can be used indoors and outdoors and provides up to 9 months of control against carpenter ants.
This product will not treat a full termite infestation and treats localized and confined infestations only.It works well as a preventative treatment and can be sprayed on areas that have the potential to become infested including wood surfaces, voids and tunnels in damaged wood, behind veneers and structural voids.
If you are using it as a preventative treatment, ensure you regularly spray the area so the protective barrier remains effective.
Result: An inexpensive termite killer that treats all termites in localized and confined infestations.
DIY Termite Prevention
The best method of termite protection is undoubtedly having a high quality termite prevention treatment applied on your home and property. There are also some great tips that you can employ to ensure you are doing your best to minimize the risk of termites infesting your home.
There isn’t necessarily a particular season for heightened termite activity and they are generally active year round, however subterranean termites (responsible for 95% of termite damage in the U.S) require moisture which is commonly found in soil, hence their nests are largely built in soil. However, if weather conditions are favourable and there is moisture in the air, typically in the Spring months, it is possible that you may observe increased winged termite activity.
As mentioned above (termite lifecycle), flying termites are the reproductive termites which eventually leave their parent colony to establish a new colony. If you notice winged termites flying around your house or if you notice a build up of discarded wings, there is a possibility that there is a termite colony nearby. Conversely, it is very common to have a termite infestation without ever laying eyes on a termite. Regardless of whether flying termites are visible, it is crucial that you have taken appropriate preventative measures to protect your home before it’s too late.
The most superior preventative termite control measure is termite baiting. Take a look below at our reviews.
The most common form of termite protection and generally the standard termite preventative treatment is a conventional barrier treatment whereby, a liquid pesticide is applied around a home to prevent and block the termites from entering the structure.
Termite baiting has gained more popularity in recent years and the method involves placing baiting stations around the home covering the perimeter of the structure. Termite bait stations can be installed above ground and below ground. The problem with below ground installations is the fact that the bait components can decompose faster than the termites can discover the bait. That is why it is important to firstly place the bait stations 10-20 feet apart to increase the odds of discovery and secondly, to check your bait stations regularly for any activity. We have selected the top rated termite bait station products available on the market which we have reviewed below.
Note: termite baiting is a preventative measure and if you have identified termite activity within your home, termite baits will not assist you in treating the termite infestation.
Advance Termite Bait Monitoring Stations
- Minimal active ingredients used, making it safe for your pets and the environment
- quick and easy installation
The Advance Termite Bait Monitoring Stations are a preventative treatment to kill termites before they reach your home. They come in packs of 1 up to 10 stations depending on your requirement. They are in a higher price range to the Spectracide termite stakes, however they are likely to last much longer, they are a much heavier duty alternative and will produce a more effective barrier.
For best results, it is recommended that the bait stations are placed in the ground 10 to 15 feet apart around the perimeter of the home and 2 to 3 feet out from the foundation of the structure. Ensure you don’t place directly in front of the dripline of your home. A measuring wheel is a handy tool to have to ensure you are creating the most effective barrier (without any gaps).
Additional Tools and Safety Protection for Termite Baiting
Tips to minimize the risk of termite infestation
Eliminate sources of moisture
- Subterannean termites need moisture to survive so ensure you do not have any pools of water around the foundation of your house or on your roof.
- Treat moisture problems in your basement and crawlspace areas.
- Regularly check your plumbing for any leaky taps that may be dripping water.
- Address air conditioner condensation lines that are dripping on the ground.
Remove food sources
- Clean up any debris, wood piles, stumps or dead bushes from around your yard and home.
- If possible use cellulose-free mulch in your landscaping.
Eliminate easy access to the home
- Reduce direct wood-to-soil contact and if this is not possible, treat the wood with termiticide to make it unappealing to the termite.
- Seal all cracks and gaps where they can enter the home.
Monitor and Inspect
- Keep an eye out for termite activity including flying termites.
- Ensure you have applied a barrier treatment around the perimeter of your home and regularly check bait stations for any activity.
- Arrange for annual termite inspections of your home.
Thank you for checking out our best termite killer guide. We hope it has been valuable and useful for you and if you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!