Termites are quite a common infestation. They chip and bite away at our lovely woodwork and are quite a nuisance. So how to get rid of these termites?
Termites, like other pestilences travel from one parent to another and destroy all that comes in their path. But how do they get into the low moisture areas? Well a breed of dry-wood termites, as they are popularly known as, do not only survive in low moisture, but happily nest and breed too. And they do not always limit themselves to one piece of home furniture. They venture outside the furniture in which they have made their home, and explore new wooden pastures, and meticulously destroy all the wooden furniture that comes in their way. They spare nothing, not even the wooden roof over your head and hence, an infestation of dry-wood termites must be done away with, as soon as possible, to stop further damage.
…Observing the Warning Signs
► The most obvious sign of termite infestation is, some chipping away in your wood furniture. The damage done to the wood indicates a termite infestation; there is a dull and hollow sound produced when a screw driver is drilled in or a hammer is struck at it.
► Among the more subtle signs that termites leave, you may see some inexplicable sawdust or fecal remains around your furniture.
► You shall notice the presence of swarmers on window sills or near a light source in the house. The discarded wings of the swarmers found on window sills or on the walls are also good warning indicators of their presence in or around your house.
► Termite tubes and mounds around the structures indicate termite infestation in your house. The subterranean species build mud tubes on the surfaces where there is more amount of moisture and dampness.
► Cracked wooden surfaces or distorted paint are also warning signs of termite activity happening in your house. These tiny creatures need extremely small spaces for entrance, therefore watch out for any cracks in the foundation, vents, sides of the roof, windows, etc.
…Assessing the Damaged Furniture
If it’s an inexpensive furniture I suggest you simply chuck it out, as treating termites is a reasonably expensive exercise. But if your favorite antique furniture is infested, you ought to treat it. I also suggest that you check up the other pieces of furniture for termite attack. If you think that the infestation is limited to only one piece of furniture, it can be treated locally. If the infestation has spread to other furniture items then you might need to treat the entire house.
…Treating the Termite Infestation
If the infestation is localized (only one piece of furniture is affected), then you can keep the furniture in a room which you can keep heated up to 150 degrees for about 3 hours.
Alternatively, termites cannot survive in extremely cold temperatures either, so you could keep the infested furniture under the temperature below 15 degrees for about 4 days. But these methods may damage your furniture, so be careful while opting for these methods.
If you want to go through the chemical way, you can purchase a termite-killing kit, online. It is a simple matter of injecting a chemical into the part of the furniture, where the bugs are nesting.
After injecting the chemical killer, ensure that you cover the piece of furniture or isolate it in a non-wood surrounded room, otherwise they will only migrate to other furniture. To keep the floor from getting dirty, spread newspaper sheets all over it.
After a few hours when the liquid has dried completely, you will see the dead termites lying all over the floor. However, it is important to inspect all the holes and cracks, for there might be a case where some of the bugs are still alive.
Lastly, apply a wood sealant to the holes and cracks very carefully, to prevent the bugs from entering the furniture again. However, ensure that you are doing it correctly because there are chances of your furniture getting a damaged look after coating it with the sealant.
Call the Professionals if…
…the problem is not localized and the bugs have spread to your entire house. Depending on the extent of the infestation they may go for a liquid treatment, baits, borate treatment or fumigation.
They will have to quarantine your house for 3-4 days. And for the time being, you will have to stay somewhere else as termite eviction is an intensive job. They might even cover your house to ensure that the infestation doesn’t spread in the neighborhood.
This is a lesson which you have to learn to avoid future occurrences of termites and for that here are a few pointers:
☛ Termites could have come, if your furniture came in contact with someone else’s furniture.
☛ If you have some old cardboard boxes lying around.
☛ If you have purchased second-hand furniture.
☛ You need to keep an eye on your furniture to ensure that you get rid of them while they are localized rather than when they have spread to other pieces of furniture.
☛ To prevent your furniture from infestation in the future, avoid using wood that is damaged in rain or snow. You can also use timbor, an insecticide to treat the wood before using for construction.
☛ Using termite-resistant woods like cedar, redwood, etc., will be a good idea to keep termite infestation at bay.
Although its effectiveness depends on the soil conditions and some other factors, applying termiticide to the soil around your house shall keep termites away for quite a few years. Termites is pretty much a national phenomenon now. It is essential that everyone keeps an eye on their furniture to check their growth and kill them before they kill your furniture.