Americans spend billions of dollars every year treating termites and repairing the damage that they cause. Because of that, homeowners take termite control very seriously. There are several types of termites, so there are several different treatments. For every treatment, the goal is to keep termites from eating the wood inside the home or business.
Many builders and homebuyers have new homes treated to prevent termites from attacking. These treatments can be done before building starts or during the building process. These treatments are usually called pre-construction treatments or pre–treats.
For many years, pre–construction treatments were done with liquid termiticides. While this method is still very common, there are other methods being developed. Many pre–construction treatments use a physical barrier in the soil to keep termites out of the home. These barriers might be made of gravel, sand, wire mesh, or plastic.
Pre-construction treatments are also being done with termite bait stations that are installed in the soil. In many parts of the country, the framing lumber is treated with a borate solution while the home is being built. This solution does not affect the lumber, but it makes the wood toxic to termites if they ever attack.
It is more common for homes and businesses to be treated after they have been built. These treatments are called post–construction treatments. Since subterranean termites are common in most parts of the United States, they are the termites that attack most homes.
Treatments against subterranean termites are done for two reasons — to stop termites from damaging a home or to prevent them from attacking it. If the treatment is preventive, it usually involves treating the whole house. These are often called complete treatments.
If termites have attacked a home or business, a complete treatment might be done. If the building is very large, many times only the affected area is treated. This is called a spot treatment. If part of a building is treated, it is often called a partial treatment.
Post–construction treatments often involve liquid termiticides. They are applied to the soil under a home and around the foundation to protect against subterranean termites. Liquid termiticide is often applied with a machine that turns the liquid into foam. This helps spread the termiticide underneath the building.
Termite baits are very common in post-construction treatments. The stations are installed in the soil around a home or building. They can be used alone or combined with liquid termiticide application. There are also bait stations that can be attached to a wall where termites are eating.
Besides liquids and baits, there are other methods of treating termites. In many situations, exposed wood can be treated with a borate solution that is toxic to termites. The solution also kills wood–boring beetles and decay fungi. It can only be applied to exposed wood, so it is often used during remodeling or on wood that is outdoors.
Fumigation is still a common treatment to eliminate some types of termites. When a toxic fumigant is used, the people and pets must leave the building and stay away for a few days. Scientists are testing common substances like carbon dioxide. They are hopeful some of these materials can be used for termite fumigations.
Besides these common treatments, there are other ways to eliminate termite infestations. Many times the simplest solution is to replace the damaged wood. This eliminates small infestations at the same time. In some cases, heat treatments are used to eliminate termites. Termites can be eliminated from small articles by placing the item in a freezer for a few days.
Many homeowners and business owners call on a pest control professional for help with termites. These experts have the tools necessary to make a thorough inspection. They ca identify the type of termite that is attacking the home. They can also point out any maintenance issues that should be addressed to prevent future termite problems.