Even though small in size, termites are arguably one of the most destructive pests. In Singapore, the Coptotermes termite species are the most destructive. They operate in colonies, which can effortlessly chew through your home’s foundation, doors, wooden furniture, picket fence, and even trees and bushes. Unfortunately, termites are silent destroyers. Which means they can leave a trail of massive destruction before you notice them.
So, how can you protect your property from these pesky pests? Well, the answer lies in effective termite control practice, which involves;
i. Looking for signs of infestation.
ii. Conducting a termite inspection to confirm the outbreak.
iii. Getting rid of the termites.
iv. Taking preventive measures to avert future infestations
i. Looking for signs of termite presence
1.) Looking for signs of infestation
Termites are nasty because they are mainly subterranean, they work in colonies, and they are always eating. Their uncanny ability to survive underground makes it difficult to detect them before they attack. Fortunately, it is possible to determine if you have termites. Just look out for the following tell-tale subtle signs on your property.
a) Small soil tunnels or mud tubes
If you notice mud tubes or small soil tunnels snaking from the ground, to your ceiling, walls, stair base, front porch, or on the trunks of trees on your compound, chances are, you have termites.
b) Termite frass or droppings
Termites are living organisms. If they are on your premises, they will naturally leave frass (droppings). The droppings resemble wood sawdust.
c) Fissures or Holes in the wood
Pay close attention to your wood pieces. If you discover cracks or tiny nail-size holes on your wood fixtures, be wary. Termites are fond of drilling small holes and chewing the wood from the inside.
d) Broken wings
Swarmers or reproductive termites develop wings and fly off in search of new places to establish colonies. If you find discarded wings on your floor or window sills, you might be a victim of termite infestation.
e) Termite presence
If you encounter termites anywhere on your property, it goes without saying that you have an infestation on your hands.
2. Conduct a termite inspection
If you encounter the above signs of termite infestation, it is prudent to conduct a comprehensive termite inspection. The assessment will help you determine what termite type you have, their breeding location, the extent of damage they have caused, and how to best get rid of the pests. If you have the time and skill, you can conduct the exercise. Just ensure you have the right protective gear to keep you safe while at it. Nonetheless, for satisfying results, it is prudent to get a professional NEA Certified termite control technician to help.
When inspecting the property for termite infestation, you need to focus on the potential problem areas. These include
• Wooden structures in the basement, crawl spaces and attic.
• Wood piles or debris near door frames, window sills, rear basement window, support posts, wooden porches, joists, and subfloors.
• Areas where wood meets concrete slabs, porches, and steps.
• Cracks or fissures in walls, expansion joints, or floors.
• Under the sinks, utility area, bath traps, and laundry
During the check-up, be on the lookout for the presence of damaged wood, kick-out holes on the wood, piled wings, tan, brown feces, living insects, as well as their breeding nest.
3. Termite treatment
The next step of termite control is the treatment. There are numerous approaches that you can use to eliminate these destructive crawlers. The most common is to directly treat the termite nest or active infestation, baiting the termites, and dressing the soil to deal with the termites that might have been outside the nest.
a) Direct nest treatment
If you locate the active nesting area, treat the nest. But if you are unable to get to the nesting area, just treat the part with the active infestation. For best results, use a non-repellent or odorless product. The termites, through their bodies, will pick up and transfer the chemicals to their counterparts in the colony. These termite control treatments exist in three varieties. The aerosol sprays, foams, and concentrated liquids. Just select the one suitable for the location of the active infestation.
The direct treatment involves the following steps
i. Gaining access to the infected area: Before applying your termiticide, you need to get unobstructed access to it. Do that by drilling holes in a drywall, or wood where you suspect the infestation.
ii. Applying the termiticide: After digging the holes put the treatment into them and patiently wait for the results.
b). Termite Baiting
Under this termite control treatment, you use monitors and baits to eliminate the pesky intruders. Place in the bait, an active ingredient that prevents the termites from molting. The inability to molt causes the worker termites to die, leaving the colony struggling to sustain itself. Eventually, the other colony members die as well.
c) Termite Trenching
Trenching involves digging a 6″ by 6″ deep trench against the exterior wall where you found the infestation and mixing the termiticide solution with the trench soil. The treatment prevents new members from the colony from moving into your home. Furthermore, it eliminates any insects that were outside the settlement.
Each of the above treatments is effective at termite control. However, the National Environment Agency recommends the use of physical termite barrier solutions, or non-chemical termite control systems.
4. Taking measures to prevent re-infestation
Termites can be quite resilient, which means if you are not careful, they might still show up a few months after treatments. Hence, it is prudent to take preventative measures to curb re-infestation.
Some of the steps you can take include;
Conducting termite inspections from time to time to ensure your property is termite free.
Getting rid of areas that have excessive moisture. If you have water leaks on your property, take the initiative to fix it. Termites tend to breed quicker in areas with humidity.
Removing any wood-to-ground contacts. These could be trees, wood or firewood that touches the ground and your door frames, wooden decks, or porch posts. Break the connection by either removing the timber or insulating it using a concrete footing.
Fix the ventilation. Termites, just like most pests, thrive in areas with poor ventilation. If your attic, basement or crawl space lacks proper vents, look for ways of either improving the ventilation or controlling the moisture in the room.