Termites are amongst most concern pests because of its detrimental impact it can cause to a home and its less obvious signs and presence. Rentokil shares the ten essential questions you need to ask about termite treatment and what actions to take if your home is suspected of termite infestation.
- What are termites?
- Are flying termites and white ants the same?
- How do I know if my home has termites?
- What will happen if my home has termite infestation?
- What kind of home is at risk of termite infestation?
- How do I get rid of termites?
- Which termite treatment should I consider?
- Termite prevention tips I can adopt
- Can I seek DIY termite pest control instead?
- How much does termite control costs in Singapore?
What are termites?
Termites are pests that include thousands and millions of members in a colony seeking food and building their empire below your home. Consisting of the king, queen, soldiers and workers, the common types of termite species in Singapore includes Subterranean, Drywood and Dampwood termite. They live underground and within the soil, beneath your home and travel into your home for food (or rather wood and cellulose supplies) supplies. They are present both indoors and outdoors, and travel from home to home and as high as 26 storey high of a building.
Are flying termites and white ants the same?
Termites and ants cause confusion among people because of their similarity in terms of their body shape, size and behavior. Here is a difference between both species at a quick glance:
- Termites are light in color, usually in a white and creamy color and at times translucent.
- Their antennae are straight instead of bent like those of ants.
- The waist section of termite is a lot thicker than ants. It is the section where the thorax meets the abdomen and is narrow on an ant on the other hand.
- Flying termites and ants have two sets of wings. However, the wings on termites are both in the same size, compared to ants where one set is larger.
Flying termites or also called swarmers or alates are termites that leave their nests to mate and build new colony. They are especially active at night (though some species swarm in the daylight) and are attracted to light and after a rain. One common sign of termite infestation is the discarded wings as these flying termites lose their wings after finding a mate.
Another reason why termites are mistaken for ants because of their close association with wood. Carpenter ants, one of the ant species that damage wood by excavating debris around or below the exit hole. They are also attracted to moisture just like termites and build nests near windows, doorframes, attics and anywhere with wood and moist.
How do I know if my home has termites?
Termites are more secretive and mysterious with the fact that they do not surface physically in search of food like other pests. They often hide within structure and underground and travel around through tunnels.
Signs that your home has potential termite infestation
- Unusual sounds such as head banging or quiet clicking sounds coming from the wall – Termites bang their heads against the wood when their colony is disturbed or encountering danger. The sound could also come from their eating habits as they munch away your wood.
- Papery or hollow sounding timber when tapped upon – Drywood termite consume wood from inside out, leaving just a thin veneer, timber or paint. Particularly when you tap against a damaged wood where they fully eaten the timber, it will sound hollow and empty.
- Tight fitting doors and hard to open windows – Often a confusion with defects, it may be a sign of termite infestation. The moisture termites produced while eating and tunneling those door and window frames cause damages with stiff windows and warped doors.
- Tunnels and galleries in wood – These are smooth galleries forming on the wood surface and can be easily missed. Termite activities are detected by microwave technology conducted by professional pest control specialists.
- Unsightly lines of mud tubes on wall – Mud tubes made of mud, dirt, saliva and other debris for termite’s travelling activities in search of food. Do not to scrap off these tubes, but to take note with pictures and contact a pest control company right away.
- Presence of alates or discard wings – Usually resembles debris and saw dust, wings that are found along windowsills, frames, surfaces and doors are the first sign of termite infestation.
- Droppings and poops – Termites will defecate and leave behind their droppings after feeding that is brown in colour and grainy like mounds in outlook.
- Damaged and cracked walls and structure – One of the more obvious signs of serious termite infestation is the presence of visible termite damages around your home structure. This can also pose health and safety risks as the structure weakens, and collapse as a result.
What will happen if my home has termite infestation?
We all know pest infestations if left untreated can cause harm to our health, such as transmission of harmful diseases including E. Coli, Salmonella and dengue fever. Termites similarly cause some consequences to both health and safety. Firstly, they cause structural damage such as cracks and damages to the wall, structure, panel and beams. Secondly, weakened structure and cause a collapse of beams and ceilings. Thirdly, termite droppings, saliva and its contamination can cause allergies, asthma reactions among some people. Finally, termite damages are costly to rectify and replace, be it renovation or frame replacement, besides the cost to engage termite control. Above all, the stress and time spent on home matters and treating the infestation.
What kind of home is at risk of termite problem?
No home or property is spared from termite infestation risks. This is because of the moisture, wood and cellulose that termite seeks for food and development. These elements are usually available in every home, be it a landed property, apartment or high-rise buildings. This includes industrial buildings, warehouses, commercial skyscrapers and even individual units such as offices and restaurants. Besides the food source availability, termites travel either sideways or upwards. This causes cross infestation to neighboring units and homes. In addition, homes with high moisture level or poor ventilation are at higher risks due to termite attraction for damp conditions. Finally, home conditions can affect risk levels, such as poor integrity, gaps and crevices or no prior termite protection are risk factors leading to termite activity. Above all, the type and choice of décor can affect termite attraction such as the use of wooden planks and flooring.
How do I get rid of termites?
There are various ways to get rid of termites, some perhaps more effective than others. It ranges from DIY home remedies, natural ingredients for repelling effort, to more drastic measures. These include removing affected parts of the home and engaging pest control.
Renovation and structure replacement
May sound like the easiest option to hack and remove infected parts of the home, including walls, beams, panels, frames and build-in functions, it takes time in restoring your home, while costing a lot more depending on the infestation severity. This is especially so for homes that are inter-connected from kitchen to dining halls and living rooms, or use of costly and superior furnishing. In addition, not forgetting the size of the property and if it is affecting outdoors as well.
Apply insecticide spray on infected walls and frames
Applying the same concept as how we will deal with cockroaches and ants, spraying directly on termite infestation may not help. This is due to efficacy and dosage level, besides the type of active ingredient. In addition, by adding more moisture to the current condition. Lastly, if it is a wrong pest type identification where you are dealing with Pharaoh Ants, insecticide spray application in fact worsens the infestation condition by causing the colony to split up and spread around.
Using natural ingredients for repel function
There has been several pest myths around using natural ingredients to deter pests. Spices, condiments, essential oils, plants and herbs and DIY traps are some examples used to deter crawling pests such as cockroaches and ants. This is so for termites where some believe the use of orange oil can eliminate termite. It should not be mistaken for orange juice or extracts. The oil itself that contains the d-limonene as the eliminating active ingredient against termites. While it has some control element, we do not recommend using orange oil due to the following reasons:
- Limited efficacy and residual control effect to eliminate colony
- Spot treatment targeting at infected locations instead of colony removal
- More effective towards Drywood Termite instead of subterranean termite
- Unable to reach via underground or within walls to eliminate termites
- Not lasting to address the 24/7 termite feeding on your property
- Dangerous due to its flammable and acidic extract – possible fire hazards
Engaging pest control services
Most recommended option is to seek professional termite control. Firstly, this is because the professionals are trained to locate areas with termite activities. They are able to use technology to trace for termite activities. Secondly, they are able to identify and advise the termite species type that is infesting your home. The treatment for subterranean and drywood termite is different in terms of application and surface type. Thirdly, pest control companies offer different types of termite treatment from termiticide injection, baiting placements and foaming application. Finally, the specialist will conduct yearly inspection and monitoring of the premise to ensure no termite recurrence.
Which termite treatment should I consider?
Depending on the type of species attacking your home, budget preference, type of property and risk level of the home, termite treatment option ranges from several options. They include termiticide injection, planting of termite baiting or localised foaming treatment.
- Long-term termite protection: This includes injecting termiticide (different grades and quality ranging from eco-friendly and toxic-free solution) around the perimeter of the home to build a protective barrier. The active ingredient also halts the termites’ muscles. This stops them from chewing and feeding further, while controlling the colony quickly. It also includes a seven-year warranty to give assurance that the home is under control.
- Termite baiting stations: Termite treatment is available both indoors and outdoors. Above-ground and in-ground termite baiting units will be placed to monitor, lure and control termites. A detailed site inspection of the home helps to determine the number of baits and locations to apply the baiting stations.
- Drywood termite foaming: More for Drywood termite, it involves injecting key areas on doorframes and panels and pumping inactive ingredients in a foaming version. Foam works well in terms of penetration and dispersion of the active ingredient for better efficacy in termite control.
Any termite prevention tips I can adopt
No doubt termites are not easy pests to eradicate and manage. However, besides engaging pest control services, there are some preventive tips you can adopt to enhance the protection of your home. Regardless which pest management, awareness towards pest prevention and remaining vigilant against pest infestation is critical for any pest type. Here are some prevention tips against termites for your home.
- Remove all water spills, leaks and moisture in your home
- Keep place well ventilated and use a dehumidifier if need
- Avoid using wooden furniture, home décor and flooring
- Refrain from bringing in recycled furniture that maybe infested
- Check for termite signs regularly
- Perform housekeeping indoors and outdoors diligently
- Adopt adequate landscaping and garden maintenance
- Remove mulch and logs or timber that is rotten
- Prevent any close proximity or link with wood items to the home
Can I seek DIY termite pest control instead?
For some pests, DIY solutions may help in some ways if they are less tricky pests to handle such as ants, and if the infestation is less severe. However, with that said, one should not treaat DIY pest remedies as a long-term solution. In the case of termites, it is a lot harder to eliminate. Therefore, DIY termite pest control should be best avoided. Here are some reasons why you should seek professional help:
- Mode of application is not easy where drilling and pumping of active ingredient is required
- Termite colony is huge where there are a lot more pests to eliminate compared to handle ants
- DIY chemical maybe toxic and harmful if you deal them without safety consideration
- Wrong targeting of infected area or just merely contact elimination function only
- Repeated trial and error, thus waiting money and time in the long run
- Worsening of the home damage as termites continue feeding your home everyday
- Ineffective residual control and efficacy of the DIY chemicals and solutions used
How much does termite control costs in Singapore?
The type and choice of termite treatment will affect the price range. Firstly, the application mode has price differences among those of individual or localised spot treatment, to complete and comprehensive termite barrier application around the home to placement of termite baiting units at strategic areas. Secondly, the type and quality of active ingredients matter. In terms of termiticide, there are various quality and options from basic efficacy, to superior control and with eco-friendly elements. Thirdly, size of coverage may cost a price range from a large-scale compound to a smaller home unit. This is especially so for homes that require treatments for the different home levels. Finally, the additional services such as reporting, monitoring and after sales services may cost more but for a peace of assurance.
Call Rentokil Termite Specialists at 6347 8138 for pest control services today.