Some pests are easy and straightforward to deal with so long as there is a pest control service and ongoing housekeeping in place. However, getting rid of termites is often an ordeal task and may involve not just time investment but monetary as well. Rentokil Singapore shares some reasons why termite elimination is challenging and a common frequently asked question about termites. More importantly, what are the termite treatments available to resolve your termite problem.
- Not visible to the eyes – Termites live underground
- Termite infestation signs are not obvious
- DIY home remedies tend not to work on termites
- Home structures and materials are main food source for termite
- Presence of daily moisture and water attracts termites
- Pest identification can be a challenge – Ants vs termites
- Do home termite inspection to check for activity
- How do termite species look like
- How different are termites to ants
- Learn the signs of termite infestation
- Take up a termite control service
- Termite prevention tips
- Debugging common termite myths
- Frequently asked questions about termites
Part 1: Reasons that challenges termite elimination
Not visible to the eyes – Termites live underground
Most pests can be found easily on the surface around us except for rats or termites that are well hidden underground. While rats hide in their burrows to nests, termites build their colony underground, just right below your home. As they grow their colony size, they have to expand further to house the thousands of workers and members. Thus, their infestation and presence are more visible as you see mud tubes form on your wall or next door. This also means you might be already experiencing a serious termite infestation problem. However, not all termites live underground. They may live in other wooden parts of your home such as door frames, kitchen cabinets and furniture. Read more to find out which termite species they are and if your home is already a breeding ground for them.
Termite infestation signs are not obvious
Unless we see physical pests crawling around the home such as cockroaches and ants, signs of pest infestation tends to be less noticeable, particularly signs of termites. While most pests give signals of their presence such as droppings, urine stains, stench and smear marks, termites leave behind less noticeable traces. For example, strips of muddy soil lined up along the wall, which is their mud tubes they used to travel up. In addition, they leave behind droppings, also known as frass, that looks like heaps of dust along surfaces of panels or frames.
DIY home remedies tend not to work on termites
There have been successful times in eliminating pests by spraying them with off-the-shelve insecticide. In addition, there are some quick wins around trapping ants or cockroaches with traps, gels and baits. While these efforts bring some pest relief in the short term, most DIY home remedies do not work well for termites.
Firstly, it is not possible reaching out to the termites within the structure or underground with your readily available spray. Secondly, the active ingredient in retail sprays may not be targeted at termites in particular. Thirdly, a huge colony needs to be eliminated but is obstructed with your home ground barrier. Finally, natural remedies such as orange oil are said to have the killing effect with its d-limonene extracts. Besides causing potential home hazard due to its flammable ingredient, this pest myth has minimal efficacy in its termite pest control with limited residual effect.
Home structures and materials are main food source for termite
Pest control experts usually will advise you to remove food sources for pests to feed on. For example, food crumbs, grease stains, sugar bits or leftover food scraps and trash. With diligent housekeeping and effective kitchen organization, pests are denied their food supply. However, termites obtain a sustainable and ongoing food provision because they feed on wood and moisture. Unfortunately, our home is largely made up of wood, ranging from door and window frames, flooring, built-in kitchen, panel beams divider, wall structure and furniture. It is essential to build a protective barrier to prevent termite colony spread.
Presence of daily moisture and water attracts termites
Every living creature needs water, be it plants, animals, pests and ourselves as well. It is not difficult to gather leaks, moisture, water piles and spills easily. Firstly, leaks can result from defective or degenerated piping facilities. Secondly, habitual acts such as flicking excess water or accidental water splashes. Thirdly, water-slips due to rainy weather, laundry and wet umbrellas happen. Finally, poor home ventilation promotes humidity and moisture that attracts termites more. Read more on why water presence can affect pest conditions greatly.
Pest identification can be a challenge – Ants vs termites
Generally, unless with microscopic close view of pest species, at a glance it can be difficult to identify and label pests correctly. Take for instance, all flying insects look similar like those of flies, midges and mosquitoes. Flying termites for example are also mistaken for flying insects. However, there is a common confusion between ants and termites in particular. From their outlook such as antennae, waist, wings and colour to their foraging habits and diet needs, both termites and ants differ. However, this difference is challenging to spot unless detected by a trained pest control company. As such, the treatment methods can be ineffective and time delay in rectifying the infestation could escalate as a result.
Part 2: Learning how to identify termites and their signs
Do home termite inspection to check for activity
With all these complexities and challenges to determine if your home has been infested with termites, do a home check for termite activity, similar to how we go for regular medical checkup. Termite inspections utilises detection technology to trace movements and termite activities hidden internally. Of course, some other inspection methods include knocking on the wall to check for hollow sound evidence that is a likelihood or the damage works of termite. Arrange for a termite inspection for your home today.
How do termite species looks like
First step is to know who your enemy is, what they look like, where to locate them, what they like to eat, why they exist and who else in the colony. Classified under three common termite species; there is the subterranean termite, drywood termite and dampwood termite. Besides identifying the species difference and their distinctive body shape, it is important to recognise the kind of damages they caused to our home. This includes blisters developed on your flooring, structures that are damaged or weakened and unsightly mud tubes that are grown on your wall.
How different are termites to ants
Before we treat termite problems wrongly or leave an ant infestation to escalate, let us understand what are the clear differences that set them apart. Firstly, termite has straight antennae instead of a bent, their wings are uniform in size and their waist is broad. In addition, they feed on wood whereas ants like what we like in majority, such as sweets, sugar, protein, fats, starch, and even insects. While the carpenter ants are found in furniture, they merely infest and dig their way out of them, but do not feed on wood matter.
Learn the signs of termite infestation
Rentokil Pest Control shares some ways to identify for potential signs of termite infestation.
- Ugly lines of mud tubes which termites build with their saliva and soil on the wall to travel to and fro to obtain their food source
- Swarmers or their discarded wings along surfaces of the window sills and floor indicate signs of termite activity
- Noticeable termite droppings that are brown in colour faecal pellets found beneath wood
- Defective doors and windows that are difficult to open and shut due to the timber swell resulting from an infestation
- Damaged and cracked wall structures or weakened and vulnerable ceiling that are signs of termite works
- Hollow sound when tapped on wall or structure which illustrates signs of timber and wood being consumed by termites leaving it hollow internally
Part 3: Eradicating termite infestation in your home
Take up a termite control service
Leave the hassle and challenge to the experts as they perform effective termite treatments and conduct home inspection to ensure your home is well taken care. There are various termite control options to consider ranging from short term and quick solutions to long term protection. These treatments either utilise active ingredients that are general, eco-friendly or with additional efficacy features. Depending on the termite species type and area of concern, termite solution application differs. This includes pumping the termiticide into the ground as a protective barrier, placing termite baits in-ground or above-ground or injecting into frames and panels with a foaming generator.
Termite prevention tips
Because termites are working hard 24/7 and practically present for as long as you are living in, it is important to take precautionary termite prevention steps besides engaging in termite control. This is because termite infestation can trigger due to other factors such as uncleared and decayed wood outdoors or it may spread from your neighbours who have a termite infestation. Here are some prevention tips you can apply for your home:
- Fix all broken tiles, roof gaps and structure cracks to prevent accumulating moisture in the home
- Look out for leaking pipes in the kitchen, bathroom and balcony that causes water spills on the surfaces
- Avoid using recycled or secondhand furniture that might be infested with termites
- Ensure proper landscaping is in place to groom the overgrown shrubs and plants
- Deal with mulch that is located or attached close to the home that allows connection in
- Adopt a diligent home effort by checking for any additional infestation signs regularly
- Consider the home and décor and furnishing options that may invite termites
Debugging common termite myths
It is important not to treat termite infestation lightly or resolve with home remedies to eliminate the problem. DIY solutions that you have used on common pests such as cockroaches and ants may not apply as adequately for termites. Rentokil Initial clarifies some of the common misperception and myths on termite management.
Firstly, it is important to know that all homes so long as there is presence of wood and moisture are at risk of termite problem. This is regardless if your home dwelling is a landed property or apartment. Secondly, exposure to sunlight can only help to some minimal extent instead of destroying the colony. Thirdly, it does not mean if your home has an existing ants problem, that will deter or eliminate termite infestation. Fourthly, natural ingredients such as orange oil, vinegar and borax will do some repel and deter effects. However, success elimination is little to none. Finally, remember not to neglect the outdoors because termites are present both internally and externally.
Frequently asked questions about termites
There are many questions, concerns and queries about termites and less easy to comprehend and deal with. Here are the top five frequently asked questions about termites.
I would like to engage in termite pest control. How do I evaluate which company to go with?
First step is to provide a detailed description of the observation you have made in your home with signs of termite activity. The specialist would be required to do a site inspection of your home to evaluate the right pest identity and locate key risk areas. You can raise additional questions pertaining to the following to ensure you have selected a trustworthy company:
- Brand credibility and pest expertise history
- Is there a termite warranty, what is covered during the terms and number of years of coverage
- What is the type and quality of active ingredient used and its features
- Do the specialists perform thorough inspection and risk assessment to ensure safety policy is in place?
- Is there adequate explanation on what to expect before and after the treatment?
- What does the package comprises? For instance, yearly inspections, recommendations and after sales service?
- Mode of inspection – do they rely on traditional visual inspection or uitilises microwave technology?
- Customer reviews that are satisfied with the service and efficacy standards
What is drywood termite? How different is the treatment compared to other termite species?
It is another type or species of the termite family that attacks your furniture and build-in structure. While they do not require as much moisture as the subterranean termite, they do feed on cellulose wood and are capable of destroying your home as well. Damages can be detrimental if your home is connected fully with the built-in kitchen, living room and dining hall. Unless the damage is severe that needs a full replacement or intensive carpentry works, drywood termite foaming treatment is recommended. Find out more about the treatment here.
What is the cost to do a termite treatment for my home?
The pest control price is dependent on a few factors. They comprise of the type of treatments, species, duration, choice of ingredient and coverage area. In particular for termite treatment, a long term termite programme with seven years warranty typically costs a few thousand dollars while a one-time off spot treatment will cost a few hundred dollars, depending how many localised sites to treat. However, it is also important to note that the cost of termite treatment as a whole may be more cost effective in the long run, compared to how replacements and renovation may cost to fix the damages. Read these real termite costs and investments here.
What is white ants? Are they the real ants or termites?
White ants are not the household ants we see in our kitchen where they feed on sweet stuff as part of their diet. The common ant species are namely the sugar ants, fire ants, pharaoh ants and carpenter ants. They do not live underground nor feed on wood. White ants is commonly used to term termites due to its white and light in colour body that represents as white and ants because of its similarities in outlook.
What should we do if we do find termites in our home?
As like other pests, do not panic and fret but detailed down observations of the infestation. This includes where is the infested spot, description of the infestation, when did you started noticing and what actions were done previously. If possible, snap some photos to support your description. Next, do not apply anything more to the infestation such as attempting to flush off with water or use home insecticides to spray on them directly. This tends to aggravate the condition and promote more moisture that attracts termites. Call for a professional pest control specialist quickly to do a proper home inspection before recommending the relevant termite treatment.
Call Rentokil Termite Specialists at 6347 8138 for pest control services today.