Termites tend to cause stress and disruption especially when infestation spreads and results in consequential outcome. Besides the damages, termites are not easy to identify and differentiate, let alone resolve termite problems on our own means. Rentokil shares the seven reasons why termite infestation is not welcomed in homes. More importantly, what you can do to get rid of termites effectively.
We cannot see termite presence clearly
In any battle, locating your enemy is key. When you have no visibility in their presence, hideouts and signs of activities, you are unable to take any action but to take cover and go into a defense mode. Termites are especially difficult to detect them as they are mostly well hidden. For example, they live underground and travel along mud tubes that are well covered. In addition, their activities take place within frames, beams and structures that are beyond visibility. Unless we are familiar with their infestation signs such as mud tubes, frass and alates presence, these symptoms can be missed easily under untrained eyes.
There are times where their presence might be mistaken for other conditions such as poor housekeeping, defective door and windows or property integrity. Unlike other pests that crawl or fly around for food including mosquitoes, rats, ants and cockroaches, termites’ presence tends to be more secretive.
Termites work 24/7 daily in our home
Most pests are recognised for their intelligence such as the smart rodents or tough survivors like the cockroaches and ants where they can withstand harsh conditions; termites are recognised for their diligence. They basically work 24/7 everyday, traveling to and fro sourcing and transporting food back to the colony, in order to fulfil their functions diligently. The termite workers work hard to provide food to the soldiers and the queen and ensure daily operations of the colony and adequate food supply. They also work diligently in defending and protecting their colony where soldiers keep predators away.
To keep growing their colony, all the reproductive reproduce daily in order to increase the termite population. All these functions happen 24 hours a day, thus procrastination in taking up proper termite control when infestation arise could mean resulting in a severe outcome.
Termite infestation cause damages to home and furniture
Most pests harm our health by transmitting diseases or cause food contamination symptoms, and for termites, while their droppings and frass may trigger allergies, they can cause other damages to the home and its furnishing including:
- Termites feed on the wood and cellulose off the foundation of the home
- Mud tubes formation on the wall may look unsightly and dirty
- Door and window frames unable to function properly
- Wallpapers or paint that are peeling off or blobs popping out
- “Dusty” surfaces along door and window sills due to termite droppings
- Damaged and collapse ceilings, thus destroying flooring and furniture
- Cracked and damage wall and structures with safety risks on stability
- Hollow wood and wall as termite consume the foundation within
- Swollen or puffed up floors that resembles to damages caused by moist
- Wood detached from the subfloor that pose danger to families
While these damages are dangerous and costly, it also poses issues around the aesthetics of the home, especially for homes with efforts in interior design. For some carpentry works and furniture, it means replacing them by refurnishing all over again, and spending time purchasing back the same nice furniture that may not be available or are costly to invest.
They are travelers and spread their colony
Pests are mighty and powerful in terms of their survival sense, their traveling speed and distance, volume of reproduction and efficient spread of their presence. Termites in particular, have a huge colony empire that is enough to cover their dominance in your home while having organised functions and roles to keep the colony growing. Thus, a mere termite infestation can turn into a full-blown infestation if not dealt with immediately. As they build mud tubes to travel upwards from underground, they can travel to your home and even a few levels high. Thus, for homes with upper decks or apartments at higher level, termite infestation can occur at such heights. As they grow their empire, they can extend their activities sideways. Therefore, it may affect your side units or affected by your neighbour’s termite problem.
Often result in costly repairs and recovery
Termites are disruptive due to their feeding activities by chewing off wood and cellulose materials 24/7 daily. They can cause damaging and costly consequences in terms of time and investment.
Firstly, they weaken the structure stability and have to be refurnished for safety. In some home designs, most structures are inter-connected. Thus, they require major overhaul to the renovation. Secondly, most homes are designed by connecting the kitchen to the living room or dining hall. Once infestation has hit a specific spot, infestation spreads thus requiring a replacement of the entire carpentry works. Thirdly, depending on the type of door and window frame designs, replacing all frames may cost a lot from removal to reconstruction.
Finally, termites attack flooring as well, and particularly for certain flooring types like the parquet or quality laminates, re-tiling the entire home can cause as much as a total home renovation. Rentokil Initial discuss the various kind of costs resulting from termite damages in this article on “How much will cost you if pest termite happens in your home”.
Termites look like ants in general
Let us face it, we are all not pest biology or entomology trained. It is possible that all pests actually look similar unless they have a unique look such as caterpillar or butterfly. In fact, among the pest species themselves, for rats and mice, midges and mosquitoes, German and American cockroach, differentiating them is a challenge. Termites and ants differentiation is a classic query raised until today. This is because of their outlook, body shape, habitats and structure. For example, termites and carpenter ants lurk around wooden furniture though one is purely for feeding and other for tunneling purposes.
White ants are often used to name termites. They are confused in their pest classification where white ants may be viewed as ants. Flying termites (swarmers) can be mistaken for flies due to their attraction to light and appearance after a rainy weather. Finally, unless you scrutinise and have a good understanding between termite and ants, we may not be aware of their make up in terms of their antenna, elbow, waist and colour tone.
Most DIY termite remedies do not work
It requires specific active ingredients to take down termites and not all solutions and methods will work as a result. For instance, natural remedies with the use of orange oil, spices, essential oil or any other food ingredient may only have some deterrent effects, but work less effectively in terms of colony control. In fact, these remedies do not work on other pests such as cockroaches and ants by derailing their sense of direction.
For termites, it is tricky the fact that they tend to live underground or within structures. Exposing them to these ingredients are difficult or out of reach. In addition, the colony houses thousands of members. They expand their colony through food sourcing and a queen that controls the colony. Exposing them with less targeted termite treatments may just mean less than satisfactory outcome. This may result in an increased level of infestation as they work 24/7 in your home.
What do we do if our homes are infested with termites?
It is best not to attempt fixing a termite problem by yourself but rely on professionals. Firstly, do not try to flush them away with water (including the mud tubes and their frass) as this promotes moisture and standing water that attract other pests or worsening the condition of termite infestation. Secondly, avoid spraying them with insecticide. The active ingredient, not designed for termite elimination, can worsen the condition. Thirdly, do not scrap off any tubes as it may contain members that cause a spread. Fourthly, do take a photo of suspected activities, damaged parts and termite signs as a form of reference and recognition. Finally, call a pest control company to visit your home for a proper termite inspection, before recommending a solution to resolve the infestation.
What do we need to know about termite control?
It has to be conducted by termite specialist
Carrying out a termite treatment includes carious steps and procedures. Firstly, proper termite inspection detects the presence of termite activities, locating their hideouts and identify their species type. They include the Subterranean Termite, Drywood Termite and Dampwood Termite. For some termite species, their treatments will differ where application methods and service scope ranges. Secondly, termite signs are less visible and termite specialists require special tools and technology. For instance, using Microwave Technology instead of relying on the conventional methods of visual and wall tapping.
Thirdly, the application methods may be complex. It requires drilling of holes, mixing the right dilution rate of the active ingredient and choosing the right spot to treat. Fourthly, pest control brings some levels of safety requirements. Hence, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety processes has to be adhered through professional training. Finally, inspection and monitoring of the pest infestation requires certain pest knowledge. This is because individuals may not be up to skill in fulfilling them.
Termite treatment requires some downtime
As the treatment area may be large, say for example treating the entire perimeter of the home internally and externally, and/or covering home structures covering doorframes and beams, the treatment may take longer compared to common pest management. The process is also longer from setting up the premise, identifying location to treat and prep for post treatment; there is some downtime to expect during and after the treatment. Depending on the type of termite package, some treatments shows faster results by carrying out “spot injection” at selected areas. Furthermore, they may complete faster than the long-term comprehensive termite treatment.
Termite control offers long-term protection
There are treatments targeting long-term protection where superior colony control efficacy is designed to withstand the termite colony development over a long period. They typically last from five years to as long as seven (and in some cases up to ten years) for termite protection. Because of the active ingredient formulation, it is able to have lasting residual effect while delivering fast acting treatment to stop termites from feeding further on your home. However, there are many active ingredients with different grades and efficacy, and it is important to ask your pest control specialist which termiticide is recommended for your home.
Various termite packages for your option
It is possible to be spoilt for choices even when it comes to termite treatment plans. Here are a few recommended termite treatments:
- Pre-construction or soil treatment that involves building a barrier with termiticide before building a property or home. It is recommended to follow up with a long-term termite protection programme to continue the colony control.
- Termiticide injection for post construction cases that applies active ingredient around the home at strategic intervals to ensure adequate coverage
- Termite monitoring and baiting units with above and in-ground applications to first detect and lure the termites, before replacing with active ingredient for terms to feed
- Spot treatments or also known as localised treatments where spot injections are made on points or area with termite activity – however this may be inadequate in removing colony
- Termite foaming solution targeting at drywood termites where a foaming agent is used to allow better and efficient penetration and spread of termiticide through injecting points
- Termite inspection services are available for home purchase or property sale, or on a regular basis in the form of home inspection programme.
A need to re-treat after five to seven years
Treatments and protection are not lasting. There is a need to re-treat in order to ensure sustainability and residual consistency. Depending on the quality, some treatments may lose their control effect sooner than others. Hence, it is important to follow up on the annual inspection to check for any recurring termite activity. In addition, there are factors affecting an infestation recurrence. They inlcude moist and damp condition of the home, housekeeping standards and make of the home. For instance, more wood material as termite food source and infestation history among neighbouring homes. Termites can travel and spread, as they make their way horizontally and vertically through mud tubes. Therefore, termite treatment has to be continuous and adequate.
There are eco-friendly termite prevention methods
Initial thought and impression of pest control services are toxic and harmful. This is because of the active ingredients where some are pesticides or baits. However, pest treatments can be environmentally friendly and safe, and pose less risk to the surrounding and family. For instance, the Rentokil Termite Treatment Programme with seven years warranty. It is quick acting and long lasting in terms of control, while presents low toxicity to pets, plants, people and the environment.
As it is non-repellant, this means termites are not aware of its presence and continue foraging until the active ingredient builds fully in their bodies to control their development. How it works is by allowing the termites to have direct contact with the active ingredient residue effect binding in the soil. Upon ingestion, it creates a mode of action to disrupt the functionality of the termite’s nervous system, while causing convulsion and death. As it binds to three different types of calcium channels on its membranes, it prevents calcium ion influx into the cell.The best thing about the treatment is its ability to spread its solution within days. In addition, it stops termite feeding with hours. This is an important feature to prevent termites damaging your home further, causing cracks, weakening or collapsed structures.
The average cost of termite treatment
Pest control price ranges and differs depending on factors. They include type of pest, number of pest infestation, its infestation level, nature and size of the environment, frequency and pest treatments. The cost of termite treatment can range from a few hundred dollars investment to borderline thousands of dollars to above five thousand and more. It depends on the following to determine the cost to do a termite control in your home:
- The type of termite treatment you have engaged such as the injection, baiting or localisation
- Inclusion of services to integrate pest control solutions including inspection and reporting
- Choice of active ingredient such as superior quality, environmentally friendly and effective
- Size of the coverage area, including the exterior perimeter, interior, above/underground
- Type of termite species where subterranean termites typically requires complex treatment
- Level of coverage where one fixes existing activity and other eliminates root source
Evaluating a pest control company should not solely based on price factor. Instead, you should focus on the value you are receiving from the services. Some solutions offer quick- fix and cheap options. However, they may not be effective or sustainable, thus resulting in longer-term investment. This can be due to ineffective results that require a retreat, or replacement of furniture and renovation for the damaged home parts. Other evaluation criteria include:
- Brand reputation, credibility and trustworthiness of the specialist
- Number of years of experience and adequateness of the resource
- Level of proficiency, training and quality audit control in place
- Completeness in embracing health and safety including risk assessment
- Use of innovation and technology to raise pest control standards
- Speed of responsive and addressing your needs and queries efficiently
- Customer service quality and number of positive customer reviews
Useful information and articles on termite control
Termite pest control among other pest solutions are slightly harder to understand. Moreover, there are more facts and necessary information to possess in order to address termite infestation more efficiently. Critical information can range from the different types of termite species to recognise, their infestation signs, possible causes of a termite problem and how to get rid of termites in Singapore. Rentokil Singapore has shared a series of contents and blog articles on essential facts of managing termites. Here are some useful links for your retrieval.
- Different types of termite in Singapore and frequently asked questions
- Termite treatment options you can consider for your home
- How to know if you have termites infesting in your home
- Why you should avoid performing DIY termite solutions?
- Essential termite prevention tips and recommendations
- Learning more about drywood termite treatment
- Find out the difference between termites and carpenter ants
- Can termites travel from one home to another easily?
- When do we need to call for termite control service?
Call Rentokil Termite Specialists at 6347 8138 for pest control services today.