Termites might get a bad rap, but these pests are more important for the environment than you might think. Termites love cellulose, an organic compound naturally found in plant fibers. They’re one of the few critters that can ingest cellulose (and other dead materials) and then turn it back into a reusable format. This ability makes termites one of the world’s most essential decomposers and a crucial part of keeping our soil healthy. And, depending on the part of the world you’re in, you may even spot the termites’ soft, brown body on a restaurant menu – these pests are considered a delicacy in certain parts of Asia and Africa.
However, for homeowners, termites usually only bring property damage and wasted money. Here’s what Raleigh homeowners should know about how to tell if you have a termite problem, why getting rid of termites on your own isn’t a good idea, and what to do if you suspect you’ve got termites.
Signs Of A Termite Infestation
There’s a reason why so many homeowners don’t catch termite infestations until they’ve spiraled out of control. Termites are often discreet about the damage they cause, and the signs of their presence can be subtle and include:
Discarded wings and termite swarms: After their original colony has reached capacity, reproductive termites may head out of their hiding spots in swarms, circling near your property or home. Even if you don’t see an actual swarm, you may see evidence of one – like discarded wings lying around doorways and entrances.
Hollow wood: Termites eat through walls and flooring, and once the infestation has grown large enough, the wood in your home may sound hollow when it’s tapped.
Bubbling or uneven paint: Bubbling or uneven paint on your walls can be a sign that there’s excess moisture from termites underneath the surface.
Buckling floors: Another sign of excess moisture is buckling wooden and laminate flooring, which termites could be hiding under and eating through.
Termite droppings/frass: Just like their discarded wings, termites can also leave droppings behind. Because their diet primarily consists of wood, termite droppings are called “frass” and resemble sawdust or coffee grounds. When they’re building their tunnels, termites may kick their droppings out as they go – so you may find piles of frass around baseboards, doors, or other areas of termite activity.
If you spot these or other signs of termites, there is no time to waste. It’s important to address any termite activity as soon as possible.
Can You Get Rid Of Termites By Yourself?
If they think they’ve got a termite infestation, some homeowners may try to use all-natural remedies to get rid of them on their own – but these DIY techniques aren’t as effective as they may seem.
Orange oil, for instance, is a popular remedy that contains d-limonene, which is fatal for termites. When termites come in contact with orange oil, it causes their exoskeletons to dissolve, killing the termites. But, while orange oil may work fine for eliminating termites directly, it’s rarely effective for eradicating entire infestations – you’d have to spray the oil onto every single termite and termite egg living inside your walls.
Wet cardboard is another common remedy – termites love to eat cellulose materials like cardboard, especially if they’re damp or moist. Setting out cardboard can draw termites out, and then once they’ve feasted, you can burn the cardboard. Once again, this remedy might eliminate some of the infestation, but it is not a permanent solution.
Other homeowners may try to use natural sunlight to get rid of termites. Being exposed to too much sunlight can harm termites and even kill them, so if you’re worried that they’ve infested furniture or other items in your home, you can drag them out to bake in the sun. Unfortunately, this isn’t always effective. While termites may infest furniture, the majority of most termite infestations will be in your walls or flooring – which you can’t expose to the sun.
How To Handle Termites In Raleigh, NC
As dangerous as termites can be, the best way to handle an infestation is with professional help – like from those of us at Go-Forth Pest Control. We’ve been serving homeowners and eliminating termite infestations for decades in Raleigh – and your home won’t be an exception. If you think you’ve got termites in your Raleigh home, you don’t want to wait – contact us at Go-Forth Pest Control today for more information about how we can help.