There is no one-size-fits-all termite control method. The techniques and materials used to control an infestation vary based on the type of termite, home construction and extent of infestation.
There are about 45 termite species in the U.S. Of these species, four are classified as structural pests, meaning they are likely to infest and cause damage to homes and buildings. To target the unique behavior of this pest, termite control includes several different methods. This section covers the following topics: lawn & garden, monitoring & bait systems, tenting & fumigation, chemicals & pesticides, cold & heat, DIY, natural & organic, barriers, shields, and sprays.
Exterminators & Extermination
Termites can cause significant damage to homes, often from the inside out. Because termites can live deep within the ground or hidden inside wooden structures like walls and support timbers, it can be difficult to detect their nests and provide effective treatment. Qualified pest control experts are trained in termite identification, behavior, warning signs and treatment to help control active infestations and prevent future infestations.
Lawn & Garden Soil Treatment
Termiticides can be used for subterranean termite treatment and prevention. These materials can be applied as targeted spot treatments or complete treatments on all potential entry points and infestation areas around a home.
Termite Monitoring & Bait Systems
Monitoring and bait systems can be used for subterranean termite treatment and detection. Since stations have very small amounts of materials, this method has less environmental impact than soil treatments. Bait and monitoring stations can warn homeowners about potential infestations, and offer long-term control for large populations of subterranean termites, including Formosan termites. However, this method is slower-acting than termiticide treatments.
Fumigation and Tenting
Fumigation is an appropriate treatment for drywood termite infestations that are large, widespread or difficult to access and find. Fumigation is an effective control approach for active infestations but offers no protection against reinfestations.
Termiticides: Chemicals & Pesticides
With the development of integrated pest management practices, the application of termite control chemicals (baits or termite pesticides called termiticides) is now more targeted, more effective and at a lower volume.
Heat, Cold & Electronic Treatments
Whole structure heat treatments can effectively control active termite colonies that are accessible to treatment. Small, localized drywood termite infestations - such as those in furniture - can be treated with heat or extreme cold. Electronic and microwave treatments also may be used for localized drywood termite infestations. None of these treatments prevents future infestations.
Do It Yourself Termite Control
With the evolution of DIY (Do It Yourself) products for virtually all home projects, termite control technologies and products have evolved as well. DIY for termite control is something that homeowners typically are interested in because professional termite control is more expensive than general pest control.
Natural / Organic Termite Control
In addition to non-toxic treatments such as heat, cold and electronic methods, there are a few "green" or natural, options for treating termites. These methods include boric acid, orange oil and biological controls (other pests that eat or kill termites). These methods have significant limitations that you should discuss with your termite control expert.
Depending on the type of termite control products used around your home, these material barriers either can help control infestations and/or prevent termites from entering areas of your home where pest control experts cannot see them.
Some pest control experts consider termite shields to be the oldest type of physical barrier to termites.
Pest control professionals use a wide range of termite application equipment (sometimes called termite spray equipment) to prevent and treat termite infestations in homes.