Article posted on February 20, 2019

Termite Treatment Home Remedies Don’t Work

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Here at Pest-Ex we’re constantly dealing with people who try to take short cuts when it comes to getting rid of termites.

In an effort to try and save money, homeowners usually self-diagnose and attempt to treat termites by following silly gimmicks and ridiculous home remedies that just don’t work. In most cases, these home remedies are gathered off the internet from unknown sources.

Needless to say, each and every time, we’re eventually called in by frustrated home owners who have gone about trying just about everything to rid themselves of the problem. From diesel fuel, to fly spray and vinegar, we’ve seen it all.

What people don’t realise is that none of these DIY treatments ever work, and as a result, the problem simply worsens, leaving them in a position where they’ve wasted an enormous amount of time, money and effort, mucking around with ineffective over the counter products.

The expenses, unfortunately, don’t stop there. A failed termite treatment attempt doesn’t just mean you still have termites, it can also mean that the problem has spread, and termites have had more time to cause more damage. All of which results in costly repairs, that could’ve been avoided if the problem had been treated the right way when it was first spotted.

Unprofessional Advice Is Expensive Advice

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Most problems come about due to people providing “advice” who really aren’t qualified to do so.

Some of the advice we’ve heard of includes killing termites by pouring diesel on them. In one case, a customer almost burnt his house down because he decided to set fire to a tree stump in the yard in an effort to kill off termites. Any industry professional will tell you that diesel, petrol or any other type of fuel won’t eradicate termites. Of course, it will kill those directly affected, but it won’t have any impact on the hundreds of thousands or more termites beneath the surface that you’ve missed.

Baking soda is another home remedy that we’ve seen homeowners try. Baking soda has absolutely no effect whatsoever on termites, and it certainly won’t kill them. The other popular termite treatment myth is using vinegar, which much like Baking soda is a waste of time.

What homeowners need to remember is that a nest may consist of hundreds of thousands, perhaps in some cases, even miliions of termites buried deep beneath the soil, nested in colonies. Pouring a cup of vinegar over a handful of termites that you can see at surface level is total waste of time.

If anything it’s going to make your property smell awful and that’s about it.

What About Using DIY Termite Products from The Hardware Store?

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Homeowners often spend a considerable amount of time on the internet researching treatment options and find themselves driving back and forth between Bunnings or the local hardware store buying products that are completely ineffective.

The most popular products might be Bifenthrin, Permethrin, Deltamethrin and Bifenthrin which are all designed to kill termites. Now, these products will kill termites on contact, but that’s as far as it goes. Again, that’s not going to help you for the thousands that you’ve missed.

Another point to be mindful of is that products listed for sale such as Bifenthrin retail for $160 for 4 litres. Firstly, Bifenthrin is the cheapest form of termite control available with most pest control companies paying a mere $25 per 5 litres. Secondly, when performing the installation of a chemical barrier around a typical style 3 bedroom home, we might use anywhere up to 700 litres of specialised chemical product, which is applied by injecting into the ground.

As you can see, there’s a huge difference between spraying around a few litres of product on the surface, and injecting hundreds of liters deep beneath the soil, and this is what most homeowners don’t understand. Treating termites is not like spraying for cockroaches, its a specialised process.

Unfortunately however, retailers rely on the vulnerability of the homeowner which makes buying cheap over the counter products quite attractive, until of course it becomes apparent that the problem still exists, or has worsened.

Why Do Termites Keep Re-Appearing Even After Spraying A DIY Product?

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The simple answer is this – when you use ineffective home remedies as mentioned, you’re essentially treating about 0.5% of the actual problem.

You can spray vinegar, fly spray and anything else you choose, into the walls, floors, roof etc and it will only kill what’s visibly apparent on the surface. Also, that product is only effective during application and while its wet. By the time the product has dried, it will no longer be effective as it provides no ongoing protection. Over the next 48 hours termites just rebuild or simply relocate, which is why you’ll often see termites or mud mounds reappearing, regardless of your efforts.

Again, while you might be able to physically see termites, they only represent a fraction of the infestation. Spraying them is nothing more than a spot treatment which doesn’t take into account millions more that live well beneath the soil.

Certain species of termites such as Schedorhinotermes and Coptotermes are timid, and will retreat if they experience any type of disturbance. However, within 48 hours they’ll usually be back in numbers. So while you might feel your DIY treatment has been successful, they’ll eventually surface elsewhere, or you might mistake the same termites elsewhere as an entirely new nest.

The last thing any homeowner should be doing is Googling ‘home treatments for termites” because the internet is full of misinformation. For eg, termite queens can lay up to 2000 to 3000 eggs within a 48 hour period. There’s just no way a cup of borax or spray bottle full of vinegar is going to be any line of defense.

There Is No Such Thing as Spot Treatments

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Whatever you call these treatment solutions, spot treatments, home remedies, DIY treatments – they just don’t work. Cheap repetitive treatments just cost homeowners thousands of dollars and a lot of wasted time. Complete eradication is never achieved, and the longer you leave it, the more expensive the problem becomes. Statistically, 40% of termite treatments facilitated by our technician’s, report that the homeowner has unsuccessfully already tried some sort of home remedy themselves.

Home treatments can be dangerous and hazardous to your family’s health. As previously mentioned, we’ve seen just about everything, including petrol being lit on fire, dogs poisoned and young children left unwell due to eating product left in unsafe areas of the home. Here’s a few more home remedies that we’ve seen that should be avoided –

  • Baking soda
  • Diesel
  • Kerosene
  • Petrol- including setting nests on fire
  • Fly spray
  • Boric acid
  • Chlorine
  • Various oils such as orange oil, and neem oil

How Do Professional Termite Treatments Work?

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Unlike DIY treatments that only treat at the surface, professional termite treatments essentially treat from the inside out. We use commercial products like Termidor that has been specifically designed over decades to completely eradicate termites. This chemical product is not a repellent, so termites don’t know it’s there, allowing them to naturally travel through it and transfer the product back to the nest through their grooming process.

Products such as Termidor typically take 21 – 30 days to have an effect due to this transferal and grooming process. During this time hundreds of termites may travel through the product and then spread it back to the termite colony that houses thousands or even millions of termites. From there, the chemical is passed amongst the nest killing it off completely.

Why cant I just use Termidor myself?

We understand that many people are cost conscious, and whilst it might be natural to assume that you could simply purchase Termidor and then just spray it around the house yourself, its really not that simple. What most homeowners don’t realize is that the average Termidor chemical termite barrier on a house will need 700 litres of chemical, which is applied by injecting into the ground using specialised equipment. Running around the permiter of your home with a spray bottle will be a waste of time.

Another form of treatment we use are bait stations. The types of bait stations and product we use really depends on the size of the termite infestation and the type of property we’re treating. Much like chemical barriers, the amount of product required can be substantial. It should also be noted that current Australian standards recommend at least 10 litres of product be applied per meter (down to the footing) to ensure adequate protection.

Let the professionals help you

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We have been operating in the pest control industry for more than a decade and in that time have helped literally tens of thousands of homeowners with termite related problems. If you think you may have termites on your property don’t waste your valuable time or money in trying to treat the problem with an over the counter solution. We have the experience, the tooling and the equipment to offer you sound advice that will ensure fast and effective treatment solutions at affordable rates.

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