It can generally go without saying that termites are something that nobody really wants to deal with. Not only are they incredibly unsightly, but they can wreak havoc on the structure of your house as well.
Trying to clean up and repair this damage can take a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. Because of this, it is incredibly important that you stop a termite problem before it begins.
One of the ways that you can do this is to be alert for termites anywhere on your property. For instance, termites might decide to burrow into a nearby tree, and once they are done with it, there is a chance that they might choose your house next. By eradicating the termites from your property, you can increase the chances that they will never touch your house.
There are a few ways that you can go about removing the termites from your trees, but first things first, you will want to make absolutely sure that you are dealing with termites, and not a similar-looking pest. This will help you determine the path of treatment and the best way to go about getting rid of the pests.
Confirming That You Have a Termite Issue
It is important to make sure that you are dealing with termites. Different pests have different methods of making them go away, and termites can easily be confused with other types of bugs, especially if you aren’t used to seeing them. Because of this, there are a few things that you should keep in mind if you are trying to determine if the bugs in your tree are, in fact, termites.
Termites typically infest dead or dying wood, and by proxy, dead and dying trees. If you have any dying trees on your property, there’s a definite chance that you are going to have more than a few termites in that wood. However, there are some types of termites that feed off live trees. The trees that are affected are usually oak trees, but they can also be cypress, ash, and other trees.
As for the appearance of termites, they can be described as winged ants. Typically, they are white to light brown in color, and approximately half an inch in length. With that being said, the soldier termites can be closer to three-quarters of an inch in length. Only reproductive termites will have wings, and these wings will be very long (compared to the body), straight, and equal in length.
As for the damage that these termites can do, there are a few key signs that you will want to look for. For one, there will be small holes in the wood, with wood shavings surrounding said hole. This is where the termite burrows into the tree to nest inside of it.
They are going to be just below the soil line, so if you take a shovel to a tree stump, there’s a good chance you will find a plethora of termites if they are nesting in your trees. There’s also a good chance that this plethora of bugs will contain discarded wings and carcasses of other termites.
Some other signs that termites have been taking shelter in your trees include more holes in the trunk of the tree, swarms in the scars of the tree, and small, white eggs around the tree. If the trees, whether alive or dying, seem to have bugs that fit this description milling around, then you can absolutely confirm that you have a termite issue.
There are a few things that you need to keep in mind if you have a termite issue. For one, you should understand what the risks are so that you can prioritize getting rid of the termites. Secondly, you should have a plan of action ready so that you can get rid of the termites as fast as possible.
Why Termites Are a Problem
The big problem with termites infesting your trees is that there’s a good chance that your house will be next. While the termites are not doing immediate damage to your property, it does mean that your house will eventually become a target, and nobody wants a termite infestation.
Another problem is that because termites tend to hollow out the trees that they are living in, it can pose a threat to your house. Weakened trees can collapse during a mild storm, and if you are unlucky enough to have the tree collapse on your house, then that can spell out trouble in a number of different ways.
Because of these threats, you need to make sure that you get rid of termites as fast as you notice them. Thankfully, there are several methods that you can rely on to remove the termites from your property.
Getting Rid of the Termites Professionally
One option that you might want to consider is getting in touch with a pest control company. If you want reliability, then this is going to be an option for you. All you really need to do is contact the company, set up an appointment, and let the professional do the work for you. This is also a wonderful method if you know that you are busy and do not have the time to try and get rid of the pests yourself.
Keep in mind that this method is going to be by far the most expensive. While it won’t be as expensive as repairing the damage that termites can do to your house, it is going to be something to think about when you are going through all the methods that you can get rid of termites with.
As for the price, depending on many different factors, it can range between $120 and $200. Chances are that they will be happy to provide the estimate, given that they have the details.
Getting Rid of the Termites Yourself
There are still plenty of ways that you can get rid of the termites on your own, without having to spend the money that a professional is going to ask for. Generally, this process will include investing in other materials instead. You are going to want to look for termiticide (preferably liquid), termite traps, and a shovel if you do not have one yet.
First things first, you are going to want to burn whatever pieces of wood that you can. If you don’t want to deal with termites angrily biting you, then you will probably want to wear long-sleeved clothing and gloves to get this job done. This is going to be the easiest part of getting rid of the termites. Essentially, you will want to burn the wood that the termites have been nesting in.
This method works best if you have dead logs lying around, or other pieces of wood. You can also consider pruning away infected wood, burning it while you are getting rid of it. This will help make the tree an inhospitable home for termites, forcing them to relocate elsewhere.
Once you have done this, you are going to want to take the shovel and attempt to find the termite colony. This might take a little bit of work, but remember that termites prefer to stay just below the soil line.
Because they tend to prefer dead and dying trees, there’s a good chance that you won’t have to do too much digging to find the colony. As soon as you find the colony, you should get rid of it in any way you know how, whether it is dousing it with termiticide, burning it, or just tossing as much of the tree into the trash as you can.
Once the bulk of the colony has been disposed of and eliminated, you are going to want to take preventative measures to make sure that the remaining termites do not feel welcome on your property. You are going to want to take the liquid termiticide and spray it around the base of the infected tree, or what remains of it.
You should do this in a three-foot radius, and also repeat this process for neighboring trees so that they don’t travel to those. You should spray the trunks of these trees as well, up to two feet in height.
If you really want to make sure that the termites don’t come back to your land, you can even consider spraying the perimeter of your backyard as well as everywhere else. This will further deter the termites from coming anywhere close to your house. You can even spray the outside of your house with termiticide, but be wary of any stray animals or pets that might try to ingest it.
After you have finished placing termiticide wherever you see fit, you will then want to look into investing in termite traps. You can find these at just about any home improvement store or hardware stores, and as the name suggests, they are designed to alert you to any termite activity on your property. If you have pets or children, you can relax as these are completely chemical-free and do not pose a threat to anyone but the termites.
When you have the traps set up, you can simply monitor them for any evidence of termite activity. You will also want to regularly check what remains of the infested tree to make sure that the colony has completely died off and that there are no signs of termite activity.
Making Sure the Termites Won’t Come Back
Now that you have taken care of the termite problem at hand, there’s going to be a good chance that you don’t want those termites to come back. With that being said, there are a fair few things that you can do to deter termites from crossing into your property again. Most of this involves making sure that there are no real hospitable places for termites to stay on your land.
If you have any dead or dying tree stumps in your yard, you will want to get rid of those as soon as you can. You can either use machinery to dig them up yourself, or you can rely on a professional to grind down the stump for you. No matter which method you go for, you are going to want to make sure that you get rid of as much of the stump as possible, since the dead and dying wood is incredibly appealing to termites.
If you have excess firewood that you make use of during the winter, you might want to consider storing it as far away from your house as you possibly can. There’s a decent chance that termites might take interest in the wood, depending on just how old the firewood is, and this can spell bad news if you keep your firewood beside your house.
Of course, the best option is going to be to completely get rid of the firewood, but if that is not possible, storing it far away from your house is going to be the next best thing that you can do.
Speaking of keeping wood away from your home, you are going to want to make sure that you are not keeping too much mulch near your home. If you are into gardening and landscaping, you probably use a considerable amount of mulch to keep everything happy and protected.
While it is fine to use mulch, and it is often beneficial for your plants to use mulch, you will want to try to keep that mulch as far away from your house as you can. You should also try not to leave too much of it lying around, as it can seem inviting to a termite.
By knowing how to identify termites, knowing how to get rid of them, and knowing how to prevent them from ever stepping foot into your property, you can rest assured knowing that you are going to live a comfortable, pest-free life.
The big trick is to stay on top of the termite issue, and to never let it get the best of you. You are going to act quickly when getting rid of termites, and you are going to want to do everything that you can all at once to kill them off as fast as you can.
Before you know it, you won’t have to deal with termites again for a long, long time, and you can live in peace.