About termite foams
A quick breakdown of termite foams
As we have seen, termite foams are an insecticide-containing foam that you spray out of the nozzle of an aerosol can into the cracks and crevices of the wood and timber structures in your home where termites are known to be dwelling. The foam expands to fill the entire area of those places so that no termite can escape. Those termites who come into contact with the termite foam treatment are killed on contact – generally, the foam is odorless and undetectable by the insects so that they can make no efforts to avoid it. In addition to being easy to use and delivering quick results, termite foams also deliver long-lasting residual protection against these pests, transforming your home or business into a termite-free one for months to come.
Indeed, these foams are suitable for use in your home as well as in commercial and industrial locations, in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and a whole lot more.
What type of users are termite foams intended for?
Termite foams are an exceptionally versatile pest control product, that can be used both indoors and outside of your home; and in domestic and commercial settings alike. Whether it’s your home, business, warehouse, hospital, classroom, nursing home, bus, train or any other location which has a termite problem – a termite killing foam will provide an answer to your problems. Easy to operate, your termite foam can be used both by the home-owner with no special expertise or knowledge and by the pest control specialist alike. (generally speaking, though, the latter don’t use a ready-made foam in a pressurized container; they have their own foamers, which they use to convert their liquid termiticides into a foam that can penetrate the hard-to-reach termite galleries).
The most common terms you should know explained
Several times in this article you will have seen referred to a distinction between ‘drywood’ and ‘subterranean’ termites. They look different, have different feeding habits, and leave different sorts of evidence behind of their ongoing existence. But the main difference between them is in their nesting habits. Drywood termites, simply put, are those who burrow into the wood and timber of your home and build their colonies there. Subterranean termites, on the other hand, live underground. For that reason, termite foams are most suitable for treating a drywood termite invasion. Before buying one of these termite wall foamer products – first, work out what sort of termites are present on your property!
How do termite foams work?
The concept behind termite foams is actually exceptionally simple. Take a liquid, insecticide-containing termiticide, transform it into a pressurized foam, and hey presto! Your pesticide product can easily reach right into the core of the termite colony (something liquid pesticides can’t do, no matter how skillfully they are operated). That’s what termite foams do. Contained in a pressurized aerosol can, you simply spray your product of choice into the tiny holes that lead down into the subterranean galleries where these elusive pests hide. The foam then expands by up to 30 times its initial size, filling every corridor and other areas of the nest so that no termite can escape.
As termite foams are odorless, non-repellent products, termites cannot detect them and consequently take steps to avoid them; they go on eating the now poisoned wood in your home, and the termiticide contained in the foam slowly but surely kills them.
All termite foams work in much the same way. Ready to go straight from the box (you may have to shake the can a bit before spraying), you simply squeeze the nozzle on your aerosol can and inject the pressurized foam into holes that lead to the core of the termite colony. The main sense in which individual termite foams differ from each other is in the insecticide used in the termite foam.
The main insecticides used in termite foams are Spectracide, Termidor (Fipronil based), Fipronil, Deltamethrin, Imidacloprid – all strong, powerful insecticides. Spectracide is considered to be the most eco-friendly of these pesticides. Though its use is limited to very small, localized infestations. Termidor is a very famous insecticide as well, however, it is quite toxic and thus should be used in low dosages and preferably indoors only so that it doesn’t wash away into public waterways. In some states, you actually require a special pest control license to use this pesticide.
Imidalcloprid is less toxic than Fipronil, but is not 100 percent eco-friendly either (it can be poisonous to honeybees and some other useful insects).
A termite pest control foam also comes in different sizes, and they also vary when it comes to the extent to which they expand when injected into the termite galleries (30 times the original size is the normal rate).
What products can termite foams replace?
Termite foams are a suitable replacement for all liquid termiticides when these are used against termites, carpenter bees and ants. In particular, termite foams are the product to use if you have an infestation of drywood termites. The reason is that these termites dwell within the wood and timber of your home itself; in fact, their nests are situated right beneath the holes they use to burrow into the wood, and the frass (termite excrement) that they leave lying around. Those holes thus make a perfect place to inject termite foams. In addition, termite foams are most suitable as a spot treatment measure, and drywood termites tend to create colonies that are localized to the one or few pieces of wood or furniture that they have burrowed into. It is a different matter with subterranean termites – termites that live underground, and for whom the main nest site in many cases cannot be found. In the case of a subterranean termite infestation, termite foams can be used as a complementary measure to other termite treatment means like chemical soil treatments (liquid insecticides, dust, and termite traps/bait) – but never exclusively.
If termite foam doesn’t suit my needs, is there any other product I should be looking at?
Termites can be treated – and prevented – by any number of means. Treatment measures include termite growth-regulating dust, termite traps, bait stations, and liquid insecticides. As mentioned, if you know your home is infested by termites but you are not able to find the main nesting site, then spray foam insulation and termites products won’t be effective. At best it can be used to complement these other treatment measures.
Did you know?
Termites foams are not effective at preventing your home from being infested by termites, only at treating a termite invasion that is already underway.
Termite foam buying guide
- Active ingredients – there are a number of different insecticides used in termite foams. If you have an out-of-doors termite problem on your property, then you don’t want toxic chemicals to drain into waterways when it rains. You also don’t want your children to be exposed to harmful substances. So do your research, and choose wisely when it comes to the insecticide contained in your chosen termite foam.
Some of them are more powerful than others – on the other hand, some are relatively eco-friendly, whilst others are toxic to nature and humans alike.
- The range of applications – can your termite foam be used indoors only, or both indoors and outside? Is it suitable both for localized spot treatments and large-scale pest control operations? Can it be used both by the DIY householder and the pest control specialist? Is you termite foam effective against subterranean termites as well as drywood termites? Check to see that the product you have your eyes on is suitable for the situation at hand.
- Expansion rate – most termite foams expand to at least 30 times their initial size when injected into the termite holes. Anything below this will probably not be able to flush out all termites dwelling within the wood and timber structures of your home.
- Repellent or non-repellent? Repellent insecticides don’t kill insects, just nauseate them. As a result, pests can learn to avoid and circumvent these substances. Non-repellent substances, on the other hand, kill them outright – and thus are a better option if you are looking to get the best results from your termite foam.
- Delayed effect or not? Does your pest foam product kill on contact, or have a delayed action effect so that the poisoned termites can carry the insecticide back to the Queen? The latter gives you more chance of cutting off the future growth of the colony at the root.
- Residual protection – check your preferred termite foam to see if, after the initial action, it offers any further residual protection against future termite invasions. Remember, a termite colony can easily and rapidly grow again after being decimated the first time.
- Odors - read the product review of your chosen termite foam to see if it leaves any unwelcome odors. You don’t want to buy a product that makes your whole house smell.
- Top brands – Termidor is the most reputable brand out there when it comes to termite foams and other termite control products. And indeed their Termidor Foam termite foam spray takes the cake as the best termite foam out there on the market today, in our book. Whilst there are many other fine termite foams around nowadays, Termidor is your go-to brand if you are looking for the best, most reliable foam for your needs. Spectracide is another very reputable and popular pest control brand, with a range of quality pest control products out there on the market.
Other useful information about termite foams
In some cases, termite foams are better used in tandem with other pest control products, than as a stand-alone treatment. For example couple the Spectracide termite foam with the Spectracide Terminate Termite Detection & Killing Stakes (a form of bait treatment for termites), and the Spectracide Terminate Termite & Carpenter Ant Killer (AccuShot Sprayer) (liquid pesticide).
Termite foam usage tips
If you do encounter problems with your product, then check the manufacturer’s policy on returns and refunds. For example, does your termite foam come with a warranty – how long is it, and what does it cover? Is there also a money-back guarantee – and again, how long is it and under what circumstances does it apply? Also, what percentage of the original purchase price can you get back?
Truth be told, though, you shouldn’t encounter any problems with these user-friendly, ready to go devices. Most are safe to use in human habitations, and around people and pets alike, and they are relatively eco-friendly also.