The appearance of these insects belies their destructiveness. They are very small creatures, white-colored, that sort of resembling ants – pretty inconspicuous! Like ants, they live in colonies that are organized in a strict hierarchy – with numerous, wingless workers (sterile), nymphs, and soldier termites that protect the colony. There are three main categories of termite – subterranean termites, dry-wood termites, and damp-wood termites. Subterranean termites – who dwell mainly in the soil and trees, though also in garden houses, barns and dunghill – are the main threat; that’s because their colonies are much larger than the other two.
Signs of termites
If you start to notice the following around your home, then your house is most likely infested with termites, and immediate action is required:
- Little round holes and/or tunnels – a tell-tale sign that there are termites around; these insects gnaw tiny holes and tunnels in wood – this is both how they feed, and also their main means of travel. Apart from obvious holes and tunnels, if you also notice what seem to be cracks or any other kind of damage in the wooden structures of your house, look a bit closer and see if it is ordinary wear and tear, or actually a mark left by termites
- Rot – rot-like damage near the holes or tunnels mentioned above is another clear sign of termites. Rotten looking passages or runways bored into the wood, and covered with an earth-like material are another telltale sign
- Waste – termites are talented at hiding themselves, but not so much their waste! Use the termite feces to track these pests
- Mud tubes – termites hide out inside narrow, mud tubes built from soil and fragments of wood. If you start noticing these formations on your property, then that is probably an indication that termites are present
As for termites themselves, they will be seen rarely, but when you do catch one, it will most likely be near a window or door – termites are attracted to light.
The reason termites are so harmful to us humans is because of their diet! They feed on cellulose, which is the main component of wood. In the wild, they feed upon dead wood, and can hardly be considered pests. However, when in proximity to human settlements, they become decidedly dangerous. The processed wood that makes up our buildings and houses provides a mouth-watering treat to which these insects are irresistibly drawn. Again, it is the cellulose, not the wood per se, that interests termites – as evidenced by the rot that they leave behind them at the scene of the crime. This rot doesn’t typically appear until the very late stages of a termite infestation – because of their unremarkable appearance and secretive nature, these pests can go years feeding on your house without being detected. To the trained observer, however, termites will always give away signs of their presence – most fortunate if you want to stop them in their tracks before it is too late! You just have to know what to look for.
Why choose termite killer concentrate?
Typical treatments involve gallons of a liquid pesticide, often called termite killer concentrate or ‘termiticide’, being injected into the soil alongside the foundation of your house, underneath the concrete, and inside foundation walls.
A major limitation of insect baits is that they are slow-acting (they don’t kill outright), and don’t provide protection against future insect invasions. Lots of bait stations may be needed to achieve the desired outcome (making this quite an expensive treatment option), and there are more things that can go wrong – for example, there is no guarantee that even if termites do manage to find the bait, that they will properly distribute it to their fellows.
Termite killer/pesticide solutions avoid most of these pitfalls. Most of the modern ones contain as their active ingredients powerful insecticides like fipronil and pyrethroids, and as a result, are very fast-acting – by contrast with the old non-repellant insecticides, they kill outright, and virtually on contact. If you’ve already got a severe termite infestation at your place, you don’t a treatment where you might have to wait several months before it takes effect. Termite killer products also create a long-lasting, chemical barrier protecting you against future incursions by termites.
Termite killer concentrate buying guide
As a heavy and powerful pesticide, any termite killer concentrate will come with its risks and caution requirements. Depending on the active ingredient and the concentration level, different termite killers will also be suitable for different purposes as well. So, with that in mind, it should be clear that choosing the ideal termite killer concentrate for your situation is a tricky task. To help you navigate through the hundreds of different products on the market, here are our pointers as to what you should focus on:
- Do you need your termite killer concentrate for indoor or outdoor use? Not all of these toxic and dangerous products are meant for indoor use. Depending on their ingredients, many are meant strictly for outdoor purposes. For example, termite killer concentrates that use Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate or Permethrin as their active ingredients can sometimes be suitable for indoor use but not always. Products that use ingredients such as Bifenthrin, Fipronil, or Cyfluthrin, on the other hand, are almost always intended for outdoor use only.
- Do you need your termite killer concentrate for residential or industrial areas? Similarly to the indoor/outdoor problem, a lot of concentrates are so toxic that they are deemed unsuitable for residential areas at all. A lot of these aren’t sold to non-professionals but some are, so keep that in mind.
- Do you have pets or small kids? Even though most termite killer concentrates are meant to be applied below the soil’s surface, if you have a pet you’re still running the risk of it digging up the concentrate and coming in contact with it. Very few termite killer concentrates are safe for pets or kids whilst also being powerful enough to do their job, so making the right compromise between power and safety is important. Whichever product you choose, you should still apply it with caution so that your home and property remain as safe for you and your household as possible.
- Does the termite killer concentrate need to be safe for your garden or yard flora? Using a soil termite killer concentrate is usually done in the presence of vegetation but that can often be risky. The safest solution is to usually leave some distance between the area where you’ve applied the product and any vegetation, but choosing a termite killer that safe for grass, flowers and other vegetation is also an option.
- Do you need your termite killer concentrate to have a long-lasting effect?The former typically don’t need to have a long-lasting residual effect as they are meant to just exterminate a located termite nest. The latter, on the other hand, typically work by creating a long-lasting barrier that can both kill existing termites and keep others at bay for weeks or months at a time.
Some killer concentrates are meant to treat isolated wooden components that house an existing infestation while others are meant to be applied as barrier protection around a property.
- Do you want your termite killer concentrate to have an odor or to be odorless? The more popular choice is for an odorless killer product as this prevents the termites from detecting it. Alternatively, a termite killer with an odor can be used as a killer/repellent.
- Do you need the termite killer concentrate to be effective against termites exclusively or do you need it to work against other pests as well. If the latter – which pests? Depending on their active ingredients, different termite killers target different insects.
- How much of the product are you going to need? It’s important to plan out how much termite killer concentrate you are going to need, especially for barrier treatments. Plan ahead too and consider if you’ll need more of the product in the near future as this can allow you to buy a quantity at a discounted price.
- Consider the price. When it comes to termites it’s usually not wise to compromise with the effectiveness of the product just to save a few bucks. However, if you are choosing between differently priced but otherwise identical products, you can save quite a bit of money if you’re looking for large quantities.
- Consider the brand of the termite killer concentrates you’re choosing between. This isn’t always surefire criterion but when in doubt, a trustworthy brand can lead you to the right choice. Some of the brands we’d recommend include Bayer, Pest Control Pros, Ortho, Termidor, Talstar, Hi Yield, Tengard, Taurus SC, Nissue, and Bifen.
How to use termite killer concentrates?
Using termite killer concentrates is complicated on several different levels. First of all, you need to make sure that the application will yield results. Secondly, you need to protect yourself while using the concentrate as it will typically be highly toxic. Last but not least, you’ll need to make sure that the product is applied in such a manner that there will be no long-term risks for your health, your family’s and pets’ health, as well as for the vegetation on your property.
If your goal is to exterminate an existing termite colony then you’ll need to be certain of its precise location. You’ll have to drill holes for the concentrate in such places that every single termite, including the queen, eggs, and nymphs, will be killed immediately. If you’re using a killer concentrate in order to apply a barrier treatment, then you’ll need to make sure that the barrier is dense, deep, and thick enough to offer sufficient protection.
Applying termite killer concentrates in an effective manner is all about the location you’re applying them in.
As far as your safety is concerned, the most obvious advice is to always follow the individual product’s instructions. Aside from that, we’d generally advise you to use rubber gloves, a face mask, protective goggles, and body protection every time you’re using concentrated pesticides.
And to make sure that the termite killer concentrate will have no lasting negative effects on your home, family, pets, and vegetation, you’ll need to first make sure that it’s safe enough. Secondly, you’ll have to apply it in such a manner that it remains out of reach for everyone involved – the only ones you want coming in contact with the concentrate are the termites and other insect pests.
Termites are highly destructive creatures, and a termite infestation taking place in your home may seem like a formidable challenge to deal with. Left unchecked, though, it can lead to thousands of dollars of damage to your property. Fortunately, by purchasing yourself a good termite killer concentrate, you can not only beat back the termite invaders but keep them away. Choose one of the products reviewed here and your property will be a termite-free zone – for good.