How to Kill Termites: Top 19 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Termites

19 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Termites

Want to learn how to kill termites? Read this post to discover 19 effective ways you can do today to get rid of termites!

Termites are insects that feed on cellulose found in wood and plants. Because these pests can ruin even the house’s basic foundation, it is important to take measures and perform solutions on how to kill termites as quickly as possible.

There are different types of termites:

  • Drywood – This type belongs to Kalotermitidae family. They are usually found in timber, wood, and hardwood floors. These insects are responsible for destroying homes, so it is important to get quick solutions on how to kill drywood termites.
  • Dampwood – This type of termite are commonly found in damp woods and are seldom found in homes. They belong to the Hodotermitidae and Kalotermitidae families.
  • Conehead – Conehead termites usually gather in the open and there are likely to build their nests in trees.
  • Subterranean – These termites build large nests and live in the soil. Commonly found in the U.S., this type is considered to be one of the most destructive insects. They can destroy house foundation faster than drywood termites.
  • Formosan – This type of termite is more aggressive when it comes to defending their nest than subterranean termite soldiers. They nest and invade structures within the soil.

Any of these types may be present in your home, garden or backyard. Some signs of termite infestation include cracked or bubbled paint on walls, wood damage, small wings on the floor or at any corner of your house, and hollow sounds on solid wood.

To successfully kill termites, you will need to find where the infestation is and use extermination methods like heat, beneficial nematodes, cardboard traps and other simple home remedies. In case of severe infestation, a professional may be required to get rid of termites.

How to Kill Termites Effectively

There are many things that can kill these annoying pests. Certain chemicals can instantly purge a colony of termites. Because of their capacity to cause huge destruction, it is recommended to call a professional to get rid of infestations.

There are also simple and effective techniques on how to kill termites yourself. Here is a list of the best solutions on how to eliminate these annoying pests.

Identify the Type of Termites

The two general types that might invade your home are drywood and subterranean termites. Drywood termites live solely in wood while subterranean are found in both wood of homes and soil around the area.

Subterranean termites do more damage to home foundation than drywood so it may need different solutions. You will also need methods that can kill these termites as quickly as possible, such as nematodes and borax.

Aside from the wood of your home, these termites may also infest compost piles.

1. Borax

Also known as sodium borate, borax is one of the best solutions on how to kill subterranean termites. It leaves them dehydrated and shuts down their nervous system.

You can also use this for other types of termites.

  • Dust or coat infested areas with borax. Repeat the application daily for a few weeks until you kill all termites.
  • Another method on how to kill termites with borax is by adding 1 teaspoon of this powder with 8 ounces of warm water. Mix it well and transfer the solution into a spray bottle and sprinkle on infested wood, furniture, walls and other items. Repeat this treatment once or twice daily.
  • You can also paint a borate solution onto wood surfaces to prevent future infestations.
Note: Wear a mask and gloves while using borax. This can be toxic when inhaled. Keep the power or spray away from children and pets.

2. Orange Oil Spray

One of the best ways to kill drywood termites is by spraying orange oil on them. It is also highly recommended by experts as it contains D-Limonene that can lead these annoying creatures to their demise.

That compound is also what gives oranges and other citrus fruits their pleasant scents.

To use this method, you will need orange oil and a small spray bottle. Here’s how to kill flying termites and those hiding in wood.

  • Pour orange oil into a spray bottle. Spray it on flying termites and all areas where these insects are hiding.
  • You can also apply orange oil directly to infested furniture to kill termites. Many people also drill small holes into woods and inject orange oil. Repeat the applications for several days until there are no more signs of infestation.

Orange oil is also effective against mosquitoes, crickets, mites, and flies.

3. Parasitic Nematodes

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Nematodes are worm species that can kill a whole colony of termites. If you are having problems with subterranean termites, you can exterminate them quickly with this natural method.

These parasitic roundworms enter the bodies of termites and feed on it. Bacteria are then released from nematodes’ guts. Termites will soon die from blood poisoning caused by these bacteria.

  • Add beneficial nematodes into a pail of water. Mix and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Pour the solution into a spray bottle. Shake and spray where you have seen infestations.
  • Once all termites are dead, nematodes will look for their next target. This means that they help control infestations and keep other insects at bay.
  • If you will use beneficial nematodes on infested soil, make sure that you spray them after sunset or early morning as sunlight will kill them.
Beneficial nematodes are not harmful to humans, plants, and pets. These worms only focus on insects, so they can destroy their entire colony in just about 48 hours.

4. Permethrin Dust

Permethrin is a synthetic chemical used for controlling subterranean and other types of termites. It is similar to the natural pyrethrum insecticide that derives from chrysanthemum plant, but it lasts for extended periods of time.

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Apply the dust directly to the infested areas and into all entrance holes. Make sure that you read the instructions given by the manufacturer.

Permethrin dust contains 1% permethrin and can be used not only for subterranean termites but also for roaches, fleas, moths, European wasps, ground beetles, silverfish, bagworms, ants, and spiders.

5. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is very effective when it comes to getting rid of many types of insects. In addition to termite infestation, it is also used for eliminating cockroaches, ants, spiders, fleas, and gnats.

This works by penetrating the exoskeleton of these insects. It dehydrates them by absorbing fats and oils from their bodies, making it one of the best solutions on how to kill swarming termites.

  1. Wear a mask before using diatomaceous earth.
  2. Apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth on infested furniture, walls, ceiling, soil, and other areas that may be pest-ridden.
  3. Sprinkle this powder once in a while to prevent termites and other insects from coming back.

This technique may take a few days, but it works effectively.

6. Neem Oil Spray

Neem oil is obtained from the seeds of neem trees. In addition to its incredible health benefits, this oil is also used as an organic insecticide spray. It acts as a repellent and reduces insect feeding by interfering with their hormones. This makes it hard for pesky creatures to develop and lay eggs.

Though this method works slowly, it is one of the best solutions to kill termites in home naturally. It also requires direct contact to exterminate them for good.

  1. Mix two tablespoons of 70% neem oil with in one gallon of water.
  2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray all infested areas like walls, ceilings, furniture, and plants.
  4. Continue the application for several weeks.

Another option is to apply a generous amount of neem oil on infested areas using a cotton ball.

This method is also useful for deterring whitefly, moth larvae, spider mites, Japanese beetles, locusts, and aphids.

7. Expose Infested Furniture to Sunlight

One of the best ways on how to kill termites in furniture is by exposing them to sunlight. If you are living in a tropical country or when the heat is strong enough, this method will be easy for you.

Exposing a colony of Formosan and subterranean to ultraviolet rays of the sun promotes termite death.

  1. Place infested furniture in direct sunlight.
  2. Leave it outside for three to five days.
  3. Expose other items that may have termites.

Combine this method with other termite traps to speed up the killing process. If sunlight is not strong enough in the area, UV lights that copy sunlight may be effective.

8. Wet Cardboard Bait

A wet cardboard is one of the effective solutions on how to kill termites naturally. Because termites feed on cellulose, the woody smell of wet cardboard will be appealing to these insects.

  1. Take some cardboard strips and make them wet.
  2. Stack them near the infested areas. Termites will smell the scent of wet cardboard and feed on its cellulose. Leave it overnight.
  3. Once the cardboard is infested with these insects, use gloves and take it outside.
  4. Burn the cardboard immediately to kill the termites.
  5. Repeat this method as many times as necessary.
For best results, combine this trap with other methods to kill termites quickly. Make sure that you check this tap regularly so you can kill these insects right away before they go back to their nests.

9. Vinegar and Lemons

Like other methods to kill termites, the first step is to locate mud-tubes inside or on the walls, along the pipes, in the foundation and find their nests.

One of the best solutions on how to kill termites in wood is by spraying vinegar on infested areas. Vinegar is a powerful weapon against drywood and subterranean termites.

  1. Combine one-half cup of vinegar with juice from two fresh lemons.
  2. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and shake it well.
  3. Spray this mixture on infested areas, especially on their entry points.
  4. Consider spraying on surfaces that these termites might attack.
  5. Repeat this process until the infestation is gone.
This mixture will soak through the cracks and holes, killing termites by destroying their digestive tract. Lemons contain d-limonene which is a poison to wood insects.

10. Expose to Low or High Temperatures

These tiny creatures die under exposure to extreme low or high temperatures. This method is useful for furniture, frames, books and other small items that are infested by termites.

Aside from taking pest-ridden pieces outside during summer, you can also apply cold treatment to kill these destructive insects.

Cold treatment is a natural way to get rid of terminates by putting pest-ridden items outside during winter or inside a refrigerator for 5 days. The required temperature is -15 degrees to successfully kill them.

11. Fipronil

For large infestations, Fipronil is one of the effective solutions on how to kill termites in your walls or ceiling. This is an insecticide that is used for controlling various types of insects, including termites.

Termites will die instantly when they get direct contact or when they eat fipronil. This product affects the central nervous system of these insects. This chemical should be handled by a pest control expert.

  • If you want to use it independently, be very careful and follow instructions on the packaging.
  • Try to avoid exposure and follow First Aid instructions if any exposure (skin contact, eye contact, digested, breathed in) occurs.
  • For maximum effectiveness, fipronil must be applied in the right locations.
  • Other insects that can be eliminated with Fipronil are cockroaches, beetles, ticks, crickets, rootworms, fleas, ticks, ants, and more.

    12. Salt

    Salt is also one of the natural ways on how to kill termites in your ceiling, walls, and furniture. However, it is recommended to use it with other methods to get rid of the threat completely. If it is difficult to locate their hiding areas, it is best to get help from a professional exterminator.

    1. Look for signs of infestation and mud tubes.
    2. Mix equal parts of salt and warm water in a bowl. Too much water will make the solution ineffective.
    3. Fill a baster or syringe with this solution and treat the infested areas.
    4. Inject the solution into holes, open cracks and into the ground. You can also drill small holes into the wood and pour the solution around entry points.
    5. Repeat this process for a few days or weeks, depending on the severity of infestation.

    This treatment will keep termites at bay and prevent future invasions.

    13. How to Kill Termites in Mulch

    Wood bark or mulch attracts termites and this will be the first thing they will invade. Many people use mulch in their backyards, which may get the attention of termites and find their way to your home eventually.

    • If you use mulch in your yard, it is best to remove them as termites can easily transfer from your garden or backyard to your home.
    • One of the best solutions on how to kill termites in mulch is to steep its components with borate salt.
    • Another effective solution is to change the temperature of the infested area. You can use liquid nitrogen to lower the temperature or make a fire to raise the temperature.
    • Nematodes are natural parasites to pests, making it an effective method to solve the issue.
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    Stumps and other varieties of wood are very attractive to these creatures. Consider removing them or apply preventive measures right away to prevent infestations.

    14. Chlorpyrifos

    This organophosphate pesticide is used for killing different types of pests, including worms and insects. It works by blocking the enzyme in charge for controlling messages between nerve cells.

    This causes the nervous system of these insects to function incorrectly and they die immediately.

    Chlorpyrifos is considered to be toxic even to humans and animals. It is best to let a professional handle this chemical in getting rid of severe infestations.

    Read the instruction and check if this insecticide is allowed to use in your country.

    • All products based on Chlorpyrifos are toxic, so make sure to use it only for outdoor infestations.
    • Treat infested areas such as tunnels in damaged woods, wood structures, porches, wooden fences, patios, behind veneers, and other items that are likely to be infested.
    • After treatment with Chlorpyrifos, take a shower and wash your clothes in a washing machine immediately.
    Note: Do not touch the substance with bare hands. Do not smoke, drink or eat during treatment.

    15. DIY Termite Pesticide

    Garlic oil has insecticidal properties, making it one of the best natural solutions on how to kill termites in the wall, ceilings, furniture and other infested areas.

    The same way tobacco and neem oil also assist in eliminating termites and other annoying creatures that may be present in your home.

    • In a small bowl, mix 20% garlic oil, 5% tobacco, 10% neem oil and lukewarm water.
    • Stir well and transfer the mixture into a spray bottle.
    • Spray this solution on furniture, walls, ceiling and other infested areas.
    • Continue spraying twice a day for two or more weeks.

    16. Timbor

    Timbor is another effective method for killing termites and other types of insects. It can be used in dry form or a water solution.

    Mixing it with water allows you to spray the solution on pest-ridden areas. The dry form is ideal for wall voids and attics.

    • If you prefer to use dry form, use a crusader duster and apply it to holes, between the insulation, small cracks and crevices. Consider using an electric duster for better and wider coverage.
    • You can create a solution by mixing one pound of 10% timbor with one gallon of water. If you have 15% timbor solution, mix it with 1.5 pounds of water. Apply it on infested surfaces using a brush or spray.

    Timbor diffuses into wood structures and gives protection against termites and fungi.

    17. Imidacloprid

    This synthetic insecticide contains powerful ingredients based upon nicotine that can kill subterranean termites effectively.

    This chemical can be purchased in many brand names such as Advantage, Provado, Winner, Hachikusan, Premise, Admire, Confidor, and Kohinor.

    This insecticide works if the termites come into direct contact with it or if they ingest it. An affected termite can kill the entire colony with contact with their queen.

    Imidacloprid is also effective for the control of cockroaches and fleas.

    18. Kerosene

    Kerosene may also be effective in exterminating termites. It creates a hostile environment for these insects to breathe and feed on.

    • Spray kerosene oil on pest-ridden wooden structure and furniture.
    • For additional benefits, add a few drops of citronella oil.
    Note: If you would use kerosene to get rid of any infestation, be extra careful as it is highly flammable.

    19. Hire a Professional

    In severe cases of infestations, it may be best to hire a professional. Looking for nests are difficult and some are often hard to eradicate or inaccessible.

    Treating termites yourself is possible for small areas and certain furniture, but you may miss a colony or nest if they are nesting in the foundations of your house.

    Without the right apparatuses, finding colonies under your home will be impossible. They die from sunlight so there is a high chance that they will also nest underground.

    Professionals have appropriate tools and skills that will help you eradicate all termites promptly.

    Some pesticides involve harsh chemicals and need to be managed with upmost care. Contact with skin, ingestion by pets or children can be fatal.


    Termites thrive and feed on wood. They can increase their population quickly and destroy your furniture your home’s foundation. This is why it is important to get rid of them as early as possible.

    Check for hollow sounds in the walls or ceiling, bubbled paints on the walls, powdered wood on wooden items, termite wings and other signs of infestation. You can also call a professional to provide a cold or heat treatment.

    While using natural solutions on how to kill termites yourself, you must keep moisture away and remove any standing water around your home. Consider using parasitic nematodes as these worms are very effecting in getting rid of these pests.

    Enjoyed 19 Effective Ways to Get Rid of Termites ? Share this post with your friends so they too can learn how to kill termites.

    Treatment methods of swarming termites or how to deal with flying termites in house?

    You wake up one summer morning and you see that seemingly millions of flying insects are up in the air, forming a giant cloud.

    The picture is rather overwhelming.

    But should you be afraid of the termite swarm? Can it harm your house? What is a swarm and when does it happens?

    Let me tell you all about this.

    What is a swarm?

    The colony of termites has its rules. In each termite nest there are three casts:

    The reproductives are:

    The alates are the ones you see when you watch the swarm. As the name implies, these reproductives primary goal is to reproduce by forming another colony. So all these flying reproductives are potentially new kings and queens of the new nests.

    Normally the swarm occurs quite suddenly on a wet early summer morning or on a warmish spring day. All the winged termites leave the nest at once, each in search for perfect place for the new colony and a partner to mate with.

    But luckily for us there are plenty of animals and insects interested in feeding on the swarming termites. So, half of the reproductives are usually eaten by thriving birds, reptiles or even just ants finding helpless alates on the ground.

    Some will not find their mates, others no perfect place for the nest and so for the rest of the swarm. Only very few survive and find proper conditions to fulfill their mission.

    For the perfect colony different types of termites need different specific requirements. The drywood termite needs just a piece of wood, the softer the better.

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    Dampwood termite will search for the rotting log and subterranean has to have good source of moisture and soil. Once a couple of future royals find the perfect spot, they start the new colony, which will have its own swarmers only after 3-5 years when fully grown.

    On The Pictures Below You Can See How Termites Swarm In House

    Is the swarm dangerous?

    Can termites fly around your house? Definetely yes, but are they dangerous for human? On its own the swarm can do no harm.

    Of course it’s not pleasant if you’ve been caught in the middle of it or it started right in your house, but that’s as much harm as there is.

    It’s the worker termites that being primary foragers in the colony, destroy the wood to feed the other members with cellulose.

    If you see flying termites outside of the house it a definitive sign of:

    • Termite infestation in progress.
    • High risk of termite infestation.
    As you can see termites flying around house is not a good sign, but there is no serious danger for human health.

    What if the swarm started inside the house?

    This will let you know precisely where the nest is situated. Otherwise you can try to inspect the house yourself:

    1. Take a screwdriver and knock with the blunt side on every wooden piece you can think of in your home. Once you’ve found the hollow wood you’ve found your enemy. But don’t stop before you check everywhere. It might be more than one colony around.
    2. Look around the window and door sills for the frass. It looks a lot like sawdust. So if you find something resembling it and there isn’t any reason for the sawdust to be there, you might be looking at a frass.

    Drywood are slightly easier to get rid of than the subterranean termites. Sometimes it’s enough just to burn the piece of wood where the nest has been found.

    But my strong recommendation in case if termites swarming inside house is to get in touch with your local pest control service, they might see something you’ve skipped in your unprofessional inspection and help you prevent the re-infestation.

    Here you can learn more information about effective treatment method called tenting (fumigation): dangers for termites, preparing for fumigation and cleaning after, how long does this procedure last?

    Many people are mistaken when thinking that they can find swarming termites in the house only, you can find pests outside of the house too. This situation will be desribed by us in the section below.

    What if the swarm started in your garden?

    In the best case scenario, you have the colony of subterranean termites very close to your building.

    And it’s fully grown. Not to scare you, but if you’re facing Formosan termite it might be that it’s the size of several millions of individuals.

    And the chances that one day they will not get into your house, if not properly protected are small.

    Worst case scenario – your property has already been infested.

    In any case, call your pest control office. The soil treatment and chemical baits are the methods that should be used by licensed professionals.

    To sum up, if you observe swarming termites outside of the house call the professionals immediately, in order to avoid serious infestation inside the building.

    How the swarm can be useful?

    You will be surprised but termites with wings in house can be useful too and in this section we will be speaking about it.

    First of all, the place where the swarm is emerging from might clearly indicate the location of the termite colony and generally the presence of one. Sometimes you might have skipped the swarming time itself, but you still have a chance to notice some signs that can tell you all about it.

    The thing is like many flying insects, the winged termites are attracted by the light. So they usually come close to the doors and windows of the buildings.

    Around these areas you can find later some dead alates or just some shed wings. Any of these signs tells you that the swarm happened. It also should be mentiones, that you can find termite alates in house too.

    Secondly, the termite reproductives are the colony members that are the best for the identification of the termite species. And knowing who exactly your enemy is can be very important for choosing relevant methods of fighting the infestation.

    The best course of action will be to keep the shed wings or alates found in the house just where they are and call for the pest control inspection.

    The location of the wings and size of the termites can give professional exterminators some information about the colony.

    Otherwise you can collect the parts of winged termites in house in a plastic zip bag and bring it for the identification to the office.

    If you’re not a big entomology geek don’t try to identify flying termites inside house by yourself – it’s not that easy and requires some good magnifying equipment.

    One thing you can see by yourself is that the insects you’ve found are in fact termites and not ants.

    There are three main differences:

    1. Body shape.
    2. Wings.
    3. Antennae.

    Ant will have two pairs of wings different in size and shape, elbowed antennas and the body will be classic ant with the head, chest and thorax and a thin waist.

    Obviously if you’re having an ants’ infestation, the treatment methods will be different.

    How to prevent the swarm?

    You cannot stop the termites from swarming or the swarm from leaving the nest. The only thing you can and have to do is to use the preventive measures against the infestation possibility.

    So, what to do when termites swarm in your house? You can do some wood treatment yourself, using natural oils such as orange oil. Some types of baits can be installed without specialized help too.

    In addition, if there are flying termites in house you can try to create some barriers via the soil treatment methods, but remember that for the best efficiency it has to be done before the house construction.

    And the last thing is you should be careful that your plumping is in good shape, so that you don’t have any wet places in the house attracting subterranean termites.

    And if you’re not really a DIY person, just make a contract with a reputable pest control operator in your region and let them be responsible for your house safety.

    This will also prevent you from paying for the inspection each time you see a swarm nearby as they will be obliged to do it for free at least annually.

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