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The pest control companies and advertisers want you to believe termites are best left to the professionals. That’s true if you only have one thumb and can’t find your way to the basement or crawl space.
Preparation and External Inspection
Start by looking for evidence of existing problems. Walk around the foundation looking for signs that termites are moving in. They build nests in wood stored around the house, so you will want to remove wood piles away from your home. Look for mud tubes or signs that something is crawling.
Get rid of these piles and look for piles of wings. “Termites live in swarms and shed their wings when they find a food source they can burrow into and are ready to start a new colony.”
Look for signs of burrowing where the foundation meets the wood. Tap the wood or poke around with a screw driver looking for hollow areas. There are different species of termites and treatments vary by the type of termite that you have.
Knee pads, flash light, a magnifying glass, a small hammer and a long screw driver are helpful for interior inspection. Check floor joists, flooring and visible wall studs.
Poke a screw driver or similar object into the wood and look for soft spots. If the poker goes in easily or you see sawdust, it means termites are at work.
If you have identified an area of infestation, there are special chemicals and procedures available for killing existing colonies. You trench around the house and pour special chemicals into the trench.
If you did not find any evidence of existing colonies, you can apply a perimeter trench around the foundation. There are also wood preservatives that can be applied to unfinished wood to make the wood indigestible to all wood destroying insects. Both are easy to apply and include directions for safe use.
Whenever you are working with toxic chemicals, wear protective clothing, eye protection and respirators. Always follow the recommended guidelines on the product labels.