Is heat treatment for termites effective? In the course of this article, we will attempt to answer this question.
We will also discuss termite heat treatment pros and cons, preparation, as well as the DIY procedure if you intend to get the job done yourself.
Termites stand in the fore position among the most dreaded pest problems faced by homeowners. This is due to the scale of damage caused by these pests. The longer termites stay unnoticed, the greater the risks of increased damage.
There are lots of ways to get rid of termites, but we will focus on one of them which is heat treatment.
Other areas our discussion will border on include safety. This is in addition to the time it takes to treat termites using heat and heat treatment success rates among other relevant talking points.
Preparing for Termite Heat Treatment
Termite heat treatment follows a procedure. This all begins with the confirmation of an infestation.
Does termite heat treatment work? Yes. Heat treatment is one of proven options available and this process begins with the preparation of your home or property. Now, such preparation involves several things such as removing things which may be easily damaged.
Some companies bring along a document you must sign before treatment commences.
This is identified as the heat treatment client preparation checklist. This checklist provides a list of less heat tolerant items you must get out of the way. These items can be boxed and taken out to avoid risks such as fires among others.
What Type of Items Are We Talking About?
It’s necessary to be clear about items with less heat tolerance. These materials can easily get damaged or even cause fires. A few of these include combustible items such as aerosols (comprising of propane cylinders, lighters, hairsprays, inhalers, cleaning products and insect repellents etc).
Other things to move out include oil and acrylic paintings, food products like chocolates, carbonated beverages, liquors and wines.
Also consider removing certain musical instruments which are likely to get damaged. Medicines are likely to get damaged by high temperatures.
Firearms, meltable cosmetics, animals and plants should also be evacuated before heat is applied.
These are examples items which aren’t tolerant to heat and may get spoiled or lead to fires.
Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of heat treatment for termites.
The Benefits (Pros) of Termite Heat Treatment
Heat treatment is one of the methods through which termites are exterminated.
This method has been deployed on a commercial scale with great results. In addition to the positive results obtained, heat treatment for termites leaves no potentially harmful residue behind. This is unlike most chemical treatments which leave behind such residues.
Chemical residues aren’t entirely bad in themselves. This is because it continues to remain active against termites for some time. However, since we are talking about heat treatment and its benefits, you won’t have to deal with residues. Nevertheless, chemical residues can be harmful to kids, pets or adults when it’s above tolerable levels.
The absence of toxicity with termite heat treatment can be said to be green or eco-safe or friendly. You don’t need to aerate. In other words, you can move into your home immediately after treatment.
The Negatives (Cons) of Termite Heat Treatment
Are there negatives to killing termites with heat? Yes there are. No treatment is foolproof. The absence of a residue or after-effects means there are no protections against future infestations.
With heat treatment, you only get to kill termites at the moment, but that’s where it ends. Future infestations can happen at any time.
Sometimes, heat can become excessive. In such situations, it may result in damage to property, and furniture.
Please note that professional heat treatment services offer better alternatives to diy methods. This way, the likelihood of damage is much reduced.
DIY Termite Heat Treatment
When it comes to pest control, there is no shortage to diy strategies. However, in the case of termite control, we recommend seeking professional help. This is inclusive of heat treatment too.
Subterranean, Drywood and other species of termites are difficult pests to deal with, due to the nature of their activities.
You can have a termite infestation without really knowing knowing about it. This can turn into a nightmare when it becomes full blown.
Without having the know-how, your removal efforts will amount to nothing. Applying heat treatment on termites without understanding is similar to firing blanks. Little or nothing will be achieved.
Safety is paramount when it comes to termite control. Safety as used here covers personal safety, as well as safety for property.
The method of control in this guide is performed using specialized heat treatment kits. These equipment are designed with safety provisions to prevent injury or death.
Heat treatment uses propane gas as a fuel. A heat gun is the basic equipment by which heat is directed into an infested area.
Certain heat treatments may require tenting. The need for tenting is to trap in or concentrate heat to unbearable levels until termites are killed. Notwithstanding, the heat levels will need to be controlled.
Anything beyond tolerable levels might result in fires or damage to your property.
To avoid or limit the chances of damage or fires, it’s best you call a termite heat treatment company. These professionals adopt a measured approach towards exterminating the problem.
Also, most reputable heat treatment companies have insurance coverage. This is an added layer of assurance to you the client.
How Long Does it Take to Kill Termites With Heat?
Exterminating termites with heat treatment is one thing, the duration it takes is another.
Other types of termite treatments (such as chemical control) will require staying out for considerable periods of time. This involves aerating your home to limit exposure beyond safe levels.
Conversely, getting rid of termites through heat treatment takes a less shorter time. A typical termite treatment should last from 4 to 7 hours. This also depends on the size of the property.
The good part is you don’t need to aerate after treatment. You should be able to move in within a short time once the temperature is within acceptable limits.
What temperature do termites die? The optimal temperature range for termite is 75°F to 95°F. At temperatures above 100°F or below 25°F, these insects die in a matter of minutes.
Termite specialist using special heaters to blow hot air into your home, raising the temperature to 120°F to 140°F. This condition kills subterranean termites within 35 minutes.
Heat Treatment Success Rate
Heat treatment for termites is quite successful. While this may be true, don’t expect 100% results. Why? Several reasons!
First, there are dry wood and subterranean termites. Dry wood termites are mostly found in open wood structures above the ground. On the other hand, subterranean termites like the name suggests, live below the ground surface.
Completely eliminating these termites through thermal treatments presents its challenges.
Dry wood termites can be completely exterminated with heat with tenting. On the contrary, this method (thermal treatment) will achieve nothing if at all any for subterranean termites, as heat will hardly penetrate some structures, thus making it an ineffective remedy this type of termites.
What Happens to Subterranean Termites Then?
Having discussed the difficulty that comes with exterminating subterranean termites using heat treatments, we’ll need to find alternatives. Alternatives in this sense has to do with other methods through which these termites can be gotten rid of.
We won’t be dwelling much on all the methods through which this problem can be solved. However, chemical fumigation is one of the best strategies to tackle this problem.
This can either be used as a standalone remedy or combined with thermal treatment.
What Happens After Heat Treatment?
Having successfully used thermal treatment to exterminate termites, certain problems may arise. Yes! Dead termites will be scattered everywhere including walls. Cleaning open areas of their carcasses won’t be enough as dead termites will be found with your walls and in wood too.
This is a problem because ants will have a great feast, thus, presenting another problem. Don’t expect a small visit. Ants will pour into your home or property to clear up termite remains. This in itself is an invasion of your privacy and calls for urgent action to be taken. You can adopt a variety of methods to get rid of ants too.
So, what happens with the dead termites hidden in difficult to reach areas? They decompose! As easy as that. You may need to continually spray for invading ants.
Remember too that exterminating termites using heat treatment won’t keep them completely away. You should always inspect frequently to limit a full blown infestation.
The Best Approach
Killing termites using heat is quite effective. However, as we’ve mentioned earlier, this won’t achieve much when subterranean termites are in the equation. The best approach is, and will always be prevention. So many preventive strategies are available.
Some of these include calling for regular termite inspections from professionals. Regular as mentioned here depends on how often you want your home inspected. We recommend yearly inspections. This is sufficient enough to detect termite presence.
The removal of conditions favorable to termites should also be considered. The most common include moisture and wood-to-ground contact. The elimination of these factors reduces your chance of having such problems.
Cellulose materials should be removed from your home surroundings. These are food sources without which termites will have less incentive to stick around.
We have outlined some very important facts about termite heat treatment. Termites are a major problem for home and property owners. The good news is that heat can be deployed to kill them with non-toxic effects.