We'll Turn Your Negative Pest Problem Into A Positive Solution!

What Does Sun Damage Mean When Talking About Termites?

August 3, 2022
Positive Pest Control placeholder photo

Termites are extremely destructive pests that homeowners hope they never find on their property. These cold-blooded insects find it hard to survive outside where temperatures frequently fluctuate and reach extremes. Because of this, many homeowners leave their wooden furniture outside in hopes that sun damage kills off termites infesting it.

So what does sun damage mean when it comes to pest control techniques for termites? Direct exposure to sunlight is a good way to kill off some of the termites. The heat from the sun dries out the moisture in their shelter tubes, causing the pests to dehydrate and die after a short while. However, sunlight treatment alone might not be enough to eliminate an entire termite colony so it’s best to combine it with other termite treatment options.

Something Bugging You?

Is Sunlight Effective in Killing Termites?

Termite infestation is a serious household problem experienced by about 600,000 American homes every year. These pests cause significant damage to the wooden structure of the home and threaten its overall stability so it’s crucial for homeowners to find ways to get rid of them immediately.

Before calling a pest control company, many homeowners attempt DIY termite control methods first to contain the termite problem at home. One of the most common at-home termite treatments they try is leaving the pieces of furniture, logs, and other infested items under the sun.

Although direct sunlight helps kill some of the worker termites by dehydrating them, it might not be the best option in some situations. To find out if this natural treatment works for your termite problem, it helps to understand how it works first, what are the challenges that come with it, and how to utilize sunlight treatment best.

How Sun Treatment Works for Different Termite Species

Termites thrive in dark, warm, and moist environments, so it’s not surprising that most of them can’t survive direct sunlight. If their termite colonies are destroyed or opened, termite workers and other termites start burrowing further into the wood or soil to find darkness. 

Termites also need moisture to survive, so most of them immediately die after their nests are exposed to the sun. In some situations, the accumulated moisture of the nest might keep the termites alive even in dry containers. However, it only takes a short time for this moisture to run out.

Subterranean termites have a unique system that allows them to detect even the slightest changes in surface temperature even if their nests are found deep underground. It allows them to sense structures and vegetation so they may create mud tubes in places with enough shade and avoid direct sun exposure. This system is also used by other termite species that prefer nesting underground, like the Formosan termite and eastern subterranean termite.

On the other hand, drywood and dampwood termites prefer burrowing further into the damaged wood to avoid direct sunlight. These dampwood and drywood termites don’t attack the surface of the wood, making it difficult for homeowners to notice them and kill them with sunlight treatment.

Why Sunlight Alone Might Not Be Effective

Although sun damage might seem like a good idea to eliminate termites on the property, it’s not a practical solution in most cases. Pieces of furniture and other infested items can be placed outside under the sun, but it’s difficult to separate infested beams and other wooden structures from the rest of your home and leave them outside.

Another situation where sunlight might not be effective is when the termites are found in areas that the sun can’t easily reach — like the basement or crawl space. Renting or buying UV lamps may have the same effect on the subterranean and dry wood termites, but it’s better to call pest control companies for total eradication instead.

What Temperature is Needed to Kill Termites

Most termite species prefer living in environments that are around 75°F and 95°F. They die within a couple of minutes if they’re exposed to temperatures above 100°F or below 25°F. Subterranean termites use thermal shadows to detect the temperature of their environment, allowing them to seek out the right temperature range for them.

Termites like warmer temperatures, but they won’t die unless their environment drops below 25°F. They survive cold winters by burrowing further into the ground where there’s enough moisture and warmth. Around this time, termites might seem like they’re gone even though the termite activity is just slower than normal. It’s best to stay vigilant during temperature changes because these pests might still be around.    

Termite Swarmers and Their Attraction to Light

A worker termite needs moisture to survive so they usually stay out of sight, but a reproductive termite is quite the opposite since they’re typically found above ground. Winged termites are attracted to light because it helps them move around when mating.

Swarming termites use sunlight as a signal to leave their colony and breed, so homeowners might find a termite swarm near their home around dawn. To avoid attracting termite swarms to your property, make sure to close the exterior lights before the sun rises. It’s also crucial to close and seal window panes to prevent a flying termite from entering your home.

If there are discarded wings, frass, and other signs of termite activity on the property, make sure to hire a pest control company immediately for a termite inspection. Early detection of termites is the key to preventing termite infestation and severe structural damage to your home. 

Other Natural Ways to Eliminate Termites

If the sun treatment doesn’t work for the termite problem at home, there are other ways to get rid of the pests without putting the family at risk of health hazards caused by toxic chemicals. Here are some of the best ways to eliminate termites naturally:

  1. Fix All Moisture Problems

Termites need moisture to survive – whether they’re nesting underground or in the wooden structures of a building. Water damage also softens the wood nearby, making it easier for termites to chew through the material. Taking care of the moisture problems around the property means these pests have one less reason to move into and infest your home.

Keep all downspouts and gutters clean since the moisture and leaves there attract termites. The clogged gutters may also cause moisture problems that soak the fascia boards and wood in the roof. Repair all water pipes, leaking faucets, and air conditioning units. Make sure that there are no entry points around these pipes and utility lines to keep termites out.

  1. Eliminate Food Sources

Termites are one of the few pests that attack wood. Unlike carpenter ants that only seek wood to build satellite nests, termites actually eat the wood and other cellulosic materials they find. Eliminate the primary food source of these termites by making sure that wooden structures and wood piles around the property don’t have direct contact with the soil. 

Homeowners should also consider using chemical-treated wood when replacing the damaged wood in their homes. Inspect the yard for wood debris and tree stumps then remove them immediately. Always check the wooden fences and decks of the house to see if there are signs of termite damage.

  1. Try Using Natural Repellents

Natural repellents are the best alternative option for homeowners who want to get rid of termites without spraying chemicals and commercial pesticides in their homes. However, it’s important to remember that these home remedies might not work for larger termite infestations. In such cases, it’s best to rely on a termite control company to get the job done safely and effectively.

  • Nematodes – These parasitic worms are natural predators of termites. They’re a great way to kill the pests without harming bigger pets, the environment, and your family. Nematodes also help control several other common household pests. Just make sure to follow the application instructions that come with the nematodes you ordered.
  • Borates – Boric acid and Borax kill termites naturally by interfering with their digestive system. Just sprinkle the powder directly into the termite nest or dilute it with water to make a solution. Spray the boric acid and water mixture to affected areas and repeat the application every few days.
  • Orange Oil – The effectiveness of orange oil is still up for debate, but some studies suggest that it can kill several termites in a colony upon application. It’s a good addition to a termite prevention strategy, but other treatments are still needed to get rid of the pests for good.
  • Diatomaceous Earth – This common pesticide is made of crushed, fossilized algae that cut through the exoskeleton of common insects like ants and termites. When their outer shells are cut, these pests slowly dehydrate and die. Sprinkle some of the powdered diatomaceous earth near the pathway of termites and wait for them to pass through it.
  • Vinegar – The acetic acid found in vinegar messes with the termite’s digestive system, causing them to die slowly. It also softens their exoskeletons, making vinegar a good option for eliminating termites naturally. However, homeowners should be aware that vinegar might further weaken the wood structure and the smell usually lingers.

3 Termite Treatments That Are More Effective Than Sun Damage

Sunlight treatment alone isn’t enough to eliminate the termites for good. Larger infestations require the help of an experienced pest control company that specializes in termite extermination to remove the pests on the property for good.

Here are some of the most common termite control methods by professionals that are more effective than sunlight treatments:

  1. Termite Traps and Bait Systems

Setting up bait systems is the most preferred treatment option for many homeowners because it doesn’t necessarily involve leaving their homes or digging up soil around their properties. It only involves placing bait stations in different parts of the house where termites might be nesting.

Bait stations use low doses of slow-acting termiticides. When the pests find the bait station, they unknowingly bring the poison back to their colony. This allows the other termites to feed on the bait and die after a few days. As a result, termite bait systems can wipe out entire colonies and eliminate the problem at the source.

  1. Fumigation

Fumigation is one of the most intensive ways to get rid of termites. It involves closing the infested area and exposing the termites there to sulfuryl fluoride gas. The entire fumigation process takes around 3 days, so homeowners and their families need to stay somewhere else during that time.

The entire house is enclosed and sealed first before the gas is dispersed inside. Exterminators let the gas sit there for about 24 hours, depending on the severity of the termite infestation. After the treatment, the house is aerated and monitored until none of the gas lingers. 

Fumigation ensures that existing termite colonies are gone, but it doesn’t protect the house from re-infestations. To defend your home from future termite attacks, other preventative measures should still be in place. 

  1. Soil and Barrier Treatments

These treatments are some of the most common techniques when handling termite infestations. A soil treatment involves applying liquid termiticide to the soil around the building, creating a barrier that protects the house from subterranean termites that attempt to tunnel through.

On the other hand, barrier treatments can be chemical or physical. They’re meant to protect the interior of the home from termites, so it may involve injecting foam termiticides into floors and walls or covering all possible entry points around the house. Another method of barrier treatment is installing thin metals around the wooden structures of the house.

Prevent Termite Damage at Home with Positive Pest Management

Termite treatments are most effective when they’re tailored to what your home needs. At Positive Pest Management, we help homeowners get rid of their termite problem using a wide variety of pest control options. 

We have the right training, knowledge, and experience in exterminating different household pests, so you can trust us to eliminate the termites in your home and prevent them from coming back. Call us today to know more about our services or book a termite inspection for your home. 

Something Bugging You?

Form - Sidebar