Termites are a type of pest that is most dangerous to your property and not so much your health. They spread incredibly quickly, and if you don’t act soon, you can end up with tons of damage that would be pretty hard to fix in the future. This especially goes for your wooden furniture.
In the case you notice any of the signs we will tell you in a second, we recommend that you take immediate action and save your property and furniture before it’s too late.
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- 1 Signs of a termite infestation
- 2 5 ways to get rid of termites in furniture
- 3 Conclusion
Signs of a termite infestation
To treat your home and furniture properly, you have to be sure that you are indeed a victim of a termite infestation. Some of the signs may also apply to other things, so you have to look and analyze to apply the right treatment.
Here are the most common signs of a termite invasion and how to recognize them.
Swarms of termites
One of the things that often confuses people is that swarmers a.k.a. the winged termites look a lot like winged ants. Thankfully, there are ways in which you can quickly tell them apart. The wings of the termite are all the same size, while the ants’ are different. The abdomen of the termite is narrow, unlike the ants’, which is pinched and the antennae of termites are straight.
Look for those differences, and you will be able to determine which pest is trying to invade your home. Keep in mind that both of them tend to gather around a light source, which is useful in a sense because you will be able to see them properly.
Abandoned swarmer wings
Termites don’t actually keep their wings forever. They only need them for a short period while in their reproductive stage. Once that period is over, they discard the wings and start looking for places to build their nest. You can find piles of those wings in spider webs, windowsills and doors.
Another thing you should keep an eye for is termite faeces. The bad thing is, they could be everywhere, in and outside of your home, mostly in close proximity to wood. Good news is that they are quite recognizable so you can easily spot them. Termite droppings have a pellet shape, and their color is slightly darker than wood.
Galleries and mud tubes
Unfortunately, for all the art lovers out there, termite galleries are not fancy halls with beautiful paintings. As a matter of fact, this is the term for all the tunnels they make while eating your wooden furniture. Finding those little tunnels in your table, desk, or any other piece of furniture made from wood is a sure sign that you have termite trouble. Another thing that they do is create the so-called “mud tubes”, which are made from wood, debris and soil and are used to preserve the moisture and protect the whole colony. They also use it as a link between the colony and the food source. You can find them close to the foundations of your home.
Peeling paint and swollen floors
Since termites love living in dark and moist areas, they construct the galleries in a way that would increase the moisture levels. Therefore, when they make their tunnels in walls and floors, the paint will start peeling from the process and floors will appear swollen. The thing is that this can also be caused by a leak in your home, which is why we recommend that you do a thorough check of your pipes and plumbing system to make sure that everything is okay. If leaks were not the cause, then the next possible reason would be a termite colony invading your property. They often eat up until the top layers of paint and dig very close to the surface of the wood flooring, which brings us to the next sign.
It will probably not be visible if you just look at it, so you have to inspect to see if there is any structural damage to your wooden furniture, flooring or supports. You can do it by tapping on the wood. If the sound that comes out is hollow and some dust comes out from it, then termites have definitely been there. Things are probably pretty bad if you can easily pierce the wood with a screwdriver so if that happens, you should start exterminating the termites right away.
5 ways to get rid of termites in furniture
Keep it dry and polished
The best treatment is always prevention, so here are a couple of things you can do to keep termites away from your wooden furniture.
Moisture is the biggest no-no when it comes to the wood, so our advice is that you never clean it with water or any other type of liquid that is not made, especially for cleaning timber. Use a dry cloth always and clean it regularly. Make sure that all the wooden furniture is placed in a sunny area, especially during the rainy season.
If you want additional protection, which we recommend that you do, search for timber polishes that lock the wood and protect it from termites. Even if you are not able to do it by yourself, hire a carpenter and make sure it’s done properly because it will save you a ton of trouble in the future. In addition, this protective layer will help against spills, extend the lifespan of your wooden furniture and make it look brand new.
Expose the wooden furniture in the sun
As we mentioned, termites love the dark and the moist, so it makes sense that their kryptonite is the sun. If you notice that your wooden furniture has fallen victim to a termite invasion, place it in full sun for at least three days. They would never survive the heat and sunlight. Once those three days are over, thoroughly dust the furniture and even spray it with something against termites, just to be on the safe side.
You can also do this when buying second-hand wooden furniture.
Killing termites with boric acid
Borax is a very widely spread solution because it’s used very often when dealing with all types of pests. It’s believed that boric acid significantly affects the metabolic and digestive system of insects which makes it so effective when trying to control their population or straight up just killing them. It’s not entirely natural, like diatomaceous earth, for example, but it’s a lot less toxic than most pesticides, which is why many people prefer using it.
It’s used in two general ways – either in its natural powder form or diluted with water. In both cases, we recommend that you put on gloves and a mask, just to be on the safe side. Should you decide to use it as a powder, the only thing you have to do is sprinkle it over the most affected areas. However, for the inside of your home, we recommend that you make a liquid solution by diluting one spoon of boric acid with a cup of lukewarm water and put it in a spray bottle. Apply the solution to the places you see the most traffic and damage and wait for around three days until you repeat.
Apply diatomaceous earth
Diatomite is a completely natural substance, also used when dealing with all types of insects. It’s made from the fossilised remains of diatoms and it’s exceptionally harmful to insects because it literally rips their exoskeletons and insides, leading to their immediate death. It’s relatively harmless to humans, but you still have to put on a mask in order not to inhale it. Remember that diatomaceous earth only works when the surface you apply it to is completely dry; otherwise, there is no effect. You can apply it after you place the furniture in the sun for three days in order to enjoy a satisfying result from the treatment.
Use a cardboard trap
A trap would work best if you know where the nest is so you can place at the entrance. You can also put it in an area where termites often pass through. Take a cardboard box, it could be a piece or a whole box and pour water over it. Once the cardboard is wet enough, place it where you need. The moist, timber smell will attract all the nearby termites and once they are lured, you just take the cardboard outside and burn them alive. Safely, of course.
Protect your wooden furniture even if there are no termites in your property. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Carefully check before putting anything in your home, polish it when needed, keep in the sun, don’t store any unnecessary wooden items, especially in attics and basements.