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How to Get Rid of Termites

Kinds of Termites

Recently I had my home fumigated for termites. It was a chore I had put off because I just didn't want to deal with it, but time caught up with me and I just had to get it done. But what was the right treatment? Who should do it? How much would it cost? What kind of guarantee should I expect? I had many questions.

First, I discovered that there are two main types of termites: subterranean termites and drywood termites. Depending on where you live, you might not have both kind. I did. It's also amazing that they small bugs can be big trouble. Termites have an appetite the size of your house. No home is safe. Even after you have your home fumigated, termites will eventually return. They can migrate from your neighbor's homes over to yours. It doesn't matter if your home is stucco, brick or stone. They can find a way inside.

Drywood termites live entirely in dry, sound wood. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites require no connection with the soil and no above-ground moisture source. They get all the moisture they need from the wood they consume. This makes them especially hard to control. They may be concealed in the wood or furnishings of a structure. And they can create several independent colonies.

Swarmers (termites with wings) can enter your home via:

  • cracks and nail holes in wood and wood trim
  • wood shake shingles
  • attic and crawlspace vents
  • crevices or openings under siding, eaves and around door and window frames
  • infested items brought into the home


There is one treatment for subterranean termites and a different one for drywood termites. Subterranean termites come to your home through the soil. So the soil and areas all around the exterior of your home need to be treated. Drywood termites must be killed by fumigation, where the entire home is placed under a tent. The occupants of the home, including all pets, must leave the premises for around 2 days, during which time a poisonous gas is released inside the home.

It is also recommended that following treatment that the homeowner hire the extermination company to provide a maintenance contract to periodically inspect your home for further infestations.

Getting Bids

While there are ways to self-treat, I hired a company to come in and fumigate my property. To do that, I called several companies and asked for a representative to come and give me an estimate. It's good to call at least 3 companies. I called 5. It was interesting to listen to the sales reps talk. Each one concluded, of course, that I had termites. But some of the companies were lax in providing me with enough information to make a realistic decision.

While you want to compare the prices quoted to you and compare the timing, service, maintenance offers and warranties, cost should not be your main criteria. I did not choose the least expensive company, nor did I choose the most expensive one. I was able to get the company I did choose to reduce the price by over $300 which put them in a more competitive rate category with the lower priced companies.

Choosing the Right Termite Company

After evaluating the bids from 5 companies, I finally chose a well known company named Terminix. Here's why. Terminix's sales rep was friendly, on time and very professional. Out of all the companies, he was the only one to supply me with full color, professionally printed brochures which thoroughly explain termites, the different kinds and treatment options.

Terminix also provided a solid contract, immediate quote, a check list of things I would need to do, an informative question and answer section, a great protection plan, payment options if I needed them, an immediate discount. They made me feel very comfortable and I felt satisfied that they directory2@barbarajennings.comew what they were doing. There quote was middle of the road and were very willing to give me an additional discount upon my request.

Terminix also provided me with a Pest Detector. You've probably seen what a Color Wheel looks like. Well, the Pest Detector is a wheel too, with pictures and descriptions of various types of termites. It's a handy tool for being able to recognize the little pests.

In addition, they have a nifty Treatment Guide for Subterranean Termites, which shows you with pictures and brief descriptions how the various processes work to rid your home of termites. They offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you're not satisfied, they'll refund your money. Can't beat that.

What to Expect

After choosing the date to start, my Terminix rep came to my home with the contract, full written instructions and bags. Happily I didn't have to bag everything left in the home because the poison is a gas and leaves no residue. I did have to bag all food that was not in a factory sealed bottle or can. I had to go around and open every door, drawer, cupboard in the home. Missed a few, but they found them and opened them. I had to make arrangements for a place to stay, along with my 5 cats. And I had to make arrangements for taking care of business while I was gone from the premises. It wasn't as difficult to achieve as I thought it would be, and my rep stayed in repeated contact with me during the whole process.

What to Be Careful Of

There is always the possibility that your home could be broken into while you're gone. Not likely, but possible. I was told that I would be informed immediately after the final inspection was over and the home cleared for re-entry. The inspector does open up the upstairs doors and windows to help the home ventilate more quickly. So if you have a two-story home, that does leave your home accessible until you return. So it's good to stay close by. As soon as the home is cleared, get back home so that you are on the premises while the home continues to ventilate. You can also hire someone to watch your home if you're extra nervous. We had no problems, but I was glad that I was back at my home within 30 minutes of the "all clear".

You can contact Terminix by calling 1-800-TERMINIX. Tell them Barbara Jennings recommended you call.

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