How to Get Rid of Subterranean Termites

Subteranean Termite Pest Control, how to get rid of


Termites live in a colony which means that they are a social insect. Social insects have a division of labor called castes. There are 3 different common types of termites: Subterranean, Formosan, and Drywood Termites.

Subterranean Termites workers and nymphs construct the colony and fix the damages in them. Soldiers cannot eat wood but only defend the colony against enemies. Winged adult termites are called swarmers or primary reproductives. They will swarm up above ground and go mate, which is normally during spring time when the days are sunny, warm, and in high humidity. If you find a winged insect around your home during the spring time it might be termite swarmer so pay extra attention.

The worker adults are the most abundant in number. They do all the work and are sterile and blind. The worker termites are usually light in color with no wings. The adult soldiers in the colony have large, hard heads with large laws. The adult supplementary productive are wingless or have short, non-functional wings. They will replace the queen if the queen is killed and they are high in numbers as well. These termites produce most of the colonies eggs.

The primary reproductive adult is dark in color and have 4 well developed wings of equal length, size, and shape. Subterranean termites can build a nest above the ground and it is called aeria colonies. These nests can survive above ground if a moisture source is available. There can be at least 13-14 subterranean termite colonies per acre, so in a typical home you can easily have 3-4 subterranean termite colonies under the house or around it on average.

Subterranean Termites can eat wood at the rate of 2-3% of their body weight each day which is about 7 lbs of wood. Subterranean termites construct their tunnels of wood particles and their feces.

Many times termites are often confused as ants. The difference between termites and ants are:

  1. Termites antennae are straight while ants are elbowed
  2. Termites have 2 pairs of wings that are in equal length and size, while ants have 2 pairs of wings unequal in length and size.
  3. Termites waists are thick and broad and ants are narrow and thin.

Moisture is essential to termite survival. Since moisture is so essential they will construct mud tubes that will cover the exposed areas. Termites will move up and down the soil to accumulate for their moisture needs. Termites prefer decaying wood because it can be eaten faster and it increases the moisture content.


Subterranean Termites can be found at or near ground level. You can find infestation usually above the level of the first-floor windows. Examine thoroughly in crawl spaces and basement walls, supporting piers and beams, sill plates, floor joists, subfloors.

Pay special attention to areas where concrete steps, porches, or concrete slabs comes together with the structure. If you find wooden dust around the walls or window/door frames, patio area then it is also a sign of termite infestation. Also swarmer termites will shed their wings so if you see large number of shredded wings then it is also a sign of infestation.

Holes inside the wood are not visible so you can just tap on the wood with your knuckles or a small hammer to hear a hollow sound because the damage wood by termites looks like regular water damage. The type of soil is important on how infested termites can be. They prefer sandy soil however they can survive in many different types of soil as well.


The main reason on why structures get infested with termites is because the wood is often in contact with the ground. When the wood has contact with the soil it supplies the termites with food, shelter, moisture, and entry into the home which is often hard to know.

The exterior wood should at least be 6′ above the ground level and may require in pulling the soil or mulch away from the structure to prevent wood to ground contact. If there is wood in your crawlspace, make sure that it is at least 18′ from the ground. Doors, stair carriages, posts, etc, and anything that is made out of wood will need to be cut off at the bottom to be supported by a concrete base. If it is unavoidable then you should treat the wood with preservation.

Termites can build tunnels over the wood surface. You should not bury wood, cardboard, paper, or any other cellulose materials because they will attract termites. Mulch and wooden chips can also attract termites because it will give them a food source and a favorable moisture conditions.

If you have to use mulch, do not apply them in contact with the foundation. Stack wooden materials, and firewood away from the structure and elevated from the ground. Vegetation should not be allowed to grow against the side of the structure because it traps moisture causing wood decay. Soil should be sloping so that the water can be drain away from the home. Plumbing and appliance leaks can lead to damp wood in crawlspaces.

You should repair leaks right away and you can place polyethylene sheeting which acts a moisture barrier over the soil in the crawlspace to reduce evaporation from the soil and condensation from the structure woods. Ventilation vents can help reduce moisture problems dramatically. Crawl spaces should have ventilating opening around your home at every 2 sq ft per 25 linear ft of the foundation wall. One of the vents will need to be within 5 ft of each exterior corner of the building.

There are two types of ways to treat termites, but these are not the only ways just the most common. These types are: soil treatment where you will dig a trench and treat the soil also to drill a hole into the structure and apply the termiticides and bait this treatment is where you place wood bait inside a termite monitoring station and burying the station under ground.

Soil Treatment:
This treatment, you will need to treat the soil underneath you home and around the structure. We suggest that you use liquid spray (TERMIDOR SC, BORACARE TERMITE, PREMISE 2 TERMITICIDE, Dominion 2L) using a hand spray.

You should start treating from outside in, because the termites come from the outside, dig a trench at least 6″ deep and 6″ wide all around your structure and apply the liquid spray using the amount instructed on the label at a rate of 4 gallons per 10 linear ft. You will also need to drill a hole on wall and on the sidewalk where it meets the structure if it is necessary and inject the liquid pray using the amount instructed on the label.

When the termites are already inside your home you will need to exterminate them to stop more severe damage. So you will need to drill a hole into the wall near the infested area and apply foam (CB D-FOAM, PREMISE FOAM TERMITICIDE) or liquid spray into the drilled hole. Be cautious when you are applying the liquid spray inside the home because some of the termiticide is labeled only for outdoor use.

Termidor SC Boracare Premise 2 Dominion 2L

These products can be used with this item:

Chapin 1 gallon Sprayer
CB 80 Premise Foam

Bait Treatment:
As already stated above this treatment is where you will place a wooden bait (FIRSTLINE TERMITE DEFENSE SYSTEM REPLACEMENT WOOD, ADVANCE TERMITE MONITORING BASE , ADVANCE TERMITE INSPECTION CARTRIDGE) inside a termite monitoring station and bury the station (ADVANCE TERMITEĀ  BAIT STATION, FIRSTLINE TERMITE MONITOR STATION ) around the structure.

You will need to place the monitoring stations 3-4 ft apart from the structure and 10-15 ft apart from each station. Once it has been installed, make sure to check each station every 3 months (90 days) and if there is termite activity at the station, you will need to replace the wooden bait with a chemical cartridge (ADVANCE TERMITE BAIT , FIRSTLINE GT PLUS TERMITE BAIT STATIONS) which can eliminate the termites. Repeat this process continuously.

Firstline Termite Defense Advance Termite Monitoring Base Advance Termite Inspection

These products can be used with these items:

Advance Termite Monitor Bait Firstline Smartdisc

These products can be used with these items after finding active termite activity:

Advance Termite Bait Firstline GT Plus

Date: Monday, 11. January 2010 12:58
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  1. 1

    I live in Arizona and there are a lot of the crusty termite sites all over my back yard. I have treated the foundation where I have seen the tubes going up under the wood siding and they stay gone. What do you recommend for the entire yard?

  2. 2

    I live in New England and recently found out that I have termites eating sm holes in my above ground pool liner from the sand bed beneath.
    Which would be the best way to get rid of adult and then eggs in the spring?
    Thank you!

  3. 3

    Hi Lisa,
    If you have wooded areas around your yard, it is inevitable that termites will be present. The main point is that you make sure that your home is protected. With good perimeter treatment to your house, it will be difficult for the subterranean termites to infest. There are a few options for treating your home for subterranean termites. You can either set up termite bait stations around the entire perimeter of the house and monitor them for termite activity. Check bait stations every three months and simply replace the monitoring devices that have termite activity with the poison bait. You also have the option of doing a trench treatment around the entire perimeter of the house. Trench treatment is essentially creating an underground shield with termiticde so that you can protect your home from termites. The termiticide that we recommend is Termidor SC. If done correctly, this treatment will give you a long-lasting residual for up to 10 years. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  4. 4

    Hi Susan,
    The product we recommend is Termidor. You have to do a ground or trench treatment with the Termidor. In order for you to wipe out the colony underneath the pool, you should create a termiticide barrier underground and Termidor will be the best product to do that with. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

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  6. 6

    Hi Joe Borg,
    You definitely cannot treat the barrels of wine without emptying them out and making sure it is properly treated, finished, and cleaned before refilling them with the wine. Unfortunately, it is hard to describe a treatment plan. We know that for subterranean termites, ground treatment around the structure is necessary, whether it is setting up bait stations or doing a trench treatment. If you have isolated areas of infestation, you can treat those areas with termiticide. It is difficult in your case though because it is a wine cellar and you have material that is consumed. We recommend getting an inspection from a professional and seeking what types of treatment methods are available for you. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  7. 7

    I live in a 12 year old single story brick home on a slab. 6 years ago in the spring, I found termite damage on a window frame and trim. I removed the trim and found active termites. I called a local pest control company and had a perimeter treatment done. I watched them do the treatment and felt that they did a thorough job. I thoroughly checked the baseboards and trim in the entire house with a screwdriver to make sure there were no other damaged areas and did not find any.

    The next spring, I found active termites coming in around the toilet in the center of the home (approx. 30′ away from the initial damage). I called the company and they came out and drilled a hole next to the toilet plumbing and injected chemical there as well as in a closet adjoining the bathroom.

    This spring, my wife found new termite damage in the window trim on the window right next to the original damage (about 5′ away). I pulled the trim off when I got home and found quite a bit of damage/mud, but did not see any live termites. I called the company and they came out and reluctantly retreated around that window. They initially said that that was old damage, but they did retreat the area. I again went around the entire house with a screwdriver tapping and pushing the end of the screwdriver into all baseboards and window trim and found no other damage.

    Two days ago, I found the bottom window trim on a window in an adjacent room to be badly damaged by termites. I did not disturb it after the initial hole that I knocked in it with my foot. I am not sure whether the termites would go back into the ground if I pulled the wood off and I dont want the company to again try to say it is old damage.

    Is it odd to continue to have new damage show up when a home has been treated? Should I just abandon the company I am with and have a new company treat my home? The original company will continue to treat under contract as long as I pay them $100/year to “inspect” my home, but I am having to do the work replacing the destroyed wood and I am concerned about damage that I cant see without removing sheetrock. I just want the termites gone for good.

    Any advice would be appreciated.


  8. 8

    Hi Derrick,
    It is odd that you have had your home treated and have new signs of damage. Perhaps, the company did not treat thoroughly enough and have treated in such a way that they have missed a certain spot that the termites are able to pass through. We do recommend that you at least have a new termite company go out and inspect the home so that they are able to decide whether or not it is old damage. I apologize that I was not able to better assist you. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  9. 9

    Hi, I too must thank you for your very helpful site and responding to so many queries. I too am in Greece; Corfu. I live in an old stone house built straight on limestone rock. I found damage in door frames over the last 2 years but have never seen flying termites in the house. I believe our subterranean termites are of the Rhinotermitidae species (if thats relevant!) I am struggling to find a professional I can trust. They are talking digging a trench (good) and injecting door frames and window frames (good) but they want to use Dursban which I think is banned in the US, and I imagine is for a good reason. I am not happy about the idea of using organophosphates. A second company seems to be planning the same treatment (no one uses bait here for some reason,) but uses a chemicalw which i dont have the commercial name of but contains: Permethrin 1%, ALPHA CYPERMETHRIN CYFLUTHRIN . One company based in Athens does use Thermidor ( I am not sure how as I dont think it is licenced for use here?)but it will cost me a fortune to use them as i have to pay for their flights to come from Athens each time, and it doesnt really make sense not to have someone who can come up to check things out if we get a re-infestation or we feel their treatment hasnt worked. I just really want to find the most effective treatment with least environmental damage and least possible harmful effects to birds bees and mammals. Am I asking too much?
    Thank you so much for taking the time to help us poor termite victims when there is little chance of us becoming your clients!
    Sue Tsirigoti

  10. 10

    I think this is the genus we have; Reticulitermes flavipes,

    Sue Tsirigoti

  11. 11

    Hi Sue Tsirigoti,
    One thing is for certain and that is that Termidor works. The other products, since we don’t have names and we don’t even carry the product in the United States, we will not be able to give you much information on. I’m not sure how well Permethrin and Cyfluthrin will work for termites although there are some on contact products for termites that contain Cyfluthrin. These on contact sprays don’t have long residuals though and usually is not used for termite treatment. Unfortunately, we are unable to assist you very much since we cannot ship internationally, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact us again.

  12. 12

    My home has termites. We plan to trench and apply Termidor SC. We have a concrete patio in our back yard and concrete driveway in the front yard. How large do the holes that we drill need to be (diameter and depth)? Thank you so much for your time.

  13. 13

    Hi Dave,

    The holes are usually about an inch in diameter, about 1 foot apart, and about a foot deep. If you have any further questions, feel free to let us know.

  14. 14

    Hi there…We had a whole house perimeter treatment (trench and rod) with termidor in March 2012. This was performed by a professional pest company. This March (one year after treatment) we had a swarm and notice termites eating our wood flooring. I called the company, they came out and did a few interior spot treatments but I can still see termites working the wood floors. Help!! I fell ripped I ?? I am at my wits end. Ought I ask for another whole house perimeter treatment at no charge??

  15. 15

    Hi Jean,

    Termite treatment for each structure will be unique depending on the treatment and the shape and size of the structure. It is difficult for us to analyze the situation and tell you exactly what is going on with the reinfestation especially since we are unable to inspect it ourselves. However, termite treatments from professionals should come with warranties and so we do recommend having the company go and retreat without an extra cost. We recommend looking into the contract and contacting the company again. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  16. 16

    Sunnny, thank you for such rapid response! I do have one more question and I will ask the pest company this also but I’d like an opinion from you also. Is it justified to ask for another rod and trenching at no charge since the termites still exist? I don’t thinks this is a re-infestation. I believe something failed the first go around, whether tech didn’t perform treatment correctly or what. I paid $1700 last year for this treatment and it is a 3 yr contract at which time I would sign for yearly inspection/treatments. You site is fabulous. I am learning so much ! Regards

  17. 17

    Hi, found your site when looking for answers about termites, we just discovered we have sub termite in our mulch in the yard, and the yard is right outside the house, as a matter of fact the mulches are up against the foundation of the house, wish I knew that mulches can attract termites before we put them in. anyways, we are getting a whole house parametet soil and bait treatment next week, I just want to know should we remove the mulches as soon as possible? Thank you.

  18. 18

    Hi Bill,

    There is chemically treated mulch that can be used but even still, over time, when the mulch decays, it may attract termites so we do recommend either regularly maintaining the mulch and replacing old mulch with new, fresh mulch or to use another material to apply to the around the house. If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

  19. 19

    Hi! Found a termite swarm on our driveway, they appeared to be coming up through the expansion seam between the garage and first slab of the driveway. We live in TX, they were subterranean termites. Absolutely no evidence of termites in the house, no damage, no mud tubes, and we have a slab and brick home. We are not sure if they require treatment. What is your professional opinion? Can we watch and see? Our bug guys recommended Termidor, but also said they usually only do this when selling a house (after an inspector noticed them). Thx!

  20. 20

    Hi Jenny,
    If you only saw the flying termites (swarmers) but do not see further evidence of activity indicating a current infestations such as mud tubes you can simply spray the surface area with an insecticide/termiticide such as Termidor, Phantom, or Premise. However if indications of an active infestation is evident, we would highly advise that you chemically treat the area by trenching the area where you are seeing the activity. Termidor would be the best product to use to trench the area. For trenching we recommend that you pour 4 gallons of the diluted termiticide per every 10 linear feet of the area being treated. However it would be best to trench around the whole perimeter of the structure as a protective barrier for the structure. If the area is surrounded by concrete and is impossible to trench you may need to get a hammer drill and drill several holes to inject the 4 gallons per every 10 linear feet. I hope that information helped. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask!

  21. 21

    Hello- we had Terminex out at our house dealing with another problem and they told us that they found termites behind out shed. We had wood thy someone had given us to burn and they said the infestation was in quite a few of the logs. Their estimate to do anything is far more than we can afford. my husbanf bought something to treat the area from lowes but when i read the box it had quite a few warnings about how toxic the chemicals were… the area of infestation is roght next to our garden… and we have dogs so i wanted to see if i was ablento find any other options. In looking for self treatment options I came across this website. We have not noticed any other infestations however I did just read someone’s comment about finding a small dirt pile in their house and by knowing it was termites… I have found this in our living room and just thought that it was ants… Could that be termites? And what would you reccomend using behind our shed near our garden.

  22. 22

    Any termiticide you use will contain some type of chemical. Therefore it is difficult to avoid chemicals for termite treatment. If the garden does not contain any edible plants then you do not have to worry about the chemical drifting off on the plants. Once it has fully dried it is also safe for pets to reoccupy treated areas. I would recommend spraying Termidor SC. As for the dirt piles, do they look like mud tubes going up the sides of walls? or do they look like a pile of pellets or wood shavings? If you discover mud tubes, you are most likely dealing with subterranean termites and may need to spot treat the areas where you are seeing the mud tubes. If you see pellet like piles it may be dry wood termites. Lastly if the piles are wood shavings, you may be dealing with carpenter ants or other wood boring insects.

  23. 23

    Thanks for this tip

  24. 24

    I will give this a shot.

  25. 25

    Hello I have a 10 year old 3 storey holiday house in Spain, concrete construction with ceramic tiles on a raised ground floor. My house is partially linked to other houses in the road. At the front of the houser is a road and at the rear a ceramic paved terrace on a concrete slab and at the far edge a concrete reaining wall with a 3m or so drop to rough Spanish countryside. Visits from 2 specialist pest control companies, one with a world wide organisation have identified signes of termites in 3 out of 7 doors on the ground floor from the hall. One company has recommended a bait system with stations close to the effected area while the larger company has recommended drilling through the base of every door frame injecting with a suitable “liquid” creating a barrier that I was told will kill termites and redirect others aways from my house! The termites are likely to be finding there way around in small voids between the concrete slab and tiles. Both my neighbours have a similar termite problem. I just want to get rid of the termites, repair or replace door frames with pressure impregnated timber and not worry about re-infestation in the future! Although baiting systems are expensive with a price of 5,000 euros ( just received, fully inclusive with follow up checks up to 5years) if this is the best solution to erradicate the problem it is worth the cost to protect my investment. Sorry this is a longish story but your view on the two proposals and any other observations would be very helpful. Many thanks.

  26. 26

    The best way to treat for termites when an active infestation is spotted is to chemically treat the area. You may need to trench around the outer perimeter of the home as well as drill and spot treat active areas. Bait systems are a good monitoring device to help reduce the possibilities of termite damage to the structure, but to be safe it is always recommended to proceed with trenching or chemical spot treatment.

  27. 27

    my house was treated for subterraneans at the outside perimitor/foundation (rod injection) and sub area foundation (trenching). one outside section has a planter that was treated with rod injection. It happens that there is a grape vine that grows from the right side of the planter. will this toxify the grape? does the vine that extends from there have to be removerd? thank you

  28. 28

    IF the root of the grape vine is to touch the applied termiticide, then it is possible for the roots to absorb the termiticide. Therefore leaving the possibilities of that situation, it would most likely be best to relocate or remove the vines.

  29. 29

    I live in Arizona around 4,000 ft elevation, but desert.
    We had a large rain and I was outside and lifted a walkway brick and found white termites 5-6 scurry to find shelter? I have a slab foundation with no wood coming in contact with the ground ( the ground is usually parched dry sandy soil) should I be alarmed at this finding or would it be considered ok??? No mud tubes ever seen! The outside wall to slab transition is treated somehow with a barrier to defend against just this kind of thing.

  30. 30

    It is not uncommon to find termites here and there. However I can understand your alertness to their recent activity after the rain. If your house is older than 7 years and you had yet to treat around your house since 7 years. I would recommend that you use a termiticide to trench around the home. This is the “protective barrier” which will defend against termites invading the home.

  31. 31


  32. 32

    Sorry to hear about the damages you are having to deal with. If you are spotting the termites in the studs you will need to spot treat those areas. I do recommend that you continue to proceed trenching with Termidor. If the studs do not have a finishing you can simply spray the studs or paint the studs with Boracare because it can be safely sprayed indoors. As for the existing mud tubes, I would recommend that you scrape off the tubes and spray on top of that surface. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again! You can also speak to a live technician through our 1800 number. 1-800-788-4142. Good Luck!

  33. 33

    Hi… I just recently purchased a home in the Dominican Republic. I see termite mounds all along the exterior of the house and along several exterior walls. they can also be seen going up several trees. I have a wooden banister that has obviously been eaten by termites as it is hollow and rotted. I was told to use Diesel fuel to kill the insects.. but that didnt work and within a day they had rebuilt their structures on the wall. Can you please tell me what to do to get rid of them. Thanks,

  34. 34

    Hi Shawna,

    Sorry to hear about your subterranean termite infestation. It would be best to use a termiticide at this point such as Termidor SC, Premise Foam, Dominion 2L, or Phantom. The liquid concentrates such as the Termidor SC, Dominion 2L, and Phantom can be used to both trench around the infested structure or spot treated in specific areas. Unfortunately we cannot ship chemicals such as these overseas.. But if you could get a hold of these locally, we highly encourage you to begin treatment right away.

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