Popular But Ineffective Termite Treatments to Avoid

If you previously tried to DIY termite treatments yourself, you probably got pretty frustrated. Termites are difficult for nonprofessionals to treat effectively, because they form and live in underground colonies. Some homeowners like to try DIY termite treatments, but their efforts usually fail to achieve the desired goals and lead to greater damage and higher eventual repair costs.

Additionally, many people do not realize that simply killing some termites is inadequate. The goal of termite extermination should always be to completely exterminate the entire termite colony.

Unfortunately, social media and the Internet are often full of bad ideas for termite treatment, and we would like to walk you through why some popularly recommended termite treatments will not work for you.

Termite Bait Stations

Bait stations for termites can kill large numbers of termites in the colony. Professional pest controllers often set out bait stations as part of a comprehensive strategy to exterminate termite colonies. Nonprofessionals often assume that setting up a termite bait station will exterminate termites. The termites carry the poisoned bait home, and the whole colony will eat it and die, right?

Unfortunately, bait stations often fail to meet their intended goals. Termite colonies may fail to find bait stations before feeding on a home. Even if a termite bait is carried back into the colony, it will fail to exterminate termite larvae and eggs, who will keep the colony going once they mature into adults. Professional pest controllers know that termite colonies must be located and thoroughly destroyed in order to achieve extermination, and that baits alone will fail to complete the job.

Heat Treatments

While some professional pest controllers are certified in the successful use of heat treatments to kill termites, it is difficult approach to get right without specialized training and equipment. Exterminating termites with heat treatment requires heating the entire colony and all affected areas to temperatures of 140℉ for at least 45 minutes. While professionals can get this right, there have been cases for homeowners have accidentally set their home on fire while attempting a DIY heat treatment. Reno Pest Control Pros recommends leaving heat treatments to experienced professional exterminators like us.

UV Light and Sunlight

Sometimes, people recommend putting termite-infested items into the sun, hoping that a hot Nevada summer day or else the UV light in sunshine will kill the termites. However, this is unlikely. UV light from the sun is unlikely to kill termites, and as we just noted, heat treatment requires 140℉, which is significantly hotter than a summer day here in Reno.

CBD Oils or Orange Oils

We are well aware that there are people out there who swear that one decent termite treatment is spot-treating affected areas with CBD oil, orange oil, fish oil, or other oil-based products. After all, oil breaks apart termite exoskeletons, right? While it is true that several common oils can kill certain common species of drywood termites by breaking termite exoskeletons, these treatments are not effective on all species of termites.

Even if they are partially effective, these approaches will inevitably fail to exterminate all termites, since some termites in the infestation will remain in the underground colony and will never come into contact with the oil.

To eliminate termite threats, you should never settle for anything less than guaranteed 100% termite colony extermination. At best, these approaches may only give you a 75% extermination, which leaves you with the same problem that is bound to return.

Homemade Cardboard Traps

Another popular DIY solution that we often see is a wet cardboard trap. Sometimes, homeowners set out dampened cardboard, hoping to attract termites. If all goes according to plan, the termites begin feeding on the cardboard, and you bag it up and throw it away, killing a bunch of termites.

Unfortunately, while this approach will kill three termites, there are only three chances in which it will kill entire termite colonies: slim, fat, and none. Trying this will just be a waste of your time.


Nematodes are tiny parasites that feed on termites and other insects, and are generally benign or even beneficial to humans. Consequently, some people suggest that people with termite problems release nematodes into the affected areas. The nematodes will then eat up all of the termites and then just magically go away, right?

Unfortunately, that approach rarely works. Nematodes are non-native to Nevada and cannot be exposed to sunlight for long. Furthermore, nematodes have a low tolerance for Nevada’s summer heat and general lack of humidity. They have a low thermal death point and will dessicate and die in a typical Nevada summer. Even if these issues can be mitigated, nematodes rarely are capable of exterminating an entire termite colony, and certainly cannot be guaranteed to do so with anywhere close to 100% certainty.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a white powdery substance consisting of the fossilized diatom remains. The silica in fossilized diatoms are made of silica, which absorbs fat and oil in termite exoskeletons. This causes termites to dry out, dessicate, and die.

The problem with using diatomaceous earth for termite treatment and control is that it is effective only as a preventative barrier that can be spread over exposed wood.  Diatomaceous earth can create a prevention strategy by blocking termites from causing damage. However, it is ineffective as a termiticide, since it does not exterminate entire termite colonies.

Boric Acid

Boric acid is another powdery substance that interferes with termite’s digestive systems. These digestive interferences are often lethal to termites. However, using boric acid will likely fail to work. The wood in homes here in Reno dries out quickly, and when wood is too dry, it will not absorb boric acid. This means that the boric acid you apply will most likely fail to ever reach the termites. Additionally, boric acid alone will fail to kill an entire termite colony.

Want to get information on what works and what does not work to achieve full 100% termite colony extermination? Read up on our termite treatment process or give us a call to learn more about our processes!

Or do you have any questions, or would you like to get a free quote? We are here to help!