Termites can become a serious problem if we do not combat them in time, so it is important to know the dangers that these insects represent for human life. Also, it is worth taking into account the information available on how to eliminate termites effectively.
It is estimated that the insect ancestors of termites lived more than 300 million years ago, so we are dealing with a species much older than the human being and it is very likely that it will survive after the extinction of our species. However, this should not worry us too much, if we review history, we have managed to keep termites at bay, since we have in our favor an intelligence superior to this and other species of the animal kingdom. Therefore, it is only a matter of knowing these insects and developing a strategy to kill them.
Are termites related to ants or cockroaches?
When we think about how to get rid of ants in the house for good, we tend to believe that the treatment will also work with termites. This is because we associate these two types of insects as part of the same family. In this sense, if we put together a termite and an ant we will see that they are very similar, so much so that there is still no definitive consensus among scientists.
In some parts of the world, termites are known by the name of white ants, however, it is good to clarify that ants are from the Hymenoptera order, so they are relatives of bees and wasps, while termites have belonged for a long time to the infraorder Isoptera, which only includes them, with no proven relationship to other insects.
However, there are many experts who do not agree with these considerations. This is how the researchers of the Entomological Society of the United States have carried out research in this regard, concluding in 2018 that termites belong to the Blattodea order, therefore, they are related to cockroaches, so they are not relatives of ants nor are they a separate species.
Now, even if we’re not scientists, it seems obvious that termites are different from cockroaches. The former are very sociable, in fact their success depends on shared work, the diversity of castes and the existence of the queen termite, in addition, we can see that termites with wings have a soft body. In contrast, cockroaches are solitary insects, have no castes and have a hard exoskeleton.
Although this association of termites with cockroaches seems strange at first glance, we must not forget the Cryptocercidae family. These cockroaches lead a life identical to that of termites, since they usually associate in groups, are cooperative and like to eat wood.
The dangers of termites for humans
It is important to clarify at this point that according to current scientific literature, unlike cockroaches and other insects, termites are not considered transmitters of any specific disease. However, they represent a danger to homes, as they can not only destroy home furnishings, but are also capable of penetrating concrete, causing great damage to the structure of homes. Not to mention that termites eat books, MDF, natural fabrics, cardboard, parquet, paper documents, among other materials.
Is it possible to eliminate termites with homemade products?
Just as there are remedies against ants, there are also products to eliminate termites, however, their effectiveness depends on the damage caused by termites in wood or other materials. Also, it’s important to mention that ant poison doesn’t necessarily work on termites.
We can say that it is possible to use home remedies to eliminate termites when the problem is not too serious. In this way, there is no need to endanger the health of the family with harsh chemicals. In this sense, it is worth mentioning the insecticidal properties of boric acid, a compound that we can buy in pharmacies.
The idea is to make a homemade insecticide, but boric acid can kill these insects only if they eat enough of them, so you need to be very clever when preparing termite baits. This is a somewhat effective remedy against winged termites, but it is considered ineffective against other types of termites.
Another remedy used to eliminate termites at home is sanitary alcohol, which is placed in a syringe to be injected into the holes of these insects. However, it is necessary to periodically apply alcohol, since it only keeps them at bay to prevent their proliferation, but it is not indicated to eliminate them completely.
In this order of ideas, it must be said that homemade exterior wood treatment with gasoline can be a good idea to ward off termites momentarily until you can apply a specific insecticide. Similarly, treating exterior wood with diesel only offers short-term results.
We could also try to exterminate termites with steam, since these are susceptible to heat, however, steamers cannot go through hard materials such as wood or classic cement, so the treatment would be effective only on the surface.
The definitive solution against termites
A safe termite treatment must be based on the bait system, as the Sentri Tech product does. This specialized insecticide has hexaflumuron as its main ingredient, which serves to block the synthesis of chitin, the carbohydrate that forms the exoskeleton of the termites. Without the casing, the termites cannot survive, so this is an effective solution. However, under certain conditions this pesticide can be toxic to humans, which is why it must be carefully applied by a professional.
In short, it is important to get a real assessment of the seriousness of the problem, as sometimes termites are still in a superficial layer of the material, while other times they hide in deep areas, making it difficult for us to access them with domestic strategies..