Heat treatment for termites is an innovative and environmentally-friendly approach to combating these wood-destroying pests, which have plagued homeowners and property managers for centuries.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into the process of heat treatment, its advantages, and how it effectively targets termite infestations, protecting your home and investment from potential structural damage.
I. What is heat treatment for termites
Heat treatment is one of the favorite methods of eliminating termites, those little critters that cause big problems in our homes, sometimes causing part of the house to collapse.
To understand how heat treatment works, imagine using heat to drive those unwanted pests out of the house.
The simple idea is that the heat makes the situation too hot and an intolerable temperature for the termites to survive, so they have no choice, either they leave or they die.
This method is very popular because it does not use harmful chemicals that can harm people or animals living in the house, and it gets rid of termites!
The heat treatment process begins with experts who know termites inside out and know how to get rid of them.
These specialists come to your home with special equipment. This equipment is designed to heat your home to a temperature too high for termites to withstand.
The temperature is often raised to 120 or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which may seem quite high for humans, but is just enough to kill termites.
The heat is maintained for a fixed period, generally between 4 and 8 hours, in order to guarantee the final extermination of all termites.
During the heat treatment, the members composing the house must imperatively leave, because the high temperature can sometimes be dangerous for them.
II. How do you prepare for termite heat treatment?
Termite heat treatment is a good way to get rid of harmful termites without using harsh chemicals.
To prepare to receive this treatment at home, there are a few steps to follow to ensure that everything goes well.
So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty and find out how to prepare your home for this amazing process!
First, find a trusted professional who specializes in termite heat treatment. He is the best person to contact for the best advice on this preparation.
The second thing to absolutely do is to take all heat-sensitive objects out of the house and place them outside or at a neighbor’s house.
These include, for example, candles, which can melt, ladies’ cosmetics, or electronic devices, such as computers or televisions, which can be damaged by heat.
Also remove any objects that could catch fire, such as spray cans, lighters, or anything containing flammable liquids.
And above all, let’s not forget the plants! It is therefore best to place them outside or in a safe place away from heat.
Next, you have to make sure the house is ready so that the heat can circulate easily. This is done by opening all the doors, drawers, and cabinets in the house so that the heat can reach every nook and cranny where the termites might be hiding. (Warning, doors, and windows facing the outside must be closed in order to trap the heat).
This helps ensure that the treatment is as effective as possible and doesn’t give those little critters a chance to escape.
Another important step in preparing for a termite heat treatment is arranging for the entire family and pets to be away from the home during the process.
It is also advisable to ask the termite heat treatment expert if they have any specific instructions for the home. This is because every home is different and he may have special recommendations based on his experience and knowledge.
Do not hesitate to ask him all the questions concerning the whole process, in order to be ready on the big day.
Finally, before the start of treatment, it is necessary to ensure that the house is clean and tidy.
III. How does heat treatment for termites work?
To better understand how this ecological treatment works, you only need to know that the basic principle is related to the inability of termites to survive heat over 50° (120°F), as well as their eggs and larvae.
Here’s how it generally works:
Professionals go to the person who has this termite problem and they will use special devices to identify the areas where the termites are active.
They then install special heaters and use fans to circulate warm air through the infested space.
The temperature will be gradually increased until it reaches around 120-140°F (49-60°C) and will be maintained for a long time, up to 8 hours for large infestations. And it is this very high heat that will kill the termites, including their eggs and their larvae.
After treatment, wait for the area to cool down before entering.
IV. Is heat treatment for termites effective?
Heat treatment can be an effective method of controlling termites, particularly dry wood termites, which typically infest smaller, confined areas such as furniture or wood.
The heat treatment technique involves raising the temperature of the infested area to a termite-killing level, often between 120 and 140° F (49 to 60° C), and holding it at that level for a specified extended period. This is usually between 1 hour and several hours.
Nevertheless, several factors can affect the effectiveness of heat treatment, including
- Accessibility: The ability to evenly heat the entire infected area is critical to the effectiveness of heat therapy. In some cases, it may be difficult to reach all infested areas, which may lead to incomplete extermination.
- Insulation: Some materials, such as concrete or insulation, can reduce the effectiveness of heat treatment by limiting heat penetration or acting as a heat sink.
- Monitoring: Proper temperature monitoring during processing is essential to ensure that lethal temperatures are achieved and maintained for the required period. Inadequate monitoring may result in insufficient heat exposure, allowing termites to survive.
- Termite species: although heat treatment is effective for dry wood termites, it may not be effective for subterranean termites, which often have large, hard-to-reach, underground colonies that are difficult to heat.
V. How much heat does it take to get rid of termites?
As mentioned above, the optimum temperature for killing termites in wood is 50°C to 60°C (120°F-140°F) without damaging the wood itself.
The wood must be heated for at least one hour, and possibly several hours, to reach the heart of the wood. Otherwise, the eggs or larvae may escape and reappear a few months after the first treatment.
VI. Are there any disadvantages to using heat treatment for termites?
Heat treatment of termites is indeed an environmentally friendly and effective option, but there are a few drawbacks to consider:
- Cost: It can be more expensive than some chemical treatments, as it requires specialized equipment and trained professionals to perform the procedure.
- Limited reach: The heat may not penetrate deeply enough into all areas of the structure, leaving some termites unaffected, especially in well-insulated or hard-to-reach spaces.
- Damage to belongings: The high temperatures used during the treatment can potentially damage heat-sensitive items in your home, such as electronics, plastics, and certain fabrics. It’s essential to remove or protect these items before the treatment begins.
- Inconvenience: Heat treatment requires you to vacate your home for several hours during the process, which can be inconvenient.
- No residual protection: Unlike some chemical treatments that leave a residual barrier to protect against future infestations, heat treatment offers no long-term protection once it’s completed.
VII. What is the duration of the heat treatment process for termites?
The average heat treatment time for termites is approximately 4 to 8 hours depending on the area to be treated, the nature of the wood, and the surface of the infestation.
VIII. Can heat treatment for termites damage my belongings?
Heat treatment for termites can potentially cause damage to certain belongings if they are sensitive to high temperatures. As heat treatments consist of increasing the temperature of the infested house to 120-140°F (49-60°C) for an extended period of a few hours.
Things that could be at risk include:
- Electronic equipment: Computers, televisions, and other electrical gadgets can be damaged by these high temperatures.
- Plastics and vinyl: Items made of plastic, vinyl, or similar materials can warp, melt, or become disfigured when exposed to high temperatures.
- Candles and wax items: These will likely melt or become deformed during the heat treatment process.
- Artwork and photographs: Heat can potentially damage or alter certain types of artwork, such as oil paintings or photographs, especially if they are not properly protected.
- Musical instruments: High temperatures can cause some instruments to warp, crack, or suffer other types of damage, particularly those made of wood or with delicate components.
- Medications and cosmetics: Some medications and cosmetics may lose their effectiveness or become damaged when exposed to high temperatures.
To minimize the risk of damage to your belongings during heat treatment, it is essential to consult with a professional pest control service.
They can provide guidance on what items should be removed or protected during the treatment process.
Taking necessary precautions and following the expert’s advice can help ensure the safety of your belongings while effectively eliminating termites from your home or property.
III. What is the cost for heat treatment for termites
Le coût du traitement thermique des termites n’est pas fixe et dépends de plusieurs facteurs, tels que la taille de la zone infestée, la gravité de l’infestation, l’emplacement de l’infestation et l’entreprise qui va venir vous débarrasser de ces bestioles.
As a rough guide, it can be said that termite heat treatment can range from $500 to $5,000 or more and largely depends on the multiple factors cited above. The cost might be higher if the infestation is extensive, difficult to access, or if the property is large.
It’s important to get quotes from multiple pest control companies to compare prices and services before making a decision.
It should also be realized that prices generally vary from region to region and over time. It is therefore strongly recommended to contact local companies and ask for a quote so that there are no surprises at the time of payment.
IV. termite heat treatment vs fumigation
Two popular and effective treatment methods for eliminating termites are heat treatment and fumigation.
# Heat Treatment:
Termite heat treatment, also known as thermal remediation, involves raising the temperature within the infested area to levels lethal to termites.
Professionals use specialized equipment, such as heaters and fans, to gradually increase the temperature to around 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit, and maintain it for a few hours. This process effectively kills termites in all life stages, including eggs and larvae.
Eco-friendly: Heat treatment doesn’t require chemicals, making it an environmentally friendly option.
No residue: Since no chemicals are used, there’s no risk of chemical residue remaining in your home after treatment.
Single treatment: In most cases, heat treatment can eliminate termite infestation in a single session.
Limited disruption: Heat treatment is relatively quick, usually taking between four and eight hours, meaning less disruption to your daily routine.
Limited penetration: Heat may not penetrate deep into walls or flooring, leaving some termites unaffected.
Cost: Heat treatment can be more expensive than fumigation due to the specialized equipment required.
Inaccessible areas: It may not be suitable for treating termites in hard-to-reach areas, such as crawl spaces or attics.
Fumigation involves sealing the infested structure, either by tenting the entire building or isolating specific rooms, and then releasing a chemical gas, such as sulfuryl fluoride, to eliminate termites.
The gas penetrates walls, floors, and other hiding spots, effectively exterminating termites in all life stages.
Thorough extermination: Fumigation penetrates deep into the structure, ensuring a comprehensive treatment.
Effective for large infestations: Fumigation is highly effective for treating extensive termite colonies and widespread infestations.
Proven track record: Fumigation has been used for decades, demonstrating its effectiveness and reliability.
Chemical use: Fumigation involves the use of potentially hazardous chemicals, raising environmental and health concerns.
Occupant relocation: Homeowners must vacate the property during treatment, which may take up to three days.
Post-treatment cleanup: After fumigation, the home must be thoroughly aired out to remove any lingering gas, which can be time-consuming.
VIII. Other Questions About heat treatment for termites
1. Can I kill termites with a heat gun?
The answer is yes and no!
Indeed, a heat gun is only effective in killing termites with which it comes into direct contact. Other termites hidden deep in walls, floors, or other inaccessible areas will not be affected.
Using a heat gun does not address the root cause of the infestation or prevent future termite attacks.
Treating termite-infested areas manually with a heat gun can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, especially for heavy infestations.
In conclusion, it can be said that for a well-localized and not large infestation, one can use a heat gun, but otherwise it is almost ineffective against termites buried deep in the wood.
2. Do termites go away in the winter?
Termites do not necessarily go away in the winter, but their activity levels may decrease significantly depending on the climate and the specific termite species.
In regions with colder winters, subterranean termites may burrow deeper into the soil, seeking warmth and protection from the cold temperatures. Some termites can also survive in heated buildings, where they can remain active throughout the winter months.
In warmer climates or areas with mild winters, termites may not slow down much at all, continuing to feed and reproduce.
However, their foraging activity may be reduced compared to the warmer months. It’s important to remember that even if termite activity appears to decrease in the winter, it can still cause damage to structures.
3. Do termites eat heat-treated wood?
Wood that is treated by heat is generally less susceptible to termite infestation than untreated wood. But it is not completely immune to termite attacks.
Heat therapy requires heating the wood to high temperatures, which decreases its moisture content and kills any insects or larvae that are already present.
This process also alters the wood’s chemical composition, making it less attractive to termites.