5 Ways On How To Get Rid Of Termites Without Tenting

Kenneth Wilson

Termite infestations can be highly inconvenient, especially with their destructive nature and ability to remain hidden for extensive periods of time. Termites are very small ant-like insects and it is sometimes difficult to identify them. They consume wood and anything that has cellulose such as wallpaper, wood chips, paper, drywall, furniture, and more. They cannot eat through plastic or concrete, however they may pass through non-wood substances to reach their food source. If you think you have spotted termites, check to see if they have six legs, wings, and an antenna.

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know on how to get rid of termite infestations without tenting!

Termite infestations often require tenting to get rid of. Tenting involves evacuating the building for a period of time while deadly chemicals are used to exterminate termites. This process requires the residents of the home to live elsewhere for a period of days. Dry wood termites can be especially tricky to deal with, as they don’t require contact with soil, giving them the ability to thrive in roofing materials and wooden wall materials. One of the great things about dry wood termites is that many of the non-tenting extermination methods are effective on them because there are usually no large tunnel systems built underneath the house for the colony to access soil. 

Although tenting is the standard practice for termite extermination, there are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly options out there. If the termite infestation is caught early enough, you might be able to avoid tenting your entire house by using one of five essential extermination methods. 

Types of Termites to Lookout for

One of the key determinants in the method of choice for termite extermination is the kind of termite. There are over 2,000 different types of termites in the world, but dry wood termites and subterranean termites are two of the most common that homeowners deal with.

Subterranean termites can be found all over the United States, with only the state of Alaska being exempt from their presence. Dry wood termites are found in the southern United States areas including the gulf coast and southern California. There are also Formosan termites, which are known for their extensive underground tunnel systems and ability to live in many different climates. 

Ways to Get Rid of Termites Without Tenting


Heating is a method used to get rid of dry wood termites. Heating is extremely effective, but it is not always suitable for all structures. Heating works best in settings like outdoor sheds, basements, and attics where the heat can be controlled and applied to a small area. Heating treatment is preferred by many people who want to avoid using dangerous chemicals. It only takes 35 minutes to kill dry wood termites using the heating method, making it the fastest extermination tool in the book.

Heating is especially important for individuals who live near a body of water and need to get rid of termites. There are a lot of regulations in place that prevent people near water from tenting in order to prevent the chemicals from entering the water supply. To use the heating method, the termites must be targeted with 125 degree heat (Fahrenheit) for around 10 minutes. It works best for dry wood termites that don’t burrow underground, but it can be used for all species.  

Orange Oil

Orange oil can be used to kill termites, as well as many other unwanted pests. It is a common and proven method that is preferred by many homeowners who shy away from the fumigation process. To use orange oil to kill termites, you need to drill a hole into the wood and it needs to be injected into the infected wood. Orange oil is extremely acidic and can be dangerous when it comes in contact with human skin, but it serves as the perfect essential oil solution for a termite infestation. One of the only downsides to using orange oil is that you must be able to locate the termites in order to effectively apply this extermination method.

Orange oil is a common household item and it can be purchased on Amazon or in the supermarket. For best results, you will need to apply the treatment a few times. Orange oil is also a great method of prevention for homeowners who want an extra level of security.  

Boric Acid

Similar to the orange oil treatment, boric acid kills termites extremely effectively. This is one of the most popular methods of termite control, but it can be dangerous if the boric acid is not handled with extreme care. The boric acid must be mixed with water and injected into the termite-infested areas of the wood to work effectively. You will need to drill one or multiple small holes in the infected wood area before applying the boric acid.  

Spot Wood Treatment

Spot wood treatment is not a preferred method for large infestations. If you can catch the termites early enough, spot wood treatment can be effective. When you use spot wood treatment, you must locate the specific area of wood that the termites are burrowing in and overflow the area with a substance like orange oil or boric acid to nip the issue in the butt before the infestation progresses.  

Termite Baits

Baits are a good preventative measure that attract foraging termites and have a slow release poison that kills the termites. The best thing about the termite baits is that they return the poison to the colony of termites. Termite baits can be purchased online from amazon or from select home improvement stores. The baits are easy to install and only take a few minutes to set up. You might find that baits in combination with liquid barriers can be highly effective in preventing termites.  

Some Signs of Termite Damage

  • Mud tubes that termites travel through to reach exterior food sources
  • Bubbling paint
  • Darkening or blistering wood surfaces
  • Soft interior wood that sounds hollow
  • Rejected wings near points of entry
  • Small pile of termite feces that resemble sawdust

One of the first signs of a potential termite infestation is the presence of swarmers, which explore for new areas to find new habitable wood. If you do see termite wings at points of entry, it is likely a sign that swarmers have found your home and it is only a matter of time before a whole colony arrives.  

Additionally, mud tubes are easily recognizable and a sure sign that termites have set in. They allow termites to travel between the interior wood and the outdoors. They are usually found outdoors or in areas like an attic or basement. If you find mud tubes or signs of swarmers at your house contact a specialist immediately. (Related: Termite Treatment: A Cost & Consumer Guide)

What Attracts Termites?

There are a variety of reasons that termites might settle into the wood in your home. One main factor is weather conditions like moisture and humidity. A great way to prevent moisture in your home is to invest in a dehumidifier or humidity trappers like DampRid. It is also important that you repair leaky pipes so that moisture does not build up and create a habitable environment for termites and other pests. Outdoor piles of firewood are prime reality for termite colonies. To prevent termites from invading outdoor wood piles, cover them with a waterproof tarp or keep the firewood in a shed. Never take firewood from a foreign location and bring it back to your place of residence.  

Tree stumps are another huge attraction for termites. Because tree stumps can be dry wood and also provide access to the soil, termites thrive in their environment. It is best to remove tree stumps sooner rather than later in order to prevent termite swarmers from finding your stumps and setting up camp. You can also treat tree stumps with orange oil or boric acid in order to prevent termites from setting in beforehand. Lastly, mulch can be a huge issue if you are trying to prevent termites or exterminate them. Rubber mulch or pine straw can be a great alternative to wooden mulch and can keep termites at bay while you are trying to manage them.  

When Should you Let the Professionals Take Care of Things?

When it comes to termites, it is always best to let professional exterminators take care of business. Exterminators have the ability to detect termites and pinpoint areas that need to be treated for an infestation. Most exterminators know how to tent and use a multitude of other methods to rid a structure of termites.

One of the best ways to exterminate termites is to just prevent them. You should get frequent inspections on your property to prevent expensive and unnecessary termite damage. Although termite inspections may be an extra cost, they can prevent a lot of unnecessary expenses in the future due to termite destruction.  

Kenneth Wilson
October 12, 2021
Contractor Tips, Interior

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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