If your home has been invaded by termites, it’s important to act fast to prevent extensive damage. There are tons of termite killers on the market, including liquid termiticide, baits, and direct chemical treatments.
Because choosing a termite killer can be overwhelming, the This Old House Reviews Team has done all the research for you, rounding up the Top 5 Termite Killers of 2021. We’ve broken down our top picks by active ingredient, application method, pros and cons, and more.
While these treatments may help somewhat in the short term, they’re no match for termite control from professional pest control companies. We’ve shared the two best pest control companies to help you eradicate termites—Orkin and Terminix.
The 5 Best Termite Killers
We’ve selected the top five termite killers of the year, ranging from liquid treatments for barriers, to foams for spot treatments and bait stations. Here are the 5 best termite killers available on the market right now:
- Taurus SC: Most Popular
- Bifen XTS: Best Fast-acting
- Spectracide Terminate: Best Bait
- Termidor Foam: Best Direct Chemical Treatment
- BioAdvanced Termite Killer: Best for DIY
1. Taurus SC — Most Popular
|Effective against termites as well as other pests||More costly than some alternatives|
|Kills termites at the source||Proper application is effort-intensive, involving digging|
|Used by professional pest control companies||Results take some time|
|Pet-friendly*||Outside use only|
*Fipronil, the active ingredient in many cat and dog flea medicines, is the active ingredient in this termiticide.
- Active ingredient: Fipronil
- Works in: Less than 90 days
- Lasts for: Up to 10 years
This highly effective, highly concentrated termiticide is one of the best termite killers available. To use Taurus SC, you need to dig a six-inch trench around your home’s perimeter and pour the solution in every 10 feet.
Taurus SC is not a termite-repellent, which termites can detect. Instead, termites can’t smell this termiticide and don’t notice it—which is why they cross over it and bring the poison with them when they return to the colony, “infecting” the other termites. Taurus SC is not as fast-acting as some other termiticides, but it’s more thorough in that it fully eradicates the entire colony.
The termites will begin dying off in a few weeks, and by 90 days, the entire colony will be eliminated.
Taurus SC also kills off roaches, centipedes, wasps, ants, and other pests. However, it’s safe around pets—it shares its active ingredient with common pet flea medications.
2. Bifen XTS — Best Fast-acting
|Kills many types of wood-eating pests||May harm plant life|
|Fast-acting||Has a strong odor|
|Provides residual, preventative protection|
- Active ingredient: Bifenthrin
- Works in: 24 hours
- Lasts for: 90 days
Bifen XTS is a fast-acting, oil-based termiticide that can kill termites in 24 hours by attacking their nervous systems. This treatment is not recommended for use indoors. Spray it around the perimeter of your home to kill termites.
Bifen XTS also works as a preventative measure—after spraying, it leaves residual material for up to eight weeks, killing any termites that come into contact with it. Bifen XTS is also an effective pest control solution for dozens of other kinds of pests.
We should note that Bifen XTS is oil-based, so if you aren’t careful spraying it, you may harm your garden.
3. Spectracide Terminate — Best Bait
|Simple installation||Only works on mild infestations|
|Detects termite activity / easy to understand||Needs more maintenance than common sprays|
|No spraying needed||Potentially toxic to aquatic creatures, so can’t be used near ponds|
- Active ingredient: Hexaflumuron
- Works in: Time varies
- Lasts for: One year
Spectracide Terminate may be a game-changer for you—it actually detects the presence of termites, which often go unnoticed until they’ve done a lot of damage. Spectracide Terminate has 15 stakes with pesticide-filled baits. The termite indicator couldn’t be simpler—it pops up as soon as the termite takes the bait.
Termites will pick up the poison and bring it back to their colony, transmitting it to all the other termites. Depending on the size of your home, you may need 10 or 20 stakes, so you may need to buy several packages.
To set up the Spectracide Terminate, you should place stakes no less than 10 feet apart around the perimeter of your home. Be sure to place them in moisture-high locations, like poor drainage areas. You should check the stakes every few months and replace them once a year.
Note: Spectracide Terminate features many strong chemicals and could poison any aquatic creatures you may have in your pond, like fish or frogs.
4. Termidor Foam — Best Direct Chemical Treatment
|Can be used indoors||May not be as effective as barriers or baits|
|Single application can last for over a month||Won’t protect perimeter of your home|
|Single container good for many use|
- Active ingredient: Fipronil
- Works in: 90 days
- Lasts for: 4 to 6 weeks
Termidor Foam is a major win because it can be used directly inside of your home, unlike liquid barriers and baits. If you’re trying to dispatch termites in cracks and crevices in your house, use this treatment.
This foam works differently than a spray. After you release it from the can, it expands up to 30 times in volume. This means you can shoot foam into as many hard-to-reach places as you want, knowing it will poison many more termites than you can imagine upon contact.
Another plus—Termidor Foam is totally odorless, so it won’t cause noxious smells around your house.
5. BioAdvanced Termite Killer — Best for DIY
|Easy-to-use||Can only be used outdoors|
|Less toxic than some alternatives|
- Active ingredient: Imidacloprid
- Works in: 3 to 4 weeks
- Lasts for: Several months
BioAdvanced Termite Killer is an effective, easy-to-use termite killer made up of granules. Homeowners simply sprinkle the granules around the perimeter of their home, then water them until they’re moist. The moisture will cause the granules to disintegrate, releasing the active ingredient into the soil.
This termite killer has an active ingredient that’s highly toxic to insects but mostly harmless to humans.
Signs You May Have Termites
When it comes to spotting a termite problem, it’s not as easy as seeing a few crawling insects around your space, as termites themselves are notoriously hard to find. However, there are several common signs that may indicate you have termites. If you spot any of these, be sure to investigate further or call a professional pest control company.
- Mud tubes—These are tunnels made up of wood and soil, about the width of a pencil, commonly found along your walls.
- Hollow-sounding wood—If you tap on your wood and it sounds hollow, you may have termites eating your home from the inside out.
- Discarded wings—When termites swarm, they shed their wings and leave them behind in large quantities.
- Frass—If you spot small pellets by your woodwork, they may be termite excrement, also known as frass, signaling a nearby colony.
- Peeling paint—Termites let moisture in between the paint and the wall, causing bubbles.
Types of Termite Killers
Termite killers come in two major types—liquid termiticides, either applied to a barrier or directly to the woodwork, or baits.
- Liquid barriers. Professionals will often create a protective barrier around your home’s perimeter by digging a trench and applying a liquid termiticide to it. These treatments are non-repellent, so termites don’t notice them and carry the poison with them back to the colony after coming across it.
- Direct liquid treatments. There are also direct liquid termiticide treatments called “spot treatments,” where professionals drill holes into the woodwork and shoot foam into them or apply foam to existing cracks and crevices. The foam works in the same way, killing the termites in the colony through poison transmission.
- Baits. Termite baits are poison-filled traps placed strategically around your home’s perimeter. Termites are attracted to the wood, cellulose, or paper in the baits, which is laced with poison. Worker termites searching for food sources find it, eat it, and carry the poison back to the colony, spreading it to the others and eventually killing them.
Top Things to Consider when Choosing a Termite Killer
Termite problems are all serious, but different homeowners may be looking for different types of solutions. Before you select the best termite killer for you, consider the various factors that may be important in finding your best fit, like:
- Type (liquid barrier, bait, or direct chemical application)
- Your budget
- Indoor vs outdoor use
- Degree of infestation
- Ease of use
- If the treatment kills other pests
- How long the solution takes to work
- How long the solution lasts
- How harsh the chemicals are
- If it will affect your garden/plants
Common Active Ingredients in Termite Killers
There are several main active ingredients in popular termite killers, and some of them work in different ways.
- Fipronil—This white, moldy-smelling powder kills termites by disrupting the functioning of their central nervous systems. Without these primary functions, the termites die.
- Bifenthrin—This active ingredient is a pyrethroid insecticide, meaning it’s derived from naturally occurring chemicals in Chrysanthemum flowers. Bifenthrin prevents termites’ nerves from functioning, ultimately killing them.
- Imidacloprid—This termite killer mimics nicotine, blocking a neuronal pathway and paralyzing the insect, ultimately killing it.
- Hexaflumuron—This insect growth regulator works by inhibiting the termites’ growth, keeping them from growing a new exoskeleton. It eventually sterilizes the queen, eliminating the colony.
Top Recommendation for Termite Killers: Professional Pest Control
The most effective solution for killing and detecting termites is always hiring a professional pest control company. The top companies have decades of termite experience, highly trained termite specialists, and high-quality equipment and products.
Orkin has 70 years of termite killing experience and uses an Assess, Implement, and Monitor approach. The primary treatment methods are Termidor liquid to eradicate existing termites, Sentricon bait and monitoring, and expanding dry foam and Orkinfoam.
Terminix has been tackling pesky termite issues for 90 years. After a thorough inspection of your home, a trained specialist will dig a trench in your soil and drill a hole in your home’s slab to apply liquid treatment, as well as install bait stations around your home’s perimeter.
FAQs About Termite Killers
What is the best termite killer on the market?
The best termite killer for you will depend on what you’re looking for—do you want something for indoor use or outdoor use, something that acts quickly, or something on the more affordable side? We’ve provided a range of options in our top five, so you’re likely to find the best one for you on this list.
What is the most effective termite treatment?
The most effective termite treatment is done by professional pest control companies. These pros have commercial-grade equipment and products that typical homeowners don’t have access to, and they can offer different kinds of termite control, depending on the type of termite and degree of infestation.
What do professionals use to kill termites?
Different pest control professionals take different approaches. While many use a combination of termiticide liquid barriers and bait stations, some differ in additional treatments. For example, Orkin uses foams while Terminix does not.
Can I spray for termites myself?
Homeowners can spray termiticides themselves after digging a trench to act as a protective barrier or spray a foam inside the cracks and crevices of their home. However, the most effective methods will be performed by a professional pest control company.
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