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How to Kill Termites With Electricity

Ray Byrnes

Homeowners should consider all possibilities before deciding on how they want to deal with a termite infestation. In general, electricity should only be used to deal with a localized infestation, not for an entire structure.

Termites can cause irreversible damage in a home.

Since termites' bodies are largely composed of water, they act as transmitters for an electrical current. As a result, electrocution can be an effective treatment option, but it can also yield property damage and is among the most dangerous methods.

  1. Identify the infestation. This aspect of removal is especially important when trying to eliminate termites by electrocution. While the electric current will travel easily through the termites themselves, the signal will not pass through wood or other insulation surfaces. It is therefore crucial to identify the specific location of the termite infestation. Also, one must determine if the location of the infestation is suitable for electrocution. If materials like concrete and glass are abundant in the area, they may impede the electrocution process.

  2. If necessary, drill holes. These holes will allow the current to travel more effectively through the wall or other location. Note that while drill holes will cause structural damage, an insufficient current may not effectively eliminate termite infestation. If used properly, electrocution should eliminate up to 98 percent of the termite population.

  3. Electrocute termites. After the area is prepared, proceed with electrocution. Because of the extremely high voltage used in this process (90,000 volts), all other appliances should be removed from the sockets to avoid circuit damage. Termite electrocution equipment is generally lightweight and portable, so it can be moved for better access to the infested areas. Note that termites may survive the moment of electrocution, only to die a few weeks later from internal damage.

  4. Prevent future infestations. Even if all the termites are killed, they may still reappear in future seasons. To stop this from happening, tunnels that termites left in the walls should be filled and sealed or replaced. Adding screens over air vents and using resistant wood are also good methods of preventing future infestations.

  5. Warning

    Be careful working with electricity. A professionally certified inspector should be consulted before beginning any electric termite removal operation.