How to Get Rid of Drywood Termites Without Tenting [Alternative Solution]

Unlike Subterranean termites, Drywood termites can infest your home without any apparent sign. Only when the wood shows physical damage that you’ll discover the infestation. This is why the most common treatments for this species are either heat or fumigation tenting. But many ask us: how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting? Surprisingly, there are many alternatives that you can try, including those we discussed here.

Pest Profile: Drywood Termites

Size: ¼ to 3/8-inch long
Characteristics: straight antennae, short legs, thick waists, large mandibles with teeth
Color: cream-colored to light brown
Typically found in: southern coastal areas of the U.S.

Here’s more information about Drywood termites:

Eradicating Drywood termites

First of all, it’s possible to kill Drywood termites without any tenting procedure. However, it will be challenging, more so since these termites can harbor in your home in multiple colonies.

Due to this behavior, Drywood termites tend to create small colonies usually composed of a few hundred to several thousand members. Although small, they can be present in multiple spots around your property.


Usually, homeowners will pay for fumigation or heat treatment for a guaranteed eradication. However, some loathe the potential side effects of the treatment. Fumigation, for one, has been notorious for its harmful fumes that could cause health problems. Also, this treatment is very invasive and will require the occupants to vacate the house for at least three days.

Heat treatment

On the other hand, heat treatment is the lesser evil. It’s chemical-free and uses heat to kill the pests. However, heat treatment is only done in a specific area of the house, usually the attic or a detached shed.

With this, homeowners are looking for an alternative to tenting. For this post, we will list and discuss some of these potential alternatives, how effective it is in killing the mites, and what limitations it has.

 Drywood Termite Facts

Before we dive deep into the methods on how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting, it’s essential to know the following facts first:

*Drywood termites don’t have an intensive caste as Subterranean species do
*Just as the name suggests, they don’t like moist or wet wood; thus their prominence in household timbers
*They chew wood across the grain and they also create large chambers that cause severe wood damage
*The nymphs from hatched eggs will become the soldier and reproductive termites
*Drywood termites are often in attic trusses, soffit areas, and fascia boards
*A colony has up to 5,000 mature members

Signs of a Drywood termite infestation

Unlike other termite species, Drywood termites are quite sneaky. Since they don’t burrow in the soil, it’s challenging to spot them around your house. There are no mud tubes or mounds that will reveal its presence.

Still, the most common and general sign of a termite infestation is the presence of swarmers. These are winged termites that will soon shed is wings and start a colony.

However, the swarmers shouldn’t be mistaken with winged ants. Winged ants have a segmented body with large rear and smaller heads. Meanwhile, winged termites have an elongated, non-segmented body that’s usually cream and brown in color.

Once the king and queen Drywood termites find a wood that they deem ideal for attacking, they will shed their wings and start laying eggs. So how will you know if your home is infested with this termite species?

Here are some of the potential signs:

*Presence of swarmers
*Hard to close doors and windows
*Shed wings
*Hollow wood
*Wood tunnels
*Termite droppings or frass

Take note that these symptoms can be the same as other termite species. Anyway, regardless of the species, having termites in your home is a big problem. Immediate solutions should be applied accordingly.

How to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting

*Orange oil treatment

how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting

The orange oil treatment is probably the most common and preferred Drywood termite treatment. It’s the leading alternative to tenting and other invasive procedures. If you want to know how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting, you have to consider this treatment.

This treatment starts by drilling into the affected wood and injecting the pure orange oil. Take note that pure orange oil is very acidic and contains high levels of D-limonene.

Moreover, D-limonene is the substance that gives the orange fruit its citrusy scent. Although an essential oil, orange oil isn’t applied directly to the skin due to its abrasive properties.

Once the orange wood is pumped into the wood, it will flow into the termite chambers, killing every mite that comes its way.

In addition, re-application might be needed if there are termites still left in the treated area.

Moreover, the orange oil treatment is ideal if you have identified the location of the Drywood termites. If not, it’s best to ask for the help of exterminators. They have special tools in detecting the presence of pests behind walls and timbers.

Safety precautions

Take note that the application of orange oil is performed while wearing protective gears like gloves and masks. This is to prevent direct skin contact with the substance.

Also, you should be careful since orange oil is flammable and combustible. It has a flashpoint of 115F and should be stored and handled properly. Also, it’s best to keep pets and kids away during the treatment.

*Boric acid treatment

how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting

Boric acid or borax is one of the popular DIY termite eradication solutions. It’s relatively safe to use and can be purchased from most home supplies stores.

However, you should know that boric acid isn’t the fastest way to get rid of the termite problem. Also, like the orange oil treatment, you need to determine where the Drywood termites are foraging.

For this process, you need to dilute boric acid powder in water. After that, use a blunt-tipped syringe to inject it into the infected wood. In some cases, you may also need to drill if there are no openings or external signs of damage.

Meanwhile, some homeowners use propylene glycol, which is a non-toxic version of anti-freeze. This will require more caution when handling, not to mention the effort of acquiring this substance.

Take note that you’d need to re-apply the boric acid solution a few times until you notice a change on the foraging habit of the pest. If the ticking sound stops, you may have killed the entire colony.

If you chose to hire professional exterminators, they would use borate solutions. Usually, these are more potent as they are licensed to handle and procure various chemicals used for pest control.

Safety precautions

Like any substance, you should always wear gloves, mask, and other protective gears when applying boric acid. Although this is a household item, you should never underestimate the potency of borax. Besides, there’s a good reason why it’s used as a strong agent for various cleaning products.

*Spot wood treatment

If you’re lucky enough to identify the presence of Drywood termite early, the infestation would be smaller in scale. In this situation, spot treatments are ideal since it targets the harborage of the pest and bombards them with a killer substance.

Just like the orange oil and boric acid treatment, you need to drill a hole into the infested wood and inject the termite-killing substance.

Sometimes, homeowners prefer to replace the infested wood with a new one to skip the hassle of spot treatment. This is ideal, but if multiple spots in your house have Drywood termites, it might be too invasive to chop off the infested timbers.

However, the challenge with spot wood termite treatment is you have to identify the exact spot of infestation. In the case of Drywood termites, it would be difficult since the damages are only seen once they have eaten the internal parts of the wood.

Safety precautions

Whatever chemical you’re using for the spot wood treatment, always handle it with care. Also, wear the necessary protection so you won’t be in contact with the substance should it spill, spray back into your face, or leak.

*Liquid nitrogen treatment

Another professional choice on how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting is using liquid nitrogen. The premise of this treatment is easy: drill a hole into the affected area and inject the liquid nitrogen.

Take note that only professional and licensed exterminators should handle liquid nitrogen. Direct contact with this substance can cause frostbite and serious injuries.

So you ask, how come that I eat liquid nitrogen in those fancy ice cream? Well, you’re not actually eating the liquid nitrogen itself. Upon pouring the liquid nitrogen into the ice cream, it will evaporate. Aside from that, the liquid nitrogen used in desserts is food-grade and less potent than the one used in pest control.

Besides, liquid nitrogen isn’t available as an over-the-counter product. With this, you need a pest control company to conduct the treatment for you.

Safety precautions

When performing the liquid nitrogen treatment, pest control experts will wear complete protective gears like masks, gloves, and full bodysuits. This is to avoid the harm that the chemical may cause if it accidentally spills or pours into the skin.

Also, since the liquid nitrogen will be injected, it may squirt back, posing harm to the person applying it if he or she doesn’t wear any protective masks.

When to call professional exterminators

On your own, knowing how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting is an excellent knowledge. However, if the Drywood termite colony is large and has been in multiple locations in your house, it’s best to call the help of licensed exterminators.

They can map out the infestation and give you treatment options. Also, you should remember that the abovementioned methods have limitations. If the infestation is in an advanced stage, you may need to resort to tenting for guaranteed eradication.

Nevertheless, a few days of sacrifice are better than living with the mites that slowly eats away your home.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How much does Drywood termite treatment cost?

A: Depending on the extent of the infestation, the cost of eradication could be anywhere between $200 and $2,500. It could be much higher for homes infested with multiple colonies. Also, you should note that the eradication method will affect the extermination cost.

Q: Does vinegar kill Drywood termites?

A: Yes, it does. However, the termites need to be in contact with the solution to be affected. With this, daily re-application is necessary. However, you want to avoid driving the mites away. This may lead them to leave the treated wood and infested another area.

Q: How long does it take for Drywood termites to cause damage?

A: Usually, it will take a Drywood termite colony three to five years to mature. Over the course of this timeframe, they are continuously eating wood and causing damage.

Q: Can you get rid of Drywood termites without tenting?

A: Yes, exterminators can offer you various options if you don’t like the tenting treatment. They will usually employ spot treatments or the injection of orange oil or liquid nitrogen into the infested wood.

Q: How do you prevent Drywood termites?

A: The best mode of prevention is by treating the wood that will be used in the construction of your house. Usually, termites won’t eat turpentine wood, but you can also avail a special pest control treatment that will last for years. Also, regular termite inspections will help prevent excessive damage should Drywood termites be present in your home.

Final words

Knowing how to get rid of Drywood termites without tenting is the first step to preventing an infestation from escalating. Still, no matter what the method you chose, always prioritize your safety and the people around you.

Moreover, the orange oil method is widely used, not just in DIY termite treatments, but also in professional extermination. As a potent substance, you should always practice caution.

If you’re looking for other options, the likes of boric acid, liquid nitrogen, and spot treatment might be the answer to the termite problem of your home.

What do you think of our suggestions here? Do you have more to add? Share it with us in the comment section!