How To Rid a Sailboat of Termites

A sailboat, like any other form of water transport, are vulnerable to pest infestations, which are can be particularly difficult to cope with. One insect that can infest a sailboat is the termite. Even though most boats these days don’t use wood exteriors, a boat will still have plenty of wood used in the construction process which is a feast for termites. Fortunately, a sailboat is a small, isolated area which makes the job easier. If the infestation is bad, you might need to resort to professional exterminators.

Step 1: Does Your Boat Have Termites?

The first thing is to establish whether you have an infestation of termites. Unless your boat is in contact with the ground, the good news is that you’ll have drywood, not subterranean, termites. Since drywood termites swarm, if a neighboring boat has a problem, you probably will too.

If you discover something that look like sawdust in your boat, it’s probably a sign of terminates. It’s actually the fecal matter termites expel as they eat and is known as frass. Another giveaway sign is if you see plenty of wings. Termites need them to move from area to area but when they start to devour wood, they drop the wings. You probably won’t see the termites themselves as they burrow into the wood.

Step 2: Simple Treatments

Don’t be tempted to use any kind of aerosol bomb; it’s simply not going to be effective. It’s fine for the air and outer surfaces but it won’t touch the termites already in the wood which will usually be the majority of them.

You’re much better off starting with sprays of termite poison which you can find at most hardware stores. You’ll need to look at the wood to pick out the holes the termites made when burrowing into the wood. Each can of the poison will be attached to a tube and suction cup that surround a needle. Insert the needle into the termite hole and then press the applicator. It will exert plenty of force, probably enough to force the poison out of other holes in the piece of wood.

You’ll need to repeat the process in every hole you can find, which can take a long time if you have a bad infestation. However, the poison is very effective and in many instances can get rid of all the termites.

Step 3: An Alternative Treatment

One company has come up with an imaginative alternative treatment that doesn’t kill the termites but offers them the kind of woods they prefer, such as balsa, fir, pine and several others. Since they’d rather eat these woods, they tend to leave your boat alone. However, it’s not a program for everyone.

Step 4: Fumigation

One method that does work against termites is fumigation. The boat is sealed behind the waterline and then fumigated with Vicane gas. However, this needs to be done by a professional extermination company to be completely successful. Many will also offer guarantees on their work.