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This is for small localized areas when finding termites. Cayenne pepper has worked for us. Expose the hidden areas taking care not to damage the surroundings, sprinkle the pepper liberally (also carefully) in as many spots possible. You can wear a face mask so you don't inhale it.
You can also make a water or light vegetable oil paste to apply to vertical spots. Recover the area with a temporary material to check on progress.
When you are sure the termites are no longer there, put up the permanent covering. This advice was given to us by a carpenter who also doesn't like poisons. Good luck!
By Lin from Atasacadero, CA
Way t'go, Atascadero! It's been many a year since we moved from Arroyo Grande, an' I sure coulda used this info way back then! But I tell ya, Lin, I'm still anxious to give it a try on the 96-year-old house we've got now in Tehachapi.