Last updates October 1, 2016: Although termites are an essential part of the ecosystem, outside of nature they can be quite destructive when they set their sights on our homes and businesses. If their progress remains unchecked, they can cause massive damages totalling thousands of dollars in repairs.
Taking these factors into consideration, we can see how vital it is that homeowners and business owners identify signs of termite infestation and learn about different methods on how to kill termites naturally.
Identify Signs of Termite Infestation
There are two major groups of termites that may be causing the damage. These are known as subterranean termites and wood termites. The signs of infestation will vary depending on which type of termite is present. Subterranean termites reside underground and build their colonies on the soil. They leave behind telltale signs of mud tube formations on the external-walls of a building.
You may also notice swarms of winged-termites or discarded wings in the affected areas. Wood termites have the tendency to attack pieces of wood furniture. You may notice sawdust on the floor along with cracked and damaged paint finishes. Small particles around the base of the damaged furniture are probably frass, the droppings of wood termites. There are several methods one can attempt to rid an area of termite infestation. If you opt to tackle the problem yourself, there are several techniques that can be researched further to find out how to get rid of termites naturally.
7 Methods to Kill Termites Naturally
Below you will find seven different methods that explain how to kill termites naturally.
- Using a Cardboard Trap
- Exposing the Area to Sunlight
- Eliminating Moisture
- Using Parasitic Nematodes
- Using Botanical Treatments
- Using Borates
- Using Heat and Cold Treatments
Using a Cardboard Trap
Using cardboard traps is considered one of the most natural and non-toxic ways of eliminating-termites naturally. Cardboard traps are effective because they contain a certain compound known as cellulose that attracts female termites. Cardboard gives off a woody smell by means of this cellulose. It is this aroma that can prove irresistible to termites. Lightly spraying the cardboard with a small amount of water serves to make the smell more powerful. Place the dampened piece of cardboard near the target area. The termites will then group themselves on top of it, after which it can be collected and disposed of by burning.
Exposing the Area to Sunlight
For a fact, termites are extremely susceptible to sunlight and actually die off when they they’re exposed to it and its consequent heat. It can help to clear out any covering vegetation around areas where a subterranean colony has taken up residence. An even more effective solution might be to dig up the targeted section and expose the termites directly to sunlight. For termite infested furniture, it may help to air the pieces of furniture outside in the bright sunlight during the hottest part of the day. This can kill off any termites that may be hiding inside the furniture and out of sight.
For the most part, it is known that termites thrive and multiply in areas that are rich in water moisture. Keeping this in mind, you can ensure that the interior of the room or building is kept dry and that any moisture prone areas are repaired. It will also be helpful to look around the perimeter of the building and ensure that there are no water pools or water leakages in contact with the foundation.
Using Parasitic Nematodes
There are small worms known as Parasitic Nematodes that feed on microscopic creatures such as bacteria and fungi. Interestingly, there are a few groups of these parasitic Nematodes that are known for feeding on small insects such as termites. This is a form of biological control one can use to introduce a natural predator into the termite colony and let nature take its course. Using these small Nematodes is an extremely effective way to remove a stubborn termite infestation. To find Parasitic Nematodes for this purpose, you can search online stores or your local pesticide store.
Using Botanical Treatments
Using orange oil can be effective because it contains the active compound known as d-limonene. This compound is powerful enough to kill termites on contact. Dry wood termite colonies with well defined boundaries are most vulnerable to orange oil treatments. Neem oil is another effective botanical treatment for ousting termites. It is extracted from the Asian neem tree and must be directly ingested by the termites in order to have the desired effect. When using Neem oil, it is usually necessary to repeat the application several times before the entire colony is eliminated.
When inquiring about how to kill termites naturally, a common solution many are familiar with is the use of borax powder. Using sodium borate, also called borax, is another way to remove termites in a natural way. Subterranean termites can be killed by using a solution of sodium borate or by applying sodium borate powder to the targeted area. An advantage of using borates, as with most natural-ways of eliminating termite pests, is that it is non-toxic to both humans and pets. One method of administering a borate solution is to spray or paint it onto wood surfaces of newly constructed buildings. This painting method can prevent future infestations of termites from occurring. When treating a colony in an existing structure, it can be difficult to determine whether the borate powder is successfully infiltrating the entire colony. It can be more effective to spray the colony with a liquid solution for the best coverage. It may be necessary to repeat applications of the borate treatments to ensure that the entire colony is exterminated. It is also especially effective to use borate treatments in conjunction with other natural treatments.
Using Heat and Cold Treatments
For drywood termite infestations, it is possible to find a solution using heat and cold treatments. In order to prepare for a heat treatment, you must first remove certain items from the building. This is because, during a heat treatment, a forced, heated air flow is pushed into a sealed structure with temperatures of up to 140 degrees. The treated area has to reach a temperature of 120 degrees for thirty five minutes in order to successfully kill the colony. When cold treatments are used, an extremely cold temperature of 15 degrees must be maintained for four days to be effective.
Becoming familiar with how to kill termites naturally can equip a person with the know-how of many different safe and effective methods. These removal methods can even be combined with one another when treating an especially large or problematic termite colony. Incorporating these natural techniques also helps to ensure maximum safety since the use of potentially harmful chemicals is avoided.