The tiny termite is certainly a mighty insect. They colonize almost all land masses, with Antarctica the only exception, filling their societies with a few hundred to millions of individual termites. The queens can live anywhere from 30 to 50 years.
And they have the ability to take down buildings, food crops, and wood structure, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency noting that property owners spend more than $2 billion annually treating these pests.
While it’s important to start treatment at the first sign of the insect, using natural remedies for getting rid of termites can help keep you, your family, your pets, and your house safe while showing the bugs the door — and not for dinner.
Natural Remedies for Getting Rid of Termites
Be Aware of the Conditions That Attract Termites
While only less than 200 of the more than 1,000 species of termites cause wood damage, those species can be highly destructive. To get rid of termites before they start, make sure to clear your property of the food sources that attract them. Don’t use scrap wood in construction, and remove any piles of scrap wood or mulch you may have lying around. Fill in cracks or open spaces between stairs, especially in damp, dark areas, and make sure that your walls and other wood on the property is kept dry. It’s also a good idea to clean out drainage pipes and clogged gutters.
Know Which Termite Is Attacking Your Property
Subterranean termites are typically found underground, feeding on moist trees and causing more significant damage than drywood termites. Drywood termites, on the other hand, are the termites that usually dine on your home. Home treatments are typically more effective on drywood termites, because you have evidence of their damage much sooner than you would with the subterranean termites. The worst case scenario with both types is chemical fumigation, when a tent is placed over your house and chemicals are sprayed in every area of the house.
Essential Oils Can Be Beneficial
One study shows that certain essential oils, like vetiver grass, cassia leaf, clove bud, cedarwood, Eucalyptus globules and citrodora, lemongrass, and geranium, were effective in treating subterranean termites, with vetiver oil proving to be the most effective due to its long-lasting properties — it reduced the tunneling activity of the termites. Clove bud was also highly effective, as it killed 100 percent of termites in only two days. Others have found that orange oil may also be an effective essential oil. Try mixing a few drops of the orange oil with water and spraying it directly on the area that’s been affected by termites. This will also work with the clove bud oil and vetiver oil, and you might consider a combination of multiple oils to increase the potency.
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Call out the Cardboard
Or, more appropriately, the cellulose that makes up cardboard and paper. Setting up traps attracts the termites. With a little patience, you might that the entire colony will arrive at your trap, and you can use a variety of techniques to dispose of the termites. Wet cardboard is even more attractive to termites.
Electrocution of Termites Is a Permanent Treatment
While it is best to contact a professional when using electrocution to get rid of termites, it’s highly effective, as the high voltage electrical current can destroy the entire colony at once. If you choose to DIY, make sure to use the correct personal protection equipment, like safety gloves and appropriate shoes.
Expose Them to Extreme Conditions
Termites of any species live the longest in warm, damp, and humid climates, and they don’t fare well in extreme heat or cold — which is why they aren’t living in Antarctica. If you have a specific piece of furniture that has been affected, place it directly in hot sunlight. You can also, if the furniture allows, pour ice water directly on the wood, or clean it with ice cold water.
Shift the Subterranean Termites' Soil
Even though subterranean termites need water, too much can kill them. If you know where the colony is located, take a hose and flood the soil in and around both the colony and the infested area. It will kill colonies and either kill or evacuate the termites from the location.
Sprinkle Some Salt
Pure table salt, or sodium chloride, can quickly and easily rid your property or furniture of termites. Either mix the salt with water and spray it on the affected area, or just sprinkle salt directly on the area to see quick results.
While termites can cause extensive damage, it’s reassuring to know that there are so many different home remedies that can not only rid your property of termites but keep your family and possessions safe at the same time.
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