Termites A Homeowner’s Nightmare and a Valued Part of Nature
Termites can be a very destructive nuisance if they are not kept under control and away from our homes. That being said they are a precious part of the ecosystem and have a job to perform in nature. Without termites and carpenter ants dead trees and other litter on the forest floor would not be disassembled appropriately and would take much longer to decompose. Home floor joist just needs to be left out of their diet. Knowing native termite predators and organic termite prevention methods is a huge part of termite prevention.
What Do Termites Look Like
Termites are between ¼” and ½” long. They may be several colors creamy white, tan, or black. They have straight antennae and their bodies have 2 segments. The abdomen is broadly joined to the thorax. Some may have wings, although not all do. If they do they will have a front and back pair that are nearly the same length.
Signs that Termites are Present
- mulch were there should not be
- Mud Tubes attached to floor joists or foundations
- Discarded Wings
- Termite Frass or excrement
- Termite Swarmers are not destructive as they have no mouthparts. It is just a new group looking for a suitable home
- Wood Damage in severe cases. Damage is not always noticeable because the colony is inside the wood.
Prevention is the Best Form of Offense
The best way to prevent termite damage is to take steps to prevent getting them or having them return. This is where organic termite prevention methods and natural predators around the garden are helpful.
- Keep Moisture in crawl spaces and other confined areas to a Minimum
- Keep Firewood and Scrap Wood as far away from buildings as possible
- Use Mulch sparingly next to the foundation of your home
- Keep dead trees and brush cleaned up or treat around dead stumps if they can not be removed
- Keep All Wood at least 8” from the ground.
- Porch and deck Supports and stairs
- Wooden Swing Sets
- Paint roughhewn surfaces with an anti-termite paint
- Repair Cracks in Cement or Masonry
- Use Treated Lumber or bald cypress, eastern red cedar, black locust, redwood, Osage orange, black walnut, northern catalpa and Pacific yew all contain natural compounds that are either toxic or repulsive to termites
- Keep the bases and underside of Steps and Porches from filling with dirt and Debris
- Keep Shrubs Trimmed and Away from Vents
Organic Home Treatments for Termites
Hiring an exterminator can be expensive when it comes to termite damage and repair. Homeowners do not have to be powerless there are safe pet and family-friendly ways we can treat termites as homeowners without breaking the bank.
- Borax is a dry laundry detergent that is good to spread around foundations or tree stumps
- Exposing the Area to Sunlight
- Eliminating Moisture
- Using Heat and Cold Treatments cold temperature of 15 degrees must be maintained for four days to be effective. The treated area has to reach a temperature of 120 degrees for thirty-five minutes in order to successfully kill the colony.
Natural Plants and Oil Treatments For Wood-Boring Insects
Oils can be mixed with water in a properly labeled spray bottle and applied to affected areas or used for prevention. Plants can be grown around the property as a deterrent.
- Orange Oil
Plants that Attract Natural Termite Predators
These plants will attract insects like ladybugs, centipedes, spiders, and praying mantises that prey on termites. Creating a whole organic termite prevention ecosystem in the garden or around the home perimeter is a good first defense once native termite predators take up residence.
- Flowering Herbs
Don’t let termites destroy your home or property take action and watch for the signs that they may be present before it’s too late. Organic termite prevention and natural termite predators may help around your home or garden but may not be a good replacement for a professional exterminator.