I hate termites; and, it’s safe to say, so do all homeowners. These horrible critters can damage the foundation of homes or destroy furniture and ornaments that are made of wood. Termites can easily spoil heirloom wood furnishings and other priceless memorabilia. More importantly, these tiny bugs can eat wood and destroy the structural integrity of a house, which then result in massive and expensive repairs.
When I discovered that our house was infested with termites, I immediately wanted to grab the first termiticide that I could find. But then, I couldn’t just douse our house with poisonous substances because we lived there, and improper handling or application will be harmful to our health. So, I called an exterminator, and I made sure that the exterminator used Earth-friendly techniques. Apart from what the expert used, I also tried a few eco-friendly ways to purge these nasty insects from my home. Here are some of the methods I used.
I used to think that borax, which is also known as sodium borate, was extremely toxic. However, it’s actually a safer alternative to other more noxious insecticides, and it is also used in many cleaning products. Still, always practice safety when using chemicals; thus, borax needs to be kept away from children and pets. Be sure to wear gloves when handling borax.
To use, simply dust or treat wood, wood chips or even cardboard with borax. Place these items near termite mounds. If you don’t exactly know where the termites are hiding, bury some of the bait under the ground. It’s best if you place or bury baits near dead tree stumps or other areas where there are moist wood. Do this twice a month to get those new hatchlings that might have survived your first treatment.
Orange Essential Oil
Termites die when exposed to certain types of essential oils, and one example of a termite killer is orange oil. This contains d-limonene, which is the main substance that kills termites by stripping them of their outer coating. Without a good external covering, termites dehydrate easily and they experience respiratory problems as well. You can buy orange essential oil in home depot shops or even in spas or shops that sell massage oils.
Orange oil is typically injected into infected wood. So, the first thing that you need to do is determine where the termites are. Once injected, termites die upon contact with the oil. Those bugs that don’t come into contact with the oil may die of starvation because the scent affects their feeding behavior. In addition to orange oil, clove bud oil can also be used to kill termites, while vetiver oil and catnip oils have the ability to repel the insects.
It’s not advisable to wait for an infestation to happen before taking action. By then, termites could’ve already done considerable damage to your property. So, the best way to avoid expensive repairs or costly termite treatments is through prevention. Below are some easy tips.
1. Keep areas clean and dry. Termites gravitate towards moist wood. So, make sure that you don’t store firewood or leave extra wood planks exposed to rain or moisture. Check faucets and pipes for leaks too. When water leaks and reaches your wood floors or walls, such areas become very attractive to termites.
2. Regularly check your house for termites. Even though you have just finished treating your home or although treatment was done during your house’s construction, it’s still advisable to check your area for termites twice a year or annually. It will be easier to deal with a new infestation rather than an extensive and firmly established colony.
3. Use baits. There are eco-friendly baits that can help you monitor termite activity. These baits still use harmful pesticides, but only in small amounts, which is why they are more environmentally friendly. Ask a termite control expert about what types of baits you can use.
Claire Norton is a freelance writer and a home improvement hobbyist. She blogs for several pest control companies, including Interstate Pest.com, which offers eco-friendly services when it comes to pest eradication.