Home Remedies For Termites
Termites can remain undiscovered and ruin your dream home. We have compiled a list of home remedies for termites that are easy to prepare, effective and non toxic.
By Aarthi Arun • 10 min read
Termites are tiny insects that resemble ants and feed on wood. Since they look very similar to ants, people often confuse them with ants.
Although small in size, termite infestation can wreak your home. They can destroy everything made of wood such as windows, doors and furniture. If the foundation of your house contains wood, the damage caused by termites can endanger your family's life and yours. And, while termites are ruining your house, you would remain unaware of the danger as they would remain hidden in the crevices.
Their numbers can increase several times in a short span of time, and with that can also increase the extent of the damage they cause. So, it is essential to know how to get rid of termites.
We have come up with a list of about some very effective home remedies for this stubborn pest, but before that, let's know a little more about termites.
Signs of a termite infestation
- Damaged wood: The damage to wooden structures is often visible, if you look carefully. Also, when you knock on the surface of the damaged wood, you can also hear a hollow sound.
- Mud tubes: The telltale signs of termite infestation are thin lines of mud visible on wall cracks and crevices.
- Termite wings and droppings: If you see termite wings in and around your property, you can be sure that there is a problem brewing. You can also see termite droppings, which look like tiny pellets of wood, resembling coffee grounds.
Home remedies to kill termites
As soon as we see signs of termite infestation, most of us begin thinking about chemical treatment to kill them. This is because, we are unaware of the fact that there are some effective home remedies available to prevent termite infestation and eradicate them. These natural remedies for termites not only kill these stubborn pests but are also non-toxic to humans. Here are some of the best natural termite control remedies:
1. Exposure to sunlight
Termites like to stay hidden inside dark, humid wood. So, exposing them to sunlight is a natural way to kill them. If your furniture is infested with termites, all you have to do is to keep them out in the sun for at least three days. This is one of the simplest ways to get rid of termites naturally. If the walls of your home and fixtures are infested with termites, you can expose them to ultraviolet light. This will have the same effect as sunlight.
2. Orange oil
For small-scale termite infestation, orange oil is a good remedy. It is known to be highly effective against a particular type of termite called drywood termite. Orange oil, as the name implies, is extracted from oranges. Application of this fragrant oil keeps the termite colony in check, thanks to the presence of D-limonene, a chemical found in the orange rind. Orange oil works by breaking down the termite's exoskeleton (outer skin) and killing their eggs. Pure orange oil is a powerful remedy. And, since this oil is extracted from a fruit, it is harmless to humans, animals and plants.
3. Wet cardboard
Termites have a taste for cellulose, so wet cardboard is a perfect bait to lure them. Wood fibres, which are used to make cardboard, contain cellulose. Leave a piece of wet cardboard near the area where you spot termites. Once you see them swarming on the cardboard, take it out and burn it.
4. Borate salt
Borate is a salt made from boric acid. Boron, the main constituent of boric acid, is a naturally occurring substance. In small quantities, it is non-toxic to humans, but not to termites. When termites come in contact with the salt, the particles stick to their bodies and damage the exoskeleton. Consuming this salt is also fatal to termites – their digestive and nervous system cannot handle its abrasive effects. So, this salt is a natural termite killer. Sprinkle borate salt in places where there is termite infestation.
5. Aloe vera
This magic shrub not only heals your skin but also assists in keeping your house in perfect condition. Aloe vera is used as bio-pesticide in many farms across India and is used to keep termites at bay. Crush the pulp of aloe vera and mix it thoroughly with water. Pour the solution in a spray bottle to make a natural termite spray and use it in termite-infested areas of your home.
6. Sodium chloride
You probably know that the common salt has many more uses than adding flavour to food. Salt is also a natural termite deterrent since termites don't like salty environment. So, all you need to do is mix equal amounts of salt and warm water, and pour the solution into crevices and holes infested with termites.
7. Neem oil
This oil has been used as a natural pesticide for ages. It is also surprisingly effective against termites. When termites eat wood covered with neem oil, they get poisoned. But, you’d have to repeatedly apply neem oil on the furniture until you get rid of the last termite.
8. Soapy water
A simple mixture of dish soap and water can be the best defence against termite infestation. The dish soap mixture affects the respiratory system of the termites and kills them. Also, exposure to dish soap solution disintegrates the outer shell of the termite eggs, thereby preventing any further infestation.
9. Clove oil
This aromatic oil is a powerful natural termite killer. Clove oil is a natural pesticide with anti-fungal and anti-insecticidal properties. Mix it with some water and spray it on the infested areas to eliminate the termites for good.
10. White vinegar
Vinegar is one of the most robust treatments for termite infestation. Add some olive oil to vinegar and use this mixture as a spray or rub it on the infected surface. You can also mix lemon juice. The termites won't stand a chance against this natural termite repellent.
11. Diatomaceous earth
This white powder is very effective in eliminating termite colonies. Diatomaceous earth is made from silica. It works by dehydrating the termites and disintegrating their outer skin. What's more? Sprinkling diatomaceous earth can also protect your home against other potential pests like ants and cockroaches.
12. Garlic oil
Garlic oil is a strong termite repellent and has a toxic effect on them. According to a study published in the African Journal of Science and Technology titled, 'Effects of traditional plant components on the control of termites', (2008) by Owusu et al, garlic oil can kill termites within two days of exposure. Mix this oil with water and spray on the infected areas.
These simple home remedies work very well for a small-scale termite infestation. However, do call professional pest control services if the infestation is out of hand and is causing excessive damage.
About the author:
Written by Aarthi Arun on 23 August 2019
Aarthi Arun is a writer from Chennai, who currently calls Toronto her home. She has donned many hats from a photographer to a librarian to a software engineer, but she has learnt the most in the role of a mother. She loves long walks with her 6-year-old son Kathir, likes creating masterpieces out of Lego with him, and enjoys reading adventurous stories with him.
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