Termites at home or firm – is one of the most common problems that is faced by almost everyone. Especially, where there are so many wooden fixtures and furniture like wooden doors, shelves, racks, windows, dining tables and wooden flooring. Termites are the insects which generally feed on dead plant materials, and human beings make use of such materials to furnish their place. When the termites get in contact with these wooden objects, they feed themselves with it and after a certain period of time, those infested wooden works get weaker and damages permanently. It is proven that some termites can consume about 15 pounds of wood within a period of one week. Besides, termites can also cause damage to the clothes. The termites look out for warm weather constantly. Houses with high moisture content in them have a higher risk of termites. Sometimes, the geographical location of your house may also affect the presence of these creepy creatures. Though you take good care of your house, yet there are chances you miss some ways, and the termites will intrude your living. Once the termites have entered into your house, you need to work hard on termite treatment. There are several ways through which you can prevent termites from your house permanently. Here are some useful home remedies to get rid of termites.
1. Orange Oil
In a laboratory experiment it was found that Orange Oil Extract killed 96 and 68% termites when OOE at 5ppm was dispensed from top of a tight fitting container with termites at opposite side. This extract contains92% d-limonene, which proves toxic to insects. Termites were also exposed to OOE vapour, at 10ppm, this also resulted in mortality. Orange Oil Extract can be efficiently used to get rid of subterranean termites (1). Simply, drill small holes at the places infested by the termites and inject the orange oil into the hole. This will help you get rid of termites in 3 days to a maximum of 3 weeks, depending on the severity.
Note: Do not consume this orange oil, as it is injurious to health.
It is a simple and non chemical method to eradicate termites. An electric shock is applied on the wood infested by termites. The device used has a high voltage (90,000 volts) and low current (less than 0.5 amps). These electrocution devices are available in the market. The electrocution process may get interfered by common building materials like metal, glass and concrete, so the mortality rate can be affected (5, 6).
3. Hot and Cold Treatment
Termites cannot survive in extreme hot and cold temperature. Temperatures more than 120 degrees or below -20 degrees Fahrenheit can help kill the termites. Heat the wooden structure at 120 degree Fahrenheit or more for at least 33 minutes (7). You can also place the wooden object/piece or any other infested item under the sun. It will lead to evaporation of the moisture content. Either they will die or abandon the wood. Heat is a non chemical method for the treatment of termites (8).
Alternatively, use liquid nitrogen for colder temperature to control termites. Special equipment are available which help inject the nitrogen in pre-drilled holes. The temperature of wood is then maintained at -29 degrees C for 5 minutes. Termites cannot bear this temperature and hence they are killed (9).
4. Boric Acid
Boric acid is a kind of insecticide that damages the nervous system of the termites and kills them certainly. (10). Mix water and boric acid powder and apply it on the wooden surface using a paint brush to get rid of these creepy creatures. You can also treat your garden and rooms with this solution.
You can also spray or paint products containing Borate on bare wood surfaces, where they are soaked up depositing crystallised boric acid within the wood. When termites attack this wood, they are killed (11, 12).
Note: It is advisable to wear masks and gloves while handling boric acid as intake or inhale of boric acid is dangerous for human beings.
5. Cardboard Traps
The termites not only feed on wood, but also on paper and cardboards, these are termite friendly foods as they contain cellulose (13, 14). The cardboard can be used as a trap to control termites. Wet the cardboard and place it near the affected areas to attract termites. When the cardboard is full of termites, then hold it with handles or with gloved hands and flame it out. If required, then repeat the process several times (15).
6. Essential Oils
A number of essential oils eradicate termites effectively. For instance, clove bud oil and vetiver oil just to name a few. Both of them eventually kill the termites and assure no re-infestation in future. However, vetiver is generally recommended for termite treatment (16). Surface treatment of wood with essential oils provides direct protection from termites (17). Simply pour oil (any) in a mist sprayer and use it on the infested wood and other affected places.
7. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera kills the termites when they get in contact with each other. Crush the entire plant of aloe and store it in a container filled with water over it. Mix Aloe Vera and water properly and spritz it on the infested areas using a mist sprayer (18).
8. Sodium Chloride
Sodium chloride is an insecticide (19). To kill these tiny creatures, spray sodium chloride directly on the termite’s prone area or soak some cotton balls in the solution and place it near the infected area. Due to the presence of cellulose (a plant-based material) in table salt, termites get attracted towards the cotton balls. This remedy not only kills the termites, but also prevents them from recurring.
9. Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly contains phenol. Rub petroleum jelly on the dried wooden furniture. Leave it for a day or two and afterwards use a soft cloth to polish your fixtures.
10. White Vinegar
An experiment was performed in which untreated wood was kept with vinegar and water along with termites. It was found that after eight days termites were killed. Vinegar can repel termites but it is not a very efficient method (20).
This equipment has electronic waves that kill termite by boiling the fluid inside termite cells, which then destroys cell membrane. Portable microwave devices are available in the market, which can be used to eradicate the termites from your houses completely (21).
The treatment must continue for 10-20 minutes while treating a wooden piece of 1 to 2 feet.
12. Beneficial Nematodes
It is a product that has worm species in it, which are in constant search of hosts like termites and other (22, 23). There are two types of nematodes, cruisers and ambushers. Cruisers like Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and S. glaseri search for insect prey, while ambushers like Steinernema carpocapsae and S. scapterisici wait for prey to pass by. Nematodes enter host body through openings such as respiratory spiracles and they release bacteria which liquefy the innards of the insect. After consuming their host, nematodes split up to infect other insects (24).
13. Garlic oil
An analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry proved that the compounds of garlic oil showed insecticidal activities against Japanese termites (25). According to a study, concentration (20%, 10%, 5%) of different solutions consisting garlic, neem and tobacco was used in hot and cold water. Solution having higher concentration of garlic in both hot and cold water resulted in 100% mortality of termite species (26).
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis also proved that clove oil possesses antitermitic activity (27).
15. Beauveria bassiana
Beauveria bassiana is a soil borne fungus that live on insects like ants, termites, beetles, caterpillars, etc. This fungi is applied directly to the target pest as a spore. Once it comes in the contact with the termite, it feeds on nutrients present in host’s body and produces toxins. It is a slow process as it takes upto seven days for insect to die. Beauveria bassiana is sensitive to sunlight, therefore perform this remedy in the evening (28).
16. Canola oil
An experiment was performed in which an empty glass container was filled with canola oil and water. Termites were also placed in this container and it was found that termites were killed in canola oil environment (29).
- Try to protect your house before getting infested by termites. So, check for termites in and around the home constantly (30, 31).
- Cut down the branches that are touching the boundaries of your house (32, 33).
- Maintain right moisture level inside your house.
- Wipe away all the dead plant products around your house as it increases the chances of termites (34).
- Make proper drainage and grading system (35, 36).
- Firewood should be kept in dry places (37).
- Don’t have any openings in your houses unless it is required. Fill the cracks or holes in the foundation using mortar or other material (38, 39).
- Avoid using unauthorised products to control termites as they can cause damage to your wooden objects.
- Do not store wooden logs or wooden debris near house (40, 41).