A termite infestation at work or home is a surprisingly common problem. Termites are insects which feed on dead plant materials and wooden fixtures such as doors, shelves, racks, windows, and flooring as well as wooden furniture make our home and workplace an ideal environment for the termite. Once an infestation takes hold, the damage is permanent. A termite colony can consume about 15 pounds of wood within a period of one week and, to rub salt into the wound, they will even eat your clothes! The insects prefer warmer climates and houses with high moisture content are especially at risk. Once the termites have entered your house, you need to work hard and quickly on a termite treatment. Fortunately, there are several natural termite treatments to prevent termites from entering your house permanently. To avoid a termite infestation, try our useful home remedies to get rid of termites.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Termites
1. Orange Oil
In a laboratory experiment, it was found that Orange Oil Extract was highly effective at killing termites, showing between 68-96% mortality in the experiment. What is more, those insects that did not die from the oil were found to be significantly less productive in consuming wood. It is a fantastic natural termite treatment option. The active ingredient in the oil is d-limonene, which has long been known to be toxic to insects, but particularly against termites. Termites exposed to the vapor also showed high mortality rates. 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 is 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 natural insecticide that damages the nervous system of the termites and kills them. (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 ingest the poison (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. Termites will eat anything that contains 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
Commercial products are available that contain parasitic worms, called nematodes. The preferred host for these worms is the unlucky termite (22, 23), and product works by releasing the worms on their unfortunate prey. 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. The fungus 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 up to seven days for the 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 a termite infestation takes hold. 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. Keep out damp and mold
- 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 (39).
- Avoid using unauthorized products to control termites as they can cause damage to your wooden objects.
- Do not store wooden logs or wooden debris near the house (40, 41).
- Don’t confuse termites with carpenter ants. The treatment for carpenter ants is different.