Many people do not know that termites live everywhere, not only in attics but also in trees in the forest and in the garden soil. Some termites nest underground and are called subterranean (Jika-sei) termites.
Termites dig tunnels and use the soil and nearby wood materials (beams, decks, lumber, etc.) as a food source.
So in this article, you’ll discover how to get rid of termites in garden soil. Let’s start.
Are termites a bad influence on gardens?
In general, yes. Like other insects, termites have the important job of decomposing organic matter such as deadwood. This is beneficial to the garden because roots, stumps, and buried branches can be a hindrance when tilling the soil.
If left unchecked, termites can form large colonies and cause extensive damage to gardens and homes.
If food is scarce, they can also attack the roots of garden vegetables. Broccoli, bell pepper roots, and tomatoes are not averse to termites.
How to get rid of termites in garden soil – naturally
It’s not uncommon to find termites in vegetable gardens and raised beds. You probably don’t know what to do next. Follow the steps below to get rid of them naturally.
- Look for other signs of termites in your garden.
- Identify the insect
- Apply one or more of the following natural pest control measures.
1. Look for other signs of termite infestation in your garden
There are several unmistakable signs that termites are present.
One of the main characteristics of termites is the presence of mud tunnels. Termites build tunnels by processing mud, feces, and saliva, which protect them like a highway.
Termite feces. If you see a pile of salty grains near a tree stump or garden shed, you can assume termites live there.
From late spring through fall, termite colonies produce swarms of winged termites, which then leave the nest to reproduce and start new colonies. After mating, the termites lose their wings.
So if you see piles of termite wings (which look like small fish scales) in your yard or house, this is an indication of a termite infestation (or the threat of an infestation). In either case, address the problem immediately.
Termites make holes in wood (usually exit holes). If you find such holes, you probably have a termite infestation (not to be confused with woodworm, which we will discuss later).
If you hear a dull sound when you tap on the wood, it’s probably hollow inside.
Nesting in branches and logs
Some termite species do not live underground, preferring to nest in tree trunks and branches.
2 Identify the insects
If you know your enemy, you know how to defeat him. So make sure you know what you are dealing with.
Termites can look different depending on their life stage and function. You will likely see soldiers, worker ants, and winged ants. Kings and queens are very difficult to spot because they sit deep in the nest.
If you find termites in your garden soil, they are most likely subterranean termites. This pest forms colonies underground that are difficult to locate and eradicate.
They rarely emerge from the soil, mud tubes, or tunnel-like food sources. Termites are light- and air-shy, so their presence may go unnoticed until the annual outbreak when winged termites nest en masse, or until damage occurs.
Winged ants are often confused with flying ants. These insects are so similar that it is difficult for an untrained person to tell them apart, but they are easily identified by the following characteristics.
Termites have straight antennae, short legs, and two identical pairs of wings. The wings are twice as long as the body, and the thorax and abdomen are continuous.
Use the natural methods listed below to control termites
First, resist the temptation to take an insecticide and spray it directly on the termites.
The termites are likely far from their nests and killing a few will not solve the problem. Termites are social animals and live in huge colonies. The best way to kill termites is to take advantage of their social nature.
For example, use poisoned bait. The termites will take the poisoned bait into their nests and pass it on to the rest of the colony.
Use beneficial nematodes
Place beneficial nematodes in the soil near termite nests. These microscopic parasites hunt and kill parasites that live in moist, dark environments. Nematodes are one of the best ways to destroy an infestation without harming our health. They are 100% natural and pesticide-free.
Using nematodes is probably the safest method of pest control. Nematodes do not destroy wood and pose no health risk to humans or pets. Read more about these amazing microscopic insects here.
Nematodes can be purchased at home and garden stores. The best type for killing termites is the nematode Steinernema Carpocapse (SC).
It is easy to apply and can be handled by any homeowner. Just make sure the nematodes you apply are alive and the soil is sufficiently moist (so they can work better). Initial effects should occur within a week to 10 days of application.
Apply borax powder
Sodium borate, also known as borax powder, interferes with termite digestion and can kill them. This fine powder adheres to the legs, antennae, and body of termites and acts as a poison when ingested during grooming.
Sprinkle this powder around the affected area, in cracks, crevices, and other hiding places of insects. It can also be mixed with water and sprayed on the affected area. Spray as needed.
Apply orange oil spray
Orange oil is extracted from the peels of oranges and is available at hardware stores, garden stores, and online. Orange oil dissolves the exoskeleton of termites and kills them. Spray the oil directly on the termites or on areas where they are suspected to be.
The oil can also be sprayed to deter termites from entering the house or sprayed regularly in garden sheds and inside the house. Preventive measures. Spray repeatedly from time to time.
Apply diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth, also known as D.E., is a fossilized form of diatom, a type of protozoan with a hard shell. It comes in the form of a crushed white powder.
It is considered safe for humans and is a safe alternative to pesticides. It is commonly used in gardens, but can also be used indoors with caution. The tiny particles dry out termites and kill them within 48 hours. Keep out of reach of children.
Uses of apple cider vinegar
Did you know that apple cider vinegar is used as a natural insecticide, among other uses? Apple cider vinegar is a kind of cure-all.
Mix half a cup with the juice of two lemons and put it in a spray bottle to use as an insect repellent. Spray it on areas where you suspect termites are present. The acidic substance will kill termites as soon as it comes in contact with them. Repeat this regularly.
Use damp cardboard
Termites are attracted to cellulose and moisture. This can be used to attract termites to a specific area by pouring water over the cardboard to create a bait. Once the termites have taken the bait and are inside the cardboard, burn the entire insect. This process may need to be repeated.
Apply a plant-based insecticide
These pesticides are less toxic than conventional pesticides. They are derived from insecticidal plants and have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.
How to prevent termites from invading your garden
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent termite colonies from becoming established in your garden. Here are five tips you should follow to avoid them.
- Don’t plant too close to the house. Planting plants too close to the foundation of the house creates a moist environment that encourages termite invasion.
- Never remove soil near poles that have been treated with a long-lasting liquid termiticide. It will have the opposite effect.
- Avoid contact of the wood with the soil as much as possible. Every effort should be made to prevent moisture from accumulating near the foundation. The same goes for firewood and other lumber, which should not be stored near the walls or foundation of the house. This can be an entry point for termites.
- Be sure to use wood chips and cosmetic mulch judiciously, as they are cellulose-based and termites love them.
- As much as possible, avoid planting large trees near the house. Remove fallen leaves from roofs and gutters to avoid clogging drains and create an ideal breeding ground for termites.
- Repair leaks in drains and gutters.
- Avoid overwatering. Termites prefer a moist environment, so don’t overwater your garden.
- If you have a wooden garden shed, keep it far from the house and keep untreated wood off the ground.
Billings, J. (2021, November 3). How do You Kill Termites Without Killing Plants? Three Natural Options. GoPests.Com. https://www.gopests.com/kill-termites-without-killing-plants/
Goldberg, A. (2020, September 30). How To Get Rid Of Termites In Your Garden – Organically! Bio Pests Organic Pest Control. https://biopests.com/how-to-get-rid-of-termites-in-your-garden-organically/
Sproull, T. M. (2020, August 26). Oh No! Termites in the Garden – Here’s How you can Get Rid of Them Fast. Raise Your Garden. https://raiseyourgarden.com/home/oh-no-termites-in-the-garden-heres-how-you-can-get-rid-of-them-fast
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