How to get rid of termites in flower beds

Everyone wants their flower bed surrounding their home to look beautiful which creates a great impression on their visitors. However, flower beds often attract termites that can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked.

If you find termites in your flower bed, there are different methods you can use to get rid of them by either using natural means which is friendlier to the environment, or using chemicals. Termites naturally occur in the soil and they feed on cellulose that is available everywhere. You will mostly find them near their food sources that include plant roots and wood. Termites love moist places and the continuous watering of your flower beds and mulch that keeps the soil moist provides that ideal environment for termites. Most gardeners use timber edging or wood mulch in their garden or flower beds plus the high levels of moisture provide all the food termites need. Although your flower bed may attract termites, its design can easily conceal access to your house. If the flower bed design prevents you from inspecting the perimeter of your house for any signs of termite activity, it can increase the risk of a concealed termite attack.

Natural ways of getting rid of termites

Termites have a very thin layer of skin and can easily dry out and die when exposed to little or no humidity so they thrive in very humid areas. It can be frustrating trying to locate the termites because they burrow deep into the soil and even more tricky trying to decide how to kill them due to the location of the infestation. But if you know what you’re doing, you can easily do it on your own without the need of calling pest control. However, it won’t be an instant fix so you need to plan ahead and be patient.

Vinegar

Vinegar is a household product that you’ll find in many homes that are used to clean everything from your kitchen countertop to your bathroom shower. You can also use it to kill termites. You just mix half a cup of vinegar with lemon juice from 2 lemons, put it in a spray bottle and spray around the areas you suspect to have termites. Spray regularly to ensure any termites you get all the termites in that area. The acidity in your mixture will kill the termites on contact.

Nematodes

Beneficial nematodes will not only help you get rid of the termites, but you’ll also get rid of other bugs that can harm your flower bed and home including wood-boring insects. You just need to release them in the areas you know or suspect have termites. The nematodes kill the termites by releasing a particular bacteria into their body, but they won’t harm pets or humans. Nematodes quickly reproduce and are very effective in destroying all the termites in the colony. You can buy these tiny worms in a specialty store or online.

Wet cardboard

Termites love the cellulose in cardboard, wood, and paper. Wet cardboard can be a very good bait for luring them out and onto a specific spot. This method will prevent them from getting into your furniture and other valuables. Soak some cardboard with water and place it near the areas you found most of the termites. After a few days, you’ll find it infested with termites and you can remove the cardboard and burn it. This method won’t get rid of all the termites, but it will remove plenty of them so you can repeat this several times.

Orange oil

Orange oil is mostly made from d-limonene which is poisonous to termites. The oil is got from orange peelings and you can either buy it online or garden stores. This oil dissolves the exoskeleton of termites which causes them to lose proteins and moisture and finally die. Spray the oil directly onto the termites or the areas with termites. You can also spray the oil to deter the termites which is a good way of keeping your home and flower beds termite-free.

Boric acid

Using boric acid in its powder or liquid form is a very effective way of getting rid of termites and other bugs like ants and roaches. You just need to mix the powder with warm water and sugar and make a paste then apply it on your furniture, and around the termite mounds on the ground. Also, sprinkle or spray the boric liquid or powder around the edges of your home and the infested areas to keep the termites out.

Borates

Sodium borate also is known as the borax powder can also be used in killing termites and also washing your laundry. You can either mix the powder with water and spray it around the area infested with termites or sprinkle the powder. You should repeat this process regularly to ensure you’ve destroyed all the termites.

Exposure to sunlight

Termites are very sensitive to sunlight and if you expose them to too much sunlight and heat they die. During the summer months, you can drag any infested furniture to your back yard and expose it to the sun to get rid of the termites or use UV lamps to shine on the infested areas to get the same results.

Chemical termite treatments to kill termites

Liquid termite barrier

This method will not only kill the termites, but it’s also a good preventative method. It creates a pesticide barrier around your home, wooden structures, tree stumps, or woodpiles and will poison termites upon contact. You can either use Taurus SC or Termidor SC that is mostly used by pest control professionals to eliminate termites. It’s completely undetectable by termites and can be spread the poison by contact by a single affected termite to the entire colony.

Poisoned baits

Some people may find the liquid barrier treatment too radical and if you’re not comfortable spraying gallons of pesticide around your home, using poisoned baits could be a better option. You don’t have to spray them, you just install them in the ground around the infested area and your home and they will attract foraging termites that will then spread the poison back in the colony. The baits are less costly and work faster. You should examine the baits to check if the termites have been attracted and have started eating the bait.

Different types of termites

Type of termite
Mostly found
Food source
Subterranean termites
Live in the soil and build very distinct mud tubes
Fence posts, trees, structural timber
Drywood termites
Establish nests in wooden wall supports, roof materials and wood near a water source
Dead trees, hardwood floors, and structural timber
Dampwood termites
Live in wood with high moisture content
Basements with leaking pipes and damp wood
Formosan termites
Huge underground colonies and build intricate mud nests inside the walls of the structure
Wood and other cellulose-based goods and can even invade boats and live trees
Conehead termites
Live in trees
They forage on the ground like ants and spread quickly

The Do’s and Don’ts of having a termite-free flower bed

Do’s

  • The best mulch to use is either stones or gravel, but if you insist on using timber mulch, ensure that it has been pre-treated with insecticide or ensure the wood is termite resistant like cypress pine.
  • If you’re using timber for edging the flower beds, go for H4 treated timber.
  • You can plant your flowers in pots which will reduce their water requirements and limit their root system.
  • You should get a professional termite inspection at least once a year.

Don’ts

  • Avoid using pine or railway sleepers. These treated pine sleepers are often used as raised garden beds that are filled with soil to plant gardens or natural herbs. However, these pine sleepers are treated with Arsenic or Deltamethrin, and when you water the beds the poisonous chemical leaks into the soil and mix with your food.
  • Don’t use insect spray. Most homeowners think using insect spray is an effective way of getting rid of termites. Spraying a few termites on the surface will only cause them to relocate and you won’t kill the termites that live deep in the ground.

Conclusion

The best way to treat a problem is to ensure that the problem doesn’t occur again. So instead of trying to get rid of termites in the first place, you should look for ways to keep them out of your home, flower beds, and garden. You might be tempted to use chemicals in pest control, but there are natural methods that will help you keep termites away from your property.

FAQ

What is the first sign of termites?

The first sign of termite infestation is usually the presence of flying termites called swarmers. They’re male and female termites that have left the nest to find a mate and establish a new colony.

Can salt kill termites?

Salt is a natural and effective way of killing termites. You just need to fill a jar with equal amounts of warm water and salt, then using a syringe inject the solution to the infested areas.

William Smith

William Smith has been rendering his services to a botanical garden for the better part of his adult life and has recently moved to landscaping firms. His love for gardens has been nurtured since he was a kid, evident from the various garden centers and estates that have benefited from his services. Smith is a natural when it comes to gardening and when combined with his acquired degree in landscape design, you can expect a high-quality professional job, thanks to his experience and expertise. During his free time, Smith does gardening as a hobby and runs forums where he offers expert ideas on gardening.

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