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If you’ve encountered a termite infestation before, you already know how potent termiticides are. Aside from killing the pests, these chemicals also expose your home to harmful fumes. It’s the same reason why you should know how to get rid of termites without chemicals. Here, we listed some natural solutions you can try.
NOTE: These solutions may or may not work depending on the extent of the infestation and the termite species present in your home. For widespread infestation, it’s best to tap the help of a professional termite exterminator.
How to get rid of termites without chemicals
Not all households like the idea of bombarding their living space with pesticides and other potent chemicals. Although these solutions may offer an instant result, it also exposes the occupants to harmful gasses that could cause health problems.
So if you want to skip the danger, you can try any of these natural and non-chemical solutions we’ve listed.
This one works like magic as long as you know how to use it properly. Beneficial nematodes are widely used in pest control, both in residential and industrial settings.
These nematodes are roundworms that feed on the bodies of termites. Once deployed, the nematodes will seek the pests, enter their body, feed on them, and poison them with their gut bacteria.
However, nematodes are very sensitive organisms. They can only last for two weeks and should be kept in a cold – not frozen – place to stay alive. Also, they are afraid of the dark; thus, the need to apply them at dusk or dawn.
Nevertheless, nematodes are very efficient in killing a termite population. You can even purchase them from gardening supply stores or online. To apply it, you’ll soak it in water and douche directly on the affected area. For indoor application, a spray bottle comes handy.
Usually, the nematodes will start killing the termites within 24 to 48 hours. However, daily re-application is necessary so the organisms can adjust to their new environment. And to ensure that the nematodes will stay alive, mix only the amount you can apply and store within 2 days.
Another effective solution to the termite problem is using heat treatment. Take note that heat treatments should be administered by licensed pest control companies only.
The exterminators will seal a portion of your home due for treatment. Also, special hoses will be funneled into the area. These hoses will pump hot air into your home until it reaches optimal temperature.
Usually, heat treatments are performed in temperature between 130F to 160F for at least 35 minutes. Also, the exterminators will use special thermal probes to ensure that the wood will reach a certain temperature to kill the pests.
Tenting could be conducted during heat treatment. But whatever the process is, you have to remove any device and items that can be damaged by excessive heat.
However, there’s one big disadvantage to heat treatments. It doesn’t give your home any protection from future re-infestations like chemical treatments do.
Still, it offers guaranteed eradication and you no longer have to move out for days. In addition, heat treatments will be done within 8 hours, including the aeration and inspection.
DIY cardboard traps
If you want to lure the termites in one place without using any chemical, you can give them a taste of their own medicine. You only need a cardboard box and some water. You can also fill it with some stacks of old newspaper to make it more appealing for termites.
After that, spray the box with some water, making sure that the moisture seeps into the cardboard without making it too soggy.
Next, place it near the spot where you suspect as a termite harborage. Take note that it should be in an undisturbed place like your basement, cellar, attic, and the likes.
After a week or two, check the box and see if it has any mites. If you see that it’s covered with termites, place the cardboard inside a large garbage bag and burn it in a metal storage drum. This way, no mites can escape the fire.
For better results, you can place multiple cardboard boxes at once inside your house. This way, you can cover more ground and trap a larger termite population.
However, this trick may not work if you’re dealing with Drywood termites. Still, you can take chances by placing a dry cardboard box and see if they will home into it.
Spritz some vinegar
Vinegar has a strong reputation in the pest control world. It’s even considered as the liquid gold of pest control. Even though it’s a kitchen item, vinegar can do wonders in managing the termite population and eradicating a small infestation.
For this hack, mix one-part vinegar, one-part water, and the extracts of one lemon fruit. Mix this in a spray bottle and you now have a potent termite killer that’s safe to use even with kids and pets around.
Anyway, just like any substance, keep it off your eyes, nose, and mouth. Nonetheless, we don’t think ingestion would be a problem since the ingredients are very much edible.
Daily re-application is also necessary here to see results. However, this is ideal only for a small infestation as the termites may run away and infest other areas of your home if not contained.
Also, note that this solution is effective on a contact basis. Nevertheless, the acidic substance will give the timbers of your home defense against future re-infestations.
Still, you should be careful if the surfaces have a special finish. The acidic nature of vinegar may damage it or leave stains after several applications.
Use cayenne pepper solution
Aside from vinegar, cayenne pepper is another natural solution you can use. Due to its strong consistency and components, it can kill termites, bugs, and other tiny critters upon contact.
You have two options to use cayenne as a termite solution. First is by using it as a spray when combined with vinegar and lemon juice. Just spritz it on the spots affected by the pest.
The other option is to sprinkle it on infested wood. However, this method isn’t very effective, unless the termites get in contact with the powder. Anyway, it can work with other pests like bugs and small roaches.
Aside from cayenne, you can also use a variety of essential oils to boost the termite killing effect.
In addition, daily application of the cayenne solution will increase its termite fighting effect. Once the pests are gone, you can use the same solution as a preventive measure against future infestations.
Moreover, if you’re applying any cayenne pepper mixture, you should keep your kids and pets away. Cayenne can sting the eyes and nose upon contact.
Trying the freezing technique
The opposite of heat, you can try the freezing technique of killing termites. However, this is only ideal for small pieces of furniture infested with termites.
Place the small furniture inside a garbage bag, ensuring that it doesn’t have holes where the insect can escape. After that, you can bring it inside a freezer room, if you have one. Anyway, if the furniture is really small, you can seal it in plastic and place it inside a chest freezer.
Take note that this process will take up to two weeks to work. But if you want a faster kill, you can keep the item inside the freezer with a temperature of not higher than -20F for at least 30 minutes. The only issue here is if the very low temperature will damage the item.
Setting up perimeter barriers
If you want to stop Subterranean termites from re-invading your home, you can set up termite barriers around your home. Usually, new houses will have a termite barrier in place. Still, this is only good for a few years. After some time, the installed barrier will lose its efficacy against the pests.
If this is the case, you can place another barrier. However, you should be warned that this is labor-intensive. For those who don’t have the time, energy, and materials, it’s best to tap the help of professional exterminators.
You can use termite baits as a non-invasive barrier for your home. However, if you want an instant and guaranteed protection, you can have your home re-installed with new barriers. Take note that this can be costly and invasive as the installers will dig around your home and pry some walls open. Nevertheless, it’s not a chemical solution, but a special sheet that repels termites.
Additional helpful tips
To make the above steps more effective, we also recommend that you perform these additional tips:
*Let the sunlight it
Direct sunlight will dry up excess moisture inside your home. This is a good way to discourage an infestation or to kill the termites hiding in your home’s timbers.
So in the morning or afternoon when the sun is shining through your windows, it will help to crack it open. If you’re worried about outdoor elements getting inside your house, you can simply pull the curtains.
*Dehumidify your home
If you’ve just gotten through water damage, leaks, or a burst pipe, you must perform dehumidification. Water damage remediation companies have special fans that will dry the affected areas up to the last drop. Also, they can check the moisture level using a special device.
Always remember that unnecessary moisture attracts a variety of critters, including termites, bugs, rodents, roaches, and more.
*Trim tree branches and bushes
You may not know it yet, but your unkempt yard could be harboring termites. Soon enough, the pests can find its way inside your house through branches that touch your roof. Also, the bushes that dot your walls can become the hiding spots of termites as they build their mud tubes going to your home.
If possible, keep your mulch as far away as possible from any part of your house. As you know, garden mulch is a termite magnet as it contains moisture, food source, and soil.
*Store firewood properly
This one’s imperative and a must-do if you want to prevent a re-infestation. If an infestation is ongoing, keeping firewood off the ground will deprive the pest of food. For those who are storing wood inside their homes, place it on a surface that’s at least 12 inches off the floor and about 6 inches away from any wall or object.
This way, termites are unlikely to forage it, unless they’ve been on the wood even before you bring it inside. If this is the case, you’re bringing in a new problem inside your house.
*Seal any cracks and holes
As a preventive measure, seal any holes and cracks where cables and pipes go. Aside from termites, you’ll also prevent the entry of various insect pests. Also, it’s a necessary preparation before the winter season.
Caulk the crack and holes to stop it from being the entry points of pests.
*Fix leaks and sources of moisture
Most of all, fix where the leaks and moisture are coming from. This way, the termites won’t find your home attractive for foraging. Although this is just one step in preventing an infestation, it’s a big leap in preventing re-infestations and the spread of the pest.
Knowing how to get rid of termites without chemicals is a safe alternative to synthetic termiticides. Also, it allows you to channel household resources into cost-efficient solutions for the pest.
Still, most of the methods we’ve discussed here are effective only to a specific extent. If your home is experiencing a widespread termite infestation, it’s best to ask the help of a professional exterminator.
And remember, prevention is always better than curing an infestation. Even before an infestation strikes, it’s best to perform preventive measures to keep the pest at bay.
What do you think of the methods we discussed here? Do you have something to add? Share it with us in the comment section!