Have you ever wondered who destroyed your favorite piece of furniture or who was the culprit behind damaging your garden in a few days? Well, if you are still not aware, it can possibly be termites. No matter how tiny they may appear to be by naked eyes, they can bring tears to your eyes by bringing in an immense loss that can cost you a fortune. Studies show that termites cause structural damage worth billions of dollars every year, let alone the two billion dollars that are consumed in driving them away (1). So before you lose multiplies manifolds, let us explore the termite problems in details while understanding it and unleashing some helpful termite treatments for each one of us wondering how to kill termites?
Who are they?
Termites are eusocial insects that are categorized as infraorderIsoptera under the taxonomic rank. They are basically known to be the colony pests that are sub-divided into five types. Cellulose serves as their favorite food, and that is the prime reason they find a perfect place in almost every building.
Termites are counted as one of the beneficial insects in their natural habitats because they break down the dead and decaying plants thus contributing to the nutrient cycle. Having said that, they are labeled as pests once they start feeding on the wooden structures present in the buildings (2).
Types of Termites
There are various types of termites which can attack the beautiful structure of your building. Some of the prominent ones are as follows:
- Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites are one of the most prominent insect pests that attack the wood in the United States. They live in large underground colonies and attack the wood in contact with the soil. They can also construct their shelter tubes (known as mud tube) over the non-wooden materials to feed on the wooden material that adjoins them and protect themselves from the open air (3). Subterranean termites can also be located in moist and secluded areas above the ground that are populated by up to 2 million members. They are considered as one of the most destructive species of termites by far (4). These species of termites generally nest in the soil and are considered as the most destructive species in the United States of America. The damage they inflict is not easily visible to the naked eye and cannot be really observed unless complete damage has been done.
- Formosan Termites
These termites find their origin in China and are known to be the most voracious, aggressive, and deceitful of over 2000 termite species known. They form their homes underground and live in the colonies while building close nests inside the structure of the wall. Being aggressive in nature, they are simply uncontrollable once they attack any wooden formation. They are more popularly found in the regions including Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and California (5).
- Dampwood termites
As the name implies, these are the species of termites that attack the wood having a high amount of moisture in it. Known for their large size as compared to the termite of other species, dampwood termites do not generally infest the structures owing to their less moisture content. It does not mean we do not need to protect the structures from these termites. They are found in colonies in the region of Pacific coastal and adjoining areas, deserts, semi-arid southwest and southern Florida (6).
- Drywood Termites
This species of termites do not attack the wood in contact with the soil as the ones of subterranean and Formosan species do. They infest the dry wooden structures and often build up their nests in the roof material, or wooden wall supports. These species can also attack the dead wooden objects around the homes. Even though they do not need water for survival, they can be located in the areas around leaky pipes or water heaters. Drywood termites find their homes in the regions encompassing southern tier states beginning from North Carolina, the Gulf coast and ending at the coastal parts of California (7).
- Conehead Termites
Conehead termites are invasive species that originate in the Caribbean. They were formerly named as tree termites but later renamed to conehead termites to ensure that people do not misunderstand their homes to be trees only. Conehead termites were known to be extinct in the year 2003. However, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) confirmed about their reemergence. Dissimilar to other species, these species of termites forage on the grounds similar to the ants and do not only rely on the underground tunneling to travel. This enables them to spread their colonies quickly. They are one of the aggressive species that can cause a very high amount of damage to property within very less duration of time (8).
What do the Termites Feed On?
Well, yes, of course, we know that they attack the wooden structure to satisfy their nutritional requirements. Nevertheless, there is a lot more to add to the information.
Basically, various species of animals, including the insects, are incapable of digesting the cellulose content present in the wood, paper, and cloth. This proves advantageous to the termites who harness the benefit of the widely available source of food. Thanks to the presence of symbiotic protozoa and bacteria, they are able to generate the required digestive enzymes to digest cellulose. These microorganisms aren’t a characteristic part of the termites’ guts. Hence, they carry out the process of trophallaxis (transfer of the organisms through the process of food exchange and body secretions) to pass on the beneficial organisms to the other residents of the colony. As a nymph, they give out their exoskeletons that render their body deprived of the required symbionts. This raises their need to gain these organisms from the adult generations. The process of trophallaxis can be either mouth to mouth or mouth to the anus. The workers also carry out the food exchange as well as the symbiont exchange with the king, queen, and the soldiers (9).
What makes your Home Vulnerable to the Termite Infestation?
In order to combat the problem, you must surely identify the reasons that can cause it. Here is the list of important potential conditions identified by the esteemed United States Forest Service (USFS) that frequently lead to termite infestation (10):
- Cracks and open voids in the foundations made of concrete serve as an entrance to the termites.
- The wooden posts, supports, or steps erected in the concrete that is in constant connection with the soil.
- Dirty concrete porches that enable wood to soil contact.
- Crawl spaces with the leaking pipes or dripping faucets that render the soil moist.
- Blocked crawl space vents that also have debris and shrubbery. This obstructs the proper airflow and maintains a hot and damp surrounding.
- Wooden fences and trellis beside similar structures offer a suitable habitat to the termites.
- Debris left around such as form boards, and wooden construction material offers potent food sources to the termites.
- The foundations and footings erected very low increase wood to soil contact, thereby inviting termites.
- Stucco or brick surface present below the surface of the concrete foundation provides access of structure to the termites.
- The planters filled with soil that are present along the side of the structure provide easy and direct access to the cracks in the foundation.
- Heating units installed in the crawl spaces enable a warm environment for the termite colonies to flourish.
- Materials like paper collars and wooden byproducts around the pipes and ducts allow easy access to the structures.
- The sub-slab ductwork for venting or heating offers opening that enables the termites to take an entry beneath the soil grade.
How do you Know if you have Termites?
Understanding the signs of termite infestation is important as you need to get your building rid of termites on time. The longer you ignore the signs, more time will they have to cause huge damage to your beautiful abode or property.
Despite the fact that termites are active across the seasons, the first indication of the termite infestation exists in the form of small flying insects, known as termite swarmers in the time of spring season. If you are on the verge or beginning of the termite problem, you will be able to notice these small insects flying near the windows while leaving behind their discarded wings. You need to keep in mind that termite swarmers are very similar to flying ants in appearance, which makes it difficult to distinguish both the pests.
Termites are one of the secretive pests which are difficult to spot. You will not be able to notice their presence before they damage your doors to render them hollow in order to make themselves a comfortable home. They can easily survive in this hollow or void for years without any visible signs.
Having discussed the first sign that indicates termite infestation, we proceed to the next one that is pretty obvious – the damage they cause to our structures. This is the most disheartening sign and surely symbolizes that you need to take care of the problem as soon as possible. Let us explore some more indications in detail:
- Floor Damage – You might not even notice them skirting the boards, and they will damage your laminate flooring from inside. Typical signs include blister and sags in certain areas. Observe the floor for more sponginess or frequent springs. Check beneath the flooring to identify the termite activity.
- Wall Damage – The cellulose present in the timber walls feed the timbers. This empowers them to develop small cracks in the wall in search of the food. Identify the visible and unexplained cracks in the wall as they may indicate termite activity within it.
- Ceiling Damage – Risk factor associated with the wooden ceilings, architraves, and rafters is as much as the wooden structures near the ground. Closely observe for the cracks on ceilings and cornices.
- Foundation Damage – Foundation is one of the most important aspects of your entire building. The material you used to make it closely determines how easy is it for the termites to gain access to it in search of something to feed on. Even though concrete is the most preferred material for the foundations these days, the chances of termite risks are still as severe. This is because even though they do not love concrete, nothing can stop them from squeezing into any cracks in the concrete blocks to reach the wooden floor joists. You can easily overcome this problem by laying a chemical termite barrier beneath the concrete slab to prevent the termites from traveling all the way to the wooden joists through the cracks. It is also worth noting that the building with crawl spaces have a higher risk of termite damage owing to the fact that they have wooden foundations.
- Sticky Windows/ Doors – The windows and doors infested by the termites are generally difficult to open owing to the irregularities and misshaping caused by the termite tunneling and feeding.
- Garden Damage – Decking and wooden fence posts in the garden are highly prone to termite infestation which eventually leads to their collapse owing to long-term damage. You can instead use metal posts or the wooden posts, which have been treated for termite prevention. Termites also tend to damage the trees that gradually leads to the uprooting and branches falling.
- Damaged Roof Tiles – Roof tiles that are exposed to moisture often lead to loose, broken and damp roof tiles. This becomes a potent attracter to the termites for their rich moisture content. Eventually, they will start growing in number thus reaching to the insides. This gives them access to the wooden objects which in turn multiplies the loss. Therefore, you must ensure to replace the damaged or waterlogged roof tiles timely to prevent termites.
- Damaged or Hollow-sounding Wooden Objects – Once termites infest in the wooden objects/ furniture, etc. in your home, they tend to make it hollow. This is because they feed on the wood inside as it provides them an easy place to hide. Thus, they continue feeding on the wood inside while making up the hollow passages. Therefore, to check for termite infestation, you can tap or knock the structures. These objects mainly include the wooden doors, furniture and structural supports which are at the highest risk of infestation.
- Frass – Frass is basically the byproducts produced by the termite feeding. Also known as termite droppings, they do not directly cause any harm but are a clear indication of termite infestation within your building.
- Mud Tubes on Exterior Walls – The subterranean termite species typically construct these and the walls act as a protective layer for the termites. You can generally locate it near the foundations. Mud tubes or exterior walls are made up of oil and termite droppings or frass and provides the much-needed moisture to the termites. You can look for these clear indications and solve the issues by overcoming the moisture-rich environments and storing firewood, mulch, and wooden chips, somewhere away from home. Even though you cannot really notice termites, these mud tubes are easily noticeable and can help you detect the problems well in time.
Now that we have detected their presence let us explore some solutions that cater to solve the problem.
How to Get Rid of Termites Naturally?
1.Essential Oil of Vetiver Grass
The first answer to the question, how to kill termites comes all the way from India and is known as Vetiver grass or vetiver. It is perennial bunchgrass of the Poaceae family that finds its origin in India. With properties resembling other fragrant grasses such as lemongrass, citronella, etc., it is very closely related to sorghum. Besides being actively used for preventing soil and water erosion, this grass is used for skin care, cosmetics, aromatherapy, ayurvedic soaps, and a lot more.
Why it Works?
The importance of vetiver grass lies in its constituent compounds that are known to possess extraordinary fungicidal, herbicidal, and insecticidal properties. The clinical study shows that its essential oil is rich in the compounds that are toxic to the termites. It also approves that 25% vetiver root mulch is effective for controlling tunneling activity and wood consumption, and also increases the termite mortality. The people looking to protect their trees observed positive results on spreading the mulch around their trees. The fact that these results were better than the ones obtained by chemical treatments multiplied its effectivity by manifolds (15, 16, 17, 18). It is thus one of the best termite treatments.
How to Apply?
You can simply use the compost of vetiver grass or plant it around the required area. Once planted, it releases its natural chemical compounds in the soil, thus preventing the damage from termites (19).
As an alternate solution, drill some holes in the affected wooden piece and inject some essential of vetiver grass into it to inhibit the termite infestation.
2. Clove Bud Oil or Clove Essential Oil
Generally known to provide soothing long-term relief from a toothache, clove is one of the popularly used spices across the globe. They are the aromatic flower buds of the tree known as Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum and is indigenous to Indonesia. Its essential oil is widely acclaimed for a wide array of medicinal uses owing to its pharmacological benefits. The main compound that contributes to its wide range of applications is Eugenol. Not only as spices or medical uses, but clinical studies also prove that it is one of the potent insecticides and insect repellants that work wonders for getting rid of termites as well (20, 21).
Why it Works?
A group of learned men conducted a study to analyze the effects of clove essential oil for treating the land infested with termites. The result highlighted the fact that on an application of 50μg/g, clove essential oil exhibited a hundred percent termite mortality rate on continuous testing for five days. It was also found that it was a potent termite killer even after three days of testing. The main factor that contributed to the long-term insecticidal effects of clove essential oil was the presence of the compound known as eugenol. Not only this, but it was also observed that eugenol exhibited strong fungicidal and strongest anti-termite properties. It thus proves that clove essential oil serves as an outstanding natural wood preservative (22).
How to Apply?
This remedy for termite treatment comes in the form of simplest remedies. Simply, fill a spray bottle with some water and add some clove essential oil to it. Once done, shake the bottle well to mix the ingredients. Spray the mixture onto the termite infested areas after that. Alternatively, drill some holes in the affected wooden piece and inject some essential of clove bud into it.
3. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary or Rosmarinus officinalis is one of the culinary herbs whose leaves are a prominent part of many delicacies. It belongs to the mint family along with basil, lavender, myrtle, and sage. It is popularly used for its pharmacological and cosmetic effects for applications like digestion booster, hair care, oral care, skin care, immunity booster, painkiller and a lot more. The herb is also known to be an effective cure to the people suffering from the problems associated with circulation stimulation, high amount of toxins, bacterial infections, and premature aging. Besides this, experimental studies also suggest that rosemary essential oil resulted in a hundred percent termite mortality on the application (23).
Why it Works?
A bunch of scholars conducted a scientific study to analyze the insecticidal properties of various essential oils. This study was started by pre-treating the affected wooden parts followed by applying them to the respective essential oils for some time. It was then kept in the observation boxes with extreme treatment and closely observed for the next 24 hours. The results emphasized that rosemary essential oil exhibited hundred percent termite mortality in 24 hours proving it as an amazing termite control method (24).
How to Apply?
For the application of rosemary oil as a termite treatment, all you need is a spray bottle, some water, and rosemary essential oil. Fill the spray bottle with some water. Pour in some rosemary essential oil followed by shaking the bottle vigorously. When ready, sprinkle the contents onto the affected area of the structure to get rid of the termites. You can also opt for drilling some holes in the affected furniture and inject some essential oil into it.
4. Orange oil
If you are the one wondering how to treat termites with minimum risks, your search ends here with orange oil. It’s an essential oil that is produced by the cells present in the rind of the orange fruit. Unlike other essential oils, it is obtained as one of the byproducts of orange juice production using the process of centrifugation. Its main constituent is d-limonene from which it attains most of the properties. Orange oil is widely acclaimed for its pesticidal properties and is employed as a green pesticide during the biological pest control.
Why it Works?
The major factor that contributes to the efficacy of orange oil for termite treatments is the presence of d-limonene. Orange oil is known to contain 92% of this compound. A study was conducted to know the effects of orange oil when applied to the termite- infested area. This study proved that owing to the presence of d-limonene, the orange oil contributed to high termite mortality, which declined with the decreasing amount of d-limonene. It also emphasized that it has the least risk associated with the human health, thus increasing its advantages as a termite controller. This method, however, needs to be repeated every few days as the level of insecticidal compounds decreases drastically after application(25, 26, 27, 28).
How to Apply?
Drill some holes into the structure infested by termites. After this, inject the orange peel extract, or orange oil into the holes. This remedy will help you get rid of the termites within three days and will remain effective up to three weeks, depending upon the severity of infestation.
Also, if the flying termites infest your vicinity and you are thinking how to get rid of it, there cannot be anything better than the orange oil as a remedy. All you have to do is, transfer some orange oil to the spray bottle and sprinkle it on the creepy organisms. Simple, isn’t it?
5. Dill essential oil
Dill essential oil is one of the traditionally useful essential oils that are effective for a wide range of applications for users of varied ages. It finds a diversity of uses from the babies suffering from colic to the lactating mothers exploring solutions to improve their milk production. Dill is a plant from which the essential oil of dill is obtained. In addition to its numerous therapeutic applications, dill essential oil is widely used as an insect repellant. This makes it a wondrous answer to those pondering how to get rid of termites naturally.
Why it Works?
The essential oil of dill is an effective remedy for the people suffering from insect infestation. It is known to be a storehouse of compounds that not only exhibit insecticidal activities but also multiply the effects of insecticides when combined with them (29). According to a study performed to analyze the effects of dill essential oil on termites, the essential oil of dill exhibited strong activity against the termite colony by providing high mortality rate (30). Thus, making it one of the best solutions for termite control.
How to Apply?
You can simply treat the surface of the infested part by applying a layer of dill essential oil. Alternatively, fill a bottle with some amount of water and add some dill essential oil to it. Shake it well to mix the ingredients. Once done, spray it onto the infested area.
Some users can also opt for another solution that first requires you to drill holes in the infested wooden part. Once done, you can inject the extract into the affected surfaces. Whatever the way you apply, the remedy works wonders to get rid of the termites.
6. Essential Oil of Geranium
Majorly used for aromatherapy, geranium essential oil is used worldwide to improve physical, mental and emotional health. It is extracted from the geranium plant and is one of the most versatile oils founds in nature. Citronellol, citronellyl formate and geraniol, which are three of the components that majorly form the geranium essential oil, are the main factors that contribute to its characteristic properties (31). Not only this, the essential oil also proves beneficial to the one looking for potent solutions to what kills termites.
Why it Works?
As already stated, the essential oil of Geranium is majorly formed of three compounds. These compounds impart to it the potential to serve as an active remedy to kill termites at home. A recent study proved that the application of essential oil of geranium proved effective to treat the termite- infested areas (32, 33, 35).
How to Apply?
Grab the drilling machine and make small holes in the affected furniture. Once done, use these holes to inject the essential oil of germanium. As an alternative solution, you can also use a paintbrush to coat the affected surfaces.
7. Essential Oil of the Cassia leaf
A genus of flowering plants from the family of legumes, Cassia is one of the widely used ornamental plants. It is also one of the medicines to various treatments that find its mention in the Ayurveda system of medical science. The leaves of cassia very much resemble the bay leaves and are commonly used as a type of cinnamon in dried form. Besides this, it is commonly used as a spice to cook a wide array of dishes owing to its taste building properties. It also has an important application in addition to this. The essential oil extracted from the Cassia leaves acts as an active ingredient of a homemade termite killer (36).
Why it Works?
An experiment conducted to test the effectivity of some essential oils demonstrated that the application of cassia leaves essential oil proved effective as a remedy to get rid of termite. It was also concluded that the presence of the compounds such as cinnamaldehyde were the main factors that contributed to its efficacy. Thus, it can be used as a great DIY termite treatment that ensures a hundred percent mortality (37).
How to Apply?
You can coat the surfaces of the objects that are at high risk of termite attack. Alternatively, you can mix some essential oil with water and mix the solution well. Once ready, transfer the mixture to the spray bottle and spray it on the affected area. Some users also opted for another alternative which requires you to drill some holes on the affected wooden object and fill it with the cassia leaves essential oil. The remedy acts as an amazing provider of relief to the ones suffering from termite infestation and reduce the damage significantly.
8. Ajowan Essential Oil
You might have heard the name of Ajowan as a reliever in cases of stomach ailments or disturbances. However, it does not limit its applications to that. Ajowan or ajwain is one of the taste bud satisfying agents in the dishes. In addition to this, its essential oil finds a variety of uses in our daily lives due to its therapeutic value and anti-inflammatory antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal nature. One of the other properties that get ajowan essential oil a wide acclamation is its insecticidal property against the termites (38). Let us explore the how’s and why’s of the remedy as we answer how to treat termite yourself.
Why it Works?
Studies and experiments suggest that ajowan essential oil is a rich source of the compounds that exhibit strong pesticidal properties against the termites. It mainly gets active pesticidal properties from its most dominant compound known as terpinene-4-ol. It was also deduced from the clinical study that the oil is one of the rich sources of hydroxyl or aldehyde group compounds. These compounds enable it to have a toxic effect on the pests and make it the best termite killer (39, 40).
How to Apply?
You can prepare a spray using the ajowan essential oil. Fill the spray bottle with some water and add to it the essential oil. Shake it vigorously to form a uniform mixture. Use this to spray on the areas which have been affected by termite infestation. Alternatively, you can also follow the procedure of coating them or drilling holes in the infested surface and inject the oil into them.
9. Cinnamon Essential Oil
With over hundreds of varieties across the world, cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. This spice finds a diverse range of uses in medical science in the form of extract, known as cinnamon essential oil. The musky and spicy oil of cinnamon provides the human body with some of the amazing benefits and is applied for decreasing the inflammation, increase circulation, battle viral infestations, combating free radicals, relieve depression, stimulate libido, and a lot more. Cinnamon essential oil is also popular for its ability to kill the pests (41).
Why it Works?
A study conducted to test the efficacy of essential oils against the pests proved that cinnamon essential oil could be used to replace the chemical methods of termite treatment with natural alternatives (42). It richly supplies the wooden structure with the ability to battle the ever-increasing growth of termites, thus serving its purpose.
How to Apply?
Grab a paintbrush and immerse it in the cinnamon essential oil. Now, run this paintbrush through the infested parts to kill the termites. Alternatively, you can also try injecting the essential oil through the holes drilled on the infested surface. You can also opt for preparing a spray solution using the process mentioned above.
10.Lemongrass Essential Oil
The next one on our list of remedies to kill termites is the essential oil of lemongrass (43). This essential oil extracted from the aromatic grass, known as lemongrass, is obtained by its steam distillation in dried form. With a majority of compounds like Myrcene, citronellal, geranyl acetate, nerol, geraniol, neral, limonene, and citral, this essential oil serves as an active remedy for termite treatments, besides being used for a wide array of therapeutic effects as a pain reliever, depression reliever, besides others.
Why it Works?
The experiment to test the efficacy of essential oils against the termite infestation proved that lemongrass can be a potent solution. The presence of the compound, known as citral, besides the above-mentioned serves for its active termiticidal properties. Hence, when applied, the compounds act on the termites that eventually leads to their disappearing. The experimental throw light on the fact that application of lemongrass essential oil for 10 hours yield hundred percent mortality of the termites. When injected in the insect, this essential oil tends to damage the metabolic system of the termites and disrupts the cell membrane, thus blocking the tracheal system (44, 45).
How to Apply?
You can treat the surface of the infested part by applying a layer of lemongrass essential oil. Alternatively, fill a spray bottle with some amount of water and add some lemongrass essential oil to it. Shake it well to mix the ingredients. Once done, spray it onto the infested area. You can use the same solution to coat the infested area using a paintbrush and apply it as a curative as well as preventive measure.
11.Essential Oil of Thyme
The essential oil of thyme is also one of the widely used weapons against the termite infestation (46). Widely acclaimed for its therapeutic application, this essential oil finds its place as a DIY treatment for a wide array of ailments. Thyme is an aromatic perennial evergreen herb of the mint family. It is widely used for aromatherapy, cooking, mouthwashes, and elixirs, besides ointments.
Why it Works?
The essential oil of thymus vulgaris or thyme mainly attributes its effects to its principal compound, thymol, and is only found in the thyme oil. These effects include therapeutic and pharmacological actions as well as the insecticidal or pesticidal properties. When the thyme essential oil was tested for its effectiveness as a termite killer, it yielded significant results. Initially, the essential oil was diluted with acetone in the ratio of 1:50, later the same diluted essential oil was applied to the infested sites. It was observed that it exhibited a hundred percent mortality in 24 hours (47). This proves it an effective remedy that works wonders for the one wondering how do you get rid of termites.
How to Apply?
The method of applying thyme essential oil is identical to the way we apply cinnamon essential oil.
Diatomaceous Earth or D.E. is also known as diatomite or kieselguhr. It is a soft sedimentary rock that exists in nature and can be easily powdered into a fine white to off-white colored substance. This rock is composed of fossilized remains of diatoms which is a category of hard-shelled protest (chrysophytes). It is commonly used in explosives and for filtration. Besides many other uses, it is a time-tested remedy to get rid of a wide array of insects and pests. Its crystalline formation and abrasive nature mainly contribute to its efficacy as an insecticide. It can serve as an effective and safe remedy to get rid of the termites while ensuring safety to human life.
Why it Works?
One can simply spread the powdered form of diatomaceous earth in order to get rid of the insects such as termites. When the insects come in contact with this abrasive substance, it tends to absorb oils and fats from the cuticle of insect’s exoskeleton. This causes them to dry out and eventually die. Its sharp and abrasive edges augment the process. This method is known for its long-term effectivity and delivers results until dry and undisturbed (48).
How to Apply?
Being harmless to the pets and humans, all you got do is spread a generous amount of this powder throughout the vicinity that is affected by the termite infestation to get rid of them. Alternatively, you can prepare a paste of it. Simply mix some diatomaceous earth in a small amount of water. Now grab a paintbrush and paint the infested areas with the same. This simple and eco-friendly remedy can get you rid of the pests other than termites, that too with very fewer efforts. You can use it for keeping your furniture and other wooden objects free from the termites.
13.Allspice Essential Oil
Allspice essential oil is also one of the most effective remedies for termite treatment and is a proven alternative according to researchers and studies (49).
Also known with the names like pimento, Jamaica pimento, and myrtle pepper, Allspice is the dried and unripe fruit of Pimenta dioica or Pimenta Officinalis. This is basically a mid-canopy tree that originated in Greater Antilles, Southern Mexico, and Central America. Allspice is named so, owing to a misconception that made its discoverers believe that it is a combination of various flavors such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The essential oil of allspice is extracted by the steam distillation of its leaves and fruits, and primarily combines compounds such as cineol, Caryophyllene, eugenol, methyl eugenol, and phellandrene.
Why it Works?
The experiment and the studies prove that the presence of these compounds enables it to exhibit strong termite control ability when applied as a treatment in the corresponding scenario. A combination of 26 essential oils was applied to test the effectivity against Japanese termites. It was concluded that the essential oil of allspice was one of the most insecticidal elements. The insecticidal properties of allspice essential oil mainly corresponds to the presence of high amount of eugenol followed by other compounds including β;-caryophyllene, methyl eugenol, α;-humulene, limonene, and 1,8-cineole (50, 51).
How to Apply?
The studies mentioned above prove allspice essential oil as an effective remedy against the termites. You can use it as a fumigant or surface coat the affected area using it. Get some water and fill a spray bottle with it. After this, add some essential oil to it and shake vigorously to mix the ingredients well. Once done, use the solution to spray at the required areas. You can also apply the combination using a paintbrush to the required area. Alternatively, drill some holes on the termite infested wooden object. Now inject some allspice essential oil through these holes.
Litsea Cubeba is a Chinese herb and is known as May Chang botanically. It refers to the tree belonging to Lauraceae family which is often known by the other names like Mountain Pepper and Chinese Pepper. It has a long-existing reputation as a lucrative treatment as an anti-depressant in Asia. It is also employed as a promising remedy to battle anxiety, fear, fatigue, high perspiration, pain, and stress. Besides this, it also finds its mentions in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine system for getting rid of the ailments like asthma, acne, eczema, dermatitis, indigestions and microbial infections.
It is known that the compound, known as Citral, is the major constituent of this essential oil and makes up about 70 to 85%. These citral compounds include geraniol (the a-citral) and neral (the b-citral). These compounds not only enable this oil to exhibit strong therapeutic properties like antiseptic, hypotensive, tonic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-infection, sedative, carminative, vulnerary, antispasmodic, and antidepressant properties but also makes it a strong, potent solution for termite treatment by imparting its insecticidal properties.
Why it Works?
As we know the essential oil of litsea cubeba is richly made up of citral compounds, namely geraniol and neral that enable it to exhibit insecticidal properties. This property of litsea cubeba has been proven through various studies and experiments as well. In an experiment to establish the insecticidal properties of 26 essential oils, it was inferred that litsea cubeba essential oil (derived by the steam distillation of the fruits obtained from the corresponding plant) exhibited strong action against the insect pests such as termites (52, 53).
How to Apply?
Litsea Cubeba Oil is one of the amazing remedies for getting rid of termites. Simply mix 1% of May Change/ Carrier oil blend. Now, use a paintbrush to apply this onto the wooden area infested by the termites. Alternatively, you can also prepare a termite-repellant litsea cubeba oil spray. Transfer 10 drops of 1% litsea cubeba essential oil/ carrier oil blend in a cup of lukewarm water. Pour this into the spray bottle and shake well to mix the ingredients. Once done, use the insect repellant at the affected sites. Ensure to shake it well while using and keep it at a safe distance from your eyes and nose as it tends to irritate the sensitive mucous membrane.
15.Carum Carvi Essential Oil
Carum Carvi is another name for Caraway, which is widely applied as a herbal remedy for a wide array of ailments. Not only this, it has been a great addition to the cake and bread recipes besides roasted apples multiplying their flavor quotient by manifolds. Carum Carvi plant is indigenous to the regions of West Asia along with north and central Europe. The essential oil of this herb is obtained by the steam distillation of dried ripe seeds and is a mixture of compounds including Acetaldehyde, Cumuninc aldehyde, furfural, carvone, and limonene. This oil finds its mention in traditional medicine system as a remedy for diverse health associated problems. You can also use the Carum Carvi essential oil to get rid of the termites (54, 55).
Why it Works?
The experiments and studies provide strong support to the fact that Carum Carvi essential oils can act as effective insecticides. This is mainly owing to the presence of compounds such as D-limonene and (R)-Carvone (56). This is the reason that on applying independently along with the 26 essential oils, the Carum Carvi essential oil exhibited strong activity against the Japanese termites (57). The test also confirmed that you can deliberately use Carum Carvi Essential oil as a fumigant to achieve best results for the termite infested areas.
How to Apply?
The anti-termite potential of Carum Carvi essential oil can be exploited in the best possible way by applying one of the many methods available. You can simply mix some Carum Carvi oil as well as the dried seeds with the soil to repel the termites from your previous garden and protect the trees along with other wooden objects from being damaged. Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of Carum Carvi essential oil in some water. Transfer this mixture to the spray bottle and mix well to form a uniform solution. Once ready, spray the insecticide hence prepared to the termite-infested area for effective results.
16.Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedar Oil can be counted as another wonder essential oil that provides a sigh of relief to the people who have been suffering sleepless nights due to termite infestation and acts as a complete DIY termite treatment (58). The essential oil of cedarwood is extracted through the process of steam distillation from the wood pieces of cedar wood tree. It is majorly made up of compounds like alpha-cedrene, beta-cedrene, cedrol, widdrol, thujopsene, and a combination of sesquiterpenes. These compounds help the cedarwood oil exhibit strong curative properties and ensure its use as an effective medicine.
Why it Works?
An experiment conducted to find the anti-termite efficacy of some essential oils establishes that cedarwood oil among other essential oils can be used to kill the termites and illustrates a hundred percent mortality when applied (59). This potential source of relief not only kills the adult termites but also destroys the eggs while serving effectively for a very long duration of time. On being exposed to the cedarwood oil, the termites are attracted to the pleasant aroma that overwhelms the breathing system and triggers suicidal tendencies in them. It causes their spiracles or the breathing pores to block thus interfering with the normal breathing. This, eventually causes the termites to die. Also, cedarwood oil causes the termite eggs and larvae to dissolve thus limiting their population. The strong aroma of cedarwood oil ensures that the pests such as termites stay away from the area, thanks to the effects it has.
How to Apply?
You can harness the anti-termite benefits of cedarwood oil by surface coating the wooden objects with it. Make sure to pay close attention to the cracks and ends of the objects. You can also spray some amount of the cedarwood oil onto the required areas to deter the termites.
17.Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil or Camphor Oil
Known with multiple names like Tasmanian blue gum, southern blue-gum, or blue gum, Eucalyptus Globulus is an evergreen tree indigenous to Australia. It is one of the most widely used varieties of eucalyptus with an amazing aromatic fragrance. The essential oil of Eucalyptus Globulus is extracted from the leaves of this tree and enjoys a time-tested reputation for its immunity boosting capabilities. This oil is mostly extracted for its therapeutic properties and is composed mainly of the compounds like Eucalyptol (or 1, 8-cineole) that makes up its 70-90 percent part. Besides a wide range of medicinal applications, this oil is also a proven remedy to get rid of the termites (60).
Why it Works?
The essential oil obtained from Eucalyptus Globulus is scientifically proven for its insecticidal properties. It has been shown that it is majorly composed of the compounds including 1, 8cineole. Besides this, it is also a rich source of monoterpenoids, which are known for strong insecticidal activities against a wide array of insect species (61, 62). These properties also make it suitable to be applied as a remedy for the termite treatment where it delivers cost-effective results in very less time. Thus, you can choose this cheap treatment for effective long-term results.
How to Apply?
The remedy using Eucalyptus Globulus essential oil is not only effective but is also a pocket-friendly solution that comes with the benefit of great aroma. You can simply sprinkle some oil onto the infested areas to deter the termites from them. Eucalyptus essential oil can also be mixed with the soil to keep the pests away from your garden’s vicinity. As an alternative method, you can also mix some eucalyptus essential oil in some amount of water. Fill a spray bottle with the ingredients and shake well to form a uniform mixture. Once ready, use it to spray the anti-termite solution on the affected areas or the structures, which are at potential risk of termite infestation. This, not only leaves the infested areas ridden of the termites, but also ensures that they do not increase in number, thanks to the larvicidal properties of the essential oil.
Eucalyptus Citriodora is one of the evergreen trees and is native to the regions falling in tropical northeastern Australia. It is commonly known with names like lemon-scented gum, blue spotted gum, lemon eucalyptus, and corymbia citriodora. Extracted by the steam distillation of fresh or partially dried leaves and young twigs, the essential oil of lemon eucalyptus is popular for a wide array of health-promoting benefits and incredible aroma. The essential oil of lemon eucalyptus is also known for its remarkable insecticidal properties imparted by its aroma. It is globally used as a traditional medicine for diverse ailments. Various compounds that make it up include citronellal, Limonene, Linalool, and antioxidants, besides various nutrients and active compounds (63). This makes it a perfect ingredient as we list out the home remedies to get rid of termites.
Why it Works?
The efficacy of lemon eucalyptus oil as anti-termite has been highlighted under various clinical studies. One of such study where eight essential oils were tested for their toxicity against the termites proves that this essential oil can be a great ally for the ones seeking solutions to what kills termites with home remedies. It is known to provide a hundred percent mortality while posing lesser threats to the environment (64).
Another experiment to test the applications of lemon eucalyptus essential oils confirms the findings. It was concluded that the soil or wooden structures treated with the oil exhibited strong repellency and high termite mortality, thus proving itself as an amazing eco-friendly alternative to the chemical treatments. The presence of high amount of compounds like 1, 8-cineol and limonene mainly contribute to its outstanding termiticidal and termite repellant activity (65).
How to Apply?
You can avoid the termite infestation by surface coating the wooden structures or mix some amount of oil in the soil. Ensure to dilute it in some amount of acetone to ensure that it does not harm the human health. You can repeat the process for some days (at least two weeks) to combat the problem completely. It has been observed that the oil in dilute concentrations takes about 14 days to offer hundred percent mortality. Also, the results of scientific studies emphasize that the oil offers wonderful repellency even after fourteen days of application. Thus, you can use this oil effectively for long-term relief from the termite while adding a great fragrance to your ambiance.
19.Platanus Orientalis L.
The world of natural insect repellants offers us brilliant solutions to help us solve our problems while ensuring that they do not ruin our health. The flower-bearing plants of Plantus Orientalis L. (also known as Old World Sycamore and Oriental Plane) are one such friend that we have in nature. Various parts of this plant can be used for a diverse range of applications. The part that is useful for us is the leaves. Besides being used for their astringent and vulnerary properties and stored dried to be used for the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, ophthalmia, chilblains, etc., the incense of these leaves is also found effective to repel the termites (66).
Known by many names including ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, and winter cherry, Withania Somnifera is a plant that is commonly used as a medicinal herb in Ayurveda science. It is used mainly because of its remarkable health benefits that include its strength to fight some of the dreadful diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, hypertension and many others. It is also a wondrous stress reliever, and an anti-inflammatory found in nature. In addition to this pool of benefits, it is also among the scientifically recommended treatments to throw the termites away from your building (67).
21.Indian Lilac Oil
The next one on our list of natural termite solutions is Indian Lilac oil (68). Indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, Indian Lilac finds a variety of uses in our daily lives. Sometimes, it is used to help the body combat ailments including infections, other small and big diseases. The wide range of benefits offered by Indian Lilac makes it a prominent part of our lives. The essential oil is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from the fruits of India Lilac. The oil is known for its pungent aroma and extremely bitter taste besides its therapeutic properties such as antiseptic nature, antifungal action, and antihistamine characteristics. The major constituents make up neem oil and impart the useful properties including sterols like Campesterol, beta-sitosterol, and Stigmasterol besides fatty acids and alkaloids.
Why it Works?
Indian Lilac oil is a potent ingenious way to kill a variety of insects and pests including the termites. Insects consume up the ingredients of Indian Lilac oil similar to the way they intake natural hormones. Once inside the body, the compounds present in the oil interfere with the normal functioning of the insect body. Insects, like a termite, often forget to carry out the functions that are crucial to their life like feeding and mating. It is followed by a decrease in the number of eggs laid. Indian Lilac oil also causes the larvae to molt. Once the termites stop feeding and breeding, their population eventually decreases that leads to their gradual vanishing.
How to Apply?
Despite its slow operation, Indian Lilac oil offers promising benefits regarding termite eradication while having no threats to the environment or beneficial flora in the vicinity of the building. To protect your beautiful garden from the termite infestation, pour some oil into the roots of the plants. Once the plants consume the ingredients, the termites will eventually reduce as they intake the wood from the plants. Alternatively, grab a dab of cotton and soak it in the Indian Lilac oil. Once ready, apply the oil generously to the infested wooden structures like furniture, ceilings, etc. You can repeat the process several times to ensure rapid and more effective results. You can also make use of the Indian Lilac wood, wherever possible, similar to the farmers of West Africa owing to its striking termite-resistant benefits (69, 70).
22.Catnip Essential Oil
Catnip or Nepeta Cataria, Catswort, or catmint, is a plat that is indigenous to the southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and some parts of China. It is one of the members of the mint family and continues growing as weed. You can generally find it in the herbs garden. The essential oil of catnip is pale yellow or orange and offers an aroma slightly similar to the mint. It finds its mentions in the medical science, thanks to its anti-spasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, nervine, stomachic, stimulant, astringent, and sedative actions. It is an unmatched blend of various compounds like Nepetalactone, Valeric Acid, Geraniol, Monoterpene, Nepetalic Anhydride, Citral, Limonene, Dispentine, Thymol, Citronella, Caryophyllene, Nerol, Bio-Flavonoids, Nepetalic Acid, and carotenoids.
Why it Works?
A group of learned men conducted a study to analyze the efficacy of catnip oil to deter the termites. It was observed that the compounds present in the catnip essential oil proffered terrific termite repelling and termiticide properties. It was proven that the termites did not enter the area that was surrounded by the soil treated with catnip essential oil. Also, the population of termites that was already present suffered life loss. This was majorly owing to the presence of monoterpenoid compounds, such as citral, citronellal, eugenol, geraniol, and nerol. These compounds are toxic to the termites and help the human to repel them (71).
How to Apply?
Catnip essential oil provides a superb natural alternative to the chemical methods available to kill and repel the termites. You can opt for mixing some amount of catnip oil in the soil surrounding the wooden objects in the garden. These objects might include the fences and plants. Alternatively, grab a cotton ball and soak it in the catnip oil. Once ready, coat the surface of the wooden structures using this oil to make them termite repellant.
23.Oregano Essential Oil
Relishing a time-tested reputation as an antibacterial agent, oregano essential oil is obtained from the plant of the same name that grows on the high mountain peaks. It often finds its uses in treating bacterial infections and preserving the food from the bacterial action. The oregano essential oil is majorly composed of carvacrol, thymol, cymene, Terpinene, caryophyllene, linalyl acetate, pinene, geranyl acetate, Linalool, and bisabolene. The compounds not only make oregano oil a magnificent antibacterial agent but also impart therapeutic properties like antiseptic actions, besides others. It has been in use for decades as a topical medicine and can also be ingested in smaller amounts. Something else that makes it effective to be used for termite treatment is its insecticidal properties.
Why it Works?
As discussed, oregano oil is a combination of some promising compounds including monoterpenes like thymol, carvacrol, besides others like cymene, terpinene, geranyl acetate, Linalool. These compounds have proven benefits when it comes to insect repellant properties and in turn, enrich the essential oil of oregano with unparalleled termite repellant nature (72). This makes the oil of oregano as the perfect ingredient for the insecticidal and termite repelling properties.
How to Apply?
There are various ways that you can opt for in order to harness the benefits of oregano oil to deter termites from your buildings. For the first one, you will require oregano essential oil (10 drops), citronella oil (10 drops), peppermint oil (10 drops), natural witch hazel, and some boiled or distilled water. Grab a spray bottle and fill 4oz of water in it. Fill rest of the bottle with witch hazel and add to it the essential oils. Shake well to mix the ingredients and spray it to deter the insects besides termites.
As a second method, consider filling a spray bottle with 20 drops of oregano oil and 15 drops of lemon or lime essential oil. Fill rest of the bottle with water. Shake the contents well to form a uniform mixture before spraying it on the termite-infested area.
Alternatively, opt for taking some oregano-oil soaked cotton balls and apply the oil to the wooden surfaces that need protection. You can also place these balls strategically at various locations in the building to deter a wide array of insects.
As another method, you can mix about a teaspoon of oregano oil, five to seven drops of regular dishwashing liquid, and about 8 cups or half a gallon of water in a spray bottle. Once ready, shake the container to mix well.
If you ever assumed that the application of garlic is restricted to your kitchen, you are wrong. Garlic is also one of the magical natural ingredients that supply the body with the components required to keep diseases at bay beside curing them magnificently. Not only this, but it is also widely renowned to aid weight loss process, help with headaches, decrease inflammation, optimize digestions, and boost cognitive function while improving the immune system. Scientifically known as Allium sativum, it is considered as one of the healthiest foods that you can add to your regime.
Why it Works?
In an experimental study, garlic oil was applied against the termites to observe it for the anti-termite efficacy. It was observed that the oil offered hundred percent mortality within 24 hours of application, which is highly significant when compared to the other termiticidal methods. This striking ability can be attributed to the presence of major compounds that make up garlic oil, including allicin, sulfide compounds, key amino acids, and enzymes besides ajoene (73).
How to Apply?
Clean some amount of garlic and chop it using clean pestle and mortar. Take about 125 grams of the chopped garlic and cover it with a muslin cloth. Then, take about 625ml of distilled water and place the ingredients along with the muslin cloth in this water for at least 24 hours. Now, squeeze the extract from this and apply it to the termite-infested sites using cotton balls. You can also opt for mixing 125ml of garlic juice and mix it in 250ml of hot water. Mix the ingredients well to ensure a uniform solution. Once ready, apply the mixture to the wooden structures, furniture, etc. As an alternative treatment, you can also mix 52.5ml of garlic juice in 250ml cold water. Once the ingredients mix well, apply it to the infested areas to kill termites naturally. Whatever method you choose, repeat the process three times a day for effective and quick results (74).
25.Nicotiana Tobacum (Tobacco)
Tobacco is a product obtained from the leaves of the tobacco plant. Though it is widely criticized for being used to snuff, smoke, or chewing, it also finds a wide array of other uses in the medical science. In extract form, it is added as an ingredient in pharmacology and perfumery. In addition to this, it is often utilized in the genetical and botanical researchers, owing to its rapid growth that enables numerous generations in one year. Besides being used as a decorative plant, the main constituents of tobacco include alkaloid nicotine (the stimulating agent) and harmala alkaloids.
Why it Works?
The application of tobacco to kill termites naturally has been backed by scientific studies and researchers. According to one such study, 20% tobacco concentrations in hot and cold water exhibited hundred percent termite mortality. The effectivity of the solutions declined with reducing concentrations (75). These results have been driving some of the amazing sources of natural insecticides that can replace the chemical alternatives. Tobacco in various forms like tobacco water, tobacco juice, tobacco dust juice or tobacco lime, is used traditionally as an organic insecticide in the gardens and crop fields beside other locations of insect infestation (76).
How to Apply?
You can harness the benefits of tobacco to get rid of the termites in multiple ways.
For one of the proven applications, prepare a tobacco extract. This can be done by adding 125 grams of ground tobacco in about 250ml of hot and cold water. Allow the water to rest for at least 24 hours. Once done, use the tobacco-infused water to spray over termite infested areas (77).
Alternatively, take some amount of strong tobacco and some water. Allow the tobacco to boil in the water for some time. Once done, allow the tobacco to steep in the water for 24 hours. Once cooled, transfer this mixture to the spray bottle and sprinkle on the required areas. You can also use a brush instead to coat the surfaces with this water.
You can also opt for preparing tobacco juice by mixing tobacco dust and black pepper in the water.
A cooking oil, canola is obtained from the crushes of canola seeds and is commonly used in the US. It is known for its low saturated fats and for boosting the heart health. Despite a pool of benefits, the usage of this oil is strongly criticized for the cooking purpose. It is mainly owing to the presence of unfavorable substances such as erucic acid and Glucosinolate. The usage of canola oil is not restricted only to the kitchen. You can also employ it for its insecticidal activities that can help you get rid of termites in no time.
Why it Works?
Science recommends that canola oil can be an effective remedy to kill the termites in the home. The experiment started by preparing a test environment that included termites obtained from the commercial sources. Then, Canola oil was applied to the infested wooden part. The researchers observed that the wood treated with canola oil illustrated high termite mortality within 24 hours of application. You can thus use it for rapid relief from the termites and minimize the damage from them (78).
How to Apply?
Simply take a paintbrush and coat the surface of the infested wood using canola oil. Alternatively, you can grab some cotton balls and soak them in some amount of canola oil. Once ready, apply the oil onto the wooden surfaces you want to treat. You can also place these balls in cracks and crevices to ensure that they do not enter further into the building. This remedy not only serves you as a remedial measure but also enables you to keep the problem of termite infestation at bay.
27.Yarrow Essential Oil
Essential oil obtained from yarrow is also a potent alternative to the conventional methods of deterring termites. Scientifically known as Achillea millefolium, common yarrow is a species of flowering plants indigenous to Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. The dried plant is processed through steam distillation to extract the essential oil of this plant. This herb is popularly known as a herbal treatment that can cure a diverse range of diseases. In addition to this, its juice is sometimes mixed with the alcoholic beverages to enhance their health-boosting benefits. The main constituents of yarrow essential oil include tricyclene, Alpha-Pinene, Sabinene, Borneol Acetate, Limonene, Borneol, Isoartemisia Ketone, Beta-Pinene, Gamma-Terpinene, Camphene, Cineole, Chamazulene, and Camphor.
In addition to the large collection of applications, yarrow oil is also one among those recommended by science for repelling the termites or treating the structures infested by them (79).
How to Apply?
To apply yarrow oil for getting rid of the termites, all you need is a bottle of yarrow oil, a container, and a paintbrush. Transfer some of the oil into the container and dip the paintbrush in it. Use it to coat the wooden surfaces with the essential oil. Alternatively, dip some cotton balls in the yarrow essential oil and use them to coat the required surfaces. You can also place these balls strategically at specific locations. Yarrow essential oil not only gets you rid of the termites but also acts as an excellent termite repellant thus helping you avoid the problem in first place.
How about attacking pests with the parasites that feed on them? Exactly, that is what we are going to do now. Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that grows naturally in the soil. It is a parasite for various species of insects and other such organisms like arthropods that develop muscardine in them. It can thus be categorized under entomopathogenic fungi. Owing to its characteristic, it is utilized as a biological insecticide for a wide collection of pests including termites, thrips, whiteflies, aphids, and beetles. Beauveria bassiana has very rare chances of posing any threat to the human life, hence increasing its points as a safe alternative to chemical treatments.
Why it Works?
This scientifically proven method for getting rid of termites works wonders in many ways as it also helps you deter infestation of various other pests in the garden. Once the fungus is exposed to the insect exoskeleton, they develop hyphae, which are long branching vegetative appendages. These hyphae secrete an enzyme, which dissolves the cuticles present in the exoskeleton. Beauveria bassiana then grows within the insects while taking nutrition from its body tissue, produce toxins and multiply (80, 81, 82).
How to Apply?
The spores of this fungus are applied directly to the infested area. Once it is exposed to the body of termites, it gradually grows. The conditions such as moist environment favor them and help them multiply their growth by manifolds. This remedy takes seven days to show complete effects. You must ensure to carry out the activity in absence of sunlight as the presence of it acts as a growth-limiting factor for the fungus.
Cayenne Pepper is also an effective ingredient if you want to master the art of throwing the termites out of your house. All you have to do is choose one of the methods of administration and proceed.
Method 1: Take a quart of water and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Mix both the ingredients well. Add to it few drops of liquid detergent. Once done, stir the ingredients to ensure that they mix well. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and sprinkle on the affected areas.
Method 2: Blend or puree half a cup of cayenne pepper in a cup of water. Add to it 1 quart of water. Boil the mixture well. Once ready, allow it to rest unless cool. Strain the pepper and add some liquid detergent to it. Now, use it a spray to deter termite from the infested area.
Method 3: You can also opt for direct application. Just cover your hands with gloves and sprinkle powdered cayenne pepper to the infested areas. Repeat the process for some days unless you can observe results.
Method 4: Take some vegetable oil and cayenne pepper in powdered form. Mix the ingredients well to form a fine paste. Now grab a cotton ball and apply the mixture to the vertical spots once in a day.
Even though this method of deterring termites is not rapid, but it can act as a great repellant after a while. However, you must make sure to cover your hands.
30. Patchouli Oil
Patchouli is a species of plants that come under the mint family. It is cultivated as a bushy herb that bears small flowers, which are pale pink-white in color. This herb is widely cultivated in the areas incluidng China, India, Malaysia Indonesia, Mauritius, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The essential oil of patchouli is extracted by the steam distillation of the dry leaves. Rich in the compounds like pogostol, alpha patchoulene, seychellene, beta patchoulene, patchouli alcohol, alpha guaiene, norpatchoulenol, alpha bulnesene, caryophyllene, it is majorly used in the perfumery and to manufacture incense, insect repellants, and herbal remedies.
Why it Works?
While the applications of patchouli oil were limited to the perfume industry and food industry, it eventually gained wide acclamation for its ability to repel the moths and as a remedy for cold. It was later proven that the oil and alcohol of patchouli could be effective when it comes to termite treatment. The observations indicate that treating the food sources of termites with the oil or alcohol dramatically interferes with the feeding system of the termites thereby stopping them to continue taking nutrition. It was also stated that the alcohol is twice as effective as the oil (83).
How to Apply?
Soak some cotton balls in the Patchouli oil or alcohol and use them to coat the surface of the infested wood. You can also use a paintbrush for the same. Also, you can opt for burning some incense sticks made of patchouli oil. However, this is more of a preventive measure rather than remedial treatment. Following the process for a few times in a week will help you gain amazing benefits and keep the termite problems away from the building and its vicinity.
Nematodes are the microscopic, non-segmented worms, which are a part of natural soil flora across the globe. They only attack the pests that live in the soil and do not affect the plants. In addition to it, they are not detrimental to the beneficial flora present in the soil beside humans, animals, earthworms and other non-target organisms. Once they sense the temperature and carbon dioxide emissions by the soil pests, they start their journey towards them to enter their bodies. They are the carriers of the bacterium of Photorhabdus species, which is capable of killing the insects or pests within 48 hours of exposure. An insect may be home to numerous generations of the nematodes who keep emerging in search of a new prey (84).
It is not a completely natural remedy for getting rid of the termites, but also ensure effective results which last long and take very less time. In addition to this, they also take care of the other pests present in the vicinity to help you ensure a hundred percent pest free surroundings. The simplest method to introduce beneficial nematodes to the infested area requires you to fill a spray bottle with some water. Add beneficial nematodes to it and shake thoroughly to mix them well. Once ready, spray the water on the infested area.
Alternatively, you can transfer the nematodes to a bucket of water and stir well to mix the nematodes. Allow the solution to sit for a few minutes and fill it in the spray bottle to sprinkle the affected areas.
Termite infestation generally starts from the garden. Hence, begin the remedial process from there. The nematodes will further spread to your home. Also, avoid using fertilizers for a few days after application of the beneficial nematodes. Fertilizers tend to harm the nematodes, hence affecting the cause you have introduced them to the vicinity.
You might have heard amazing herbal remedies to heal the ailments you are suffering from. But while we extend the herbs to use for termite treatments, here is a great addition, known as Ku Shen. It mainly is a name given to the roots of Sophora flavescens Aitthat, which is a plant of Leguminosae family. It is generally consumed in various forms like sophora flavescens supplement, extracts, tea, capsules, powder, etc. to cure a wide array of diseases. The main compounds that make up this root include alkaloids, flavonoids, Quinones, and triterpenoid saponins of various types (85). It is an ancient Chinese herb that grows wild across the sandy areas, sunny meadows, and hillsides of China (86).
Why it Works?
The main factor that attributes to the termiticidal properties of Ku Shen is the presence of various types of alkaloids that exhibit outstanding biological activity. The studies have helped to identify the presence of about two dozens of alkaloids in the sophora roots, a majority of them being matrine and oxymatrine. On exposing the wood treated with the matrine and oxymatrine, it was concluded that termites experience a disturbance in their feeding system. It is causing the termites to stop feeding and acts as an antifeedant. It was also shown that this ability of Ku Shen remains active for more than a year (87).
How to Apply?
The application of Ku Shen for getting rid of the termites is one of the simplest of all. All you have to do is boil some roots in a container of water for some time. Now, allow the decoction to cool down. Once ready, transfer it to the spray bottle to sprinkle on the required locations.
33.Rose Pea Extract
Known with many names like India Licorice, Wild Licorice, Red-bead Vine, Crab’s eye, love pea, and a lot more, Rose Pea is a perennial climber that climbs around the trees, shrubs, and hedges. It is categorized as a legume with long, pinnate-leafleted leaves and it has received wide popularity for its seeds. These seeds are used as beads in the percussion instruments and are toxic in nature owing to the presence of a compound known as abrin. Rose pea is scientifically known as Abrus precatoriusand and is indigenous to the regions falling in South East Asia. It is widely applied for its therapeutic uses as well to cure a wide array of ailments including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, vertigo, rectal bleeding, and numerous others.
Why it Works?
According to a study, Rose Pea contains a toxic compound known as Abrin and has an insecticidal nature. After an experiment to determine the effect of rose pea extract on the invasive termites, it was observed that “exposure to water- and methanol based extracts of leaf and seed material significantly increases the termite mortality and shortened the time of death as well.” It is primarily because the extracts are rich in the compounds with inhibitory action against the termites and other pests. It was also observed that the methanol extract with high methanol content was more effective and quick in killing the termites as compared to the extract prepared using water (88).
How to Apply?
Rose pea extracts can be a potent termite treatment that helps you to deter them in the future as well. You can simply use these extract in combination with various other compounds like methanol and water. The methanol and water extract of rose pea are prepared chemically by mixing the respective compounds in the seed and leaf powder in the laboratories. You can simply buy them from the market and spray on the required areas with a maximum infestation. The solution helps you get relief from the termites at a very fast pace and remains active for a long duration of time.
34.Citrus Waste Wax
The citrus waste wax is the combination of a citrus waste of various types obtained from the industries operating in the corresponding domains. It refers to the collection of essential oils and peels extract, hence obtained as the byproducts of various processes in the citrus industry. It finds a wide array of applications in addition to being one of the best termite treatments that can be applied. Science has suggested that the citrus waste can be an amazing replacement to the synthetic insecticides and provides the users with a safe, easy-to-use, cost-effective and hundred percent efficient anti-termite treatment.
Why it Works?
The scientific studies to determine the value of the idea to kill the termites with citrus wax have been conducted several times. These studies indicate that the citrus wax has an antifeedant effect on the termites. It was also concluded that the major contributing compounds found in the essential oils obtained by the steam distillation of the citrus peel included limonene, gamma-terpinene, and beta-pinene. It suppresses the termite’s ability to acquire nutrition that is necessary to carry out the life functions and provide the body energy to progress them. Once the termites are exposed to the compounds present in citrus wax or the essential oils, they stop eating and gradually die. The synthetically prepared antifeedants are also available in the market. However, the biological method available in the form of citrus peel extract is equally effective (89, 90).
How to Apply?
You can avail the citrus wax and citrus essential oils available from the market. Take a container and fill it with some water. Now, combine various citrus peels and add it to the water-filled container. Microwave it for some time and then allow it to cool. Once done, apply it to the locations infested with the termites. Having an antifeedant nature, it will help you easily to get rid of the invading termites in no time while keeping the termite problem at bay.
Other Scientifically Proven Methods to Battle Termite Infestation
Though the way that is routed through the natural pesticides is always the best option to go for, but some of our friends can also try the methods that employ non-greener alternatives as well. Moreover, the best part is that they are not only pocket-friendly but also pose very less or no environmental hazards, thus multiplying their worth. Researchers and scholars have tested them for their applications and approved the choice as among the best. Let us explore some such solutions here.
- Microwave Oven
Microwave ovens are an amazing and the easiest treatment to get rid of the termites. Not only do the people prefer it for its high efficacy, but also they are scientifically recommended as an alternative to their chemical counterparts (91). The main property of microwave includes its ability to produce the electromagnetic waves. Once exposed to the electromagnetic waves, the fluid inside the body of termites starts heating up slowly. This, in turn, causes great damage to their cell membrane thus giving you relief from the termite infestation.
You can buy or rent the portable microwave from the market and employ it to the use. It is recommended to continue the treatment for 10-20 minutes for an infested wooden piece whose size ranges from 1 to 2 feet. This treatment is majorly effective for the drywood termites. In addition, since it is a site-specific method, you must ensure reliable detection to guarantee successful eradication.
- Hot and Cold Treatment
This method works wonders as a drywood termite treatment (92). This involves exposing the termites to extreme temperatures so that they are only left with two choices, either to evacuate or die. Even though this treatment does not provide long-term relief or future infestations, it is effective in case the wooden object is suffering from high infestation. You can simply reduce the number of termites and then apply some preventive measure to protect the wooden surface.
Why it Works?
Termites cannot withstand extreme temperatures, that is, too high or too low values. Temperature higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less than -20 degrees Fahrenheit acts as a killer for the termites. This is the reason either they will die or abandon the surface in search of a favorable condition.
How to Apply?
For hot treatment, place the wooden structure at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for at least 33 minutes. In case you cannot find arrangements for the temperature or feel worried about the structure, you can also place the wooden object or the infested piece under direct sunlight. This would evaporate entire moisture content from the wooden structure (93).
Alternatively, you can utilize the liquid nitrogen to create a freezing environment in order to control the termites. For this, get special equipment from the market that caters to nitrogen filling. This equipment will help you inject the nitrogen into the pre-drilled holes. Maintain the wood temperature as low as -29 degree Celsius for about 5 minutes to get the job done (94).
- Sodium Chloride, Common Salt or Table Salt
No matter how expensive the damage caused by termites be, the solutions to get rid of them need not be that costly. If you are looking for cheap termite treatment methods, the ingredient found in every household, common salt, is one of the most precious allies. Besides serving as an important ingredient for our dishes, this product is a termite pest control method that has received a time-tested reputation to be used as an insecticide and is often applied for its corresponding benefits by the farmers in fields across the globe (95, 96).
Why it Works?
The remedy uses common salt as a bait. Being a source of cellulose (a plant-based material), the termites will get attracted towards the salt and try consuming it. Being insecticidal in nature, the salt will prove adverse for them hence proving itself as a potent termite killer. Once on the body, the crystalline structure of the salt enables it to suck out the fluids from the body of termites, thus causing intense dehydration and eventually death.
How to Apply?
Get some cotton and grab some pieces from it to form small balls. Now, take a container and add some water to it followed by some salt. When ready, stir the ingredients well to form a clear solution. Now, dip the cotton balls in this solution and place them strategically at the locations affected by termite infestation.
Alternatively, you can take the cotton balls and cover them with common salt to place them at the termite- infested locations. This method works wonders for the places, which are severely populated by the termites, and gets you rid of them quickly.
Fill a container with a gallon of water. Add two tablespoon of common salt to it. Stir the contents well to form a clear solution. Once ready, pour it into the spray bottle to sprinkle on the infested areas. You can also opt for an easy solution according to which all you have to do is sprinkle some salt onto the infested areas.
Another method of application requires you to collect the ingredients that include water, common salt, and a syringe. Heat the water unless lukewarm. Once done, add the salt to it and stir unless the salt dissolves well in the water. Now fill the syringe with this solution and inject it to the termite entry points. You can also pour some part of it to the infested areas. Repeat the process every day for a few days. You can also consider soaking some cotton balls in this solution and place them at the site of infestation. Due to the presence of cellulose in the common salt, the termites will get attracted towards the cotton balls after which the salt will start having its effect.
- Boric Acid
Boric Acid or Hydrogen Borate is also known as boracic acid, orthoboric acid or Acidum Boricum. It is one of the weak, monobasic Lewis acid of boron. Existing on the form of colorless crystals or white-colored powder, it is often used for its antiseptic, insecticidal, flame retarding and neutron absorbing value, and easily dissolves in the water. Thanks to its pesticidal properties, it can be employed in the household as an effective treatment to get your home rid of the pests. This is the reason it is generally used as a wood preservative to protect it against the termites, beetles, and some decay fungi (97).
Why it Works?
A group of scientists studied the effects of boric acid on the termite infested areas. It was concluded that the application of this chemical salt proved lethal for the termites and in turn, causes damage to their nervous system within very less duration of application, thus making it a source of immediate relief. It is also employed as an effective treatment to keep termites away from your building and yards. Some amount of boric acid is mixed in the soil to ensure that your yard remains free of termite infestation (98, 99).
How to Apply?
Take some water in a container. Add some boric acid powder to it and mix well until it dissolves completely. Once ready with a uniform solution, use a paintbrush to spread it evenly on the wooden surface. You can also opt for spraying or painting the wooden objects with the products that contain boric acid. This formula also works wonders for the one wondering how to get rid of flying termites.
A Word of Precaution
Special care should be taken while handling boric acid. You must make sure to cover your hands using gloves and wear masks as its intake proves toxic to the human life.
- Soapy Water
Yes, we are talking about the soap that you generally use in your homes, the ones about which you always thought effective only for cleaning. Soap solution can be a potent help when you are seeking do it yourself termite treatment and control. Available in every home, this remedy not only proves effective but also serves as one of the cost-effective alternatives while posing very fewer threats to the environment or beneficial flora in the vicinity. It also offers amazing benefits by not only killing the termites but by being lethal to all the insect pests that bother you of late. Let us explore the remedy in detail.
Why it Works?
The lethal action of soaps and detergents on the insects begin as soon as they are exposed to their bodies. Once you spray on their bodies, they form a covering or coating over it. This, in turn, damages their cell membranes and removes the protective waxes that protect the insect bodies. Due to this, the insects tend to lose the fluid in their body that leads to excess water loss. The entire process causes the insects to pay a toll on their lives gradually but eventually (100). Therefore, if not as a preventive measure, this home remedy to get rid of the termites can surely bring you relief rapidly after which you can coat the structures with other protective layers.
How to Apply?
The method to administer this remedy is as easy as the speed of its results. Simply grab a container filled with some water. Add some liquid dishwashing soap or a teaspoon of detergent to it. Once done, transfer the mixture to the spray bottle and shake vigorously in order to form a uniform solution. Once ready, spray it over various wooden erections in your homes along with furniture, etc. Repeat the process several times in a week for quick and effective results. This method is also effective for the ones who want to know how to get rid of termites in the wall.
Known with the names like sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, this compound of boron finds diverse applications in our daily life even without us knowing about it. It does so by being an ingredient in the detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Besides this, borax is also one of the amazing insecticides and is a part of many DIY insect treatments owing to its properties. This makes it a perfect friend for those seeking alternative termite treatments that they can apply at home.
Why it Works?
Anti-termite activities of borax have been scientifically verified through various experiments and studies. This is primarily because once ingested, borax interferes with the nervous system of the insects such as termites causing it to stop functioning entirely. It also causes their body to dehydrate that gradually causes them to lose weight and die.
In an experiment to prove the anti-termite nature of borax, several infested structures were treated by boron compounds including borax, boric acid, zinc borate, and sodium perborate tetrahydrate under some conditions. At the end of the experiment, it was observed that the structures treated with borax exhibited rapid hundred percent termite mortality thus, proving itself as an effective agent of relief. Several other researchers confirmed the results that state borax can be one of the wondrous termiticidal agents that you can not only use to kill the termites but also ensure that the structures are not exposed to the infestation in the first place by repelling them (101, 102, 103, 104).
- White vinegar
White Vinegar is another wondrous treatment to get your home rid of the invaders known as termites. You can count it among the ingredients that are known for their versatility, mainly because this one constituent in the kitchen can not only dye eggs, satisfy the culinary purpose, and kill weeds, but is also an effective cleaning agent and a part of various delicious dishes. A blend of water and acetic acid, it is also employed as a folk medicine for skin ailments and is known to boost body’s metabolism, reduce post-meals blood glucose and insulin in the people. White vinegar is also used for insecticidal, herbicidal, and other such applications where it delivers remarkable results in very less duration of time.
Why it Works?
An experiment was conducted to observe white vinegar for its efficacy to get rid of termites. The wooden pieces, which were infested by the termites, were treated with white vinegar. This application showed that white vinegar’s application for continuous eight days displayed hundred percent termite mortality. Though not as quick as other treatments in the experiment, it was concluded that white vinegar works wonderfully well when it comes to treating termites. Hence, you can choose it for the benefits it offers as a less toxic alternative (105).
How to Apply?
Take half a cup of white vinegar and add the juice of two fresh lemons to it. Pour this mixture into the spray bottle and shake well to obtain a uniform solution. Now use this solution to spray on the termite infested area to get rid of them. Repeat the process twice daily for a week to obtain effective results.
[ Read: Homemade Fly Traps to Get Rid of Flies ]
Some Other Popular Methods
As a user, we generally intend to go out of the ways to explore some new way to do things. Some of the people from this clan went on to explore the methods that can kill termites. Here we have listed some of them for you. However, we would also like to let you know that we could not find any relevant scientific proofs for the same.
- Wet Cardboard Trap
You can easily throw the termites out of your house by using wet cardboard termite traps. It uses the termite’s attraction to the cellulose from which termites gain nutrition. The idea is to provide the termites with the content they require, that is, the cellulose through the cardboard. A wet cardboard trap is an efficient alternative to get rid of the termites quickly and in less time. You can combine this remedy with other remedial measures for more effective results.
All you have to do is wet down some pieces of cardboard and pile them one upon another. You can also use cardboard boxes instead for more convenience. Now, place this wet cardboard in an area that is most affected by the termite infestation. The cellulose content in the cardboard boxes will attract the termites from which the termites will start feeding on. Once you notice that the cardboard has been infested significantly, you can take it out of your house and burn it down. You can coat the surfaces of the cardboard with anti-termite essential oil or solution that can help you solve the issue miraculously.
- Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is something that we often hear as a remedial measure to get ourselves free from various ailments or skin and body. Well, this makes it an ingredient that is found in most of the gardens and yards. You can also use this amazing remedy to get those creepy monsters, the termites, out of your vicinity. Well, we don’t claim it, but many users who used this, do. They say that using aloe vera gel as a remedy for termite infestation helps them combat the problem in no time by killing the pests.
Take a fresh aloe vera leaf and extract the gel content from it. Now, take some water and transfer the gel to it. Mix the content well in a container unless you obtain a uniform mixture. Once ready, apply the mixture to the termite infested areas. Repeat the process twice daily for quick and effective results.
Another user-recommended method for getting rid of the termite infestation is the application of kerosene oil. The users who tried this alternative to get rid of termites say that kerosene helped effectively in killing the termites and ensured termite prevention in future as well. It is believed that kerosene oil exposes the termites to a negative environment. This environment makes it hard for the termites to carry out vital life functions like eating, breathing, etc. Once the termites are unable to carry out these, they eventually fall prey to the death. However, users must ensure their safety while using the kerosene oil owing to the potential risk of health hazards and high flammability.
Simply transfer some kerosene oil to a container. Now soak a cotton ball in it and coat the surfaces of the wooden areas with the kerosene oil. You can also use a paintbrush instead of the cotton ball. Follow the process once daily to ensure effective results. You can also opt for mixing a few drops of citronella oil to the kerosene oil for additional advantages.
- Bug Zappers
No, this is not a natural method, but it is indeed a wonderful one. If your building is infested with the winged termites and you are wondering how to kill flying termites in your house, you can surely opt for this one. The trick is to switch off all the available light sources in and around your building. Now place the bug zapper at the location, which is very hot. Now, the pests will be attracted to the light source represented by the bug zapper and in turn, die due to its nature.
[ Read: Home Remedies for Killing Aphids ]
How to Prevent Termites
We all have heard that prevention is always better than cure. It goes in the case of bugs as well, be it the ones that have minimal effects or the ones like termites whose damage not only hits hard on the pocket but also causes a major misalignment to the appearance of your building. Following a few precautionary measures, you can not only keep the pests away but also save your precious time and money that goes into getting rid of them and giving the damaged belongings the shape they were previously bestowed with. Hence, let us explore some utterly easy tips to avoid ourselves falling prey to the termites.
- Closely inspect the property once every year. Ensure to follow a proper plan prepared to keep every detail in mind to ensure efficient and thorough monitoring. Maintain a track record to analyze the pest infestation and damage caused.
- Identify the infestations and the species of termites causing the damage. Check the area thoroughly for the signs of termites that include mud tunnels made owing to the burrowing termites, and termite droppings near/ under the wooden objects/ ceilings/ structures.
- Make sure to use termite-resistant building materials, if possible. You can also opt to build the wooden objects using the woods that are less favorable to the termites. Some of the wood types that are termite repellants include redwood, cedarwood, and juniper.
- Do not allow water to be stagnant near your building and avoid prolonged moist soil. These conditions favor the termite growth and hence is a preferred habitat.
- Lay the 6mm polyethylene films in the crawl space beneath the building foundations. This would provide the much-needed moisture barrier between the soil and the subfloor framing.
- Have adequate provision for the cross-ventilation throughout the wall vents of the foundation. This would help you secure the crawl spaces from moisture, hence keeping them dry and unfavorable for termites.
- Erect all the exterior grades away from the wooden structure in order to maintain an efficient drainage system.
- Trim the plants around the building regularly after certain intervals to prevent the moisture and mold buildup on the wooden walls.
- While watering, make sure to do it away from the building and erect the sprinklers while maintaining a safe distance from the wooden walls and sidings to avoid spraying the water directly onto them.
- Use a weather sealer for sealing the wooden structures. Keep in mind to pay close attention to the exterior window frames and the ones that fall on the bottom of wall edges.
- Regularly clean the wood scraps and debris from the wooden structures.
- The infestation of subterranean termites can be effectively taken care of by developing sand barriers in the crawl spaces and under the fence posts, patios, and the steps. This can be an effective treatment because the species of termites fail at tunneling through the sand.
- You can also dig trenches 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide around the wooden structures and fill them using 16-grit sand. Make sure to use the granules that are too large to be carried away and too small to be used to form tunnels.
- Keep a check on the cracks and broken seals in the foundations and patios. Once observed, make sure to fill and repair them using 16-grit sand granules. This method is particularly very effective after foundation settling and earthquake damage.
- Make sure to clean the drainage and gutter around your building and ensure that they are covered at all times.
Take Home Message
No problem can be big enough to have no solution. While you always can take an easy escape to battle your problems, no matter how detrimental they are, sometimes you can overlook your ease and step out of your comfort zone. This is what our easy to apply home remedies to get rid of the termites help you with. The chemical pesticides available in the market might offer quick relief, but the threats they pose in front of you are simply unexplainable, let alone the high cost associated with them. Hence, the best route in terms of natural home remedies is that helps you save big while proving effective for a long time with just small efforts. Try following the procedures that suit you the best and get going. You can thank us later. Cheers!
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