Natural and alternative termite control methods

Even though a professional extermination may be necessary in order to treat termite infestations, you may be surprised to know there are actually several natural and alternative termite control methods as well. These treatments can often be used in place of, before, or in combination with professional treatment options.

Since even professionals regard prevention as the most effective form of pest control, it is important to understand pre-treatment methods.  When building a new home, the ground, foundation, and even the building materials can be treated with certain compounds in order to prevent termite problems before they ever begin. Proper moisture control is also essential to preventing infestations.

Due to a growing demand by consumers to not only prevent problems before they begin, but also to protect their personal health and the environment, there have been major breakthroughs in natural forms of termite control. Options such as organic treatments to disturb nests and biological controls can be beneficial (when done correctly). Because even these types of treatments can pose certain risks, it is always a good idea to consult with a professional in advance.

Unfortunately, biological control is still quite in its infancy in agricultural science, but it’s still worthwhile to know what natural ways exist to control termites.

Termite resistant wood

One of the most popular forms of natural termite prevention is to construct new structures out of woods that are confirmed to be naturally resistant to pests. Woods such black walnut, redwood, and bald cypress are a few such options in temperate regions. In the tropics, ironwood and many heavy hardwoods can resist termites for a long time. That being said, it is important to note that some of these woods are somewhat rare, and may be very expensive, or hard to find.

Termite parasites

Biological controls are also becoming quite popular and do not involve the use of any harmful chemicals. One method involves applying beneficial nematodes directly to termite nests. What are nematodes? Nematodes are microscopic, strand-like animals that for years have been used in biological pest control. Some nematodes are parasites of termites. These nematodes are added to water and poured directly into termite nest openings. As the water coats the termites, they are covered and infected with the nematodes. Depending on the exact species of termite, the nematodes will either kill the workers to the point the queen will starve to death, or they will immediately kill the queen.

Ants

Another type of biological control is the introduction of predatory species. Although ants and termites are often mistaken for each other, they are natural enemies. Ants and termites can be distinguished here. Most ants would naturally prey on termites, either as opportunists (if given the chance), or as specialist termite hunters (specifically raiding termite nests to carry off as many termites as possible).

While this method shows a good deal of promise, many homeowners are a bit hesitant to introduce ants to their homes. The possibility of wiping out one infestation while inviting another would have to be carefully considered. But in some parts of the world, the natives specially entice certain ant types to come and give their homes a periodic “cleansing” of termites.

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