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The quantity of professional and DIY products available for termite treatment is overwhelming, leaving you numerous choices to choose from. It is also interesting to remember that there are many household products that can repel and even kill termites – many of which are sitting right inside of your cabinets.
Insects are temperamental and highly sensitive animals that tend to steer clear of products and substances that produce strong odors and potentially irritating effects to their anatomy.
Which natural household products kill termites?
There is a large variety of natural household products that kill termites, including bleach, saltwater, vinegar, and chemicals containing borax and common household detergents and soaps.
It goes without saying that it will take much more powerful insecticides to completely rid termites from your home. Household products work wonders for trying to curb termite damage until more extensive treatment procedures can begin, but they are not meant to be the only form of treatment against killing termites.
It can be very difficult to actually see live termites, since they spend all of their time inside of the wood that they are colonizing and eating, therefore it can be difficult to know if the termites are being killed by the products. That said, the following are known effective products found at home that you can use to kill termites:
Bleach will kill termites – bleach will kill virtually any living thing that is small enough to become saturated in it. Although bleach will work wonders in killing live termites, it is not a viable treatment option due to the staining properties associated with it. You will frequently need to saturate infested wood with a bleach of choice to begin the process of killing termites. Bleach would also not be an attractive option due to the aforementioned staining as well as the strong and potent odor associated with it.
In addition to the wood structures inside of your home, the soil around your home will also need to be treated. According to the EPA, “If conducted improperly, these treatments can cause contamination of the home and surrounding drinking water wells and will not protect against termites”. The best way to utilize bleach to kill termites would likely be as a repellent or a flying termite contact killer.
Termites are likely not going to be out in the open very often, which would make the usage of bleach a messy alternative. If you do choose to use bleach to spot kill termites, simply mix a half and half mixture of bleach to water in a spray bottle and spray all visible termites. Bleach will kill termites – but it is not really worth the mess and smell, but if all else fails, it will work.
It may seem incomprehensible to think that salt can actually kill living organisms since it is such a vital component to sustaining life. But with insects, salt can actually be a toxic and disruptive antagonist to sensitive insect anatomy. If you are in-between termites insecticides, you can actually use regular, old table salt to fight against termites.
Salt works by burning the sensitive exterior of the termite’s body and unlike bleach, it has very few potential side effects to wood or the surrounding environment. Simply fill a spray bottle with a copious amount of salt (the more, the better) and fill the rest of the way up with warm water. You can spray any visible termites with the saltwater solution and for added benefit, you can inject the saltwater mixture into termite exit holes in wood with a syringe to kill multiple termites inside of a structure.
Saltwater alone will not address eliminating an entire termite colony, so a more comprehensive type of salt treatment is recommended if salt is your chosen method of treatment. Bora-Care by Nisus is a powerful, all-natural product that combines sodium with additional chemicals to work toward eliminating a termite colony without the toxicity associated with traditional termiticides. Pour the desired amount of product into a lawn and garden sprayer and saturate all infested wood and the soil surrounding your home much in the same way you would administer other termiticides and watch this all-natural product work just as effectively as toxic termiticides.
It has become a matter of debate as to whether vinegar can actually kill termites apart from simply repelling them. Vinegar is a home remedy that can indeed kill termites as the enzymes inside of vinegar aggravate and disrupt the digestive system of termites, which is a good method of elimination as the more potent termiticides disrupt the central nervous system – and are starting to develop termite tolerance due to their overuse. Apart from a somewhat potent odor, vinegar can also be relatively tolerable when used as a spray application to interior wood and even as a mixture into the soil around the home.
Like the other household products, vinegar should be diluted with water to minimize the potentially powerful odor in your home. You can spray any visible termites on wood structures and even take it a step further by using a syringe to inject the mixture into termite exit holes, drowning the termite colony in vinegar and killing many live termites in a completely natural way.
Much like vinegar, lemon juice is also a potent termite repellent and can be used to repel a large variety of insects. Also, like vinegar, lemon juice contains enzymes that disrupt and degrade the termite digestive system – leading to death over time. For added potency, both vinegar and lemon juice can be used to together to create a powerful combination of natural, termite-killing ingredients.
5. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a controversial – yet highly effective insect killing product. Virtually no insect known to science can build a tolerance to the potent effects of rubbing alcohol and the product is guaranteed to kill termites – if directly sprayed onto them. If you choose to use rubbing alcohol as a termite killer, simply mix half alcohol and half water in a spray bottle and begin spraying any visible termites.
With great results, also comes great drawbacks when using rubbing alcohol as an insecticide. First and foremost, rubbing alcohol is highly flammable and this becomes even more dangerous when drenching wood with the chemical. House fires are a prime concern of worry with using alcohol as an insecticide and this is one reason why alcohol is not a recommended form of insecticide.
Alcohol also doesn’t have a very long effect when used in this manner. Alcohol dries very, very quickly, meaning that rubbing alcohol is only ever effective as a contact killer and never as a residual product. Due to fire hazards and the absence of a residual component, rubbing alcohol is not a good household product to use against termites.
Contrary to popular belief, there are in fact many types of common, household products that can kill termites. Bleach, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, and alcohol can kill termites and not simply repel them as is commonly assumed. Some of these products are better tolerated in the home environment than others and using bleach and alcohol are likely not recommended due to potential hazards and powerful odors throughout your home’s atmosphere.
It is important to remember that although these products can kill termites, they are not very effective at completely eliminating large colonies in and around the home. Professional treatments are the best option to take for eliminating large infestations, or, at the very least, a powerful termiticide that you administer yourself will likely have far superior results than a common household product. If you have a severe termite problem, skip the household products and go straight to trusted termiticides – but it is useful to know that some products in your home can actually kill termites.
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Termites: how to identify and control them. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/termites-how-identify-and-control-them.