Termites are naturally found in the soil and they feed on cellulose which can be found anywhere in the world. You will mostly find them near food sources like plant roots and wood. How to get rid of termites in flower beds unfortunately is a common question and problem that gardeners face because they can destroy everything.
Sometimes it can be difficult to know if your garden has termites because they can start feeding on wood, plants, and other wood-based material without you even noticing their presence. To know where termites are, you should look for tunnels and damaged wood using a knife. You may find hollow wood, mud tunnels, termite wings, and termite droppings. All these are signs of a termite infestation and you need to exterminate the termite’s nest. But before that, you need to understand the different types of termite species you might find in your garden.
Types of termites
There are 3 different types of termite species, the dampwood, drywood, and subterranean termites.
Drywood termites. These live in small colonies in wooden furniture, hardwood floors, or timber. They cause damage at a slow pace, but the damage will be big. These termites get their water from the wood they feed on so they don’t need moisture to thrive and can survive in high humid areas.
Dampwood termites. These are found in deadwood with lots of moisture. You won’t find them in your home, but in the wood near the soil that has been exposed to a lot of water.
Subterranean termites. These termites are very destructive and can be found in dead or rotten wood, building timber and soft damp soil. They create large nests and live in the soil.
Some Do’s and Don’ts of getting rid of termites in your flower bed
There are some termite treatment methods that you should avoid when you’re trying to remove termites from your garden.
Don’t use insect spray
Many gardeners think that using insect spray is an effective way of killing termites, but it’s not practical. Termites in vast numbers deep underground so spraying on the surface is pointless and insect spray is poisonous to your plants. This can even cause them to migrate to a different location.
Don’t use pine sleepers
Some gardeners use treated pine sleepers to raise their garden beds, but this pine has been treated with very toxic arsenic, so when you water your flowers the chemical seeps into the soil and damages your flowers. If the wood has direct contact with the soil and is exposed to moisture, it can also attract termites.
Don’t relocate the termites
Removing the topsoil with the termites and relocating them will not work because they burrow deep into the soil. This will only disturb them which will lead them to relocate to other areas in your garden.
How to get rid of termites
This oil contains d-limonese that is very toxic to termites. Once they come into contact with this oil, they dissolve and die. You should spray the affected area as close to the hive as possible. Wear gloves and a shirt to protect your skin as the oil can irritate your skin.
Boric acid works on most insects including termites by affecting their metabolic and digestive systems. After exposure, it takes 3-7 days for the termites to die. Although it’s not a natural remedy, it has very low toxicity compared to using strong insecticides.
Nematodes are cheap and easy to get roundworms that thrive on harmful insects like termites. When sprayed on termite colonies, they reproduce and look for termites to feed on. They’re very efficient in finding termite colonies, but for them to be effective, you should spray them near the termite holes.
Liquid termite barrier
This is good at killing termites and also preventing them from gaining access to your home. Once you spray it around your home, the termites that come into contact with it die. It’s commonly used at the foundation of a building and you can only use it on woodpiles, wooden structures, and tree stumps.
These are pesticides that contain a mixture of toxic substances and sweet food used to kill termite colonies. You just place the baits around the termite colonies and your home. They work faster and are less costly.
You can combine half a cup of white vinegar and water and spray the affected area to kill the termites, or combine the ½ cup of vinegar and 2 squeezed lemons and spray the colonies to get quick results.
How to prevent termites from coming back
Remove their food sources
While it’s not possible to remove all the wood in your home, you can remove any wood debris or mulch in and around your home. Elevate your firewood and store it in a dry place away from your home or garden and if possible remove all wood to soil contact even in your basement and don’t allow leaves to accumulate in your gutters.
Reduce moisture levels
Termites survive on the water so you should repair any leaks in your gutters, faucets, roof, etc. improved ventilation in your home will lower the moisture levels and you can also use dehumidifiers and ensure you have proper drainage around your home and rainwater is diverted away from your home.
Seal access points
Seal any holes and cracks in your home’s foundation.
Getting rid of termites in your flower bed can be tricky, but there are different ways you can prevent termites from invading your flower beds and eliminate them. You can either use natural methods or use chemicals, but whichever method you choose is up to you. You can also seek professional help if you’ve done everything and the termites come back.