How to Control Termites in Your Lawn and Garden
Many subterranean termite control products are made from the same active ingredients used to control insects near agricultural crops. These materials do not negatively impact grass or landscape plants.
Termite Control in the Garden
In most states, residential pest control professionals are not licensed to provide termite treatment near gardens, lawns, landscaping, plants, ornamentals or forests. Direct application of pesticides to plants is provided by a different type of pest management professional with different materials. Labels for termiticides require these materials only be used to control termites that infest structures. In many cases, structures in the lawn can be treated, such as workshops, pet houses, playhouses and fences.
If you want to control a subterranean termite infestation with the fastest-acting products available, termiticide is the quickest, most effective method of control. Your pest control expert can recommend the most targeted application techniques, and products that have the least impact on plants. Trees infested with native and Formosan subterranean termites can be treated either by drilling and using a foam-based termiticide, or installing bait stations.
When the objective is to prevent a termite infestation or reduce a termite population in the yard with the least amount of materials possible, slow-acting methods such as bait systems or biological controls may be effective. Bait systems use small amounts of materials that are ingested directly by foraging termites from a series of bait cartridges placed around the yard. This method allows the transfer of materials to nestmates and does not require treating large areas of soil.
Biological control methods involve the introduction of insects (ants) or microscopic worms (nematodes) that prey on termites. While both ants and nematodes are natural predators for termites, they do not offer as effective prevention or control as bait or termiticide treatment systems.
There are a few plants with insecticidal properties, such as sweet basil, that may help protect your garden from termites. In addition, vegetation and mulch should be at least six inches away from your home's foundation to reduce food, shelter and moisture sources for termites. You also may consider replacing wood mulch with mulch that termites do not eat, such as compost.
Pros & Cons of Green Termite Treatment Methods
The termite control industry has continued to evolve and refine prevention and control materials and techniques over the years. By studying the biology and behavior of termites, entomologists (scientists who study insects), pest control experts and termite control product manufacturers have been able to develop more targeted and effective means to control termites.
Types of Green Termite Control Methods
Organic termite control methods include biological controls, such as introducing nematodes (microscopic worms) or ants that prey on termites. Non-toxic termite control methods include heat treatment, extreme cold and electronic methods. Green materials include termiticides and baits made from botanical ingredients.
Due to termites' unique behavior, likelihood to cause damage and challenges with treatment, termite control is best left to the experts. Termites often hide in walls or cracks in the foundation and it can be difficult to determine the extent of the infestation. Different types of termites require different methods and products for control. These products often require specific application techniques, and many of these techniques require specialized tools to provide effective treatment.
Your termite control options are determined by the construction of your home, the extent of termite activity and the species of termites in your area. Your pest control expert can recommend a termite prevention and control program based on your home's unique conditions and your preferences for the type of control products. Your expert also will be able to explain the benefits and limitations associated with each product and treatment method.