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Categories: Sustainable Living

Five eco-friendly ways to get rid of a termite infestation

It won’t be wrong to say that one of the things which furniture owners are wary of is termites. A handful of these bugs can destroy the most expensive and durable wooden furniture. Not only are they a menace, but dealing with a termite infestation can also end up in throwing away expensive furniture. What’s worse than you might not realize about the onslaught of these insects until the damage is done. The property damage that these insects are capable of doing means that people go to extraordinary lengths to shield their furniture from termites. The usual way to deal with a termite infestation is to apply coats of anti-termite chemicals and paint on furniture. However, these products aren’t the most healthy or sustainable ones. One can easily shield furniture from termites via several eco-friendly ways as well.

Termites, Image credit: www.needpix.com

Also known as ‘white ants’, termites are insects that live and breed in colonies. They feed on dead plant matter like wood and feces. There are more 2,000 species of termites known to mankind. There are two types of termites – swarmers and workers. The main function of swarmer termites is to reproduce and they are winged creatures. The worker termites are sterile and their main function is to work and feed the other members of the colony. Termite infestation is a problem not just restricted to India, but across the globe. They are found in all continents except Antarctica. Termite species tend to be less diverse in Europe and North America. The diversity is quite high in South America. Over 400 termite species are found in this continent.

These insects feed on wood and decayed plant matter to get the cellulose and nutrients they require to survive. They have bacteria and protozoa in their gut which helps break down the cellulose present in wood, which is difficult for these insects to digest. Termites can feed on wood very fast in a short span of time. An average colony can easily eat their way through one foot of a 2×4 beam in about six months. A colony can have over 10 lakh termites. Apart from wood, termites are also known to feed on carpets.

A termite infestation means that you might end up losing furniture worth thousands of rupees in a matter of a few months. It is because of this reason that people opt to hire pest removal services to shield their homes from these insects. However, a drawback of these pest removal services is that they are not eco-friendly. Some of the chemicals used in pesticides include chemical which is not fit for human consumption. Chlordane is a chemical commonly used in pesticides to kill termites, except it is also considered to be harmful to public health and increases indoor air pollution. Other chemicals that are used for termite control solutions in India are Lindane, Chlorpyrifos, and Imidacloprid.

Here are five eco-friendly ways to get rid of termites:

Aloe vera gel:

Apart from being good for your health, aloe vera gel is also effective in stopping termites from destroying your furniture. Just extract some fresh gel from the aloe vera plant and apply it across the furniture. The gel creates a barrier which the insects are unable to penetrate.

Olive oil and vinegar solution:

You can use a mixture of olive oil and white vinegar as an eco-friendly and effective termite control hack. Mix four parts of olive oil and one measure of white vinegar and apply it evenly on the wood.

Natural oil:

Natural oils like the ones extracted from a Neem tree and orange are equally useful in repelling termites as a pesticide. The anti-microbial properties of Neem oil make it a good tool for termite control. Orange oil contains a compound called d-limonene which kills termites.

Salt:

Salt is an ingredient that can be easily found in any Indian kitchen. Sprinkling salt over furniture is helpful in driving away termites. Alternatively, you can also fill a syringe with a mixture of salt and water and inject it in the holes made by the termites on the furniture. However, this eco-friendly termite control method is effective only when the property damage isn’t extensive.

Exposure to sunlight:

Take out furniture and let it rest under the sun for at least three days. Sunlight dries up any moisture present in the wood and also rid it off termites. If you do not want to go for these DIY solutions, you can always hire professional pest control agencies who help you get rid of these insects using sustainable and eco-friendly methods. At the same time, make sure to steer away from greenwashing. There is no dearth of firms which try o fleece innocent people by making false claims of offering eco-friendly pest control solutions. It is advisable to read reviews and consult your friends and family for suggestions before making a choice.

Check more about how termites emit methane here.

Puskar

Editor in chief @GreenCleanGuide.com

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