Termites are white colored small insects that survive on cellulose in the wood and also on dead plants.
Annually, Americans spend around $5 billion to treat termite damages.
A single termite colony contains 250,000 termites and it grows in warm climatic conditions.
Termites are active throughout the year but they are less active when the temperature falls below freezing point.
As the temperature rises, termites get more active and ready to infest the trees.
A heavy infestation of termites can create havoc and damage the entire tree. Termites eat the tree from inside and make them weak and unstable.
Termites can infest the tree in any season - spring, fall, summer, or winter.
If you have trees in your front yard and/or backyard, make it a point to check them periodically for termite infestation.
If the termite infestation is a lot, it’s advisable to get rid of the tree.
Do Termites Eat Live Trees?
Termites mostly eat dead wood but some species like Formosan termites are also known to survive on live plants.
Termites are more interested in eating dead cellulose and if you notice termites attacking a live tree, the pith or the cambium layer of the tree may have died.
In such cases, you can see the tree dying in parts.
That said, not all termites eat live trees.
However, those who do can damage the structures significantly.
In fact, the falling trees and limbs pose a real threat to the surroundings.
They also damage clothes, carpets, and paper products.
The USDA estimated that termites have infested 30% percent of the live oak trees in New Orleans.
4 Signs of Termites in Trees
If you find termites in trees, there is a huge chance that they will move into your house.
Here are some ways in which you can spot the termites.
1. Below the Soil Line
Termites in trees live in colonies just below the soil line.
Dig near the roots of the tree using a small shovel. If they are present, you can easily see them.
2. Tunnels or Mud Tubes
The termites may also travel between a food source and their nest without being exposed to the open.
For this, they make tunnels or mud tubes which appear in crevices of the tree.
The tubes can be easily differentiated from the bark of the tree as they have a rusty shade of brown and a diameter of a pencil.
3. Large Amount of Mud
If the termite species make nests in the hollow center of the tree root or trunks, it makes detecting them difficult.
But if you notice large amount of unexplained mud near the tree, then it’s certainly infested by a huge number of termites.
4. Termite Remains or Eggs
If you see discarded wings and termite carcasses near the tree base or small white eggs, then this means termites have attacked your tree.
Now that you’ve detected termites in your trees, let’s look at how to eradicate them.
6 Steps to Get Rid of Termites
If you’ve always wondered, “how do I get rid of termites in the tree?”, then follow the steps below.
You need to remember that getting rid of the termites at the earliest is essential, or else they can proceed to damage the nearby structures as well.
- Destroy the infected wood as soon as possible to prevent the termite from spreading. If possible, burn it.
- Completely eradicate the termite colonies located underneath the buildings or in wood piles.
- Spray liquid termiticide upto the height of two feet on the trunk and around the base at a radius of three feet.
- Also, spray it on the nearby trees to prevent more termites from approaching the tree.
- Monitor the infested tree to see if the termites have been completely eradicated.
- Buy termite traps from hardware stores or home improvement retailers. These traps are pet and kid safe and are chemical free.
The best ways to prevent termite infestation is to avoid piling mulch or stacking firewood in and around your house.
Also, get rid of tree stumps as they are the best hideout places for termites.
You can contact a local tree service company near you who can come and help you get rid of tree stumps.
But if you like, you can also make a homemade termite killer and see if it works.
How to Make Homemade Termite Killer?
Here is a household remedy to kill termites.
Borax acts a poison for termites and affects their digestive system. The termites aren’t able to digest food and starve themselves to death.
- Mix two parts borax and the same amount of confectioner's sugar and one part cornmeal.
- Dust this powder over the trees or any other place where you see termite infestation.
- Do it every week until you see no signs of termites.
Keep in mind though that homemade termite killers can help you get rid of only small infestations.
If you sense larger termite infestations, it’s best to contact tree service professionals.
They have access to chemical solutions and sprays which can completely eradicate termites.
You can hire a tree service company on Same Day Pros. Visit the website or download the Same Day Pros app, available on Android and iOS.