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Effective Ways to Get Rid of Termites in Trees (And Keep Them Away)

Effective Ways to Get Rid of Termites in Trees (And Keep Them Away)

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Termites; just the name is enough to give you shivers. Nobody wants these unsightly crawlers anywhere near their trees or homes.

Trying to clean up and repair the damage they cause is a nightmare, too. You end up spending much time, effort, and money on them.

Today I’m going to show you how to get rid of termites in trees and what you can do to stop them from invading your garden or home ever again.

First things first, though, let me help you identify whether you’re dealing with termites – or a similar-looking pest. 

How to Confirm You Have a Termite Issue

Termite Damage

As it happens, termites can easily be confused with other types of bugs—especially if you’re dealing with them for the first time. But, lucky, for you, you can use these tell-tale signs of mine for help:

1 – Presence of Dying Trees

Termites typically infest dead or dying wood and by proxy, dead and dying trees. So, if you have any dying trees on your property, there’s a definite chance you have more than a few termites eating up that dead cellulose.

However, some types of termites feed off live trees. The trees that are affected are usually oak trees, but they can also be cypress, ash, and other trees.

2 – Check the Bug’s Appearance

Termites are described as winged ants. Typically, they are white to light brown, and approximately half an inch in length.

Soldier termites, for example, can be closer to three-quarters of an inch in length; and only reproductive termites will have wings. These wings will be long (compared to the body), straight, and equal in length.

3 – Assess the Damage

Termites cause damage to trees unlike any other. Usual signs include:

  • Small holes in the wood, with wood shavings surrounding said hole. This is where the termite burrows into the tree to nest inside of it.
  • Termite nests just below the soil line. If you take a shovel to a tree stump, there’s a good chance you’ll stumble onto these nests.
  • Finding discarded wings and carcasses of other termites.

4 – Other Signs of Termites

Some other signs that termites have been taking shelter in your trees include more holes in the trunk of the tree, swarms in the scars of the tree, and small, white eggs around the tree.

So, if your backyard trees, whether alive or dying, seem to have bugs that fit this description, then sorry to break it to you but this confirms that you have a termite issue.

Why Termites Are a Problem

Termite Damage On House Post

At the end of the day, termites are bugs. If you don’t deal with them soon enough, they’re going to take over. You won’t notice immediate damage to your property, but if you ignore them, eventually they’ll make it over to your home. 

From there, the termites will feed on any wood frames, sidings, panels, and trims you have. These bugs also reproduce at an alarming rate (the queen lays around 30,000 eggs per day) so don’t underestimate how much damage they could do in just a day or two.

Let’s assume your house has no wood – that still doesn’t mean you’re safe. 

You still need to deal with the termite infestation as they’ll hollow out and weaken the trees in your yard. With the first signs of strong wind or a mild storm, those trees can come collapsing down.

So, because of these threats, get rid of those termites as fast as you notice them. The following sections tell you how.

Getting Rid of the Termites Professionally


A pest control company should be your first option if you’re looking for reliability. Letting professionals handle it saves you time and effort, plus, assures you that your infestation will be properly taken care of.

So, if you’re too busy to deal with the termites yourself, set up an appointment with an attested pest control company and have the pros do the work instead. 

Note: If the termites have done considerable damage to your home, consider it when budgeting for this problem. Professional help will be expensive as will repairing your property – so budget wisely.

Numbers-wise, hiring a pest control expert could range between $250 and $675—depending on several factors. Those include location, severity of infestation, treatment type, and size of infected land or property.

Further, some pest control companies offer free inspections while others will happily give you an estimate beforehand. 

How to Get Rid of the Termites Yourself

Burning Old Wood

Decided it’s not worth it to spend money on professionals? That’s okay; there are still plenty of ways that you can get rid of the termites on your own. Gather the following materials first:

  • Termiticide (preferably liquid)
  • Termite traps
  • A shovel 
  • Long-sleeved protective clothing and gloves
  • Lighter fluid
  • Garbage bags

1 – Burn the Infected Wood

After putting on your protective gear, start by burning whatever pieces of infected wood you can find. Use the lighter fluid to help.

This step is the easiest part really. Just make sure to get all the wood that the termites have been nesting in.

Pro tip: Only do this, if you have dead logs and other pieces of wood lying around. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually prune away infected wood and then burn it.

2 – Find the Termite Nest

Take the shovel and attempt to find the termite colony. 

This might take a little bit of work, but remember that termites prefer to stay just below the soil line. And if the tree is dying or already dead, you’ll find the colony in no time.

Once you’ve located it, prepare for the nitty-gritty part. Begin by dousing it with termiticide to kill as many of them as possible. 

Burn the nest if you must. Toss away as much of the tree into the garbage bags as well.

3 – Deal With the Scattered Termites

By now, you should be done with most of the bulk of the colony—including their queen

What should remain is a handful of termites. Take preventative measures to not make them feel welcome so they deem your yard, tree, or home inhospitable.

Do so by taking the liquid termiticide and spraying it around the base of the infected tree, or what remains of it. 

Do this in a three-foot radius, and repeat this process for neighboring trees so they don’t seek refuge there. Spray the trunks of these trees as well, up to two feet in height.

4 – Take Preventative Measures

Want to make sure that the termites don’t come back to your land? 

Consider spraying the perimeter of your backyard as well as everywhere else. This will further deter the termites from coming anywhere close to your house.

Additionally, you can even spray the outside of your house with termiticide but be wary of any stray animals or pets that might try to ingest it.

Once done, set up those termite traps. Those are designed to alert you to any future termite activity on your property.

Don’t worry about your pets or children curiously inspecting those traps either. They’re chemical-free and don’t pose a threat to all living creatures (except, of course, termites).

5 – Regular Monitoring

We’re not done yet! You need to continue monitoring those traps for further evidence of termite activity. 

Regularly check what remains of the infested tree as well. You want to make sure that the colony has completely died off and that no signs of their presence remain.

How to Make Sure the Termites Won’t Come Back

Removing An Old Tree Stump

There are a fair few things that you can do to deter termites from crossing into your property again. They involve making sure that there are no real hospitable places for termites to stay on your land.

If you have any dead or dying tree stumps in your yard, for example, get rid of those as soon as you can. You can either use machinery to dig them up yourself, or you can rely on a professional to grind down the stump for you.

Additionally, consider storing away any excess firewood you have left over from the winter. Termites might take interest in the wood, depending on hold it is.

Finally, make sure that you’re not keeping too much mulch near your home. While it does help with your gardening and landscaping plans, leaving too much of it lying around invites termites.


What kills termites instantly?

Diatomaceous earth is highly effective against termites. It’s a powdery substance that’s made from the tiny skeletons of aquatic organisms. 

It penetrates the termites’ exoskeletons and dehydrates them from the inside. It seems like a cruel kill, but it works.

Boric acid also works similarly, preventing termites from being able to obtain nutrients, thus, killing them. Essential oils, like neem and orange, eliminate termites as well by disrupting their internal systems and their ability to reproduce or spread. 

How do you permanently get rid of termites in wood?

Treating your wood with neem, lemon, or orange oil will permanently ensure that no termites start feasting on it. The bitter smell of these essential oils will keep not only termites away but other annoying pests, such as mosquitoes and bed bugs.

What do termites hate the most?

Termites hate certain repelling scents. These odors can both deter and kill termites so take note of them. Among the most popular ones are:

  • Essential oils: Orange, lemon, tea tree, and neem oil
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove buds
  • Vinegar
  • Mint
  • Citrus
  • Geranium

Does salt kill termites?

Concentrated salt or saltwater are each effective in killing termites as they dehydrate their bodies. 

While it’s not the most effective solution to get rid of termites, you can still spread the salt around the infested perimeter and kill a handful.

Final Thoughts

I leave you with this: the biggest issue of all is staying on top of the termite issue, and never letting it get the best of you. So, always act quickly when getting rid of termites!

Luckily, I’ve covered it all in this post. You now know how to identify termites, how to get rid of them, and how to prevent them from ever stepping foot back into your property.

Before you know it, you won’t have to deal with termites again for a long, long time, and you can live a comfortable, pest-free life.

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