How Can I Kill Termites in the Garden without Harming Plants?

Many people ask, how can I kill termites in the garden without harming plants? Well, the answer is simple but it requires a little research.

The best way to achieve this is to use only natural methods. This will ensure that the plants are not harmed or damaged. It is easy to get your hands on an insecticide, such as imidacloprid, but these chemicals are usually harmful to the plants.

The background

Termites mainly eat wood but can also feed on anything made up of cellulose. Termites can destroy all of your beloved plants in the garden, costing you some hefty dollar bills.

Looking at colorful flowers blossom and vegetables grow is a way of soul therapy for a person who loves horticulture. But if you start seeing holes and channels in the foundations of your tree or the roots or stems of your plants, this impending sight may devastate you to the core.

Some professional pest exterminators also offer natural or harmless methods to get rid of termites completely. You can search for a local service in your area and ask for a free inspection.

However, before spending huge amounts of money on these services, it’s recommended to try some DIY termite removal methods that actually work wonders.

We are going to discuss all these methods in this article, so sit back, relax, and read the post till the end.

How Do Termites Damage Plants?

When termites feed on wood 24/7, eventually the trees and plants are unable to support themselves and fall. It has been estimated that the damages caused by termites amount to the loss of billions of dollars worldwide.

You should never leave a garden unchecked under the termite attack as it can quickly spread from one plant to another, destroying all in a matter of weeks.

To counter such damaging situations, different methods are used by gardeners and homeowners. One thing to ensure is that you should never make use of pesticides, pine sleepers, or other chemical-based termite eliminators.

Such harmful chemicals can seep into the soil, causing your plants to die and vegetables to get poisoned.

Go for natural ways of eliminating termites and their colonies. Abrupt action is required to curtail as much damage as possible. remember, termites hate sunlight and heat.

Exposing plants to direct sunlight can help eliminate this problem quickly. Another easy way to get rid of termites is to use ants as their predators. However, where plants are concerned, it’s better to stick with methods that won’t damage them.

In this article, we will address the question of how to kill termites in the garden without harming plants? By giving details of natural methods and ways to possibly eliminate traces of termite colonies.

Natural Ways to Eliminate Termites

Using natural ways to curtail termite growth not only solves the problem but also doesn’t harm any plants or trees within your garden through exposure to chemicals.

These methods implemented the right way can destroy termite colonies in a matter of days.

1.  Orange Oil

One of the well-known natural ways to kill termites is the direct exposure of orange oil to the infested areas. It is an eco-friendly, affordable, and reasonably more effective treatment to remove termites from your garden.

Orange oil comes directly from orange zest that is used for many cosmetic applications as well. It has an active element known as D-limonene.

D-limonene is the termite inhibitor that comes with different compositions in products used for termite elimination ranging from 10% to 75%. The more the percentage composition of D-limonene, the more is the effectiveness.

This element damages the exoskeleton and cellular membranes of the termites, and in turn, kill them. Termites get deprived of the necessary water storage that they contain.

Other essential oils can also be used for a similar effect on termites. These include clove, basil, and citronella oils.


Orange oil gets introduced into the wood that seems infested with termites through drilled holes. Fill every opening with orange oil that is visible to you in order to kill termite colonies all over the garden.


   Natural termite inhibitor can get used directly on infected areas without exposure to chemicals.

   You do not need to vacate your home, as with general pest control treatments.


   Regular usage is required to eliminate untreated areas.

   Might not be able to kill all termites in the colony.

2.  Nematodes

By Bob Goldstein, UNC Chapel Hill - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Another effective way to eliminate termites from your garden is through the introduction of parasitic roundworms known as nematodes. These roundworms are excellent termite inhibitors as they invade into termites and start feeding on them.

Nematodes while feeding release a bacterium through the gut resulting in the blood poisoning of the host. Once the host dies, nematodes move onto the next prey. In the process of all this, nematodes are constantly multiplying and spreading throughout the termite colonies.

This method has been found to be one of the best ways to kill larger termite colonies. It also helps in the elimination of other harmful pests other than termites and has no considerable threat to humans or plants.

When the termites are finally gotten rid of, nematodes die on their own and become a part of the soil.


Nematodes’ introduction into the termite colonies is fairly simple. Add your nematodes into the spray bottle containing water, mix it up well, and leave it to rest for a few minutes. You spray bottle is ready for application on the termite affected sites.


   Easily applicable to termite infested areas with the use of a spray bottle.

   Nematodes kill other harmful pests that affect plants which is a plus point.

   Do not affect humans or plants in a negative way.


   When introduced into a new environment, nematodes initially struggle to adapt.

   After nematodes introduction to termite affected sites, fertilizers are not to be used up to 2-weeks as fertilizers are harmful to nematodes.

3.  Boric Acid

Boric acid is a natural termite inhibitor as it can deprive termites of all the nutrients, once introduced in their bodies resulting in starvation to death. Boric acid doesn’t kill them through direct contact but kills them once it gets consumed.

Dilute the solution of boric acid with water in order to minimize chemical exposure to the surface. The boric acid mixture is not harmful in small amounts, so it can get used as a natural way of removal of termites from your garden without causing any predominant side effects.

Boric acid is not just good against termites but it also helps to get rid of ants and cockroaches, Many people use this powder in the kitchen to keep cockroaches at bay.

It is also one of the easiest ways to make sure termites do not damage your wooden furniture and plants. It is recommended to repeat the treatment daily for at least 5 days to see positive results.


Once the diluted solution of boric acid is available, fill it in the spray bottle and spray it directly onto areas that have small openings in the foundations.

You can also spray it beneath the surface to destroy termite colonies and cause considerable damage to their areas of infestations.


   Extremely effective in killing large termite colonies.

   Easily applicable through spray or direct exposure in powdered form.


   Large amounts of boric acid may be harmful to plants causing complications in plant growth.

4.  Bait System

The introduction of a bait cellulose system near the infested area is a masterstroke in its own way. Termites are attracted to moisture and wood. Both of these factors are relevant in the installed bait systems.

Even professional pest controlling firms are using bait systems to get rid of termites from both indoors and outdoors. Cardboard serves a great purpose as a baiting system. Apply smalls amounts of insecticides as baits.

The termites will consume the bait and forward it to other termites in the vicinity, causing a domino effect of destruction.

If you want a long-term solution to the problem of termites, use this system. All colonies of termites will be destroyed with the passage of time so that they won’t be able to reproduce and manifest themselves again.

Bait stations have to be maintained every year since they don’t last long.


Install the bait system around areas or sites infested with colonies of termites. Place the bait near the termite channels and observe it every 24 hours. You will see small pores appearing on the system’s surface.


   Bait systems cause no particular damage to plants or trees.

   Cause rapid removal of large amounts of termites due to usage as a food source.


   Baiting process is a little expensive than the other natural ways of treatment.

5.  Vinegar and Lemon Mixture

Vinegar has multiple applications outside the kitchen, as it is somewhat acidic in nature. The application of a mixture of white vinegar and lemon is another effective way to terminate termites from your garden in an eco-friendly natural way.

As termites need moisture to survive, they take in water through their exoskeleton. If that water gets mixed with a solution of acidic vinegar and lemon, it can kill them quickly. The resulting mixture dissolves the termite’s exoskeleton, which results in a loss of water eventually, causing them to die.

This treatment is more effective at higher percentages of vinegar composition.

White vinegar can also be used alone for the treatment of termites. But if lemon juice is mixed with it, the solution becomes more effective. Some people also use vinegar with olive oil.

The solution needs to be injected into the infested areas by drilling a hole. It can also be spread in the mud tunnels and burrows.


You can inject this mixture in small openings in the foundations of plants and trees infested with the termite colonies. Termites on the surface die relatively quickly.


   Plants are not exposed to any harmful chemicals.

    A complete eco-friendly way to kill termites.


   Not effective to kill termite colonies present beneath the surface.

   This method has no research-based evidence for measuring its effectiveness.

6.  Salt

In contrast to its harmless nature, salt proves to be extremely handy in dehydrating termites and eventually causing death. Concentrated solutions of salt prove to be detrimental to termite infestation areas.

All you need to do is to make a mixture of salt by combining hot water with equal amounts of salt in ratio. Mix it nicely and let it rest for a few minutes. This concentrated mixture has an excellent reputation for usage against termite colonies.


Once the concentrated saltwater mixture is available. Fill injections of the concentrated solutions and inject it into the holes beneath the surface. Filling up the small openings will block and kill termites in an efficient way.


   Easily available to everyone because of the presence in large amounts in the kitchen.

   This salt concentrated solution causes considerable damage to the termites.


   Diluted solution is not as effective as the concentrated one.

   Requires repetition every 2 to 3 weeks to maintain results.


Termites can become a nightmare for most homeowners especially when they manifest themselves in the garden. Professional termite removal services offer great help but you need to be 100% sure that they won’t use any harmful chemicals on your plants.

If they do, the plants and trees will eventually die leaving your garden empty and dried out. The best way is to use easy DIY methods at home to try and get rid of termites yourself. These methods are not only quite effective but they are also very affordable.

With all the natural methods of treatment mentioned above, it is necessary to keep in mind that these methods require continual and regular applications to the infested areas.

The question of giving preference to which technique is dependent upon thorough inspection of your property so that you can decide according to the situation.

All of these methods listed above have promising results in killing termites effectively. Apart from these techniques, the only possible option is to go for pesticides that incorporate damaging factors as well.

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All the best


Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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