Garden beds are among the most favorite places in a home, which is why it can be frustrating when you catch termites ruining your garden. Even your raised garden beds aren’t safe from termites. Why do raised beds attract termites, and can you do anything about it?
Raised beds attract termites because they have very favorable conditions that termites love, such as moist warm places. The raised garden beds are constantly watered with mulch and timber in the raised bed, which is great food for termites. Getting rid of termites might require a professional.
There are ideal solutions that will eliminate termites even though your raised bed conditions are favorable for them. If you are itching to get rid of these pests, keep reading to find relief!
Why Do Raised Beds Attract Termites?
Raised beds attract termites because they have the conditions that termites need to thrive, such as moisture from constant watering and added mulch and timber to keep the garden thriving. Since termites love moist areas, they are attracted to your garden.
Termites love the raised beds because there is plenty of food for them, which comes from the timber to build your raised garden. Timber is a perfect food for termites, as well as the mulching you used to preserve water for your garden. Termites will set up housekeeping in the raised beds since there is ample food.
Termites also love raised beds because they are a highway to your house, especially if the raised bed is next to your home. Having a raised bed next to your house puts you at risk of a concealed termite attack, which is a situation where termites get into your house without your knowledge. By the time you realize that there are termites in your home, they can cause a lot of damage.
What Are Other Causes for a Concealed Termite Attack Around Raised Beds?
Raised garden beds don’t just attract termites because of the mulch and water; they attract these destructive pests from other things, such as plants with large roots or soil covers the edge of the raised garden. These are just two more ways that termites make their way into your house, which can cause more problems than you bargain for.
Let’s get deeper into these issues.
- Plants with big roots. These big roots will continue growing, and eventually will be under your house. Termites will use this root system as a direct way to your home, even if the bed is a few meters away from your house since the roots can go that far.
- The soil covers the edge of the raised garden. If this is the case, you risk a concealed termite attack since the termites will hide in the soil, and you won’t know they are there. By the time you realize there are termites, they might be already in your house or its foundation.
- Grown plants cover entrance points to your house. When plants grow and cover the raised garden, it can be difficult to inspect the entrance points from your garden, which gives termites a perfect chance to access your house without your knowledge.
How To Get Rid of Termites in Raised Beds
Termites in raised beds can affect the quality of plants, but eliminating them from your raised garden will not be simple since you need a system to eradicate the termites without ruining the garden.
Here are some tips to help you get rid of termites.
Use Poisoned Baits
Sprinkle termite pesticide on bait and place it in the beds where you want to eliminate the termites. Place them around the areas they mostly access, then check the baits after about two days to see whether the termites ate them or if you need to try another method.
Apply Orange Oil Spray
Orange oil is derived from orange peels and can be purchased in DIY or gardening stores, as well as online. Orange oil causes termites exoskeletons to melt, killing them. Spray the oil directly on termites or areas where you suspect they are termites. You can also spray the oil to deter termites from entering the area, and regularly spray it in garden sheds and in your home. It is a great preventative measure. Repeat the application from time to time.
Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth is also known as D.E. and it is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled protists. It comes in a crumbled white powder. It is largely considered harmless to people and is a safe alternative to pesticides. It is usually used in the garden. The tiny particles will kill the termites within 48 hours by dehydrating them to death. Keep the product away from children.
Add Beneficial Nematodes in the Bed
Nematodes are a type of roundworms that eat termites. You can buy the nematodes and release them into the soil, in the proximity of the termite colonies. These microscopic parasitic worms will hunt the termites under the soil and eat them. They are 100% natural and pesticide-free! One of the benefits of using these creatures is that they are alive and they reproduce, meaning that they will last as long as there are termites to feed on. Here you can read more about beneficial nematodes and how to release them.
Here is a YouTube video explaining how you can eliminate termites in your raised garden:
Use Wet cardboard
Termites are attracted to cellulose and humidity. You can use this in your favor by sprinkling water on cardboard to create a bait to attract termites to a specific location. When you see that the termites take the bait and are in the cardboard, burn it with all the insects. It is likely that you will need to repeat the operation.
Avoid Insect Spray
As I wrote in my previous article about termites in the yard, resist the temptation of grabbing the first pesticide at hand and spray directly on the insects. Using insect spray is one of the easiest ways to eliminate insects and pests. However, if you intend to eliminate termites in your raised garden, pesticide spray is ineffective, and it might kill the plants but not the termites.
The termites at the top might die when they come into contact with the insect spray, but you leave behind colonies of termites buried under the soil since you cannot spray the insecticide there. Additionally, if they detect the presence of the insect spray, it aggravates them, and they move to another part of your home.
Avoid Using Pine Sleepers To Repel the Termites
Using pine sleepers to repel termites is also not an effective way to keep termites off your garden. The pine sleepers’ chemicals will get into the soil and eventually into the plants that you have in the garden, and if these plants are food plants, they become risky for consumption. If the pine sleepers are exposed to moisture, they become a great habitat for termites rather than repelling them.
Contact Termite Control Professionals
Termite elimination can be a DIY task, but when you eliminate termites on your own, you leave behind more termites and their eggs, especially deep into the soil. For this reason, you might need to contact termite control experts for professional help.
They will know where to look for the termites and their colonies using chemicals that are safe for your plants and will show you how to prevent infestations of termites in the future.
How Do You Keep Termites Away From Raised Beds?
Eliminating termites is one thing and preventing them from coming back is another. For this reason, after you have eliminated the pests, you need methods to help you keep termites away from the garden. To keep away the termites, there are some dos and don’ts.
- Grow plants with low water requirements in your raised beds to keep the moisture level lowered and unattractive to termites.
- Use gravel or stones instead of mulch, as mulch can attract other pests besides termites.
- In case you use timber as mulch, be sure that it is first treated or is a termite-resistant timber.
- Inspect these areas regularly for termite infestations, according to the advice from the professionals.
- Use non-timber options around the edges of your garden, such as vinyl composite trim or metal guard rails.
- Don’t use an in-ground watering system, as termites can follow the moisture from the system into your house.
- Avoid plants with extensive roots, especially near your house.
- Don’t build the garden beds over the edge of the concrete slab.
- Don’t use wood for edging, especially if it is untreated, as this can invite termites to hang out and have a feast on your plants and house.
- Don’t block air vents with the plants in your raised bed.
It is frustrating to know that your beautiful and attractive raised bed is a perfect habitat for termites. However, before you decide to get rid of the bed, learn how to prevent termites. Also, consult a termite control professional on ways to help you have a beautiful raised bed that is not a home for termites.
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