According to North Carolina State University, Americans spend more than two billion dollars annually preventing and controlling termite infestation in the home. Termites will tunnel through wood, or even over cinder-block foundations to get to wood. In addition to chemical treatments to your home, you can control termites by landscaping with termite-resistant plants.
The heartwood of Redwood trees is typically used for building projects because the wood is resistant to rot, disease and termites. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, redwood heartwood is one of the least-favored species of wood for termites to eat. For this reason, redwood chips may be used in landscape mulches near the foundations of homes. According to the University of Florida, the heartwood of several varieties of trees including cypress and juniper also are a repellent to termites. The exterior wood of these trees, which is known as sapwood, may still be eaten by termites, though, because it's less dense than heartwood.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, placing plants that have natural insect-repellent properties--such as garlic--around the foundations of your home, wooden fences, decks or other wooden structures can help repel termites. Garlic plants contain sulphurous compounds that produce a smell that bugs dislike. This is why plants that are grown near garlic have fewer problems with insects. Termites that tunnel through soil come into contact with the sulphurous compounds or breathe them in and are repelled from the area.
Plants from the mint family, such as peppermint or spearmint, secrete perfumed oils that smell bad to termites as well as roaches and mice. For short-term use, soak cotton balls with concentrated oil extracts and leave them out to repel insects. For long-term termite repellent, fresh plants work better. Mint has invasive roots, though, so it should be planted either in containers above ground or in containers that have been sunk into the ground.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Landscape Mulches: Will Subterranean Termites Consume Them?
- Environmental Protection Agency: Pesticides Reduction
- North Carolina State University: Biology and Control of Subterranean Termites
- University of Nevada, Reno, Cooperative Extension: Preservative-Treated Wood in the Landscape
- Miracle of Garlic: Vampires Hate Garlic Blood! Mosquitos do too!
- Photo Credit garlic bulb with one clove removed image by Carpenter from Fotolia.com
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