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How to Treat Termites in a Tree

By Laura Wallace Henderson ; Updated September 21, 2017
Termites commonly reside in dead and damaged trees and bushes.

Many homeowners cringe at the thought of termites in their homes, but these small bugs also destroy areas in the yard and garden, including trees and shrubs. Termites usually feed on sources of deadwood, such as old tree stumps or piles of firewood. In fact, these bugs assist in the decomposition process. However, these termites frequently move from damaged or dead trees into homes and other wooden structures. Remove termites from nearby trees to reduce the additional damage caused by the spread of these destructive bugs.

Look for the appearance of mud tubes. These tiny tubes confirm the presence of termites in your tree. Break apart a few of these tubes with a small hand trowel. The appearance of creamy-white bugs indicates an active infestation within the tree. Notice any flying insect activity near your tree.

Treat your trees and shrubs with fertilizers to increase their resistance to disease. Termites seldom attack healthy trees. Provide your trees with necessary nutrients and water to ensure healthy specimens. Reduce the spread of these bugs by pruning away dead and damaged branches. Use a limb saw or pruning shears to cleanly removed broken and withering sections of your tree. Haul these cuttings and clippings off your property to avoid termite infestations.

Purchase a termiticide bait system from a pest-control professional. These baits contain food combined with a substance poisonous to termites. Follow the package instructions when placing these baits in the area near your infested tree. Termites visit the bait and consume the poisoned food. This slow-acting substance gradually reduces the number of termites in your tree. Observe the activity level in the existing mud tubes to determine the effectiveness of this treatment.


Things You Will Need

  • Trowel
  • Fertilizer
  • Limb saw or pruning shears
  • Termiticide bait


  • Have your home inspected for termite damage if your infested tree grows near your home or other structures.


  • As with all poisonous substances, practice extreme caution when using termiticides. Purchase your baits from a pest control professional and make sure you understand the instructions before using these baits.

About the Author


Laura Wallace Henderson, a professional freelance writer, began writing in 1989. Her articles appear online at Biz Mojo, Walden University and various other websites. She has served as the co-editor for "Kansas Women: Focus on Health." She continues to empower and encourage women everywhere by promoting health, career growth and business management skills.