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Termites can destroy wood quickly.
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How to Kill Termites in Soil

Subterranean termites live in the soil alongside the wood they are consuming. They build earthen tunnels over concrete or brick to reach upward toward wood. They are considered one of the most destructive wood-feeding insects. Successful termite control usually consists of utilizing bait systems and liquid insecticides. The homeowner also must focus on prevention to discourage the subterranean termites from invading the wood of houses and other buildings. Barriers of chemically treated soil around homes and buildings can prevent termite infestation for up to two years. Once an infestation occurs, prompt treatment of the soil is paramount.

How to Kill Termites in a Live Tree

Examine the tree for any exposed termite galleries. These are spaces in the wood that termites have hollowed out.

Dig a trench that is 4 to 6 inches deep around the tree with a trenching tool.

Measure the length of the trench.

Purchase a broad-spectrum insecticide that is formulated to kill termites without damaging live wood.

Put on protective gloves, clothing and breathing protection before handling poisons such as the kind found in insecticides.

Following the instructions on the package of your insecticide, use the measurement of the length of your trench to calculate how much insecticide to apply to the trench. The amount of insecticide will vary depending on the brand that you use. Apply insecticide in the trench and allow it to soak into the soil.

Spray insecticide on the trunk of your tree, into termite galleries and on any mud tubes that you encounter. Termites build mud tubes so that they do not have to travel in the open air.

How to Kill Termites in a Tree

Spray a liquid termiticide, such as Termidor or Bonide, around the perimeter of the tree. Spray an area that is approximately 4 feet away from the tree. Spray about 1 foot up the base of the tree. This will kill any termites surrounding the area and prevent others from joining.

Locate the colony and spray the liquid termite treatment directly into the colony. This will kill the a majority of the termites in the tree.

Place two to four termite traps at the base of the tree. The traps will lure the termites to the poisonous food, which they will carry back to the nests.

Spray a termiticide around the perimeter of your home to prevent any of the termites from moving to your home. This will protect the wood for up to six months. You will need to respray after this time. Follow the directions on the bottle of termiticide.

How to Kill Termites Outdoors

Determine the infested area of termites. Look for damp rotting wood or a decayed tree stump. Check to see if there are at least a handful of termites to know that is where they are colonizing.

Spray liquid pesticide such as Bora Care on the rotted wood, around and on the infected area. The spray will either kill the termites immediately or prevent them from moving to another area outside and eventually killing them.

Treat the soil near the termite-infected area outside. This is an additional treatment to prevent the termites from going anywhere else through the soil. Use such treatment as Premise 2 a few feet around the area that was infected.

Place bait stations such as Homechoice around the termite infected area. If you choose not to use the previous two steps you can use the bait stations that are a little more expensive. Dig holes around the infected area. The holes should be at least six inches deep in the soil. Place a bait station inside each hole and cover it with soil. Keep the rim of the top visible so you will know where you placed them and can easily pull them out. The bait stations should be checked monthly and could take up to eight months before activity occurs, but the bait stations are one of the most effective ways of killing the termites.

How to Protect Trees From Termites


Clean the area where you are planting your tree of debris that contains or may provide sustenance to termites.

Burn or remove all tree stumps in the area, as these are desirable to termites.

Remove any plant stakes from the area that may be infested with termites.

Apply a termite treatment such as bifenthrin or chlorpyrifos during planting if the planting area has a high incidence of termites. Wear goggles, gloves and long clothing when applying the treatment.

Treat other trees in the area being attacked by termites by drilling a hole 500 mm above the ground at a shallow angle into the tree. Apply chlorpyrifos or a bifenthrin solution into the tree to kill the termites.

Use paradichlorobenzene on the roots of trees in the area being attacked by termites. Paradichlorobenzene can be purchased in the form of toilet deodorant blocks.