Applying the best nontoxic termite control methods to repel or kill termites at the foundation level is an important aspect of both new construction and older home maintenance. There is no denying the toxicity of many conventional termite treatments.
For many years, toxic methods of controlling or exterminating termites have been routinely used and in some cases, have actually been banned because of adverse health reactions to occupants. Chlordane and Dursban, which was used for years, has already been banned for home termite use.
However, soil-applied liquid termiticides are still applied to form a continuous chemical barrier in the soil around both sides of the foundation in conventional pesticide treatments. Many building codes require termite treatments for new home construction, so choosing a safe, nontoxic method is critical to creating a healthy house.
4 Best Termite Control Methods for Less Toxicity
Bait Stations – Underground bait stations are place around around the foundation to attract termites. The baits contain a chemical that is low-tox. After the termites eat it, they eventually die.
This is a great option for many people, even those who are chemically sensitive because the baits are away from the living envelope of the home and sit slightly underground.
Tim-Bor – This is another great, low toxic option, but is best used for new construction. It is boron-based and consists of a disodium-octaborate-tetrahydrate powder. It can be mixed mixed with water, then applied to wood. It is usually sprayed directly on wood and acts as a poison to deter termites.
Tim-Bor is simply a mineral and doesn’t release gases or odors into the air. It can actually be sprayed on the interior wood of a new home after it is under roof. The only drawback is that it is water soluble and can’t withstand rain, but it absolutely effective.
The solution is usually applied by walking around spraying it on interior framing and any exposed wood just after a home is dried in. It can also be applied anywhere underneath the home or around the foundation on wood that isn’t exposed to water.
It’s best used for new construction, since it’s easier to reach the important areas, but can be used for existing homes wherever you can reach dry wood to treat.
Bora-Care – A similar product, Bora-Care, is also available, but contains glycol which causes a slight odor. This might be problematic for the chemically sensitive, although both Tim-Bor and Bara-Care are often used for healthy home applications.
Bora-Care offers the ability to penetrate wood when wet and can be used more efficiently to treat an active termite infestaion. Both products are good, but you will need to evaluate which is best for your particular needs.
Termite shields – Termite shields are pieces of metal that are placed on top of the foundation to block and deter termite migration to the upper level. The shields are generally made from aluminum or galvanized steel and worth adding to the foundations construction, even though they are not completely effective in thwarting termites.
They, however, do make it difficult for termites to build tunnels to the upper level, and make any attempted tunnels easily visible during inspections.
Sand barriers – A completely natural way to deter termites with with a carefully devised sand barrier between the out soil and the foundation. The sand must be of a specific size grain, other wise the termites will be able to tunnel through them easily.
As documented by North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Service, “Tests have shown that a layer of sand with uniform size particles (roughly 16-grit) placed along the foundation (to a depth of at least 4 inches and trailing outward about 20″) can deter movement through the soil.
These particles are too large for termites to move with their mandibles (“teeth”), yet they are too small for the termites to crawl in between them or to build stable tunnels. Research in this area suggests that termites may on occasion breach these barriers and so routine inspection is still critical. The sand barrier should not be used as the sole means of termite protection…”
Again, this method is not generally effective as a stand-alone method for termite treatment and will not typically satisfy state building codes or lending companies that require approved termite control methods.
Using the best termite control methods that are less toxic or nontoxic are very important for those who want to build or maintain a healthy home.