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We just had our neighbour, over the road, speak to us about a termite invasion in his house. The termite man has put out baits and advised him that the termites have done limited damage and can be repaired. Good and bad news for the aged pensioner couple.  They were an underground tunneling termite type so we should be on the lookout.

This made me think what could I  plant to repel termite and found some plants that might help.   Fancy finding Vetiver grass being a repellent, I was looking for plants that would exude something through their roots, marigold was also successful as a deterrent.  Also hot chilli pepper plants like bird's eye chilli. 

I was searching for Euphorbia species that were successful in this venture. Euphorbia helioscopia L appears to be successful in deterring the termite.  I feel most Euphorbia plants with latex sap should do the job. 

THIS  info is handy but I do not know the name of termite involved with our neighbour, just that it is subterranean termite. Looks like cannibis is also suitable for this as a repellent, but doubt that I will use that. 

Dog training will be needed, as the dogs eat every other bug - grasshoppers, lizards, moths etc. 

Have any of our BLFers had termites inside their house?

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Crossing my fingers, but not so far. Outside I've found a couple of nests right up against the patio block; whacked them with 'cide. Unfortunately a concrete block does not stop them, even a minute crack is enough for them to enter. Weirdly ordinary black ants love termites if you find a nest and expose it the black ants can finish them off without poisons.

I have heard that NOT having gardens touching the external walls is one of the simplest ways to deter termites. That's what I do - just have bare earth. I've heard that having gravel next to the house walls is also a deterrent.

If you put pine timber on the ground and stop the light they will eat the pine timber  that is all that is needed to find if they are there the termite industry puts out a lot of false information .

Best way to stop termites is build your house with steel .

Jeff, Maybe that should be building law. We have 98% steel stumps but have a timber ramp at the back. We have found termites doing their work in the yard.  Did you read the link about the research.

Chlorfluazuron  is now the chemical they use to bait  and take back to the nest does not seem to be restricted or toxic like the deadly chemicals you can pay to get applied  but the deadly chemical they only use very small amount and is targeted and may still be a better option .

Requiem pesticide has Chlorfluazuron but does not seem to come up on google search in Australia .

Fire ant bait has the fipronil is "moderately toxic" to people if it is eaten in large quantities that is the toxic termite bait they sold at greatly inflated price as spray on flea treatment  years ago and is now termidor and other brands.

For many years, the prevention and treatment of termites relied heavily on the use of the so- called organochlorine insecticides, such as dieldrin, chlordane and heptachlor (known collectively as cyclodienes, because of their particular chemical structure).

These chemicals did not break down and that is why there now is a termite problem as any of the new treatments do not last and an ongoing problem and cost .

As you say, the bait is taken back to the nest.  When the neighbour asked the termite man if the tunnels would go under the road he said yes.  There is a lot of excavation and house building going on here. We have done a boundary check and things look ok. 

Do you have any idea how long they spread or tunnel as in distance from nest.

I think they can travel a very long way and if you have trees could be under ground  even in old tree roots covered over  and power poles .

Yep: termites ate out a whole pine wall frame over brick and missed the roof frame by 'that much'. Another few months and the roof would have been undermined.

I was cleaning the windows and my finger went thru the frame. Like finger into a sponge. Had the site inspected a mere 8 months previously.

We're on cement slab.

LESSON: make sure you deal with a good exterminator and have regular inspections.

TIPS:

  • move rotting timbers or logs  and wooden sourced  mulch  away from the house.
  • make sure there is no damp patches near or next to the house -- like under hot water systems. Hot water drip was our fatal flaw. I assume ac units would be similar.
  • steel is not a absolute protection as the termites build soil extruded tunnels along the metal. When I stripped back our eaten wall there was a network of freeways over cemented areas.Amazing industry.
  • Vetiver does repel termites but research has shown that the termites circumvent clumps by advancing around any hedge. Personally I would not risk my house to holistic protective measures unless you were absolutely vigilant.
  • when termites are chased out of one house they move to the next
  • termites are everywhere: this is their country.They are the great unsung herbivores of Australia. Without them, the ecosystem would collapse.
  • If you don't want to bait,  you really need a very strict inspection regime as an invasion can eat out your wall in 6 months. If stumped you need to check the stumps and their caps every 6 months.
  • the traditional Brisbane Queenslander had high easily inspected wooden stumps (ours had 18!) and they fall over when eaten -- one by one -- which was a great measure of the insects'  activity. But the tradition  also included a grassed backyard with a single mango tree, an outhouse and a hills hoist. Add a vegey garden, trees, shade and compost -- and you're a termite restaurant.

To give you an idea of their capacity to eat: our exterminator told us that his most unusual job was dealing with massive  termite infestation on a boat!

Some of the Termite people use dogs to sniff out infestations. It may be possible to train your own dog/s to do this too as an additional help. I've heard that no one in the Termite business gives any guarantee that there are no active Termite nests in or around the house.

Thanks for kind advice Dave. Yes Elaine, we lock up dogs under the house so it may be a good thing. Our stumps are steel and capped so we are protected a fair bit. We have space around the house and keep it as dry as possible.  But we find termite activity in the garden especially when we use cardboard laid down for lasagne gardens. The house is made of very old hardwood, so I feel our neighbours with pine walls would be first course for them. Our air con drip goes into a pipe. 

This is useful: (click on image).

Courtesy of: Rentokil
After living in a succession of wooden homes --each time without being phased by the presence of a  termite invasion -- I move to a brick one and they strike!
$3000 later I've learnt a lesson or two.
The pine -untreated -- frame (1980s build) is surely a problem, but we live in a high termite area fed by swamps, malaleucas and bushland.
Nonetheless if managed carefully even wooden structures here -- like the local community hall -- survive via annual termite inspections.
They'll never ever go away...they're termites. But current building codes are much better than of yore.

One final point -- and my main one -- Christa: regardless of what you may decide to later do, get an inspection done ASAP. Book a registered & insured termite inspector and hunt down one that will be frank and open with you in regard to your options, risks and future management.

I used  a company that works our region only.

Aside from the usual termitey underground activity -- in the spring, summer and periods of humidity, termites take to the air when they leave the nest and fly off, mate in the air and the new queen settles down to domesticity wherever she can find a new home.

Thanks Dave,   HERE  is an interesting aussie site on termites and the different types of treatment.  I will look into it.

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