Termites occur naturally in soils and feed on cellulose, which is accessible in many places around your home and garden. It is most common to find termites close to their food sources including wood and plant roots. Although most termite species can be found in the tropics, several dozen species are found throughout the United States. Alaska is the only U.S. state without termites.

Can Termites Be Found in the Garden?

Termites and your Garden

Termites in your yard can come out through holes in the soil. The termites will surface through swarm tubes made by worker termites. On the other hand, swarming termites will fly out because they want to mate and find new homes. Certain environmental conditions cause winged termites to fly from their nest, find a new nesting location, lay eggs and build a new colony. Swarming termites do not bite and they will not harm you but are definitely unpleasant to encounter.

Chances are good that your garden has termites. However, finding termites in a fence or woodpile does not necessarily mean that your house needs to be treated. Instead, it should alert you to be aware that there are termites around your home.

Why do Termites Suddenly Appear?

Termites typically appear as the weather begins to get warm, at the beginning of spring or summer, or after rain. However, termite colonies characteristically don’t produce a swarm until they have been established for at least three years. Without proper termite treatment, there is no way of knowing when a termite colony will return to re-infest in your garden or home.

Garden Plants that Repel Termites

Besides treatment, some plants can help repel termites from making your yard or garden their home. The following are common plants that could repel termites:

Vetiver Grass

Vetiver grass contains a chemical compound called `Nootkatone’ which can ward off termites as well as a broad range of other pests. Plant the vetiver grass around the termite-infested areas in your garden and the termites will find such areas unfavorable.

Catnip

There are several ways to use catnip for termite control. Consider planting catnip around the areas with signs of termites in your garden or apply it as an essential oil to the areas.

Mint

Mint releases a strong scent and can help get rid of termites. The overwhelming mint scent will cause the termites to retreat.

Garlic

Garlic contains amino acids that could be converted to allicin. Allicin helps to stave off termites. Crush, blend, or chop the garlic gloves to help convert the amino acid to allicin and get rid of the termites.

Marigolds

Marigolds are not merely ornamental plants, but they could repel termites. These types of plants are annual plants and will add beauty to your garden while also helping to resolve a termite problem.

Scented Geraniums

Scented Geraniums release a scent that is pleasant to humans, as well as some termite predators like spiders, praying mantises, ladybugs, and centipedes. All of these pests feed on termites.

Daisies

Daisies attract termite predators as well. Similar to scented geraniums, the same insects will kill termites and force others to move out.

How to Control Termites in the Soil

Use stone or cement to separate soil from all wooden areas in your garden and patio area. Use Borate on wood before priming or painting wooden areas. Borate is one of the most popular termite repellents.

How Deep in the Garden Soil do Termites Live?

A termite colony can be 18-20 feet deep in your garden soil. The ground serves as protection against extreme temperature fluctuations and acts as a moisture reservoir.

Termites can reside in your garden and they can survive for over a decade under optimal conditions. However, it does not mean you need to move. Instead, move into exterminating action as soon as possible and call a local pest control company to assess the situation.

Additional Reading: Termite Infestations, Damage, and Treatment Options

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