Without a doubt, gardening is a relaxing and popular weekend activity. While gardening it is not unusual for many enthusiasts to encounter a few snags and an array of problem pests. But have you come ever across these strange-looking white ant-like bugs in the garden lately? If you have, make sure you don’t ignore them, as these could be termites.
What are termites?
Termites are wood-destroying pests that emerge from the ground. They are yellowish-white in color, around 5mm in length, and look like large white ants. Termites live in large, complex, subterranean colonies reaching, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of individuals. The queen and the king always remain in their nest. Worker termites in search of food venture out, like ants following one another. They are often traveling more than 80 meters from their nest. To avoid daylight, termites burrow through soil and construct underground tunnels.
Termites feed on wood and seek moisture to survive. Thus, oblivious gardeners unknowingly can create a favorable environment for these destructive critters.
The good news is. You can stop termites from establishing themselves by following a few simple steps. Hence you can ensure your garden is not alluring these wood-destroying pests that can spread quickly and infest your home.
Avoid using wooden garden beds
Wood is an attractive material, and it is convenient to use for constructing enclosed garden beds. On the other hand, wood is also an ideal food and moisture source for termites. Thus, termites are attracted to wooden enclosures because wood absorbs water and provides termites with their dietary requirements.
When you are planning to build your garden from scratch, make a conscious effort. Place all your garden beds away from the external walls of your home. Ensure they are not obstructing weep holes and the foundation. Termites will exploit these convenient points and enter the walls cavities of your house.
If you already have flower or vegetable beds close to your home, consider moving them elsewhere. Preferably as far from your home as you can.
Assuming you don’t want to be the gardener who makes it easy for termites to thrive, then act now. Avoid using natural wood to enclose your garden beds.
Do not overwater your garden
It is not a secret; gardens need water to flourish, and plants need moisture to grow. Nonetheless, not many gardeners realize that termites also require moisture to survive. Life needs water, and just like any plant in your garden, termites look for and crave dampness in the soil to prosper.
But it would be best if you were not wary about the regular irrigation of your garden. You must water your plants regularly. It is only when soil moisture content becomes excessive, termite problems can occur.
Avoid needless watering of your garden and pot plants. If you have plants in pots sitting on a wooden porch and your home’s external walls, move them farther away. Drainage from pots can create unnecessary moist areas.
If moving your pot plants is not an option, water them less to prevent high moisture build-up.
Make sure there are no water leaks
Termites live in soil, and any damp area in your garden will only attract these critters. In order to discourage termites from your garden, you must fix all water leaks. Constant water seepage can be expensive, and it can also create unnecessary dampness and provide termites with their moisture needs.
Check your garden for leaking taps, broken sprinklers, and damaged water pipes. Air conditioning units and overflow from hot water tanks can also cause moisture build-up.
Maintain your garden equipment regularly. Check that your irrigation system is not causing excessive dampness. Repair all drips, redirect overflow water to drains and fix any other leaks you can see. But most importantly, remove sprinklers from around the external walls of your house. Moisture built up around your home will bring termites right to your doorstep.
Choose your garden mulch wisely
Mulch is an essential component, and it can be tremendously beneficial for every garden. However, mulch can also create other problems as it can provide termites with a favorable environment. In other words, when you place mulch around your house, you can present termites with an easy way into the wooden structures of your home.
Always buy treated mulch to make sure it doesn’t appeal to termites. Additionally, you can source mulch made from wood or material termites don’t like. Never place any mulch around the external wall and foundations of your home.
Remove dead trees and stumps
Dead trees are not only dangerous around your garden, but also, they are attractive to termites. Termite’s role in nature is to recycle dead trees. Thus, any dead branches and trees will provide termites with ample food. And old tree stumps are their favorite nesting grounds.
To avoid these problems, clear away all dead tree and stumps from your garden. Make sure to prune all dry limbs from your ornamental trees regularly.
Avoid spraying termites yourself
If you ever find termites in your garden and consider spraying them yourself, be careful DIY methods can fail. The use of the readily available house and garden chemicals is not the best way to rid your yard of termites. Many DIY remedies will kill termites on the surface, but it will also make the problem worse.
Assuming you destroy all the termites you can see; you still won’t get rid of the hidden nest. The queen termite and the king will remain alive and continue to reproduce. Therefore, these pests can regenerate quickly and show up in another place. Often in concealed and hidden areas where you won’t see.
Seek professional help
When you start finding some strange white ant-like bugs in your garden, it is a good reason for concern. However, it is not a reason for panic. Be sure to look for professional help and call them right away. If you realize that you have problems with termites on time and you react sooner rather than later, you can save the plants in your garden and reduce the damage as much as possible. Also, an expert will help identify and advise if your everyday gardening habits are attracting termites.
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