How to Treat Termites In a Tree Stump?

Photo 1

If you live in the area well-known for its termite problem, you know how to notice an infestation in your house.

Maybe you already have annual inspections from the pest control operator. Or did you pretreat the soil and made the chemical barrier all around your building?

Maybe you did all of this and now consider yourself fully protected, should you worry about termites in tree stump near house that is left on your land after cutting dead tree?

Is it a problem to simply remove it if its infested? What are the treatment methods?

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How the stump is attracting termites?

Photo 2The stump is very good food source for the termites. There can be two species that will be interested in it:

Both of them usually have nests and colony underground, where they come back after foraging for wood outside. Dampwood termites will be a little concern to you, if the house is well protected.

This termite feed only on decaying, rotten wood, it needs a lot of moisture. So for the protection of your house important thing to do is to have the moisture under control. Usually, that is all. Like this you don’t need any special chemicals and the termites can be left eating through the stump for years.

Subterranean termites is another case. They are very interested in wood in your house, especially the one that’s in contact with the soil. They are known to bring a lot of damage to the households, especially the infamous Formosan termite specie.

Even if your house is fully protected from their possible invasion, I wouldn’t recommend to leave something so potentially dangerous as the infested stump nearby your house.

What are the signs of the infestation?

Now you want to know If the stump in your backyard has an infestation? Here’re the signs you need to search for:

  • hollowed wood;
  • frass;
  • mud tubes;
  • swarm.

One of the most universal signs of termites’ activity is hollowed wood. Take a screwdriver or an ice pick and stick it to the cut of the stump. If your weapon goes through the soft wood deep inside the stump – you’ve found them. Sometimes you might even see the termites running away as you do this checkup.

Photo 3The sign for the Dampwood termite infestation is pellets of frass they leave when they eat the wood.

They look pretty much the same as the frass of drywood termite, like the sawdust, but the grain is bigger.

Learn more about drywood termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment: spot treatment and DIY methods; how to get rid of them in furniture?

Subterranean termites often build the mud tubes that you can discover on the tree or a stump.

They don’t like to travel, being exposed, so they build this covered corridors of carton.

Normally, they have a greyish color and stand out from the main brown color of the wood. If your stump still has a lot of bark, you can pick some of the scales and check if the mud tubes are not hidden under them in crevices.

The roots can also help you to discover the colony. Just dig the soil nest to them, not too deep, and you will see if there’s a termite activity underground.

Learn more about subterranean termites: signs of their activity; best methods of treatment and DIY methods. Eastern subterranean termites and their tunnels and tubes with photo.

The most obvious and universal sign of the infestation is a swarm. Usually it occurs in the early morning or at the sunrise and then you see hundreds of winged termites up in the air, doing their mating routine. They emerge all at once and when the swarm itself is finished you might still find shed wings around the stump.

Should I just remove the stump?

Well it depends if you already have it infested or not. If you just cut the tree that wasn’t infested, and it left you with a stump around 5-10 feet close to the house, I would say – remove it immediately.

The rooting system might be going deep under the slab and your stump will be an inviting entry point for the termites, who wish to check out your house. Not leaving any tree stumps close to the house is a common recommendation from the to-do list of protecting your house from termites.

Now, what if you have an infested stump that is further than 15 feet from your house on your land? The question becomes a bit tricky. There’re two opinions about it:

  • treat it;
  • don’t treat it.

Photo 4Removing the stump immediately will not solve your problem at all.

If there’s a colony living in it, most likely, it’s a satellite colony and the main nest will stay in the soil.

But, taking away their food source you push them to find a new one, and, who knows, they might head straight to your home.

So, whatever is you plan – don’t remove the stump until there are no termites in it.

Then, there’re many homeowners, whose experience shows that not removing the stump may be not the bad option. You have to monitor the activity of termites in dead tree stump, but for some years the termites eating the stump will mean they don’t need to search for other foraging place.

Advice! If you choose to leave your stump as termite feeding station, make sure you have your house protected good, for example, with baiting system, that will help you monitor their activity. Also make a contract for the annual inspections with the reputable pest control office.

This theory is questionable, and professional pest inspectors will hardly support it. Because through the years, the colony might grow so big that it will be hard to feed it on one stump and they still will come to your house. So, treating or not the infestation – is your choice, just don’t ignore it’s presence.

Here you can learn more information about termite bait systems: Advance, Green, CSIRO, Nemesis, Exterra, Firstline, Terminate. Also find out how to make baits by yourself and how to refill them?

How to kill termites in a tree stump?

There’re several methods that can be used:

  • liquid termiticide;
  • baiting;
  • perimeter barrier.

For liquid insecticide treatment the key is the volume of the solution. You should really soak the stump with the termiticide, to get rid of termites. Porous structure of cut wood, combined with carton galleries inside the nest, will let the liquid to go through all the colony, killing all the members.

You can also use it in form of foam, injecting the expanding termiticide from the aerosol can into the drilled holes. Most of the time this would be more efficient then the liquid solution, but in case of the stump there is less difference. So, whatever you have in our garage will do.

Baiting is another option. It’s, possibly, more forward thinking technique then treating the stump locally. When you place the baits around your tree stump, you first wait until termites discover them and start visiting them actively.

Photo 5When this happens, you add the termiticide with the delayed poisoning action into your traps.

Foraging workers will bring treated cellulose to the nest and share it with the rest of the colony.

This way you get the chance not only to destroy the termites that eat your stump, but also bring destruction to the main colony underground.

The same way the barrier soil treatment might work. With the choice of specific termiticide it can also have a delayed poisoning effect to the termite colony.

It also will have a strong residual effect and will last for several years, protecting your stump, if you choose not to remove it.

Here you can learn more information about effective termite control remedies: Bora-Care, Boric acid, Borate, Fipronil, Chlorpyrifos, Chlordane, Borax, Timbor, Termidor, Terminator, Phantom, Lorsban, Biflex, Terro. You can choose different forms, such as – foam, liquid, powder.

The only minus is that the chemicals used for the soil treatment are often quite strong and not exactly eco-friendly, so you should be certain that none of it is being washed away with rain or getting into the environment somehow else.

Useful articles

If you interested in more information of termites we recommend you to read the following articles:

Helpful video

This is what does infested tree stump look like:


Photo 6All of this methods can be performed by yourself, or with the help of the professionals.

Some strong chemical insecticides, for example, ones that have Fipronil as an active ingredient, need the licensed operator.

Don’t jump over your head to perform complicated treatments, if you have never done it before. After all, the security of your house is something worth spending a bit of money on.

Comments: 2
  1. LROY

    I have the same problem, but in my case they’re carpenter ants-and the queen is there somewhere. Basically, they’re living in the tree stump, and in the ground.

    My theory is leave the stumps alone and let the ants and termites and pill bugs and everybody else live happily where they are as long as they stay outside away from the house where they belong.

    (Frankly, I prefer field mice but that’s another blog).

  2. David

    Well, it’s easy to say “go to professionals”. They also in it for money! When I had a stump infested my inspector offered me to do $1000 treatments of the house, even after he admitted that there’s no sign of infestation right now. So, I just put some termicide on the stump, killed the termites and removed it, myself, for free. Three years later – house is still fine.

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