“Green” Method for Killing Termites – Nematodes

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While termites are invading many houses, the owners of these houses are trying to find a perfect way of fighting with them. Termites may cause serious house damages and property owners will have to pay a lot of money in order to cover the losses.

The problem is that it is really hard to eliminate termite colonies completely. In addition to this, not all house owners may afford calling a professional pest control service. Furthermore, it is also very important to remember about humans’ health; that is why “green” methods are very popular among house owners.

Nematodes are in the list of “green” methods, but the effectiveness of this method is a serious question which should be answered. Let’s see how to use nematodes for killing termites.

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What are nematodes and how do they work?

Photo 2Beneficial nematodes are special microscopic roundworms.

These roundworms have natural occurrence; that is why nematodes are in the list of “green” methods against termites.

Unlike the majority of other methods which are used against termites, nematodes are 100 percent safe for humans, pets, plants and the environment.

Nematodes can be all over the world; that becomes the reason of their relatively low price (roundworms can be easily found in the store).

Beneficial nematodes are very popular as pest controllers because of special bacteria which they contain (that is why they are called “beneficial”). These bacteria are called gut bacteria. Like any other parasite nematodes can stay alive while they have “main body” (here it is a termite).

So, how does nematode kill termites?

Nematode penetrates termite body and poisons it with gut bacteria. Bacteria poison termite blood and after a while (killing process usually takes less than 24 hours, but no more than 48 hours) termite dies.

When termite dies, nematode moves to another termite and the process repeats. It is very important that while nematodes are moving from one termite to another, they breed and multiply. These processes make nematodes very effective termite exterminators.

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.

How to use nematodes for termite control?

Beneficial nematodes are very easy in use and there are several methods of application. The easiest way is to mix nematodes with water. As far as nematodes are microscopic roundworms, it will be really easy to mix them with water.

You will need just several things:

  • nematodes;
  • water;
  • bowl;
  • stick (to stir);
  • spraying bottle.

Photo 3You will have to make the bowl full of water and add nematodes to water.

Then stir the mixture with a stick (or something similar) and let the mixture stay for several minutes.

Add the mixture to the spraying bottle and apply in the areas where you noticed termite presence.

Make sure that sprayer has maximum pressure (that will help to avoid blockage). Also, you will have to shake the sprayer after a while: that will help to prevent nematodes from sinking to the bottom.

Advice! Start applying the solution with nematodes from the garden.

Termites like moisture and the majority of them come from the outside; that is why it is very important to start application process from the backyard.

Do not be afraid if you have termites in the house, when nematodes finish killing termites outside, they will move to the house. You will also have to be sure that you spread the solution to all infected areas and surfaces.

You have to pay your attention to the fact that sometimes it may be difficult for nematodes to start living in new environment; that is why you will have to spray nematodes once in a day for a week or two.

By doing this you will be sure that nematodes will fight with termites. It will be also a good idea to have a look if you have any dead termites: this will be the sign of nematodes activity.

Nematodes are very special roundworms and they cannot be applied during the day because they are afraid of sunlight and heat. That is why you will need to place nematodes early in the morning or after the sunset. In addition, the temperature of the ground should not be lower than 60⁰F, otherwise nematodes die.

If you decide to apply nematodes without spraying bottle (just from the package), you will have to irrigate soil first. When you finish application process, irrigate the soil again (the soil must be moist).

When you are choosing nematodes, it may seem difficult to decide how many packages you need for your garden. Usually all needed information is written on the package and one small package can cover 1,600 sq. foot.

The producers keep nematodes as dry granules, powders, etc. This type of storage makes it easy to dissolve nematodes in water and conduct the application process.

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.

Are nematodes effective against termites?

Photo 4It is a very good question because even the most effective natural methods against termites do not give 100 percent warranty.

Beneficial nematodes are very effective and do not stop until they eliminate the whole colony. Breeding and multiplying processes help raising nematodes effectiveness.

Furthermore, when nematodes finish killing termites they can start killing other insects (if they find some). As far as nematodes are natural roundworms, they biodegrade in the soil after dying.

This is a good thing for those who worry about the environment. Nematodes stay effective for a long time and high killing speed makes these worms the most efficient natural remedy.

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 choose and store nematodes?

When you decide to exterminate termites with beneficial nematodes, you should realize that there are different nematodes in the market and not all of them are suitable exactly for termites. That is why it is important to find the ones which are exactly aimed at termites.

It will be also a good idea to ask for a delivery to your house from the store. As far as nematodes need special conditions for staying alive, you will have to apply them really fast, or store them in special conditions.

If you still can’t start application process immediately, you will have to store beneficial nematodes in the fridge (but not in the freezer, otherwise they will die). Do not forget that nematodes should be stored in the initial package. That means that you cannot make the spraying mixture and put it in the fridge – nematodes will die.

Also, when you buy beneficial nematodes, read label instructions carefully, because this will help you with the application and storage process.

Useful articles

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

Helpful video

How to apply Beneficial Nematodes:

Final decision

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic roundworms which belong to natural remedies against termites. Nematodes are completely safe to humans, pets, plants and the environment. These roundworms are believed to be very effective against termites and have fast-acting and long-lasting effect.

Photo 5Of course, nematodes cannot be used as a protective measure against termites, but they serve as an effective killer of termites and other insects.

Nematodes are easy in application but need to have special conditions for storage.

Furthermore, they do not like light and heat; that is why they have to be applied early in the morning or after sunset. The temperature of the soil matters as well.

Also, nematodes can kill termites not only around your house, but they move inside and eliminate the threat inside as well.

If you still feel that you are not sure whether you can deal with termites by yourself or not, you can always call to a professional pest control service and ask for their advice.
Comments: 3
  1. Nic

    Can nematodes for killing termites affect the Australian native stingless bee?

  2. Gabriel

    I have termites in the backyard tree and it looks like I can use nematodes against them. But I am a little afraid that they can be dangerous for my dog. Why if my dog eats the treated soil? That means that nematodes will get into his body. They are parasites and I am not sure that I can “trust” this remedy. I think, some insecticide will be better.

    • Otokage

      Benefical nematodes against termites can only harm insects. Nor them or their bacteria can survive ph under 5 units, that means they won’t survive in any vertebrate gut, including dogs (I don’t they they could even survive the mouth). The possibility of vomiting (or diarrhea) is there though, but pretty much any natural element of the soil such as insects, plants, fungi or the earth itself, can cause this. Typical insecticides are more dangerous than nematodes, but of course there are eco-friendly insecticides that should be as harmless as nematodes.

      One of the problems of nematodes that I do not see listed here, is that they can be very invasive to insects (after all, they are a disease), and this includes some bee species like Bombus terrestris, which are key animals for the health of our ecosystems. Surely insecticides kill bees too, but they can not propagate themselves like nematodes.


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