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Termite control still relies heavily on chemical control. Alternative control measures (to control an active infestation) are limited. Long term, non-chemical approaches to termite to termites focuses on prevention. Here are a few non-chemical approaches that may help with, but not necessarily eliminate, an active termite infestation.
Mud Tube RemovalRemoving mud tubes is required by state law as part of a complete termite control program. Removing all of the tubes provides a way of assessing the effectiveness of a termite treatment or determining during an annual inspection if an infestation has reappeared.
Scraping away mud tubes as the sole means of control is impractical in many cases (such as with slab construction) and probably unwise. The tubes are an indication that termites are active around the house. What you don't know, even if you inspect the house carefully, is whether termites may be traveling unseen through the voids in a block foundation or through some other gap.
Scraping away termites is an
important part of termite control
Debris RemovalRemoving cellulose debris from the crawlspace helps reduce food resources used by termites. It should be included in any direct control measures implemented when termites are found infesting the house. This topic is discussed under preventive measures.
Pathogenic OrganismsTermites live in an environment that is filled with microorganisms, including many that are pathogenic to the insects. One pathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae has been developed commercially into a product called Bioblast® (EcoScience Corp.). This product, which contains fungal spores, is applied to aboveground accessible termite infestations. The spores germinate, pentrate the insect's cuticle, then grow inside the body, killing the insect slowly. During grooming, feeding and other activities, the workers can mechanically transfer the fungus to other workers who were not exposed directly to the application. Because the product is limited to aboveground applications, it has not seen significant use for subterranean termites in North Carolina.
There has also been research on the use of entomopathogenic ("insect infecting") nematodes to control termites. Nematode-containing products have been used for many years against a variety of other pests, most notably in turf against soil-inhabiting white grubs and some caterpillars. Results for the use of nematodes against termites have been mixed, but continued work in this area may someday result in an effective product.
For more information about nematodes used to control insects, visit the University of Nebraska - Nematode web site
Prevention:For information about termite prevention, visit: