If your house has a deck built with untreated wood, you may worry about termites infesting it. However, you may be reluctant to use harsh, toxic chemicals that could affect your family or pets. If so, use the following three-step guide for using natural ingredients to prevent an infestation.
Step 1: Carefully Inspect The Deck's Wood
Before you begin treating your deck, carefully inspect the wood. Look for any signs that you already have termites infesting it. If so, you may want to contact a pest control service to inspect the damage and find out what needs to be done to get rid of the invading bugs. While the treatment below may get rid of some of the termites, it may not penetrate deep enough to kill all of the bugs, which may require professional assistance.
If you do not see any signs of an infestation, check the wood for moisture. If it has recently rained and the wood is still damp, wait a few sunny days before proceeding with the next two steps. The methods of treating the wood require that it be as dry as possible so they can fully soak into the wood fibers.
If there are no signs of a current infestation and the wood is dry, go on to step two.
Step 2: Wipe On An Orange Oil And Borax Treatment
This part of the treatment involves wiping a liberal coat of a homemade treatment made with orange oil and borax. Not only does the smell deter termites, but orange oil also contains D-Limonene, a chemical that dries up their exoskeletons. Along with the drying power of the borax, any termites that do wander onto your deck looking for a new home are killed.
This step of the process is done twice a year: once when the weather turns warm in spring and again in the fall before the first frost. This ensures that the treatment stays active year-round.
In a small bucket, combine two cups of water, a cup of borax and a cup of orange oil, and mix well. The water is included to make the application process easier. After it evaporates, the oil will soak into the wood, pulling the borax with it.
Using a sponge or soft-bristle paintbrush, coat the wood with the treatment. Continue until the entire deck is covered, making more if necessary. Let the wood dry for a day or two, then go on to the third step.
Step 3: Spray With An Aloe Leaf And Clove Oil Mixture
The third step involves spraying the deck with an aloe leaf and clove oil mixture once a month. The scents of both of these ingredients are repugnant to the termites, helping to keep them away from your deck. You will need a garden hose with a sprayer attachment for the application.
Crush 20 aloe plant leaves, and place them in a gallon bucket. Bring a half of a gallon of water to a full boil, then carefully pour it on top of the leaves. Add 20 drops of clove oil, and leave the bucket overnight to allow the juices from the leaves to infuse fully into the water.
The next day, pour two cups of the mixture into the sprayer, and attach it to the hose. Spray your deck with a fine mist, filling the sprayer with more of the treatment when you no longer smell the clove oil. Let the wood air dry.
Using the above natural termite deterrents can keep the bugs from infesting your untreated deck wood. However, if you start seeing signs of an infestation, you may want to contact a termite control specialist from a company like Cavanaugh's Professional Termite & Pest Services to discuss your options, including any organic, safe means of getting rid of the pests.