3-Step Guide to Keeping Termites from Destroying Your Untreated Deck

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3-Step Guide to Keeping Termites from Destroying Your Untreated Deck

9 March 2016
, Articles

If you have an untreated deck, you may worry about the possibility of termites invading the wood and destroying your deck. If so, use the following three-step guide to keeping termites away using household ingredients.

Step 1:  Clear the Area around the Posts

The first thing you need to do before applying any homemade treatments is to clear away the area around the posts. This not only keeps the wood from rotting, but because termites love dark, moist places, taking away their preferred environment is one way to keep them from viewing your deck's posts as a potential home.

Start by pulling up any weeds around the posts' bases. Try to remove all of the roots to keep them from growing back. Next, trim the grass close to the deck and create a small trench along the edge where you remove the grass. This gives the wood a chance to dry out and stay that way by allowing air to circulate around it. Once you have cleared the area, go on to the second step.

Step 2:  Apply a Homemade Termite Repellent

The next step in treating your deck is to apply a homemade termite repellent made from orange oil and borax. The pungent smell of the orange oil repels the termites, and it soaks deep into the wood to provide lasting protection against the bugs. 

Borax is a laundry additive that is used as a pesticide. If it gets on the termites' outer shells and they ingest it, it burns them up from both inside and outside. However, when using borax, make sure you protect your skin, eyes, and mouth while mixing and applying it. The powder can have the same burning effect on your skin.

For this step, you will also need a garden hose with a spray nozzle, a gallon bucket, and a paint brush. The brush makes the application of the treatment go faster. It also keeps your hand away from the borax, giving you more protections from its irritating and burning properties.

In the gallon bucket, mix together five cups of warm water and two cups of borax. Use an old handle or broomstick to stir the mixture. Let the borax dissolve for about 15 minutes, then add one cup of orange oil. Mix thoroughly.

Spray off the deck and posts with clean water from the hose. Then, paint a liberal amount on any part of the deck you want to protect, especially the posts and outer structures that are exposed to plant life. Allow the deck to air dry and go on to the third step.

Step 3:  Sprinkle Borax around the Posts

After treating the deck with a repellent, the next step involves sprinkling borax around the posts. Since termites often first inhabit the ground around wood in which they want to make their next home, treating the soil can kill any that may be looking around.

For this step, wear heavy vinyl gloves. If you do not have vinyl gloves, double glove latex ones to protect your skin in case one of them tears. Pick up a handful of borax powder and crumble it up while spreading it around on the ground's surface.

Once you have a thin layer on the ground, use a hand trowel to work the borax into the soil. Keep any children or pets away from this area for a few days.

Use the above treatment once a week for month, then once every month, to prevent termites from taking up residence in your deck. However, if you already have an infestation or start seeing bore holes in the wood, you may want to contact a termite control service that specializes in termites to discuss your options.