Friday, June 27, 2008

Help! What Do We Do About This??

Termites ...were discovered living in the flowerpots and some of the buckets our plants are growing in...there are termites, yet we don't have termites infesting our house, according to the monthly pest inspectors. And we surely DON'T want to be raising our own homegrown ones!

We're planning on using raised beds extensively, too, when we move...to raise many of our main crops. They'll be amended regularly with compost and lots of organic material, similar to what's in our current garden-'o-buckets.

Has anyone ever had any problems with termites in your pots, compost, or raised beds? Or your garden at all, for that matter?

We're not sure quite what to do at this point, and using pesticides is not an alternative we want to consider at this point...

Help!!! :)

5 comments:

Kathie said...

I've never had a problem with termites in the garden or anywhere else for that matter (not a huge problem here) but I bet diatomaceous earth would work - it works great on hard shelled insects and is all natural and non-toxic...

Brenda Kula said...

Oh my goodness! I've never heard of such a thing. Don't termites go where it's wet or something? I seem to recall people telling me to never leave stacked wood for a fire near a house because the wood gets wet or they congregate due to the wood, or something to that effect.
Brenda

edifice rex said...

Hello Robbyn! Working in construction in the south, I have seen my share of termites and had my own drama with them earlier this year when I experienced a swarm here at the house. First off, if you are sure they are not in the foundation of your house, its not that bad. I have never found them in my garden personally, although I have found them in the yard, but their natural habitat is dead trees etc so they will be out in the woods and your yard etc. They do prefer damp areas and must be able to travel down and tunnel into the ground. If you interupt their path to their underground tunnels you will kill them. Is your house on a concrete slab? They will build mud tunnels up concrete walls etc. to reach your house and still be able to go back to the ground so check around your house and make sure you don't see any signs of such tunnels. If you are using wood mulch in your garden or pots they may be after this. You said ya'll have recieved alot of rain lately so it is undoubtedly damp around your garden pots. There is a natural, safe pesticide available for termites that is very effective also against carpenter ants. It is called Boracare and it is a little expensive. However, it is really only to be used to treat wood that you don't want the termites to eat. And really as long as the termites stay away from your house or other structures, it is not hurting anything for them to be around. They are a natural compost processer but many people freak out if they see them, I know I did at first, because of the damage they do. So, try putting your pots up, a little off the ground maybe and check them and house for the mud tunnels. I don't trust termite companies at all. Email me if I can help you with some more info.

The W.O.W. factor said...

Boy, edifiicerex had some good insight for you! We don't have termites here, luckily, but do have those little ants that love foliage! If that becomes a problem, cornmeal seems to work! Takes awhile, about 1 wk, to see results.
Good luck and don't send them my way! :)

Robbyn said...

Kathie, we'll be trying the DE. I wonder if it's just as effective when wet? We're getting a lot of rain. (on a different note, I'm frustrated I'm still not able to leave comments on your blog...I must have some glitch in my machine...if I switch over to Mozilla, I can get in the back door, tho)

Brenda, yes wet and wood seem to be the termites' ambrosia, and we've had both, what with the rain and the wood mulch. Thankfully our home is mostly concrete block...whew :)

Annie, thank you so much for sharing your experience with these pests.. you have no idea how relieved my husband was to read what you wrote! After reading it, we figured it may be due to the combination of rain and wood mulch AND the fact most of the buckets we're growing the plants in have holes drilled in the bottoms and are set directly on the ground. Jack saved all the plastic tops from the buckets, and now he's simply set the buckets atop the lids, which are not perfectly flat due to the rims being ridged, allowing for drainage out of the bucket but hopefully now a barrier between the pot and the actual ground. let's see if that stops them in their tracks? Our home is masonry block on a slab, and we'll be looking for the tunnels you spoke of...hopefully the monthly or quarterly pest company inspections look for that, too. So far in the past we've gotten a clean bill when they do a perimeter check and check the traps. If we have more questions, we'll be sure to email you...thank you so much for your insights...we're quite relieved! But we'll be keeping a diligent eye on the little guys, as our home's interior walls and trusses are wood and we don't want any termite subterfuge going on behind our backs. I wonder if sprinkling the Boracare under our buckets outside would be another safe preventive?

W.O.W., yes, we have ants, too, but thankfully not much problem with them indoors. Addressing the perimeter mounds around the house seems to keep that in check a little better. We've heard about the cornmeal (or grits) solution, but haven't known if it really worked. Glad you commented...now we'll have to try it ourselves :)