Can Alcohol Kill Termites?

We all know that alcohol has antimicrobial and disinfectant properties. Because of this, some people try to use alcohol to get rid of home pests — such as termites. But can alcohol kill termites? Yes, alcohol can kill termites. But in general, products found in the home are not 100% effective when it comes to termite control.

Alcohol can kill termites, but…

  • Alcohol can kill termites, but it needs contact to be effective. Alcohol works by getting in contact with termites and killing them with its toxicity. Any kind of alcohol can work — ethyl, isopropyl, and even rubbing alcohol can get the job done. But there’s one problem in how alcohol works – it needs to get in contact with the termites to kill them. Termites bury themselves deep into their colonies. Reaching the farthest and most secluded areas of these colonies is no easy task, even for liquids such as alcohol.
  • It’s not a long-term solution to termite problems. Because alcohol can’t reach deep into the colonies of the termites, it can’t completely get rid of termite infestations. At best, it can only get rid of the termites you can easily see, such as the accessible ones outside their colony. But these termites are replaceable. The ones deep inside the colony can simply replenish the colony’s population. Alcohol can kill termites, but its effectiveness is just surface level. It can get rid of small mounds here and there. But it’s not getting rid of full-blown termite infestations with deep colonies.
  • There are more effective solutions out there. Why would you settle for alcohol when there are more effective solutions out there? Fumigant gases in particular are very effective. This is because they don’t have a hard time reaching the deepest parts of termite colonies due to their physical properties. However, termite fumigation can only be done by pest control professionals. They are not as accessible as home products, but they are worth it. They are clearly more effective in getting rid of termites.
Alcohol can kill termites, but it's not very effective.

How to use alcohol to get rid of termites

If you still want to try to get rid of termites yourself, you can still use alcohol. It’s very easy to use — simply put the alcohol in a container where you can distribute it easily across areas with termites.

1. Put alcohol in a spray bottle or syringe

Use whatever alcohol you have available at home. You can go with ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or even rubbing alcohol. Put the product in a spray bottle, so you will be able to spread the product on visible termites. You can also put it in a syringe, so you will be able to inject it into the termite colony bothering your home.

2. Use the spray bottle or syringe on areas with termite activity

Use the spray bottle to get rid of visible termites. It will get rid of the pests upon contact. For termites that are more inaccessible, such as those inside colonies and mud tubes, use the syringe.

Be careful with the mud tubes. Don’t remove the mud tubes yourself. This is a common mistake among those who want to get rid of termites on their own. Mud tubes connect termite colonies and termite food sources. You can spot termite colonies by following mud tubes. If you remove the mud tubes, you may have a more difficult time looking for the colony bothering your property. If you decide to call pest control professionals, they will also have a more difficult time because the mud tubes that lead to the colonies have disappeared.

But here’s the good news — termites repair mud tubes. This is another reason why you shouldn’t bother getting rid of mud tubes. It’s a waste of time since they are going to be repaired as long as there is a termite infestation.

3. Reapply when necessary

Alcohol dries up really quickly. It takes literally less than a minute for alcohol to evaporate. This is another reason why alcohol is so ineffective against termites. It needs direct contact to work, and it doesn’t even have a lot of time to do so.

Reapply alcohol by using the spray bottle and syringe. Do this as much as you like.

Other household products that can kill termites

  • Boiling water is the most effective natural product against termites. There are many articles online suggesting household products to get rid of termites. But many of the products they suggest, such as baking soda, don’t even work. Boiling water is the most effective of all the suggestions. However, like alcohol, it requires direct contact with termites to be effective. But hey, at least it actually works, unlike the other household products that are commonly suggested.
  • Try vinegar as an alcohol alternative. Like alcohol, you can put vinegar in a spray bottle and syringe to get rid of termites. This household product works because of its acetic acid content. It’s corrosive. It destroys the exoskeletons of termites, eventually killing the pests. But like alcohol and boiling water, it requires direct contact for it to work. It may not be completely effective, but at least it’s extremely accessible. You probably have a bottle of it in your kitchen right now. Try using it as a short-term solution to your termite problem.
  • Use soapy water. Soapy water is another great alternative you can try. Mix a few teaspoons of dish soap and water. No need to be overly specific with ratios. As long as the mixture is bubbly, you are good to go. Put the soapy water in a spray bottle and syringe, just like alcohol and vinegar. The problem with this home remedy is that it can actually cause damage to your home. Be careful in pouring soapy water into the wood structure where the termites reside. You can cause more harm than good.

Alcohol has limited effectiveness

Alcohol can technically kill termites. But this doesn’t mean you should rely on it to get rid of full-blown termite infestations. The problem with household products like alcohol, boiling water, soapy water, and vinegar is that they need direct contact with the termites for them to be able to kill the pests.

Termiticides, such as fumigant gases, don’t have this problem. They can easily reach even the deepest parts of termite colonies, making them more effective compared to these household products. But the best termiticides out there are not available to the public. They are only accessible to pest control professionals. If you want effective termite control, hiring pest control professionals is still the best option.

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