Does Vinegar Kill Termites?

Many people with termite infestations want to solve their termite problem themselves. They are reluctant to get help from pest control professionals. One of the most popular home remedies for getting rid of termites is vinegar… But does vinegar kill termites?

How to use vinegar to get rid of termites

Yes, vinegar does kill termites. This is because of its core ingredient called acetic acid. This ingredient is corrosive, and knowing that termites are small creatures, they easily become vulnerable to this corrosiveness.

When termites get in contact with vinegar, the acetic acid in the vinegar destroys their exoskeletons, eventually killing them. So, to get rid of termites with vinegar, you have to find a way for vinegar to reach termites.

1. Make the vinegar solution

First, you have to make your vinegar solution. You don’t just use pure vinegar. You have to dilute it in water.

There is no specific water-vinegar ratio. But a 1:1 ratio is a good one to try. You can also add a few drops of lemon. This is because lemon also has natural pesticidal properties. Adding it will make your vinegar solution more potent.

Mix the solution well. And then put it in a spray bottle for easy access. You can also put some in a syringe to effectively infiltrate termite colonies.

2. Locate the termites

Locating termites is not as simple as you think. And this is because of the fact that different termite species have different habits. For instance, drywood termites live within the deep corners of wooden structures and furniture. But you will not see subterranean termites in these parts of your home because they will be deep within the soil.

Drywood termites and other termites that live in wood are relatively easier to locate. Just look for the wood they are infesting. Clues to look for include termite pellets that look like sawdust, holes in wooden structures, and tiny bugs that look like ants.

Subterranean termites and their relatives like formosan termites are trickier to locate because they live in the soil. But there is a simple trick to spot them — just follow their mud tubes. These are brown tunnels you will see around a home with an active infestation.

3. Use the vinegar to get rid of the termites

Once you have found the termite colony by locating the infested wood or soil, bomb it with your vinegar solution. Remember that the vinegar needs to get in contact with the termites to kill them. Use the spray bottle directly on exposed termites. But use the syringe for those hidden inside the colony.

Termite colonies can be very deep and intricate. You may need a lot of the vinegar solution to reach its deepest corners.

Vinegar does kill termite species like drywood termites.
Drywood termites. Image source: Rudolf H. Scheffrahn, University of Florida

Other natural remedies to solve your termite problem

There are other home remedies you can use to solve your termite problem. Some of them you use as a solution, like the vinegar-water solution above. And some of them you use as a powder you sprinkle directly on termites.

1. A salt solution can kill termites

Salt works by dehydrating the bodies of termites. But instead of sprinkling it on the home pests, you dilute it in water in a 1:1 ratio. Because of this ratio, the salt is still incredibly potent in dehydrating termite bodies.

Follow the same instructions from above. Put the salt solution in a spray bottle and syringe and bomb the termite colony.

2. Soapy water can be effective against termites

The best thing about the salt solution is that the ingredients are very accessible. You probably have salt in your kitchen right now. It’s the same for soapy water. The ingredients are probably already in your sink. Liquid dish soap and water are the only ingredients you need.

Simply add three teaspoons of liquid dish soap to about four cups of water. You can add more liquid dish soap according to your preference if you want to make the solution more potent. Mix the solution lightly to make it soapy.

Like the vinegar and salt solutions, put the soapy water in a spray bottle and syringe. And don’t forget to be careful of slipping. This solution is very slippery and you can get injured.

3. Boric acid is toxic to termites

Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are sprinkled on the termites directly and to their colony. But they work in different ways. Boric acid is toxic to termites. Termites die when they ingest boric acid. Diatomaceous earth, on the other hand, is dehydrating to termites like salt. Termites die when they get in contact with it.

Just a word of caution — boric acid is toxic to humans and household pets too. Be careful in using it, especially if you have unattended children and pets in your home.

Boric acid is a good alternative to vinegar to kill termites.

Can you rely on natural remedies to kill termites?

1. They need contact to get rid of termites

The best thing about natural remedies like vinegar is that they are easily accessible. Many of them are also not toxic. But here’s the problem — they can be very ineffective because many of them need to get in contact with the termites themselves to kill them. It’s not easy locating and reaching the deepest ends of termite colonies.

2. They can damage your home

It’s easy to search for natural remedies online. But many of the articles you will find don’t share the potential dangers, like how some of these natural remedies can cause structural damage.

Soapy water is a good example here. Soapy water is often suggested to kill not just termites, but also yellow jackets. But if you are going to pour it into a part of your home that is sensitive to soap and water, you will only do more harm than good. Your wall is especially vulnerable to soapy water. Please don’t pour soapy water inside your walls.

3. Pest control professionals use pesticides to kill termites

Certified pest control professionals have access to pesticides and termite control methods that are not available to the ordinary homeowner. Termite fumigation comes to mind. In this termite control method, your home is covered with a tent and then bombed with a gas that kills termites deep within your home. There is no way for termites to escape because it’s a gas that easily travels through the deepest parts of your property, but this is highly toxic.

You can try vinegar to kill termites

Yes, you can use vinegar to kill termites. But it’s still not the best solution to a full-blown termite infestation. Termites are complicated and hard-to-reach pests. Sometimes it is just better to hire pest control professionals to get rid of them.

If you don’t get rid of your termite problem, you could be putting yourself and your family at risk of termite dangers, like allergies and termite bites — and the damage they can do to your home…

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