mscratch
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Termites in raised beds

Bought 6 bags of what was supposed to be garden soil for my new raised beds. Mixed it with straw and leaves. Didn't notice any insects etc. Did notice it was mainly sticks and bark! So two weeks later I go out to turn the beds to plant and discover termite infestation. I assume there was larva in those bags as there were no termites before and the beds are made with treated lumber. I don't know how to treat this infestation and I have things that need planting. Short of dumping diesel on them and setting on fire, I just don't know what to do. Can someone please tell me what I can do? :cry:

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pinksand
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Re: Termites in raised beds

How close is the raised bed to your house and do you have preventative treatment done around the perimeter of your home? Termites aren't anything to mess around with so if they are close to your foundation I'd have a professional come out. When it comes to termites, I have no problem with using chemical treatments because they can do very serious damage to a house. Last fall I found termites about 20ft from my foundation and set up the home baiting systems. I haven't found any this spring and about half the bait stick was eaten so it's possible that this worked. I was nervous though when I thought I found what looked like termite frass in our house this spring and had an inspector come out. He decided it was carpenter ants and baited for that and I also had a termite treatment done around the perimeter of the house for good measure.
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

mscratch
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Re: Termites in raised beds

The beds are probably 40' from the house. We bought this home about 3 yrs. ago and an inspection was conducted and came up clean. I am very careful about leaving exposed boards and any wood products lying around.
It just infuriates me that I brought these things here. I will get those home baiting systems. Thankyou!

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JC's Garden
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Re: Termites in raised beds

I'm a retired pest control owner/operator. Your bed location could be on or near an existing termite colony. Two weeks just isn't enough time for a new colony to go from unnoticed to an "infestation". As long as your house has some sort of termite protection and gets a regular inspection, don't worry about it. Significant termite damage is the result of years of neglect. It doesn't happen quickly except in the case of exotic species.

First identify. Collect winged adults if possible. If not, collect soilder termites, they are fewer in numbers than the workers and have larger, darker heads. Take them to your county agent. As long as it is a native species they should not be a problem.

Be aware that termites have been here a lot longer than us. There are colonies almost anywhere they can find a food source and moisture, mostly eating fallen trees and limbs. They have thier job, breaking down dead cellulose and returning it to the soil, they do it well.

Live and let live. I always get them in my compost pile and raised beds. They break down twiggs and any wood debris in them. They speed up the process for me. :) I need all the help I can get.

imafan26
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Re: Termites in raised beds

After you get the termites identified, I would think about getting the house inspected and retreated if it turns out to be ground termites.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

mscratch
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Re: Termites in raised beds

I know the difference between termites and ant larvae, and these are definitely termites. We have had substantial rain in the past two weeks and as I turn those beds nearly everyday, I noticed a significant decrease in them. I am hoping they drowned. It seems they were not imbedded in the soil beneath but rather in the layers of garden soil or should I say mulch at this rate. When my daughter worked at Sears several years ago, they had a shipment come in that was infested, so I do believe what I bought at WalMart is infested. Actually it makes sense being after all those hurricanes and tornadoes that the cleanup from the trees could very well produce what I now have. I have found glass, plastic, wire, and bread wrapper ties in the last bag I bought at Sams. All this rubbish wasn't sifted out from wherever it came from. I thought I was purchasing soil but what I got was mulch with hardly any soil. Will never buy that brand again, ever.

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pinksand
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Re: Termites in raised beds

I think there may be some misunderstanding. I believe that JC's Garden was suggesting that you identify the type of termite, not questioning whether or not you are dealing with ants or termites. There are various different kinds of termites and some pose more of a threat than others https://www.orkin.com/termites/
USDA Zone 7a, Sunset Zone 32
"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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ElizabethB
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Re: Termites in raised beds

Your home was inspected 3 years ago. Unless you have had regular treatments and/or inspections it is not unheard or for termites to have established themselves in that period of time.

We have regular inspections and treatment. If if we see signs of activity between inspections additional treatment is part of the contract.

I would call a pest control company. Have your home and property inspected and discuss treatment options. Rather than just regular treatments exterminators often use traps. The traps are inspected regularly. No treatment is done unless there is evidence of termite activity in the traps.

Termite control and eradication is not something I would attempt as a DIY project.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Kathleen.duncan
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Re: Termites in raised beds

Hi all! Sorry if this is hitting on an older post, but I have termites in my raised bed.

Last year my roommates and I built a very cheap raised bed with some treated and some untreated. I was weeding and hand tilling the soil the other day and I noticed termites in the untreated wood. I was very much concerned.

I'm wondering how concerned I should be about my vegetables (assortment of tomatoes, peppers, and squash) I am about to plant in that bed. I've been getting a bit overwhelmed with all the info out there, some saying not to worry about them attacking plants others saying termites eating only dead cellulose it a common misnomer.

Also, any safe/organic ways to kill these buggers? I've read some mixed reviews on borax.

Thank you for any insight!

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ElizabethB
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Re: Termites in raised beds

Kathleen,

Warm welcome to the forum.

As stated in the earlier discussion the type of termite is important. In the south east the Formosa termite has been spreading. A very bad customer. Call a pest control expert. Have your home inspected and treated if necessary. Your best bet is to remove the untreated boards and replace them with treated.

BTW - please update your profile and include your location - county and state. The Forum members will be able to provide you with better advice for future questions if we know where you are located.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

imafan26
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Re: Termites in raised beds

Termites will eat woody plants. After my parents treated the house the termites moved over and proceded to devour all of the roses. They also had termites in an avocado tree and the termites infested and made holes in the potato tubers growing nearby.

Untreated wood in the ground is never a good thing. Remove the wood and use some other kind of edging. I use concrete tile blocks instead 2 tiles high and dry laid. Trex would also work, it is expensive but should not rot.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ElizabethB
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Re: Termites in raised beds

I have made raised beds with cinder blocks. My only issue was lime leeching into the soil and raising the pH to an unacceptable level. My solution was to use heavy contractor garbage bags under the blocks. The ends were overlapped by 6". I folded the bags over the top of the blocks then fill the bed with 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat and 1/3 horticultural vermiculite. After filling the bed I trimmed off the bags to about 1" above the soil level. Cinder blocks are more expensive than boards but they last forever and there is no risk of termites.

Do have your home inspected.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

imafan26
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Re: Termites in raised beds

Cinder blocks were also easier for me to build with since I don't have a lot of carpentry tools and my carpentry skills are dismal. The blocks were heavy though and you do need to make sure the base is level.

I never had to worry about the leaching but I guess that is a consideration. My soil pH is 6.4 and I have red clay so it was never a problem for me.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Kathleen.duncan
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Re: Termites in raised beds

@ElizabethB @imafan26

Thanks a lot people for being so helpful. I have called a pest service person to check the type of termite and get an approx estimate of the price..

Thanks again..

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