Termites in Potted Plants
In homes, termites can cause significant damage to the building’s structure, but in nature they fill an important niche. Termites help recycle woody plant materials, and also tunnel aggressively through soils, leaving them porous and rich in nutrients. When these insects appear in potted plants, it’s important to consider where the pot is located and the reasons the termites have moved in, before choosing a treatment option.
Termites, small white, tan, grayish, brown or black, antlike insects, live in large colonies underground or inside walls, utility poles or trees. You may confuse these wood-feeding insects with flying ants, but termites lack a pronounced, narrow waist. Like flying ants, termites have two pairs of wings, but the wings of a termite are all the same length. Be cautious about relying on their wings for positive identification, because termites may shed these throughout the year.
Damage to Potted Plants
When the weather is dry, termites seek out potted plants for the moisture they provide — under these limited circumstances these pests may feed on plant roots. Otherwise, termites are generally harmless to non-woody plants. Termites that have taken up residence in wooden or fiber planters may be working their way through the planter itself, putting the pot in danger of collapse.
Potted plants at risk from termite damage should never be in direct contact with the ground. Most termites will enter these pots from the bottom. The moisture that potted plants leak into the nearby soil attracts many types of termites, especially during the height of the summer. Move any uninfested potted plants to a cement patio or a rock garden with several inches of rock or sand between the pot’s bottom and the ground. Even placing at-risk planters on bricks or cement blocks can prevent termites from tunneling into them.
Before treating potted plants for termites, make absolutely certain your problem is termites and not ants. Although many chemical treatments will kill both pests, ants may indicate your plant has other pest problems that need to be addressed. If your plant is in a smaller pot, submerging it in a solution of 2 tablespoons of insecticidal soap per 1 quart of water for 20 minutes will kill both termites and ants, without harming your plant. Larger potted plants may require a soil treatment with imidacloprid, provided the plant isn’t intended to be used for food. You should completely empty and dry out wooden or fiber planters so you can closely examine the extent of the termite damage. Damaged wood will need to be injected with imidacloprid or fipronil or professionally fumigated before you can repair it. In many cases, it’s better to replace the wooden pot with one made from plastic, terra cotta or cement.
Termites in Potted Plants. In homes, termites can cause significant damage to the building’s structure, but in nature they fill an important niche. Termites help recycle woody plant materials, and also tunnel aggressively through soils, leaving them porous and rich in nutrients. When these insects appear in …
How to kill termites in potting soil – Knowledgebase Question
|I have baby termites in every bag of diff. type of soil that i’ve purch. I have these baby termites and don’t no how to kill them. I’m scared that they will eat the trunks on my trees that i’ve grown from seeds. Yes I repotted and did’nt see the termites do to me mixin diff. soils together. please help. Also can fire ants kill my plants as well?|
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How to kill termites in potting soil – Knowledgebase Question I have baby termites in every bag of diff. type of soil that i’ve purch. I have these baby termites and don’t no how to kill them.