Termites belong to the order of insects known as Isoptera. This is a small group with about 2,100 species worldwide. There are four families of termites in the U.S. with approximately 41 species. They are often mistaken for ants but they are a completely different group with different body types. Termites are small, soft-bodied and generally light in color. They live underground or in wood, their typical food source. After mating, the queen’s main function is to lay eggs. Her abdomen becomes large and extended and she has to be fed by worker termites.
- These insects are ecologically important as they help to decompose dead trees; however, they can be extremely damaging to wooden structures. Termites usually enter wood that is in contact with the soil. Once established, they can hollow out beams and furniture with no outward signs of damage. It is only until weight is applied to the infested wood that the destruction becomes evident. Termites have been known to infest cedar, but after only a few months, that occupation proves fatal.
Wood riddled with the damage caused by termites, powder post beetles, and carpenter ants and bees is becoming more and more common. Most homes are built with wood that is vulnerable to termite infestation. Many wooden structures that took weeks to design and months to build become nothing more than sawdust in the hourglass of time when left untreated. Exterminating termites often requires special safety measures to avoid poisoning people and pets and the chemicals used are harmful to the environment. There is a better way to do it yourself and eliminate termites for the long haul with CEDAR-AL cedar oil.
CEDAR-AL cedar oil destroys the eggs and deters live adults of dry wood termites, subterranean Formosan termites, powder post beetles, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and other wood boring pests and then continues to work as a repellant. It provides long lasting termite control, leaving a pleasant cedar scent.
How it Works
Cedar works in six ways:
- Death by osmotic dehydration
- Neutralization of bodily fluids, e.g., de-acidification
- Encapsulation and/or emulsification of bodily fats
- Prevention of breathing by irritating the respiratory system and forcing the insect to avoid breathing
- Pheromonal interference that interrupts and attacks the octopamine neuroreceptors, crucial for neurotransmitter’s regulation of metabolism, movement, feeding, reproduction and behavior
- Dissolving insects’ eggs, larvae, pupae, eroding exoskeleton and cuticle, promoting rapid metamorphosis by elevating enzymatic levels and thus causing premature death.
When termites and other wood pests are exposed to CEDAR-AL cedar oil the aroma of the cedar oil overwhelms their breathing system and triggers a suicide response—the spiracles (breathing pores) close and cannot re-open. The cedar oil dissolves the insect eggs and larvae, eliminating the next generation, while the aroma of cedar disrupts pheromone signals and creates a barrier of entry to newly arriving pests.
Unlike pesticides that have to be digested or touched, cedar oil only needs to permeate in order to eliminate an insect. This works very well with pheromone-driven insects that need to follow a “chemical trail” in order to complete tasks. Insects like bees, wasps, butterflies and other non-pheromone-driven insects will simply stay away from this aroma.
How to Use It
Apply the cedar oil to all sides of wood where possible, paying particular attention to cuts and ends of pieces. Thoroughly spray in and around the foundation and in the attic. It may be used indoors or outdoors, further instructions are listed in our How to use article. Ensure adequate ventilation when using in closed areas. Repeat as often as necessary or every 6 months. In addition follow these steps:
Inspect your property annually, using a plan of each structure to ensure consistent and thorough monitoring. Keep yearly records and track insect damage.
Identify infestations and type of termites (subterranean, dry wood and so on). Look for the characteristic mud tunnels of burrowing termites and for termite “dirt” piles under wood ceilings and structures, the telltale signs of dry wood termites.
Use termite-resistant building materials whenever possible. Redwood, cedar and juniper are all wood species that are less favorable to termites.
Eliminate standing water and chronically moist soil near your home. Termites need moist soil to survive and are attracted to wet areas.
Lay films of 6mm polyethylene in crawl spaces under foundations as a moisture barrier between the soil and subfloor framing.
Create and maintain good cross-ventilation through foundation wall vents to keep those crawl spaces as dry as possible.
Slope all exterior grades away from wood structures to maintain good drainage.
Prune back plants close to your home to prevent moisture and mold buildup on wood walls.
Water away from your home and adjust sprinklers to keep them from spraying directly onto wood walls and siding.
Seal all wood exposed to moisture using a weather sealer, especially exterior window frames and the bottom of wall edges.
Move all wood scraps and debris away from wood structures.
Create sand barriers in crawl spaces and under fence posts, patios and steps to deter subterranean termites. These termites cannot tunnel through sand.
Dig trenches 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide around wood structures. Fill the ditch with 16-grit sand (granules that are too large to be carried away and too small to be used to construct tunnels).
Fill cracks and repair broken seals in foundations and patios with 16-grit sand. This is especially helpful after foundation settling and earthquake damage.