we have termites! can we kill them the green way?

Ah, the pleasures of owning your own home. Planting your favorite trees in the yard. Refinishing the hardwood floors that were once covered with wall-to-wall carpet. Discovering that your basement walls are infested with termites… That’s the last thing we were expecting to find underneath that little damp spot on the wall of our finished basement. When we cut a hole, we found that the studs were riddled with both mold and large, hungry termite colonies. Weekend plans were scuttled as we learned what we could and then removed as much of the drywall and framing as possible. We’ve talked to a local “green” exterminator who is coming tomorrow to assess how bad things might be — do we have Pacific Dampwood Termites (bad) or Western Subterranean Termites (worse)? If we have Dampwood termites, chances are the rest of the house is safe, but we’ll have to figure out how to fix our drainage issues if we ever want a finished basement again. If they’re the much more destructive kind, we’ll have to see what our options are. Rest assured, I’ll share the updates with you. –Mary T.

From our partners

We rent, so we had no real say in what type of extermination would be done, but we just dealt with Western Subterranean Termites. We discovered them when they built mudtubes that burst out of the wall in our laundry room, and then they swarmed. In our house. Ewwwww. There was a huge colony under our driveway that had eaten into about half of our pier-and-beam foundation. This house had been treated less than a year ago, but termites are a real problem in Central Texas.


About five years ago we used a company that did a non-toxic borate treatment. They drill quarter inch holes along your interior walls (about 5 feet apart in each room) and spray a borate solution inside the walls and the attic. It did seem to kill the termites but it didn’t prevent new ones as it was supposed to. We got a reinfestation within a year and ended up having to retreat the traditional toxic tenting way.

Tiffany S.

What was the verdict? Which ones do you have?

Dun dun dunhhhhhhhh!

I work for a general contractor in the southeast. We are one of the only “green builders” in our area. We pretreat our new residential builds and are always looking for the green solution to pest/insect control. No joke, Orkin calls and claims that they’ve got the deal. I looked just now on their website but did not see anything. Just thought I mention them.

Mary T

Hi, folks — I’ll have an update for you on Monday. It’s not as bad as we feared, and I want to share what I’ve learned about green termite control in a coherent post. Thanks for the interest!