What To Do If You Find Termites In A Tree? All You Need To Know

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Termites are serious pests that damage everything they infest. What to do if you find termites in a tree? It is essential to act quickly and take the required measures to eliminate them. A tree in my backyard was infested with termites for about a month. I could see the leaves and branches falling off the tree every day. That is when I decided to get rid of the termites to save the tree from dying.

I noticed the mud tunnels running across the tree and growing in size every other day. I had to work patiently to eliminate them from the tree. I’ll let you know what to do if you find termites in a tree in this article.

Where do termites come from?

Termites come from wild and dry wood habitats. Some of their favorite places include forests, suburban developments, and woodshops. They infest trees and the house to feed on wood. 

what to do if you find termites in a tree

If they are in your house, then your house must have a piece of good furniture or a fireplace, and they must have discovered access to it. If they are not eliminated immediately, they will easily develop an infestation.

How do you know if a tree has termites?

Sings of termite damage in trees can begin at the tree’s base. This is how you know whether your tree has termites or not. However, some termites, such as dry wood termites, which are only found in a few states, will infest dead trees and feed on the wood.

  • Check the surface of the bark near the base of the tree for signs of termite damage, and look for dark spots throughout the tree. Termite activity frequently results in soil-colored mud tubes across the tree.
  • Look for open spots or cavities just beneath the surface of the bark. If termites are present, you will notice several hollow areas that are easy to break open to expose the termites inside.

What to do if you find termites in a tree?

When you discover a termite infestation in your tree, it is essential to act quickly and eliminate the infestation as soon as possible. This is especially necessary if the infested tree is near your house or another infected structure.

Traces of termites eat on old wood.

Termites have a high reproductive capacity and can spread to your house quickly. This might lead to great damage.

Do All Termites Infest Trees?

No, Most termites feed on dead wood, but a few species eat live plants and treesTermites always make their way to find an abundant amount of wood with unrestricted access. All they need is a warm place to start an infestation.

If a house full of wood and furniture is left out for a few months, these termites will make their way into the house and start the process of damage. Termites prefer to feed on the wood of dying trees, but even healthy trees are vulnerable.

What kind of damage do termites do to trees?

Termite infestations on a tree can create mud tunnels on the trunk that resemble small tubes. The tunnels start from the base of the roots and climb upwards. This can weaken the trunk as these tunnels can get deep into the heartwood.

When the termites reach the heartwood, your tree is in great danger. As the infestation grows, the tree’s branches start to weaken and wilt. Thus, you should eliminate these pests as soon as possible.

Do termites nest in trees?

Termites build their mud tunnels or mounds to take shelter in. They infest the trees to keep their food nearby. Termites construct various nests, ranging from underground mounds to massive mounds above the ground. 

There are also termite species that build nests on tree branches or trunks. Termite nests are as diverse as the species that inhabit them.

What is the treatment for termites on trees?

Clearing the infected area

When you find a termite infestation in your trees, it is necessary to treat them as soon as possible. While treating an infestation, you should make sure not to kill or damage the affected tree in any way.

To eliminate the infestation, remove any dead or severely damaged branches, including the bark and leaves. This helps to treat it properly and also promotes recovery and new growth.

Using termiticide

Spray a liquid termiticide around the base of the infected tree and on any nearby trees. As termiticide helps repel termites, it is a great way to use it for prevention.

Spray the trunk up to a height of two feet as well. This will keep other termites away from the tree. It’s even a good idea to spray the entire perimeter of your yard.

Termite Traps

Install termite traps throughout the area. These will notify you of any new termite activity and make your work easier. The traps are free of chemicals and pose no danger to pets or children. Keep an eye on the infested tree for any additional termite evidence.


How do you kill termites without killing the tree?

Using natural methods can help you get rid of termites without killing the tree. Orange oil makes your work easier. It also works wonders on plants without harming them.

Use it as a termite spray on infested wood, or dig some holes on the tree to inject orange oil. This causes no side effects to the trees and, in turn, kills the termites and eliminates their infestation.

Can termites kill a healthy tree?

Termites do not kill the tree. In most cases, you can save a tree from termites if the termites haven’t reached the tree’s heartwood. The structure called the heartwood of a tree is its central wood. It is the supporting pillar of the trees that stores biochemicals that keep the trees firm and alive.

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Heartwood is considered the spine of the tree. So, if the termites do not reach the heartwood, they cannot kill a healthy tree.

How do you kill termites in a tree naturally?

Essential oils such as lavender, orange, and neem can kill termites slowly over time by interfering with their ability to lay eggs. Termites cannot tolerate the strong odor of the essential oils and thereby slow down their metabolism. 

In two cups of water, add a few drops of dish soap and about ten drops of your preferred essential oil. Shake it well before spraying it on infested wood and materials.

To eliminate these termites, you can also use other natural methods such as boric acid, nematodes, salt, or vinegar. If natural methods fail, you should consider using termiticides.

How to Protect Your Trees from Termites?

You can use the substances that termites hate to protect your tree. These pests hate the odor of essential oils and lemon. They will most definitely avoid the places where these smells persist.

Make a spray using the essential oils or lemon juice and spray it on the entire tree. This can shield the tree from termite infestation.

Image of termites are on stumps. Insect. Animal.

Final thoughts

Taking quick action to eliminate the termites is essential to avoid further damage. These termites take some time to migrate to your house if they have infested a tree in your backyardIt is easier to handle the beginning stages of an infestation rather than wait for it to spread and enter your home. 

Termites eat from the inside out, and they can cause a tree to become so unstable that it can no longer support itself. If the tree is nearby, this can pose a serious threat to your family and home. Thus, it is necessary to eliminate the infestation.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.