16 May 2010

Termites Are Here to Stay...

So I wanted to rid our raised beds of termites once and for all in a manner that was organic. It seemed like an impossible task, but I did the research and found one organic method that piqued my interest. I tried making a solution of citrus oil (one ounce in a gallon of water). I mixed the two together in a sprayer very similar to this one, which can be found at any hardware store:

The citrus oil looked similar to the bottle seen here:

I purchased it at a GNC near my school for what felt like a lot of money (hey, it was only an ounce). But I am willing to try just about anything that is safe for my garden harvest. With this particular mission, I just happened to be killing insects in mass quantities. There is nothing positive about a termite. You don't see children cuddling stuffed animals of these pallid critters as they drift off to sleep, and no one gets the same kind of warm, fuzzy feeling from seeing a termite as they do when they see, say, a swallowtail butterfly.

Well, I have kept an eye on our raised beds since the application of the solution, and alas, they are here to stay. The numbers do seem to have dwindled in the beds that received the application. Yet, the beds that did not see the spray (as I ran out before getting to all 8 of them) seem to have become infested.

Michael and I have decided to hold onto the raised beds for this year with the hopes that the termites won't proliferate enough to make them buckle, crack, or cave in. Termites will leave the crops alone, so there's no threat to what we have sown. Next year, though, we will have to consider tearing out the beds and burning them, leaving us with limited options for next year's garden. We could rebuild the beds with treated or composite lumber, but it would be significantly pricier than what we have already constructed. We could also turn the soil into the earth with a tiller, but the area would be susceptible to erosion since our yard slopes.

As for now, we will continue to focus on the positive things that are coming out of our garden and try to find other ways to stave off future infestations. Our potatoes should be ready any day now. Pictures to come soon.

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