Protecting Garden Timbers from Termites

Q: We put in some raised beds last year using untreated wood (didn’t want to ingest any nasty chemicals). Now we’ve discovered an infestation of termites in one of the beds. How can we get rid of them in a way that would still allow us to use that area for food crops? We appreciate any suggestions you could give us.

A: Termites are a natural part of the environment so it’s to be expected that they will decompose your untreated lumber. If you are worried about chemicals in treated wood, I’m not sure I can find for you a non-chemical solution for termites.

One you can investigate though is Tim-Bor. It’s a low-toxicity borate compound that is used by pest control operators to protect wood from termites and powder post beetles. You mix it with water and paint it onto wood.

It will eventually leach out with rain and so will have to be re-applied each year or so. You can get it from do-it-yourself type pest control companies, many of which advertise on the Internet.