Sometimes a small insect-pest presence within a home can be handled with a can of Raid or with the soles of a person’s feet, but some insect-pests can prove difficult to eradicate with such crude methods. When it comes to judging whether or not an unwanted insect presence within a home requires the services of a professional pest controller, the size of the insect presence is not the only factor worth considering. For example, termite infestations can last for several years without being noticed by a home’s inhabitants, as termites are most active within wood as opposed to the visible outer surface of wood. Due to this factor, as well as many others, termite infestations can only be addressed or prevented by professionals who possess the proper knowledge and tools for the job. Preventative methods, such as soil treatments and the installation of physical barriers beneath soil, have been demonstrated as being the most effective subterranean termite control strategies. These days, preventative termite chemicals and barriers are often added to the soil surrounding new homes during construction, and many owners of older homes are opting to purchase these barriers in order to avoid costly infestations in the future. However, other homeowners are relying on certain garden plants that are purported to repel termites. Peat moss is commonly added to gardens as a natural termite repellent, and many people seem convinced of its effectiveness in this regard, but experts say otherwise.
Although most termites in America do not cause much damage to living trees and plants, it is hard to believe that a plant containing cellulose, like peat moss, would repel termites considering that termites rely on the consumption of cellulose to survive. However, peat moss is basically decomposed plant material, which means that its cellulose levels are too low to provide termites with nourishment. A Canadian study found that termites that were only exposed to peat moss died of starvation just as quickly as termites that had only been exposed to inedible rocks and rubber. It was also found that peat moss is not poisonous to termites, but an American study found that termites go out of there way to avoid coming into contact with peat moss while foraging. Foraging termites also avoided potting soil that contained ground peat moss, but the peat moss stopped repelling the termites once it dried out. Based on this experiment, purchasing and applying garden soil that contains peat moss may provide a minimal amount of protection from termites, but peat moss alone would not be sufficient as an effective form of preventative termite control.