Termites are a common problem in every home. These little creatures grow like wildfire and if not checked in time, they can make a significant loss of property. Cardboard boxes are one of the most common items in the house and are most often stuck somewhere in the dark with valuable stuff in it. And before you get any signs of termite infestation, you find they have already done the damage. Many people ask whether termites eat cardboard boxes. So, I’ve done some research and found out a gamut of information to share with you that could save your valuable objects.
Do termites eat cardboard boxes? Yes, termites love to nibble on cardboard boxes as well as eat way other material inside the box. Termites look of cellulose and cardboard boxes provide ample amount of cellulose for them to eat.
Termites love cellulose, this is where they get their nourishment. And the most common source of cellulose for termites is wood, which you probably know and have seen termites going crazy over fallen trees and stumps. But, sometimes they leave their wilderness and do invades homes and would nibble on anything that gives them cellulose or are made from wood. There is why cardboard boxes, books, wooden frames, and paper get eaten away by termites. And it’s usually too late when you notice termite infestation. In this article we are going to discuss on why cardboards attract termites, how to use cardboard to kill termites, other cardboard eating bugs, how to termite control your house and much more, so read on.
Why Termites Eat Cardboard Boxes?
Cardboards are the great source of cellulose on which the termites feed. Although they feed on other stuff such as newspaper, firewood, lumber, drywall or just about anything made from wood. They typically enter through the crawlspace and pipes and devour any cardboards that come underway.
Most often cardboard boxes are stacked away in the dark which quickly accumulates moisture, thereby creating heaven for termites to feed on. Furthermore, these cardboard boxes don’t get regular attention like other stuff in the house, which is why house owners usually find that the damage is done before they could take any preventive measures. Moreover, it could damage an entire wall before you notice.
Termites make significant damages to wooden or paper items stored in closets and cabinets. The cardboards stay undisturbed for a long time, thereby giving enough time to termites to completely destroy those boxes as well as other paper products such as books in the boxes.
What other bugs eat cardboard boxes?
Bugs eat organic material and cardboard is made from wood and glue, making it a great source of nutrition for the bugs. Termites are not the only ones who nibble on cardboards, there are other bugs who can do equally significant damage.
One of the most common insects who love nibbling on cardboard boxes are the cockroaches. Almost all species of cockroaches enjoy eating cardboard boxes, newspaper, books, etc. They also love to live in porous materials such as cardboard boxes; this is where they saturate with their own secretions. The sent of its secretions attract other cockroaches and make a big living in the cardboard boxes. Not only they eat away cardboards but could also cause allergic reactions and other mild diseases to you.
Silverfish love to live in warm and humid places. They love eating starchy paper products and glue which are both present in cardboard boxes. They are most active at night and don’t harm humans, but they do create significant damage to boxes and paper items in it pretty fast.
Crickets too need a porous surface to live which makes cardboard boxes a great home for them. They too enjoy nibbling on cardboard and other paper items such as books. On the fun side, they are known for their chirping sound and some people keep them as pets.
Many types of beetles such as a larder, woodboring, hide, etc feed on cardboard boxes. Other bugs include clothes moths and booklice who too can damage your cardboard or other paper products.
Signs of Termites in Your House
Before it’s too late, if you can spot these signs in your home, you should know that you have a termite problem in your house.
Also called as termite frass, they are the most obvious sign of termite activities in your cardboard boxes. If you find sawdust-like deposits where you store your boxes, you should take a close look. They typically look like tiny pellets and has a uniform shape and being completely dusty.
If you are certain that they are termite droppings, first dust them or vacuum them up and then look for their entry points. You should be able to spot tiny holes that termites dug through. Most typical places will be a wood wall; check both sides to make sure. They also leave termite frass in the process. If you find pile frass near the wooden windowsill, you should inspect the whole window trim to locate pinholes. If you find frass piles and multiple pinholes, you should start some kind of termite control procedures.
Broken termite wings are another positive sign of termite activities in your house. Either it could be they are living now or were living in the past, that you didn’t notice. If you notice tiny fractures in boxes see termite swarmers leaving or entering en masse, it’s a clear sign that there is a termite infestation in your house. They are probably trying to establish a new colony, which is not good news. Then it’s time to call for professional pest control.
Hollowed out window trims:
It is common to find termite pinholes or even caves and damages near the wooden window trim or on the baseboard. From above, it may look alright, only later to find that it has been hollowed out or tunneled in by termites. Consider inspecting wooden elements that don’t get much attentional every day.
You should also check out your surrounding area around the house to see any termite dwellings nearby. It is considerably easy to spot, as these termites are more likely to create mud tubes, either out in the open like a heap of mud or a narrow like of muds against the outer wall. Another obvious sign is termite alates or swarmers of termites with wings. They would sometime get into your house looking for a spot to create a new colony. This is a definite sign of a serious termite infestation in your house.
How to prevent termites from eating cardboard boxes?
Termite can leave a nasty scar on your wooden items as well as books and cardboard boxes. It’s not just about the boxes, it’s also about the house and they usually the start of your window lids and them move on to more secluded places where you stack your boxes. We know that home insurance doesn’t cover termite damage, so you should take proper precautions to prevent them from investing at all. Here are some tips that should help you prevent termite growth.
The first step is to have a regular termite inspection done by professionals. Then you should install a termite repellent system around the perimeter of the property. It typically includes soil treatment or termite baiting systems. You should do it within days after to move into your new house. That said, it won’t hurt if you are late.
To keep termites away, you have to reduce on what termites like, such as don’t let moisture sit at any corner of the house, as termites love moist spots. Next step would be to keep paper and wood in sight and not somewhere it doesn’t get noticed. Although you could try reducing these items and keep it only to essentials. Then keep the property perimeter, sub-floor, and voids and clear this area from cardboard or wood, to prevent termite infestation. You have blocked their entry points. They usually enter at a ground level usually at wood-to-ground contact. Give extra attention to door frames, deck posts, cracks in the foundation, cracks in the brick mortar, etc.
Make sure that the groundwater drainage systems are away from the house or around the home. You should also install a soil drainage system. Try to prevent moist sub-floor, if you have, you could install fans.
Avoid having a watering system closer to the house. For this, you have to avoid garden bed adjacent to the house walls. Moreover, make sure that the roof guttering and downpipes are not leaking and they correctly discharge water to the stormwater drains. Any water outlet adjacent to the house outer walls should not be leaking and should have a proper drain underneath.
Plumbing is another hot spot where you should maintain non-leaky pipes in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. Don’t keep any wood much close to the house walls. If you must, makes sure to treat it with the right insecticide or it is made from termite resistant timber. Protect your home by treating all wood elements with termite repellent chemicals. A barrier treatment could also be applied around the perimeter of the house. You could buy furniture that is pretreated for termites. Seal off crawl spaces and get proper ventilation in bathrooms, kitchen, and attics to prevent moisture build-up.
Keep paper products and cardboard boxes above ground level. If you have to discard, throw it away from the house. Store firewoods off the ground on metal frameworks. If you have a subfloor, avoid stacking cardboard boxes, woods, and paper products in this area. The sub-floor is often overlooked and may get termite infestation faster than you know. Avoid having any plants or stacked items around the perimeter of the house. Keep it as far away from the outer walls.
How to Get Rid of Termites?
Here we are going to discuss some ways you can get rid of termites but you have to understand that there is no absolute once-and-for-all way to completely seal of termite infestation. It is your responsibility to check your cardboard boxes and content within as well as all wooden elements from time to time.
We are going to share with you some ways to create termite bait, which is basically to lure them out in the open and then discarding it away from the house.
Using cardboard as a bait:
Thinking of saving cardboard boxes from termites, we are going to use one to get rid of them. You get some old cardboard boxes and wet them to make it moist. The moisture and the cardboard will lure most of the termites out of their hiding spots. Place their cardboard boxes where you doubt has a termite infestation. We have already discussed how to spot termite infestation area; this is where you put it to good use. Check those cardboard boxes every day and once the board is infested, throw it out. Then repeat the process several times. This may not completely rid your house off all the termites but it will certainly help to keep things under control.
Exposing infested items to direct sunlight:
Sunlight and heat can definitely kill off termites. If your furniture in the box or books in the box has been infested by termites, you could try to dry them out in the sun. You could even save your cardboard boxes if not much damage has yet been done.
This is more of a biological treatment against termites. There are certain live Nematodes that you can purchase from the store, which feed on small insects such as termites, leaving the wood and paper products unaffected. It could be a great solution if you have a serious termite infestation.
Many have claimed that orange oil is effective in repelling termites. It has an active compound known as d-limonene, which is capable enough to kill termites when in contact. You can use it on an already infested area or simply spray on moist areas to prevent infestation. You could also try using neem oil which when ingested by termites kills them in due time.
Using Sodium Borate:
Sodium Borate, also called as Borax is probably the most popular way of getting rid of termites. It is used against many bugs and insects and seems quite effective against termites too. Termite infested area can be sprinkled with borate powder or use a solution to pour it on the infected area or termite colony. You could also spray or paint new furniture and wood surfaced to provide termites. The best part of borate is that it’s non-toxic to both humans and pets, so it makes a really good option to prevent and kill termites.
Termite pre-treatment sprays or application may wear off in due time. It is practically impossible to make your house impenetrable to termites. You can control their infestation now, but they will return, no matter how careful you are. So, it is advised to have an annual inspection done by a professional termite control team. They know the signs and can quickly spot out infested areas, and will also consult you if there needs any change in the structure of the house. These treatments typically cover the whole house, even the tight spots where you can’t get in and lasts longer than other treatments. Plus, they are non-toxic so both your family and pets are safe after the treatment is done.
It is always advised to take every measure possible to prevent termites in the first place. Termite checkup should be done at a regular interval and should be a part of your life just like house cleaning and laundry. Termites are tiny, but they attack in swarms and do significant damage to the house, and the worst part is you don’t even notice how and from where they came in. You should be able to perform some of the above-mentioned treatments by yourself and should definitely call a professional termite control every year.