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A Toxic Termite Treatment: Why You Shouldn't Use Bleach to Kill Termites

by Javier Carter

Bleach is a potent chemical when it comes to killing just about anything. It will kill anything it encounters, including mould, ants and termites. However, if you are seeking to kill termites, you should avoid pouring bleach over areas of the soil where you suspect a termite-nesting site to be. While you might kill some termites, you could also inadvertently cause more trouble for yourself and your family.

Bleach Kills on Contact

Like many household cleaning chemicals, if you pour bleach directly onto termites, it will kill them. But what about the hundreds or thousands of termites that you aren't reaching? Termites build their nests as far as six metres under the ground. Deep in the ground, they are safe from bleach and any other cleaning agent you might use. However, while you may not cause much damage to the termite nest, you could cause serious damage elsewhere.

Bleach Kills Plants

Plants survive in the soil by taking up minerals such as magnesium and iron along with water. However, this natural process can only work when the surrounding soil has a healthy pH level. If the pH is too high or low, the plants in the soil will starve to death. Bleach has a pH of eleven, which is far too high for soil.

Did you know that termites benefit plants by aerating the soil, making it easier for plants to feed? Of course, if those same termites are also destroying your home, or threatening to, such a benefit is meaningless. The termites have to go, but bleach is not the way to do it.

Bleach Is Poisonous to Children and Pets

Every year in Australia, 2,500 children are hospitalised because of exposure to poisonous chemicals, such as bleach and, specifically, chlorine bleach. Once ingested or inhaled, bleach can burn a child's throat and cause stomach problems. If you pour undiluted bleach onto termites in your backyard then, you run the risk of harming your children or pets. Any bleach you pour on the soil will remain there for quite some time before it either is washed away by rain or seeps down into the groundwater.

Bring in the Professionals

Don't ruin your soil by pouring bleach on it where you suspect termites to be nesting. Instead, hire a professional termite control company. Not only do they have the equipment to detect termite nests, but they can also control the problem without damaging your soil or plants.