How To Get Rid Of Termites In A Tree Stump or Tree – How To Kill Them

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

Last Updated December 29th, 2022: Termites in a tree stump, or anywhere near your home can be a worrisome situation, and you might be wondering how to get rid of termites in a tree stump. Termites are naturally drawn to trees, as trees are rich in cellulose which happens to be their main source of food. Tree stumps also serve as a source of shelter for them to keep them safe from cold weather and predators. 

signs of termites in a tree stump

So you’ve found a colony of termites that live in a nearby tree stump. Your fear is that they will seek to expand and could make their way into your home. If that’s the case, then read along to learn how to eliminate termites from a tree stump or a tree on your property!

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How Do Termites Infest A Tree Stump?

Subterranean and Formosan termites usually originate from the yard, because it contains almost everything that attracts the species. Some of such attractants include mulch, firewood, foliage, and damp and humid areas. However, when they get in, they tend to invade other spaces like tree stumps and that could lead to an infestation of your home as they get closer and closer to your house.

Winged termites (also called winged swarmers) are another common termite species known to set up new colonies in a tree stump. When they find nesting places on the stump, they begin to reproduce and that could later become a problem for property owners. How can you tell if there are termites in a stump?

What Do Termite Holes In A Tree Look Like?

There are many animals that can cause holes in a tree, the most common being termites, carpenter bees, and woodpeckers (or sapsuckers).

termites hole in tree

Generally, termites don’t make clear and precise holes in trees. They generally make maze-like patterns as the image above shows. This is because they are digging into the tree and creating tunnels and pathways to travel which often will be visible from the outside.

sapsucker holes in tree

If you see holes like this image, this is more likely caused by a woodpecker or sapsucker specifically. Termites generally don’t create patterned and precise holes like the image above.

Signs Of Termites In A Tree Stump:

  • Mud tubes:

The presence of mud tubes on a tree stump is the easiest sign of an infestation. When the infestation worsens, large chunks of these mud tubes begin to appear. If you crush these chunks of mud, you’d find hollows that house these insects. Through these tubes, they carry food from the stump to their colony underground. These tubes protect termite bodies from external factors so that they do not die from loss of moisture 

how to get rid of termites in a tree stump
  • Sawdust Piles:

Termites chew through wood and drop off sawdust as remnants. In your yard check for sawdust piles beside the mud tubes. 

  • Termite Droppings:

Drywood termites tend to leave their excrements or termite frass near their mud tubes or tunnels. These excrements are usually black or grey in color, and if you see markings on the stump close to their tunnels, you know you have termites.

  • Tiny Holes/Pinholes:

A number of crucial things in the yard are often ignored due to their ‘harmless’ looks. One of such things is tiny holes created by termites. These are entry and exit points formed by termites during mating season. Also known as pinholes, they exit through these holes to start new colonies. If you find tiny holes on a tree stump, do well to take action. Later in this article, you’ll see how boric acid can be used to take care of this problem.

  • Shavings off of the Stump:

When termites infest a stump, they feed on it. As the stump emaciates, parts of it eventually die. You see the proof on parts of the tree like a bark hanging loose, tree shavings on the ground, etc.

  • Shredded Wings and Carcasses:

When adult termites come out through the pinholes during mating season, they develop wings to enable them to fly to their mating destinations. Most of them shed their wings, while some of them die during flight. So you’ll likely find their wings around the tree stump.

How To Get Rid Of Termites In A Tree Stump or Tree:

Getting rid of termites in a tree stump is a bit simpler than getting rid of a termite infestation in your home. That being said it’s important to act quickly because if termites have infested a tree stump on your property, they’re one step closer to being in your home.

Follow the steps below to kill termites in tree stump!

Step 1. Use a Liquid Termite Treatment:

Drill a few holes into the stump (3-5). You could drill two in different positions on the base of the stump, with another at the top and the rest away from (but in-between) the first three holes. Once that is done, apply a non-repellent termiticide into the drilled holes.

We recommend using BioAdvanced Termite Killer Plus

This is just the first step, this treatment will kill on contact, which will greatly reduce the population of the colony, but it isn’t guaranteed to kill every termite in the tree stump. That’s why you’ll have to keep an eye on the tree stump and you might have to retreat in a week or two.

If you’re having issues getting the treatment into all the nooks and crannies of the tree stump, you should also check out a foam termite treatment. This is a “liquid” treatment that once it’s released will expand into a foam consistency. This is good for trees and tree stumps because once applied it expands and helps to treat every nook and cranny in the tree stump.

Use Boric Acid:

Boric acid is a natural non-repellent pesticide. It can also serve as a wood preservative, which makes it an attractive option for termite treatment. That’s because it does not destroy the stump but works by inhibiting the absorption of nutrients in the termites when ingested, thereby starving them. There are several ways to use boric acid but we will discuss two below:

  1. Spraying

Mix a tablespoon of boric acid with one cup of water and add to a spray bottle. Then gently shake the bottle until all granules of the anhydrous acid are dissolved. Go on to spray any areas that appear infested. Repeat this every day without breaks for four to six days.

  1. Pellets

Mix an equal amount of boric acid with sugar and a little water. Mix enough to form a kneadable mixture. Roll them into small balls and put them around the tree stump. Replace the pellets every two days after they become dried up. When termites ingest the mixture, it messes up their metabolism and eventually kills them.

Grind the Stump

This presents the most effective means of eliminating a termite infestation. Stump grinding involves gradual shaving of the stump until it eventually reduces it to sawdust. It is more effective because a stump-free yard translates into a termite-free yard. That being said, just because you destroy their home, doesn’t mean the termites will be gone. They could very likely simply expand and look for a new place to call home.

Final Thoughts On Eliminating Termites In A Tree Stump:

Dealing with termites can be draining, but it’s better to deal with them than allow them to destroy your home and property. You should always know that you can get rid of termites yourself before having to spend money on a professional service.

The insects in tree stumps in your yard will make their way to your house in no time if you do not take action against them. Boric acid, insecticides, and termiticides are quite cheap and can take care of minor to expert levels of infestation. But do not hesitate to call for professional help if it ever feels overbearing. I hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on how to get rid of termites in a tree stump, and it is worth testing out yourself before calling in the professionals.


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