Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search

In this post:
Vetiver repels termites,
Nootkatone – the substance in Vetiver that can eradiacate insects,
really Super Plant – Proven & Green Evironmental Solutions ,
suppliers of Vetiver plants and Nootkatone in various forms.

Repel Termites Naturally?

termites- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

Tom, from 24/7 Fast Action Pest Control outside Pine Bluff, AR, USA asked me, if I thought there are natural ways to eradicate, or at least repel termites.  I told Tom, I did not know…….

We are a small family owned company, dealing with both Subterranean termites and Dry wood Termites.
Maybe my question is way off your focus, but I thought I would try anyway.
We use rather nasty stuff to Eradicate termites. It must cause breathing problems, etc.
Would you look and see if there are any less harmful methods to Eradicate/repel termites?
I’m definitely interested to know if there are any natural efficient termite products or methods.  
By the way, your website is very interesting. 
Cheers, Tom
—————————————————————Hi, Tom, I don’t think there is anything worldwide that is out of my focus right now. I do not know, off-hand, of any natural termite eradicators, but I would be happy to look into this subject for you? I will do a little searching, see if I can find something and get back to you.
————————————————————— After a day or two and some searching, I asked Tom:
Are you familiar with the plant  Vetiver?  a tall grass like plant?
No, I am not………..

There are a number of plants that are known to repel termites and are mentioned in this website.

Vetiver interests me the most. Because it is a Wonder Plant in environmental terms and I have some in my garden and it can Repel Termites Naturally?!?!


Vetiver repels termites. Vetiver does not really eradicate many insects (kill them). This has been researched carefully. It is its repellant characteristics, rather than its insecticidal characteristics, that occur also in other plant species such as (marigolds etc). It is the substance Nootkatone in the plant that can kill them.  But it’s rellent properties can still help control the problems that termites can cause.

For example in tropical corn growing, if vetiver is intercropped with corn (10 rows of corn, one row of vetiver) then there is a dramatic reduction in corn borer (Cilio sp) damage. This is not because vetiver kills corn borer but rather a physical push pull effect. Corn borer moths prefer to lay their eggs on vetiver when given a choice between corn and vetiver (we are not sure why). Also, from China there is some research to show that this is also the case in rice production.  In Southern Louisiana, USA, Mr. Don Heumann used potted vetiver in his greenhouses (he grew ornamentals) and he found that his pesticide use went down dramatically thus improving his expenses, as he no longer had to pay so much for chemicals.

Maybe your technical people have heard of Nootkatone?

Nootkatone is apparently the substance in Vetiver that repels and eradicates insects. In fact, the company Evolva is doing research with Nootkatone to see if it is a deterrent to dangerous Mosquitoes.

Nootkatone Is a Repellent for Formosan Subterranean Termites (Coptotermes formosanus)
March 2001 – We examined the behavior of Formosan subterranean termites toward one of the components of vetiver grass oil, the roots of which manufacture insect repellents. We found nootkatone, a sesquiterpene ketone, from vetiver oil is a strong repellent and toxicant to Formosan subterranean termites. The lowest effective concentration tested was 10 μg/g substrate. This is the first report of nootkatone being a repellent to insects.

*Vetiver oil and nootkatone effects on the growth of pea and citrus
2005 – These results support the possible usage of the two chemicals around buildings and in nurseries for the management of termites, ants, and weeds; or in the nursery industry where quarantines may be in place to prevent the movement of invasive pests.

Repel Termites Naturally?- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <
The results show that vetiver compost and planted around cacao seedlings can reduce the attack of termites on this crop.

Vetiver Grass Repels Termites to Preserve Flood Dikes in New Orleans
Years before Katrina struck, Dr. Henderson cautioned that Formosan termites were undermining the protective dike system by eating the sugar-cane-based seam-filling material in the concrete dike walls and infesting mature trees along the levees. Experts suspect falling trees that pulled their roots out of the ground contributed to the weakening and eventual breaches of levees in New Orleans during Katrina. Planting vetiver grass, Dr. Henderson says, could not only provide erosion control and a breakwater barrier, but it could help prevent future damage by warding off termite infestations.


A Quarterly Newsletter of the Pacific Rim Vetiver Network
2001 – Page 12/16 Vetiver Grass: Useful Tools against Formosan Subterranean Termites
The results show that these compounds are able to disrupt termite behavior and physiology as a consequence of direct physical contact, ingestion, or exposure to the vapors. In the presence of these compounds termites show a “lingering behavior”, remaining on the surface all clumped together, unable to organize themselves to reach potential food sources through tunneling activity or building shelter tubes. Moreover, ingestion of wood treated with vetiver oil or nootkatone causes the progressive death of the protozoa living inside the termite gut. Killing these symbiont microorganisms, on which these insects rely for the digestion of their wooden food, would mean a progressive decline of a termite colony through starvation, until total extinction.

Repel Termites Naturally?

Here Clay and Vetiver bricks are being tested for termite attack……..

48 seconds Natural Building Blog regarding Termites

You might ask why Vetiver is not more popular and better known than it is today. Apparently it is one of those times when the USDA made a mistake. In the 1970s, a USDA scientist classified all vetiver grass species (11 of them) as invasive including C. zizanioides and this basically stopped just about all new uses of vetiver in the US. It took more than 25 years to get the USDA to remove C. zizanioides from this list, but it did happen. The damage was done. So there is a lot of work to do to promote Vetiver. 

But Tom, the ability to repel termites is actually the last reason why most people use this plant.

Vetiver is basically a Hardiness zone 8 plant, maybe southerly zone 7. I have had luck growing it in areas that get a little bit of snow in the winter time.

I planted 4 vetiver in my garden, because of their long roots – hoping they would break up my clay soil to some degree.  I had a bit of a scare this year.  I have a Pomelit tree and a Lemon tree.  My Lemon tree lost 3/4 of it’s leaves this winter in very strong wind storms and I was wondering if the Vetiver next to it made it weaker.  Also, my Pomelit tree has been growing very very slowly, and I have a Vetiver near it too.  But other Lemon trees in my town lost their leaves and in the meantime, my Lemon tree is growing back lots of new ones, and my Pomelit tree has more fruit on it than ever before.

A list of those Super things about Vetiver 

Soil and water conserver

Soil and water conserver- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

Farmers who use Vetiver as vegetative contour hedges, that require little or no maintenance, will protect their fields from erosion for many years, and will conserve moisture for sustained cropping.

Soil Fertility Improvement, Enhancer

Left: Sandy soil in its original state; right: the same soil, now used for a vineyard, following rehabilitation using vetiver mulch.

Productivity enhancement on sandy and saline sodic soil under semi-arid conditions
4.2 From 2003 to 2005, Professor Le Van Du and his students from Ho Chi Minh City Agro-Forestry University planted vetiver on these saline sodic soils to determine whether VS could improve the productivity of farms in desert-like conditions.

Vetiver has a great ameliorative potential for bio-reclamation of sodic soils and employment generation in the rural areas.


bio-engineeering - Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

One of the major health hazards facing Guam’s reefs is soil erosion resulting in sedimentation and suffocation of the complex organisms that make up a reef system. “Vetiver’s ability to tolerate high stress situations, adapt to a variety of conditions, develop a dense vertical root system, and powerful soil binding characteristics make it an ideal candidate for controlling soil erosion,” says Mohammad Golabi, soil science professor, U. of Guam.

phytoremediation of contaminated land and water

phytoremediation of contaminated land and water- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

Vetiver will filter/clean out contaminants and polluters from water and land.
Processing effluent from a rendering factory with very high nutrient and salt contents flows into two storage ponds. Vetiver planting on the banks of the ponds and also treated in situ with vetiver floats on the ponds

disaster mitigation

disaster mitigation  including Repel Termites Naturally?- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

Vetiver protecting a spillway in heavy rain will slow down water flow and withstand high velocity flows of 5m/sec. It will dissipate wind and water energy.

A non-invasive plant

Vetiver does not spread- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

Vetiver does not spread.  You plant it in one place, in grows big, but it does not try to take over a whole area…. it apparently grows vertically more that horizontally

Product & By-product supply for forage, fuel, handicrafts, and perfumery
& able to Drawdown lots of CO2

Byproduct supply for forage, fuel, handicrafts, and perfumery In the global market vetiver’s worth is increasing every day. A unique odor is not available in any other ingredient for fragrance as well as flavoring. It also is unique in that it cannot be made synthetically by perfume companies looking for a cheaper alternative.

It also sequesters significant quantities of atmospheric carbon (CO2), because of its very long root system.  With the root length they have, they absorb a lot more CO2 from the atmosphere than other grasses. Grass-lands, like trees/forests, are important and significant absorbers of CO2.

easy to propagate & long root system

Repel Termites Naturally?- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <

If you know how to pull apart a clump of Lemon Grass, it is about the same process with Vetiver.

Because of that very long root system, when you plant Vetiver around a building it will repel termites deep into the ground.  Anywhere, where wood touches the ground, like steps into a house, would get protection by planting Vetiver next to the steps.

Urban wastewater treatment and soil erosion control !

Repel Termites Naturally?- Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search < <
Capulies Street – Miraflores, Lima, Peru

The final point is that vetiver use is not limited to only rural areas.

“A lot of work has been done in communities and cities where erosion and infrastructure stabilization problems ruin so many things.” says Dale Rachmeler, Director of Vetiver Network International “My email is [email protected]. I am an international development specialist and I have found that vetiver solutions, unlike many other solutions, is cost effective and is sustainable over long periods of time ”

We presented an award to Mr. Alois Kennerknecht for his work, in Peru, with vetiver which he started in 2007 trying to spread the use of the Vetiver System (VS) as a way to control soil erosion. Publications gave him information and he started to cultivate some Vetiver and saw that everything was accurate. Vetiver could purify water and be an economic landscape resource for any population.

“Through the years I recognized the plant as an ecological and economic solution to improve quality of life by wastewater treatment and soil erosion control. Frequently, university students and companies have contacted me to get information, and the plant itself, for their own research.”

Professionally, Mr. Kennerknecht’s only regret is not knowing about the vetiver and its properties much earlier, “Which is one of the reasons I work intensively in promoting its importance in Peru and the world. Then, I am sure that vetiver will be recognized one day to be the solution for water and soil erosion problems as the potato was for starving hungry populations in Europe a long time ago.

Hi Lesley,
Thank you for all this information. Is actually very interesting. I have not heard of this plant before. Never heard of Nootkatone. But now I will look into Vetiver substances. I’m very interested in this information.
I could suggest to someone, who has used our fumigation service, to plant Vetiver to prevent further infestations? 
I will try to do my own experiment planting it and see how it works. 
Cheers, Tom

If you have never tried this method to repel termites and want to try to use the Vetiver plant, there are a number of lists: here Vetiver Network International and: World wide list of plant suppliers and the other list of Certified Vetiver System providers.

You can find lots of suppliers of Nootkatone, too. These are a few:

So, what do you think about Vetiver or Nootkatone?
Do you think they are worth a try?
If not for termites….for sure the other environmental uses.

7 posts on the subject of water-sanitation-toilets, covering the following issues:
#1 Leaky toilets are everyone’s business!
#2 The beginning of Wasted Water.   
#3 The natural way to empty our Bowels?   
#4 We have 12 years to cool off planet Earth!  
#5 Dry Toilet sanitation systems for our growing population 
#6 Online Tools to Re-Invent with the Have-Nots.  
#7 What is wrong with the Have’s?   Plenty!   

and two on a water Super Plant – Vetiver
Termite Eradication Naturally? …Ask WasteRush To Search

Vetiver System Proven I Say, “Heal The Land With Vetiver”

(Remember our disclaimer: Any company or website mentioned herein are only examples and should NOT be taken as recommendations or endorsements, unless specifically notated as a recommendation.)

2 Replies to “Repel Termites Naturally? …ask WasteRush to search”

    1. Hi! Ron,
      Thanks for commenting.
      Is there anything that I might try searching for you regarding circular thinking?

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