Do Termites Like Sand? How to Keep Termites Out with Using Sand

There a lot of soil varieties, but most subterranean termites love to move around the moist kind. Sand, on the other hand, is said to repel termites because of its loose composition.

Is this true? Do termites like sand? Is sand an effective way to drive off termites from setting their course to your home?

Do termites like sand?

Maybe not the kind of sand from your kids' sandbox, but you can definetly use it to protect your house from insects. CC Image courtesy of Larry Wilder on Flickr

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Do termites like sand?

Let’s cut to the chase. A lot of termite species really hate sand.

Even though there are actually termites that prefer sandy soil, majority of destructive subterranean termites love rich moist soil. That’s because they can tunnel right through it without drying out.

According to Termites.com, tunneling through sand is like a nightmare for these bugs. So it can be a great barrier for your house. However, there’s a catch. The sand has to be in the right size.

​Termites are reportedly unable to build their tunnels through sand when its particles are 2.0 to 2.8 millimeters in diameter. 

Build a termite barrier from sand

Since sand can deter termites, a barrier made from it makes sense. The sand can be placed around your house to stop termites from tunneling into your foundation.

According to Orkin, here’s how you’re going to do it:

  1. Get sand that has uniform particles. Aim for something that’s 16 grit in size.
  2. ​Before even building your house, dig along its foundation. The hole should be 4 inches deep, and it should extend 20 inches beyond the foundation. (Note that you can use any kind of sand. But for the barrier to work, it has to have same size particles.)
  3. Finally, fill the ditch with the sand.

The best thing about this barrier is that it’s non-toxic. It can also be combined with termicides injected into the soil to be more effective.

Downsides of using a sand barrier

Like all termite treatments, there’s a flip side to this barrier. Even though it’s easy to do, there are some limitations that you have to consider. My House Pests and Non Toxic Termite Control gave us a list of its downsides:

  • ​Like almost all barriers, the sand barrier all by itself may not be 100% effective. This is why termicides injected into the soil are recommended.
  • The barrier should be made during the pre-construction stage of building your house because putting up barriers like this after construction won't work well in the future.
  • Putting up the sand barrier is very dependent on the climate and weather conditions. A lot of rain will definitely ruin your plan since water clumps up sand.
  • And as mentioned earlier, this barrier absolutely needs sand with uniform sized particles. It might get hard to get that. 
  • This treatment may also cost 25% more than chemical treatments.
  • And not all subterranean termites are afraid of sand.

In the end, it’s really up to you if you think sand will be an effective barrier to protect your house. So if you live in a dry place and you’re just thinking of building a house, why not give this one a go?

For a lot of homeowners, non-chemical treatments are fine if they’re integrated with other methods like baiting.

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