Chemical Termite Treatment and Termiticides
Initial Inspection of Buildings & Surrounds
FIRSTLY, it is essential for the termite control technician to complete a thorough inspection of the buildings and surrounds. The property owner should be supplied with a written inspection report and detailed specifications for an integrated termite control program. It is essential that the inspection and report be received before any protective measures are commenced. A professional termite inspection and report, including a termite control protection advice costs vary depending on the size of the house and the style of construction and ease of inspection access.
A professional termite inspection and report could save you thousands of dollars.
Specific areas inspected should include accessible timbers within the crawl space in the sub-floor, roof void, interior, exterior, garden landscaping, fences, other timber structures and trees in the locality.
Chemical Soil Treatments ( The termite barrier )
CONSUMER NOTE: Most home-owners are unaware that their general home insurance policy does NOT cover termite damage to structural timbers. However, appropriate professional indemnity insurance is available to professional pest controllers to cover termite damage to structural timbers in a building caused by subterranean termites gaining entry into the building through an abutting chemical soil treated area.
If there are termites in the building, at the time of chemical soil treatment, they cannot safely return to their central colony nest through the chemically treated soil. Termites are compelled to return every few days to their central colony nest in the ground to obtain moisture essential for their survival and to feed and groom the nymphs (young termites), the king, queen and other termites. Special care and equipment can be used to detect a subsidiary termite nest contained within the building structure. Subterranean termites may build such a nest in a roof or wall cavity where moisture is regularly supplied, say from a leaking shower recess, broken roof tiles, faulty guttering or plumbing.
PESTICIDE SAFETY ISSUES – Soil Treatment Termiticides
There are several types of termite control chemicals registered by the relevant State and/or Federal Government Authority for use in termite control as a soil treatment chemical.
WARNING: Several outdated products are solvent based termite control pesticides which may cause health problems to asthmatics during the drying process. Termidore and Premise are the safer effective alternatives. Both are water based, have virtually no smell and of ultra-low hazard to humans, dogs, cats and other mammals. Termidor is manufactured by BASF, and Premise by Bayer Environmental Science. Termidor and Premise do NOT have an obnoxious odor or emit airborne residues or fumes. Both are registered as a low hazard insecticide with a CAUTION notation on the registered label. Fipronil, the active ingredient in Termidor, has been used in the USA, Australia and other countries, for flea and tick control on millions of cats and dogs. Termidor and Premise represent modern technology… they are NOT organo-chlorine or organo-phosphate pesticides. Some alternative termiticides have a strong repellency action to deter foraging termites. Whereas Termidor and Premise are non-repellant to the termites. Termites can enter the treated soil zone without detecting the Termidor or Premise chemical. The repellant nature of other products mean the termites can detect the chemical and will move along the treated soil areas, actively seeking a gap to gain entry into the building. Premise has been used as soil treatment barrier against termites for more than eight years in the USA with excellent results for long term termite control. We are not aware of any significant problems during this period. Premise will act to kill termites, in the higher concentration treated soil areas abutting the building. With Premise, termites that forage in the lower concentrated treated soil areas, will become disorientated, stop feeding, and are fatally diseased by natural fungi and micro-organisms in the soil. Both Bayer Premise and BASF Termidor claim their products will transfer from one affected termite to another … the technology aimed at eradicating the queen termite and the entire colony – refer to the animated illustration below:
Termites tunneling in the Premise treated soil area abutting the building (of high concentration – near the point of application) are killed outright.
Termites tunneling in the outer parts of a Premise treated soil area (of low concentration) will not detect the Premise which adheres to their bodies and has a delayed lethal effect of several days – enough time to be transferred back to the central colony nest.
After 250 million years of living underground, subterranean termites have evolved with a very thin waxy skin (called an exoskeleton) that readily absorbs moisture.
The Premise active adheres to the termite exoskeleton and is readily adsorbed through the exoskeleton and into the termite’s body to immobilize and kill the affected termite within a few days.
The termites spread the Premise to other termites during regular physical contact, particularly when working together in close proximity, grooming and feeding the rest of the colony, a regular function of their daily life.
Termites carry away or cannibalize other dead termites, further spreading the deadly effect of the Premise chemical throughout the colony.
Building Modifications & Maintenance
Rapid termite colony development and building infestation is usually associated with a readily available timber food and moisture source nearby the central nest. In addition, buildings are often constructed in a way that allow termites to gain undetectable entry from the soil to the structural timbers of the building. Listed below are some useful recommendations for the home owner to carry out in order to reduce the risk of termite activity inside a building.
Moisture exclusion from inside the wall cavities, around the base of the building and sub-floor area (if any). Water run-off can be excluded from a sub-floor area by the installation of ag-drains. Make sure there is adequate cross flow ventilation in the sub-floor area. In addition, a qualified plumber should be engaged to ensure there is no water leakage from plumbing pipes in the bathroom, the shower recess, kitchen, down pipes, guttering and air conditioning unit overflow. Look for signs of dampness in the wall cavities, broken roof tiles, faulty guttering and the like. Please note: high humidity, dampness or moisture accumulating in a wall cavity is of high risk to encouraging large scale termite activity inside the building.
Removal of any timber in contact with the soil. Timbers should be stored above ground to allow full inspection of subterranean termite activity (coming from the soil thereunder). Any landscaping using timber chip mulch and railway sleepers should definitely be removed, as they provide ready food source to assist in rapid termite colony development. Ensure inspection access is unimpeded, particularly in sub-floor areas (suspended floors) in order to look for evidence of termite activity. If your property is on a concrete slab on ground flooring, make sure you can inspect the entire external slab edge for evidence of termite mud-shelter tubes. Do NOT allow this area to be covered by paves, landscaping, planter pots, etc, as termites often gain entry into the walls of a building via this locality, particularly through external weep holes and minute gaps in the mortar in brick-work. If you find live termites or termite damaged timbers DO NOT disturb the area. DO NOT use spray can or insecticides on the termites. If sufficiently disturbed, the termites are likely to move elsewhere, and may not be rediscovered until further obvious damage has been done. The termite controller can introduce Intrigue termite dust or Exterra termite bait directly to the live termites present in an attempt to eliminate the entire termite colony – as discussed in detail above.
Regular Follow-up Inspections & Monitoring
CONSUMER NOTE: the installation of a chemical soil barrier does not negate the need for regular competent inspections – at least 3 to 6 months where the termite risk is high.
We usually recommend 3 or 6 monthly inspections be carried for the first 24 months following a chemical soil treatment. Monitoring of “stand-alone” baiting systems should be carried out every 4 to 6 weeks.
A Word of Warning:
the correct identification of a destructive termite species, inspection of a building for tell-tale signs, analysis of your circumstances and the design and implementation of an effective program for the protection of a building from termite infestations, requires expert skill and judgment based upon professional training and extensive field-work experience in termite control in a wide variety of circumstances.
Do NOT attempt do-it-yourself termite control …leave it to the experts!!!