Termite Treatment, Protection, and Control
Termites are one of the biggest threats to home owners and prospective home buyers. They are able to wreak immense damage in a period as short as 3 months, and though termites are an issue across most of Australia, Sydney is considered to be a high risk area. We’ve conducted thousands of termite inspections and can confidently say that getting a through pre-purchase inspection is essential when considering buying a property – this can save you tens of thousands of dollars down the line. Below is a short list of the best termite control treatments that are currently available in Australia. They are not necessarily in order of how effective they are.
Physical and Chemical Protection for Termites (includes Treated Zones, Physical, Pre-Construction Treatments)
- Termite Reticulation
- Granitgard (a.k.a Granitguard)
Termite Baiting Systems
- Green Termite Baits
Nemesis is an Australia termite bait system that has been formulated to both exterminate as well as attract the termites to speed up the process of extermination. Nemesis also incorporates an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator), Chlorfluazuron, which is the active constituent in their baits. The advantage of a baiting system such as Nemesis that attracts termites is that it can transfer the growth regulator onto termites that have fed from the bait and then the termiticide is spread when the termites socialize. This continues until the point of colony collapse. The baits come in two varieties; in-ground and on-ground to suit most residential and commercial applications.
Sentricon is the most widely used termite bait and hundreds of thousands of properties have already been baited and protected by Sentricon’s baiting systems. Their baits have been proven through various trials to be highly effective and reliable when it comes to termite control. They have also recently released their Sentricon Always Active termite baits which have a pre-installed termiticide bait rod that means manual bait application or treatment isn’t required after installation. Once termites start chewing through the bait they’re already doomed! No need to stress about frequent inspections and manually applying some termiticide after termite activity is found.
Exterra, a.k.a the Exterra Termite Baits, Interception and Baiting System. Exterra has been around for over 16 years and is used by a few pest controllers across Australia. They function similarly to the standard Sentricon baits but do not have the inherent termiticide. This means that it will require frequent follow up inspections and maintenance. As such we do not recommend Exterra as a stand-alone treatment option and generally we recommend using it to compliment a termite barrier. Exterra also incorporates an attractant and once termites have started working through the bait it is intended that Requiem Termite Bait (mixture) is inserted into the bait without disturbing the termites. This bait mixture then spreads the termiticide through the colony and achieves a similar result as with the other baiting methods.
To Bait or Not to Bait
The biggest issue surrounding baiting systems is the fact that they are often slow to affect the termites and require yearly maintenance and replenishment. Often several months will pass before termites encounter the baits and allow for the extermination process to commence, as such it often takes a year for a baiting system to attain complete eradication of the active termites nearby. As such, during this time, termites may continue feeding on structures nearby while the baits are untouched or just starting to transfer termiticide to the active termites. This is the main reason that we recommend baiting systems to be used in conjunction with a comprehensive soil treatment.
Though baiting systems have a lower initial payment to install they do require inspections as frequently as every 3 months until termites are sighted in the baits and then it requires a licensed pest controller to apply the bait compound to the active termite baits. Often these costs add up over time and end up close to the price of a comprehensive soil treatment. Failure to monitor and replenish the baits frequently enough can render them useless and the termites will keep coming back.
There are a variety of factors that will influence the termite treatment option to be installed at any given property. Initial investment, installation access and difficult to access areas, and whether drilling/cutting through concrete slab, walls and roofs might be possible will all affect which option the client elects. Baiting systems are ideal when there is limited access or the property has extensive sandstone beneath the slab or subfloor.
CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Sydney Australia ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.
Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE!
Tips when inspecting for evidence of subterranean termites
Subterranean termites are widespread in most warmer countries, causing substantial structural damage in urban areas. Subterranean termites occur in large colonies that live underground and feed on available wood. Termites can enter a structure by tunnelling through wood or by building mud leads over or through cracks in foundation walls. If you suspect that you have termites, you should have an inspection conducted by qualified personnel. However, there are signs that you can check for yourself.
Recognising live termites
Subterranean termites are small insects, approximately the size of a grain of rice. Although it is possible that you may encounter the dark, winged alates in early spring, this is rare . It is more probable that you will find workers and possibly soldiers. Workers and soldiers are creamy white in colour and soldiers have a darkened head capsule. Unlike the maggots that you may find in damp wood, if you look at termite pictures you’ll see that they have six legs and are more like ants, though without a constricted “waist”.
New Activity vs “Old” Damage
Evidence of new activity is the presence of live termites or mud leads that were scraped off and subsequently rebuilt. Wood damage or mud leads with no visible termites are often incorrectly called “old” How do you really know unless you have a thermal imaging report or an intrusive inspection?
Subterranean termites tend to favour softwoods (pines etc) and faster growing hardwoods . Other building materials such as rigid polystyrene insulation boards, plaster, soft plastics, and underground cables, may be penetrated by foraging termites even though they do not feed on these materials.
Inspection Outside Your Home
You will find that during Spring-time is best to start your inspection. This is because its not too hot or cold and your focus is at your best. Look for any loose timbers that are in soil contact, like fire-wood or landscaping timbers. Termites just love cardboard boxes because it it of cellulose origin and pick up any wooden wine barrels, plant boxes, and so on. We have found live white ants happily living under these. Look at stumps or trees in your yard after separating the bark with a screwdriver from the wood. Look specifically for any hollowing of the centres of stumps and cut off branches. This could indicate that termites are present. Carefully examine crevices of any large gum trees, timber compost bins, sheds, garages, decks, and timber retaining walls.
Check all wooden logs, stepping stones and untreated landscaping timbers for any signs of termite damage.
Mud Termite Leads
White-ant mud tubs or leads are built by termites along with soil, saliva & faeces. They require sufficient moisture and ground contact in order to protect them from drying out and from predation of other insects (particularly ants) . These mud leads may be readily seen on live or dead trees, stumps, and any structural timber.
Inspection Inside Your Home
Next check your home starting underneath in the subfloor areas using a bright torch, screwdriver or sharp pocket-knife. If any mud leads or nests are found then they should be examined and photographed. If the mud leads are dark in colour this will indicate that activity may exist since they are still wet, and probably have current or recent termite activity. Dry looking leads should not be dismissed as termites may still be within. If they show no cracks or other damage may be a good indication that termites may still be alive and active. Be very thorough in looking for signs as they will want to build their colonies and tracks in very dark, secretive places. After about one or two months, re-check all the areas where you found mud leads and see if it has spread. It may be prudent to call us at the first signs of any activity, as nearby termite pressure may cause significant damage to your home in a very short time.
You can call Bruce on 0417 251 911 or send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prevention of White Ants
Discourage termites from foraging on your property by removing or raising above ground all potential food sources. Clean up any piles of branches or pieces of wood in your yard. Replace wooden lawn ornaments with non-wood items. Raise fence posts, deck posts and stair stringers onto concrete or use an alternative to wood for building. Ensure that wooden sheds are raised above ground. Also, check to see that you don’t have a wooden platform under aluminium or vinyl sheds. Build a platform of metal, concrete or PVC for stacking firewood. Wood-chip mulch should be removed or replaced with stones or termite-resistant mulch. Most importantly, remove all stumps and dead trees. Stumps and dead trees represent a huge food resource for termites with a large area in direct contact with the soil and provide ideal sites for feeding and nesting.
Termite prevention is better than cure, so remember our name, A1 Pest Control, when you consider Sydney Pest Control.