Why Termite Colony Control Should be Incorporated in Termite Treatments
Article author: Bruce Gow
“It’s important to know the facts about the pests that are beleaguering your home! I’ve written up this article to give you a better understanding of termite colonies and hope to hear from you once you’ve had a read!”
If you have a termite problem, or termites are active in your area and you’ve decided to protect your home with termite treatment, it’s important to ensure that the treatment option you choose is effective, as well as treating the existing problem.
Why Colony Control is Important
Termite colonies can contain hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of these little wood munchers that have the potential to eat an entire house in just a few months. They’re continually breeding (and eating) so while inspecting and treating your home is important, colony control will greatly reduce the risk of attack.
Chemical barriers are a good means of termite protection however, not all chemical barriers are the same when it comes to their efficiency. Several termite treatments claim benefits but it’s important to understand the differences. The type of termite treatment and strategy that is appropriate might also vary depending on the severity of the termite problem you have, the location of the colony, and the species of termite
Termite baits that are positioned near colonies and chemical treatments around the home that allow the termites to transport the poison to the colony are both common strategies.
Baits are sometimes a less expensive method of colony control however they may take time to be effective so if termites are an immediate threat, then chemical barrier treatments that are effective in colony control might be much more appropriate.
How to Detect and Treat Termite Colonies in Trees
All large eucalypt trees (trunks greater than 30 cm in basal diameter) or stumps within 50 metres should be checked. One indication of termite activity within trees is the presence of hollow broken branches, or mud tracking. This is only indicative and a more reliable method is to test by drilling the tree.
N.B. Large trees need 4-6 holes drilled to effectively locate the colonies.
A drill auger (not larger than 12 mm diameter) should be used to bore holes towards the centre of the tree. If termites are present the centre will be hollow or filled with ‘mudguts’ and the auger will suddenly penetrate the tree easily. A thermometer may be used to determine if the nest has been located.
To determine if termites are still active within the tree, termites may appear on the auger or a long twig can be inserted into the drill hole and left in place for several minutes.
The twig is then withdrawn and checked for termites. Trees found to harbour termites should be treated with termiticide through the auger hole or with arsenic trioxide.
All drill holes drilled in trees must be plugged with a non-toxic acrylic caulking compound, such as bathroom sealant or anti-fungal agents specifically designed for this purpose. We use Pascal’s “Stop Rot” to protect the trees from fungal decay.
Do not use dead wood such as dowelling as it prevents the tree from healing or silicon sealants as they contain harmful solvents, which can damage the tree.
Chemical Treatment Example:
One popular choice with pest controllers when it comes to termites is Termidor. That’s because this product is not only relatively safe, it’s also effective. The reason for its effectiveness is that, unlike many of its predecessors, this product isn’t a termite repellent. What’s wrong with repellents? The problem is that repellent products rely on termites detecting the product and avoiding it – and for termites, that can simply mean walking around it until they find a gap. That means that repellents aren’t likely to result in effective solutions.
Non-repellents, on the other hand, aren’t detected by termites – which means they walk through it and carry the substance back to the nest.
If the termite treatment you choose isn’t effective, then your home may be subjected to repeated attempts by the termites to gain entry and establish a feeding ground.
Termite management isn’t a simple matter – termites are not only industrious, they have a highly effective social structure and communication system, and millions of years of evolution on their side! So when you’re in need of termite treatment and an effective strategy in Australia, consult a pest control expert.