What Options Are Available?

1. Soil applied termiticides

One of the most common methods for the long term protection of homes against termite damage is the application of a termiticide to the soil to form a barrier which stops termites entering the building (such as Bayer's Premise®SC200 Termiticide).  When applied properly by a Professional Pest Manager these are effective means to provide ongoing protection of the property.  They are a very cost effective method to achieve long term protection of the building from one single application.

There are two groups of soil applied termiticides; the older products (which include compounds such as chlorpyrifos and bifentrhin) are known as repellent termiticides which, when applied to the soil, create a repellent barrier to termite entry.  One weakness of this group is that termites are able to detect these residues in the soil and by avoiding them, over time, find any gaps to subsequently enter the home or structure. The second group of soil applied termiticides includes two non-repellent compounds; imidacloprid (Premise) and fipronil.  Termites are not able to detect residues of these compounds in the soil and are therefore killed before they are able to find any gaps in the barrier.  A secondary benefit of these compounds is that termites are able to pass on the chemical to other individuals in the colony (nest) which over time can result in colony elimination.

2.  Kordon® Termite Barrier

Kordon is a flexible laminate that is installed in the building during the construction process to prevent concealed access by subterranean termites. Kordon contains deltamethrin which is highly repellent to termites.

Subterranean termites (termites) are social insects that live in a colony like bees and ants. Typically they form a nest in the soil or near ground level in a stump or truck of a tree. They eat cellulose which is found in timber and timber products such as paper. Attack by termites originates from the nest. Foraging termites will seek cellulose up to 50 m or more from their nest. Wood or timber lying or buried is reached by underground tunnels built by the termite workers. Timber above ground may be reached inside the timber or via mud walled tubes plastered to exposed surfaces. These tubes are built by the termites to shelter them from the light and maintain humidity. There are more than 350 species in Australia and about 30 are classified as economically important – that is they attack timber in buildings.

As well as eating timber, termites can damage non-cellulose materials such as soft concrete, soft metal and plastic, building sealants and foam insulation.

Cracks in concrete and the gap around pipes penetrating through the concrete slab offer easy access to termites. Kordon is installed where termites may attempt to gain access to the timber in a building. The deltamethrin in Kordon is highly repellent to termites and they will avoid close contact with it. Where Kordon is installed the termites will seek cellulose elsewhere or seek to go around the Kordon. When seeking to go around the Kordon the termites will build their mud tubes which will be detected during an inspection by a suitably qualified Timber Pest Inspector. Steps can then be taken to eliminate the termite colony before significant damage can be done. When termites get concealed access, such as when Kordon is not installed, access is gained for a long period resulting in significant and expensive damage.

3. Foams

In some situations it may be difficult to reach inaccessible areas with standard liquid treatments and the addition of a foaming agent to a non-repellent or repellent liquid termiticide will assist in getting the product into these areas.  Unlike the application of a dust, a foam application is intended to provide a longer term protective effect. The use of non-repellent foam such as Premise may also be used to quickly eliminate termite activity to rapidly stop further damage prior to a full treatment.

4. Baiting Systems

Baiting systems are often sold as an alternative to a liquid soil-applied treatment. They work on the principle of termites being attracted, in sufficient numbers, to a point; an aggregation device, baiting station or monitoring station (containing pieces of timber) where a toxicant bait can then be applied. Over time the termites consume the bait and the toxicant is transferred to the colony (similar to a non-repellent termiticide) resulting (usually) in death of the nest.

Unlike a chemical soil barrier which is a continuous protective zone, these monitoring devices are usually placed around the perimeter of a home at intervals of a few metres apart in the hope that termites will find them. There is usually a lag time between when the stations are installed until the time when termites find them and a
further lag time involved in order for enough termites to be available to use the toxic bait. Therefore in order to be effective multiple visits from the Professional Pest Manager are essential in order to replenish the bait timbers and/or the bait toxicant.

In 2015, Bayer launched the Agenda® Termite Baiting System.  Click here to read about Agenda.

5.  Dusts

Dusts are generally applied directly to termite activity and are intended as a curative treatment to eliminate the activity which is present at the time. Application of a dust provides no long term protection of the structure which has been treated and therefore must be used in conjunction with another termite management system which does provide protection of the structure.