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Which is the best termite treatment?

Whenever we discuss termite control options with our customers, we are commonly asked, “Which is the best termite treatment?” A perfectly reasonable question, but unfortunately it doesn’t have a simple answer, it depends…

There are two stages to a termite treatment:

  • Eliminating active termites from the building
  • Protecting the building from future termite attack

There are a range of products available for both stages of the treatment and the choice of product will depend on a number of factors. Often these factors will be unique to your particular property, so what’s the best choice for your neighbour may not be the best option for you.

Best termite control products

When eliminating active termites from a building, best practice states that every effort should be made to find and destroy the nest. In reality this is very difficult – as termites nest underground, finding the nest can be a challenge and often it’s not possible. However, by using termite baits we can actually eliminate the termites from the building and kill the colony even when it cannot be located.

Above ground termite bait station image

Above ground bait stations are placed on areas of termite activity

Termite baits consist of highly attractive termite food and slow acting insecticide. The termites feed on the bait and take it back to the nest, killing the colony. Although this process can take several weeks, by killing the colony attacking your home, it reduces the risk of potential termite attack in the future.

However, sometimes it is not possible to use termite bait (baiting is not always successful for some species of termites). In such situations, we can use termite dusts, foams or liquids to eliminate termites from the building. The choice of product depends on the location pf activity, the amount of moisture present (dusts can’t be used in damp conditions) and level of termite activity. Although these treatments may only take a week or two to eliminate the termites from the building, it is unlikely to kill the nest and so installing a termite protection system is vital to prevent future termite attack.

Best termite protection products

To protect an existing building from termite attack, it is necessary to install a termite management system around and under the building. There are two types of system:

  • Soil treatments with termiticide to create a “termite barrier”
  • Termite monitoring and baiting systems

Both of these systems are based on the principle that they prevent concealed termite attack. The important point to note here is that these systems need to work in combination with the physical construction elements of the building to prevent termite entry. The choice of system is therefore very dependent on the construction of the building.

In many situations, a soil treatment would be a good choice. For homes on a concrete slab, the soil around the perimeter of the slab needs to be treated and for homes on piers it is necessary to treat both around the perimeter and under the home. However, in some homes there are hidden potential termite entry points, which cannot be protected by a soil treatment. For example, in Brisbane many older homes built on piers have been built in underneath. Often these constructions have not followed building best practice and provide termites with plenty of options to enter the building un-detected. These entry points cannot be protected with a soil treatment.

In such circumstances the installation of a termite monitoring and baiting system is preferred. These systems consist of plastic bait stations inserted into the ground around the property. Any termites in the area find the bait stations, feed on the bait and take it back to the nest, killing the colony. These systems are more effective at reducing the termite pressure on your property, as they are continuously killing termite colonies around your home. However, they do require more frequent inspections to check for termite activity.

AlwaysActive bait ready to be placed in the station

AlwaysActive bait ready to be placed in the station

Termites active on in ground bait station image

AlwaysActive bait station showing termites actively feeding

In Brisbane there are two other factors which can impact the choice of product: soil type and flooding. Certain soil types, for example rocky or clay soils, are not suitable for soil treatments. To treat such buildings, it would be necessary to remove the soil and replace it with a loamy soil, which will allow for an even soil treatment. Often this is not possible or is too expensive. In such situations, termite baiting systems would be a better option. Similarly, if your property is in a potential flood area, it may be better to install a termite baiting system in the first place, as any soil treatments will be compromised / washed away if the area around your home gets flooded.

Which products do we use?

At the Pest Doctors we only use the best products from the leading manufacturers – Termidor and Trelona from BASF and AlwaysActive from Corteva. These products have undergone years of development, have been installed in millions of homes around the world and are back by manufacturer’s warranties. Even though some pest control companies offer cheaper, “generic” products as they claim they are “just the same”, they are not. They may use the same active ingredient, but the formulation is different, and the formulation is vital in delivering performance. For example, a quality soil termiticide needs to spread evenly in the soil and remain in place for many years. This comes down to the formulation.

Also, a word or warning, be careful of any company who only push one type of termite treatment. When providing a termite treatment proposal, they should provide you with all the available options and explain the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. It may be that in your situation only one type of treatment is possible, but in the majority of cases you will have options.

And remember, even with one of these systems installed, termite inspections (at least annually) are still a must to make sure the system is intact and that termites haven’t found a way to get around the protection.