Termite Treatment Guide
Termites, commonly referred to as ‘White Ants’ are a well-known and often feared pest in Australia. Despite being known as White Ants, Termites do not belong in the same insect group and are in fact closer related to Cockroaches than they are Ants.
Termites are social insects that work and live together in colonies, these colonies consist of several castes each having distinct roles in the colony. These castes not only have specific functions they also have marked anatomical differences from other castes within the species. Termite castes include:
The King & Queen Responsible for reproduction to sustain the colonies growth.
Soldiers Defends the colony against predatory attack.
Workers Undertake all the work within the colony including feeding other castes.
Reproductives Future kings and queens that will either leave the nest to form a new colony or replace the queen if she dies.
Why are Termites a problem?
While there are over 340 species of Termites in Australia not all of these species cause economic damage, and most are actually beneficial to the ecosystem. Termites feed off cellulose containing materials such as grass and wood. It is for this very reason that some species cause such detrimental economic impact to Australia, amounting to over $700 million in damage every year. Based on their nesting and feeding habits Termite species can be grouped into 3 main categories- subterranean, drywood and dampwood. While some species in each of these categories cause damage to houses and other buildings, subterranean termites are considered the biggest threat to Australia as they are the most common type of termite to infest timber structures including homes and sheds. The Coptotermes acinaciformis species is widely distributed throughout Australia and is the most destructive species in Australia, accountable for more damage than all the other Australian species combined (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 2019). Termites can cause major structural damage to buildings by eating through stumps, timber framing and roof trusses. Termites alone cause more damage to family homes than floods, fires and storms that is why it is so important to protect your home from potential termite invasion.
Inspecting for Termites
It is important to inspect your property for Termites once a year ensuring timber within and around your home is intact and free from termite attack. A thorough inspection includes checking:
- Under your property in the subfloor
- In the roof void of your property
- Any timber structures on the property
- Inside & outside the property including the walls and window sills
During the inspection look for Mud trails, discoloured or dampened areas on plasterboard, wood that sounds hollow when tapped, damaged wood, peeling paint that looks as though it has been water damaged, buckling or soft floor boards and the presence of Termite alates that have swarmed from the nest, these can all be indications of a Termite infestation.
- Trim back plants, hedges, bushes and shrubs off your property allowing for a perimeter around your property clear from shrubbery.
- Remove any timber and wood debris around your property
- Reduce as far as practicable any wood to soil contact
- Keep property well maintained, for example ensuring leaking pipes are fixed
- Avoid storing items underneath your property, this helps to ensure ventilation space beneath the house
Option 1. Termite Baiting System
Install Deadline in-ground stations containing timber interceptors and Deadline Termite Feeding Accelerator by embedding them in the soil around the perimeter of your home at intervals of 3-5metres. Focus the placement of stations where termites are most likely to be foraging. Inspect stations approximately every 8 to 12 weeks monitoring for termite activity in the station (Inspections are more frequent during the warmer summer months and first inspection sooner if the building is under termite attack at the time of initial station installation). Once termites have been intercepted Deadline Termite Bait is added to the Station. Baited Stations should be inspected every 3-8 weeks with the more frequent inspections occurring during the initial stages of termite feeding. When the colony has been eliminated, the Deadline Termite Bait is removed and fresh timber interceptors are placed in the stations. These stations should continue to be monitored on a regular basis.
Where live termites are feeding within a building, aboveground stations containing Deadline Termite Bait are installed on areas of termite feeding and inspected at least 3-6 weekly with the more frequent inspections occurring during the initial stages of termite feeding. These are removed once the colony has been eliminated, or if no feeding occurs. Bait may also be placed directly into termite workings.
· Do not disturb termite foraging in the stations
· Use clean/bottled water to mix with Deadline Termite Bait, termites can be sensitive to chemicals used in tap water
· Bait can be replenished or moistened slightly with clean water to maintain its attractiveness in feeding stations
Option 2. Chemical Barrier
The first thing to do when putting down a chemical termite barrier is to read the label of the insecticide you have chosen very carefully.Typically used to protect structures like our homes and infrastructure Chemical Termite Barriers have proven to be an effective way of keeping termites out for long periods of time when the job is done right. When using Killzone the label calls for different treatment options depending on where you are located in Australia, for example South of the Tropic of Capricorn the label says 10 years residual against Subterranean Termites and 4 years if North of the tropic of Capricorn (Rockhampton and above on the East Coast, Carnarvon and above on the West Coast) at the same rate offinsecticide.
The length of the protection period is determined by a variety of factors including termite hazard, climate, soil conditions and the rate of the termiticide applied. These factors should be taken into consideration when evaluating the need for retreatment. Annual inspections by a competent Pest Control Operator are recommended to determine the need for further termite management options. Under high termite challenge, more frequent inspections are advised.
Always read product label prior to use.