Physical barriers are so-called because they rely on the physical resistance of the material to resist termite attack. These are usually installed during new constructions, but some can be retro-fitted to existing houses.
Barriers can be placed under concrete slabs, foundations and within cavity walls. Physical barriers are made from metal, crushed rock or other materials that termites cannot chew through, and in which any gaps are too small for termites to move through. Most of these products have to be installed by professionals that are licensed by the manufacturers.
Ant caps are installed at the top of underfloor piers or stumps to force termites into the open where they are easier to detect during regular inspections. Ant caps are not a barrier by themselves.
Chemical barriers are so-called because they rely on a chemical to resist termite attack. The chemicals are usually insecticides. These barriers can be placed under concrete slabs, foundations and around houses.
Chemical barriers can be installed in new and existing structures, but can only be installed by licensed pest controllers.
There are two types of chemical barriers in-soil and in-plastics.
In-soil chemical barriers are formed when the chemical is applied to the soil under or around the foundations of a building.
In-plastic chemical barriers are plastic sheets containing a chemical – these are typically installed like physical barriers.
The active ingredients include:
It is no longer legal to use organochlorines for environmental and health reasons.
Termite pest management and control
Approved methods of preventative termite control are covered by Australian Standard AS 3660.1 (2000). Remedial termite control is covered by AS 3660.2 (2000). More information is available from Australian Standards.
This is undertaken when an infestation in a house has been identified.
If the nest can be found it may be possible to destroy it directly.
Check any trees, stumps, wood stockpiles or other sites that may harbour termites within 80 metres of the house. The nest can be destroyed by complete removal or by application of a chemical insecticide.
Whether or not the nest can be found, the termites must be prevented from continuing their attack on the house. Therefore remedial treatments generally use chemicals in one form or another.
The chemicals can be applied as:
- barrier treatments
A remedial chemical soil barrier can be applied under and/or around the house in a similar fashion to a preventative chemical soil barrier.
Chemicals can be applied to the infested area inside the house. This can include liquid formulations or dusts. Liquid formulations are similar to those used in chemical soil barriers.
Dusts can be applied as stand alone treatments, or as part of a combined approach.
Dusts can only be used by licensed professional pest controllers. The pest controller applies a small amount of dust containing a chemical active ingredient into the wood or area infested by termites (often called the ‘termite workings’).
The dust settles onto the termites, which then carry the dust back to the nest. The termites clean themselves of the dust and ingest the active ingredient. Grooming is a social activity so the active ingredient is spread throughout the colony.
If enough active ingredient is ingested, then it is possible to eliminate the colony.
Active ingredients in dusts include:
- Arsenic trioxide
Your home has subterranean termites. Or you realise there is a good chance that it will if it is not properly protected. But the only way to stop termites is an invasive process that requires the application of hundreds of litres of toxic spray under and around your home. Right?
Not anymore! Imagine all this being replaced by the application in a closed and locked Station of a termite bait containing a few grams of an active ingredient less toxic than table salt. Welcome to the future of termite management – termite baiting with Exterra.
Until recently, the almost exclusively used method of termite management was the application of a toxic chemical soil barrier. The application of such a barrier to your home would typically involve spraying large volumes of toxic and environmentally persistent chemicals around and under its foundation in close proximity to you and your family. But Exterra radically changes all that. And as important as Exterra’s environment friendly features are, they’re just a big bonus. Exterra’s greatest advantage compared to chemical barriers is its ability to eliminate the actual source of your termite problem – the termite colony itself. (And, what professionals often fail to advise, the purpose of a toxic chemical soil barrier is to prevent concealed entry by termites into your home. Termite can still bridge these toxic chemical barriers, or exploit gaps if the barrier is not complete and continuous.
This is all detailed in the Australian Standard AS 3660 Termite management .
The Exterra Termite Interception and Baiting System is a systematic, multi-step termite management method. Australian field trials have clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of the system in controlling subterranean termites in Australia.
The Exterra System represents a true paradigm shift in termite management. Conventional approaches to termite management can be likened to treating the symptoms of a disease but not the actual disease. Exterra in many ways is akin to treating the actual disease. Exterra even offers the possibility of curing the “disease.”
Baiting systems concentrate termites into a bait station and then feed the termite a bait – a palatable food containing an active ingredient.
The termites collect the bait, return it the colony, and so spread the active ingredient throughout the colony. If enough active ingredient is ingested, then it is possible to eliminate the colony.
There are commercial baiting systems that have the bait included – these are available only from licensed professional pest controllers.
There are do-it-yourself baiting systems (such as the CSIRO bait box), either built by the home owner or by a professional pest controller. In either case the bait must be applied by a professional pest controller.
Bait systems can be applied as stand alone treatments, or as part of a combined approach. Bait systems can form part of the inspection of a house, acting as a continuous monitoring system.
Active ingredients in baits include:
- arsenic trioxide
Note: Chemical treatments are only available to licensed pest controllers.
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