Subterranean termite protection methods can be cultural, physical, chemical sheet products or chemical soil treatments. There are topical chemical applications that can be applied to termite workings that offer no residual value.
Cultural termite protection methods include removing moisture that may attract termites (leaking air conditioners etc), improving ventilation, and/or improving drainage in a subfloor. All cultural efforts help reduce the likelihood of termite attack.
Physical termite barriers can include the concrete slab of a home, when it’s laid in accordance with Australian Standard 2870, or Australian Standard 3600. An exposed slab edge can also be used as part of a home’s termite barrier. Ant caps (the metal cap on top of a stump) are also physical termite barrier. Proprietary physical termite barriers include Termimesh (a woven stainless steel mesh), which can be installed to slab penetrations, perimeters, and in the case of buildings with subfloors, installed to stumps, piers etc).
Chemical sheet products include products like FMC Homeguard, and Kordon. In a brick veneer construction, they too are typically installed to the slab penetrations and perimeter. Of the chemical sheet products, at Environpest, we prefer FMC’s Homeguard. It is a chemically impregnated plastic sheet, with the chemical impregnated completely through the product. We believe it’s the chemical sheet product most likely to produce the best long term result for our clients. Alternative products like Kordon have the chemical contained in a fabric matrix between 2 clean plastic sheets.
Since a 2006 Queensland only Building Code amendment, proprietary physical termite barriers, and chemical sheet termite barriers installed to new buildings have to comply with a 50 year design life requirement.
With physical or chemical sheet termite barriers, it’s important to note that they’re not designed to STOP the termites entering the home. They’re designed to stop the termites gaining a hidden access to the home. Most home constructed using physical termite barriers won’t need any chemical treatment in their lifetime. In some areas, termites can be particularly aggressive, and if they are persistent in coming over a physical termite barrier (rare), then some chemical intervention may be required.
Older chemical termite barriers (prior to July, 1995) were very forgiving from a treatment perspective, and would typically kill termites up to a metre from where they’d been applied for 30 to 35 years. The most important thing to remember about the newer style of termiticides is that now termites can work within 10mm of treated soil without effect. The newer termiticides can be split to repellent and non-repellent termiticides.
With a repellent termiticide (Biflex), termites tend to skirt along the treated area, until they can find a gap past the termiticide. We don’t recommend that a repellent termiticide be used under slab by a drilling and injection technique, as there can be materials under a slab (excess mortar, render or clay formations of soil etc) that prevent the termiticide from forming a full and continuous barrier. Repellent termiticides are quite acceptable for soil areas adjoining a home. Biflex locks in the soil very well, and is largely unaffected by moisture. Biflex at it’s higher application rate has a labelled expected protection period of at least 10 years. As long as the treated soil isn’t removed, it’ll remain active for it’s labelled expected protection period, and in many cases, well beyond that.
For treatment applied by a drilling an injection technique and/or partial treatments, we prefer Termidor. Termidor has the longest labelled expected protection period of the non-repellent termiticides, is very stable in the soil (like Biflex), and is very aggressive towards the termite nests. It doesn’t kill the termites straight away, and is passed between the termites.
With either termiticide, we recommend only original registrant, genuine termiticides be used. As termiticide patents expire, others manufacture generic copies of the termiticides, and market them at a cheaper price. BASF (Termidor’s manufacturer released a video that probably best describes why the original registrants’ termiticides produce a superior result for the client.
With new homes, if a chemical termite barrier is used, then a reticulation system is necessary to comply with the January 2001 Queensland Building Code amendments in the termite issue. Some reticulation systems are better than others, and some have maximum working pressures recommended by the manufacturer as low as 14psi (Altis). We tend to steer our clients to physical or chemical sheet termite protection products wherever possible, that don’t have any planned ongoing maintenance costs, other than the annual timber pest inspections.
With existing homes, the combination of Biflex to the soil areas adjoining a home, and Termidor to the concrete areas adjoining a home represents what we believe to be the best long term value for money treatment available to our clients. There are other termiticides on the market, and there are times there use can be considered appropriate. Dupont Altriset is a non-repellent termiticide with NO personal protection requirements for it’s use. It’s very safe, but only has a labelled expected protection period of “up to” five years. Bayer Premise is another non-repellent termiticide with a labelled expected protection period of 5 years. A concern is raised with Bayer’s Premise in that it’s quite mobile in the soil, and easily leached from where it’s applied. We’ve seen premature Bayer Premise treatment failures by companies we consider quite reputable at sites with “wet feet”.
Environpest are not the cheapest timber pest inspection company you’ll find, (and we’re not the most expensive) but as you might have gathered browsing our web site, given what we provide in our inspections and advice, you’ll find we’re incredibly good value. The value of the honest advice you get here will be remembered long after you’ve forgotten the price!