Termite Eradication and Removal
Why do pest controllers talk so much about termite eradication techniques? Killing a termite is easy! Just squeeze it between your fingers! Why can’t you spray wherever you find them and not worry about professional termite removal? The answer is that subterranean termites (white ants) are social insects and unless you kill the royal family in the nest, you cannot guarantee their demise! The queen termite can lay thousands of eggs each day. While you may spray hundreds of termites in one hit, she will recover from it in a single day.
How Can Termites and White Ants be Eradicated?
1) Bait them;
2) Dust them, or;
3) Carry out a chemical treatment against termites.
Baiting and Dusting Termites
Baiting involves feeding termites with a poison. Baiting and dusting are two of the most commonly applied eradication techniques in the industry. Baiting can be a difficult task if you do not have experience with it. Termites have been around for millions of years. They have evolved an acute sense of smell. Once they smell something repulsive, they will avoid it. If you spray an area with a normal insecticide, they will soon avoid that area and move their kitchen somewhere far from that poisonous area. Essentially, you are just moving them to another area just outside the repulsive smell.
Slow Acting Baits Are Ideal
Generally, baits consist of 99 per cent cellulose and one per cent poison. If there is more poison, termites will avoid eating the bait. The poison is slow-acting, so it will not kill them straight away – which is a good thing. They will have time to feed each other – and the queen before the poison kicks in. The great thing about baiting is that once termites decide to eat the baits, they are doomed. They will not stop eating until all the workers are dead. Soldiers are dependent on workers to be fed and once all the workers are dead, the remaining soldiers will starve to death. The disadvantage of baiting is that termites may not eat the bait at all.
In my experience as a termite controller, I would be very happy if half of my baiting sites were successful in feeding termites. Therefore, I usually install a few baiting boxes in different sites where I find termites. Another disadvantage of baiting is that it would only kill one colony at the time. If another colony attacks your home, you will have to start the baiting all over again. Sometimes you may come across a multi-nesting termite species like Schedorhinotermes spp. When the colony gets bigger, it divides itself and the contact between the two divisions may be blocked. In that case, you need to bait both colonies to eradicate termites in your home.
How Long Does It Take for Baiting to be Successful?
Baiting takes on average three to four months to kick in, depending on:
- The size of the colony.
- The time of the year.
- The species that you are dealing with.
Unfortunately, they will eat your home as well as the bait while they are still alive. However, some bait suppliers who provide baits like Nemesis or Centricon believe that once termites start eating the baits, they will stop feeding on your timber immediately. There is some truth in that, but it is difficult to verify. Termite baiting is ideal when you only have a minimum number of termites to deal with and you cannot find the nest.
Dusting White Ants
Another eradication technique is called dusting. Dusting usually works faster than baiting. It takes on average six weeks for it to kick in, depending on the size of the colony and the time of the year. It involves introducing fine poisonous dust to termites. By dusting as many termites as possible, you increase the likelihood that the whole colony gets infected. Termites infect other colony members by rubbing their body against each other and grooming themselves and other termites. Like baiting, dusting is a delayed acting poison which gives termites enough time to infect each other.
I use Termidor dust for this purpose. Termidor is produced by BASF and works very well. The disadvantage of dusting is that you need to infect as many termites as possible otherwise you may not be successful in your eradication technique. Another disadvantage is that if a new colony attacks your home, you need to dust it again. There will not be a residue poison leftover to infect a new colony.
Chemical Treatments for Termite Nest Eradication
Finally, carrying out a termite chemical treatment is an option. This eradication technique involves using liquid or foam termiticide. You will apply it at the vicinity of the termite nest or the area where they may be coming into your property. You will then install a subfloor or perimeter chemical barrier in your property. The eradication principle is the same as baiting or dusting. Termites will crawl through the chemicals and then infect each other by rubbing or grooming each other. Once again using expensive non-repellent termiticide or termiticides like Termidor or Altriset will ensure that termites will continuously get infected without realising it.
Termite Nests in the Bathroom
The biggest disadvantage of chemical treatments is that termites may be able to bridge the chemical zone. For example, I came across termite nests in a bathroom wall. Waterproofing was not done well. Every time the homeowners showered; the termites would get their required water for the week. In that case, they did not need to crawl inside or outside the property in search of water. They were happily eating the timber in between the walls while getting their water in the bathroom. Therefore, perimeter or subfloor chemical treatment would not affect them because they had everything they needed right where they were.
In these sorts of cases, I would first treat the nest in the wall and then install the chemical barrier. The biggest advantage of chemical treatments is that the residue stays in the soil for years, depending on the chemical used and its mixing ratio. I always recommend installing a chemical barrier to prevent future termite attacks.