Winter 2003

Q. When a chemical Barrier is applied around a house by trenching and injection, I am advised that it has an effective life of five to ten years. Is this so and what action is taken at the end of that time?

A. The chemical barrier can be disturbed by the servicing of house facilities, landscaping, rodents and tree roots. The chemical also degenerates (some degenerate at different rates than others.) The barrier may be re-applied at the end of a five year period. However annual inspections by a licensed pest control technician are strongly recommended particularly if the colony has not been located.

Q. Are moisture meters reliable in detecting termite presence in inaccessible places such as behind plaster sheeting walls?

A. Termites require a higher humidity in their workings than that of the atmosphere. Moisture meters detect this, but leaks from water systems, air conditioning equipment and guttering are also detected and therefore must be investigated before attributing these readings to termite presence. Drywood termites are not detected by this method.

This photo shows the remains of a sub-nest in a wall cavity. The inhabitants of this home had no idea what was happening
to the inside of this wall.

Q. A warranty of only 6 or 12 months is given after a chemical barrier has been applied. Why is it only for this long, and not for five years?

A. Usually when a chemical barrier is applied, annual inspections are part of the contract. It is therefore important that annual inspections are made, for the colony or colonies may still exist outside the building. The chemical also slowly degenerates in the soil.

This shows wall studs completely eaten by
termites. There were no annual inspections
made on the property, and maintenance was
not carried out – such as the leaking downpipe was not repaired. Subsequently termites were attracted to this area of constant moisture.

Q. Are physical barriers of stainless steel mesh or finely divided granite stone completely effective?

A. Physical barriers can be disturbed by electrical & plumbing servicing and landscaping. Annual inspections are recommended to complement physical barriers.

Q. Are there termite species which do not damage timber in buildings?

A. Yes. It is essential to have accurate identification so that control options can be evaluated.

Q. Is soil contact necessary for termites attacking timber?

A. Most infestations in buildings occur from nests in trees, stumps and landscape materials, but if moisture is present soil contact is not essential. Colonies have been found in boats, multi-storeyed buildings and mooring posts in harbours, where soil contact does not exist.

Q. Is the arsenic trioxide dust eradication treatment always successful?

A. No. The technique depends on many factors. The most significant being the skill of the applicator. Each infestation must be evaluated carefully. In certain cases it is not appropriate to use this method of eradication.

The Coptotermes species of termites,
which are one of the more aggressive
species that will attack your home!

Please Note
: Information for this newsletter was compiled from "Termites and Borers - A Homeowners Guide to Detection and Control" by Phillip Hadlington & Christine Marsden. Phillip is a consultant on pest control and is recognised as one of Australia's foremost Termite experts. The photos depicting the Termite damage are from work carried out by Childs Pest Services Pty Ltd.

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