There are two main methods available for homeowners to protect their property from termite attack and each has advantages and disadvantages. In this article we look at Termite Barriers versus Termite Baiting Programs.
Firstly, Termite Barriers. Government authorities do not like the term ‘Termite Barriers’ as it seems to imply that the installation of a chemical treated zone will act as a barrier against termites attacking a building. This is not the case. Chemical treated zones do discourage termites from attacking buildings but their primary purpose is to prevent them from gaining unseen access. It is always possible for them to get into a house by coming over or around the treated soil but in order to do so they will have to produce mud tunnels which can be more readily seen.
The installation of a chemical soil treatment can last for a number of years depending on the chemistry of the soil. Even though these products bind to the soil and do not wash out with watering or rain, there are effective life diminishes over time. One of the most commonly used chemicals for this purpose is Termidor Termiticide and the manufacturer claims that its life is up to 8 years. Others are more or less but chemical treatments will always require re-treatment after a period of time in order to remain effective.
These treatments are very successful at protecting buildings from termite attack and they do provide peace of mind. Nevertheless, it must always be remembered that there can be obstructions preventing the perfect application and therefore termites may still gain access. As such regular inspections are essential.
One of the negative aspects of these treatments is that concrete adjacent to external walls must have holes drilled at regular spacings (often as little as 200 mm). Although the holes are filled after treatment they are still visible and many property owners find this unsatisfactory. Furthermore, these treatments do not protect other timber on the property such as fences or retaining walls.
Another disadvantage is that their purpose is not to destroy the termite nests which can have a life of up to 50 years.
Termite Baiting Programs
Termite baiting programs are also very effective in managing termite issues. A number of different products on the market but one is available now which contains rods that attract termites to feed on them, which then contaminates the termite colony with an active ingredient that prevents young termites from developing into adults. This can effectively destroy the nest. The stations can be installed in soil areas only so that no concrete is damaged and they also provide a means of reducing risk to other timber structures on the property such as fences.
A disadvantage is that termite baiting programs do require time to produce results. As such, regular termite inspections are also essential.