Everything you need to know about your Termite Protection
So you’ve decided it’s time to seriously look at termite protection, or perhaps you’re in the midst of a termite attack, and you’ve asked for a quote from a few different companies and found that each one is vastly different, with each offering different prices, different products, and different termite management systems. Clients tell us how stressful getting quotes for a chemical barrier can be, if only because all the quotes are so different and they are not entirely sure which one they should choose.
Don't worry. We have broken down everything you need to know when engaging a company to manage your termite protection. Each company prefers to use specific termite management systems and termiticides (termite poison), so it’s important to be clear about the level of protection you want and need.
What is a chemical barrier and what is a Termite Baiting/Monitoring System?
system. A chemical barrier or perimeter soil treatment is just that—it is a chemical barrier around your home to prevent a termite attack costing you time, money, and stress. It involves the chosen termiticide (see more about this below) being flooded in the soil surrounding the foundations of the home. This usually involves digging a 6-inch trench around the home, flooding the termiticide in the trench, and then replacing the soil. Where there is concrete and the external perimeter of the house is not “trenchable,” the concrete will be drilled (holes 200-300mm apart) and the termiticide injected into the soil below. Of course, not all homes are built identically, so a qualified timber pest professional will need to identify where the treated zones should be in order to provide continuous chemical protection.
A monitoring/baiting system involves installing termite bait stations around the home (usually 3 meters apart) and baiting them with a termite-preferred timber. The key to this form of termite management is regular inspections by a qualified timber pest inspector (this is the monitoring part of the system). The baits should be inspected every 8-12 weeks, treating active stations as needed and replacing baits as needed. Simply installing the system and then not following up with the required inspections is a waste of your time and money.
Barrier or Baits? That is the question!
The advantage of a chemical barrier is that it requires a lower level of maintenance (usually one inspection per year) rather than at least five per year with the monitoring/baiting system (four quarterly bait inspections plus one annual termite inspection). A chemical barrier also offers complete protection from termites, as there is the possibility that termites might bypass the baits and head into the home regardless. The other advantage of a chemical barrier is that it carries a warranty, whereas termite baits usually do not but this will depend on the company. This means that should termites penetrate the complete and continuous chemical barrier, all the repair and treatment costs will be covered by your warranty.
Companies offer different warranty periods. Some offer five, seven, eight, or even ten years. It is important to note that no insurer will offer coverage for a chemical barrier in Queensland past five years, which has been deemed to be the life of the chemical barrier. A chemical barrier will degrade over time due to climatic and environmental conditions. As Queensland (and particularly Brisbane) exists in a hot and humid environment with frequent rainfall, a chemical barrier will degrade faster than a chemical barrier in Tasmania or Victoria, which enjoy a cooler, dryer climate. After the five year mark, most termiticides will have degraded to the point that they no longer provide adequate protection for the home. As such, insurers refuse to cover a chemical barrier beyond that point. So any warranty beyond the five year mark will be with your pest controller, and will not be covered by any insurance.
This section only applies if you are looking at installing chemical barrier protection, and is less of an issue for people looking for a baiting/monitoring system because the baits are only spot-treated as needed (and Termidor is the usual choice).
Termiticides can be broken down into two groups: repellent and non-repellent. Repellent termiticides (like BiFlex) repel termites and kill them on contact. Non-repellent transfer termiticides, like Termidor and Altriset, are
undetectable by termites and as they tunnel through the treated zone they are exposed to the poison and unknowingly take it back to the nest, eradicating the attacking colony. As repellent termiticides don’t treat or eradicate the attacking termite colony, the termite pressure on the home does not decrease and there is the potential for a weak spot to be located and exploited by termites.
Pest controllers have preferences about the termiticides they use, and will
quote you according to these preferences. The type and brand of termiticide to be used directly impacts the cost of the barrier. As repellent termiticides are an older chemical technology, they tend to be cheaper to purchase and, more often than not, pest controllers will pass on these savings to win the job. Naturally, non-repellent transfer termiticides are a newer chemical technology and are thus more expensive to purchase.
This being said, be weary of generic brands as there have been well-documented issues with generics in terms of barrier breaches and faster rates of degradation, reducing the effective life of the chemicals from five years to three years. When deciding on a non-repellent transfer termiticide, you’ll be safe using genuine Termidor or Altriset and we advise avoiding generics as it could end up costing you more down the road.
So, if you hear a pest controller say they’re using a product with the same ingredients as Termidor, it means they’re using a generic.
As we just noted, generics have had well-documented issues over the last few years and one important thing to remember is that although a chemical may have the same ingredients it is not necessarily as good as Termidor for a variety of reasons. Generics have had issues with the even dispersion of the chemical in the soil, leaving large, unprotected gaps in the barrier. Termidor consists of carefully selected and individually optimized ingredients to ensure a high quality product (hence it’s higher price).
When it comes to barrier protection, you definitely get what you pay. So if you have a few quotes in the same price range, and one that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Chemical barrier protection can be expensive, but at the end of the day it
will always be cheaper than an unknown repair bill for your home. Not to mention, the peace of mind you'll enjoy really is priceless. Being prepared and having your home protected will not only save you the stress of worrying about a potential termite attack, but it also means you can take your time and select a pest control company and product that you’re comfortable with—rather than making a panic-driven decision that you might live to regret.
One final piece of advice?
Do your homework! Always get a few quotes to compare, and never be afraid to ask questions—that’s what we’re here for!
So if you’re looking to update your termite protection, call Results Home Services now on 3823 2500 and make the process easy and stress-free. We have been protecting Brisbane homes for over 20 years, so you know we have the knowledge and experience to protect your home and biggest asset. We service all of Brisbane and the surrounding areas, so call us now and see how easy it can be.