Termite or 'white ant' treatment and prevention
Termite pest management and control
Approved methods of preventative termite control are covered by Australian Standard AS 3660.1 (2000). Remedial termite control is covered by AS 3660.2 (2000). More information is available from Australian Standards, and can be be purchased from their website.
It is important to remember that house construction is variable. Consider:
Australia is a big and varied country, from cooler temperate climates to wet tropical ones. Such variation is important to remember when considering termite control methods. Should one particular method work well for one house, it may not prove appropriate for a second.
This is undertaken when an infestation in a house has been identified.
If the nest can be found it may be possible to destroy it directly.
Check any trees, stumps, wood stockpiles or other sites that may harbour termites within 80 metres of the house. The nest can be destroyed by complete removal or by application of a chemical insecticide.
Whether or not the nest can be found, the termites must be prevented from continuing their attack on the house. Therefore remedial treatments generally use chemicals in one form or another.
The chemicals can be applied as:
A remedial chemical soil barrier can be applied under and/or around the house in a similar fashion to a preventative chemical soil barrier.
Chemicals can be applied to the infested area inside the house. This can include liquid formulations or dusts. Liquid formulations are similar to those used in chemical soil barriers.
Dusts can be applied as stand alone treatments, or as part of a combined approach.
Dusts can only be used by licensed professional pest controllers. The pest controller applies a small amount of dust containing a chemical active ingredient into the wood or area infested by termites (often called the ‘termite workings’).
The dust settles onto the termites, which then carry the dust back to the nest. The termites clean themselves of the dust and ingest the active ingredient. Grooming is a social activity so the active ingredient is spread throughout the colony.
If enough active ingredient is ingested, then it is possible to eliminate the colony.
Active ingredients in dusts include:
Baiting systems concentrate termites into a bait station and then feed the termite a bait – a palatable food containing an active ingredient.
The termites collect the bait, return it the colony, and so spread the active ingredient throughout the colony. If enough active ingredient is ingested, then it is possible to eliminate the colony.
There are commercial baiting systems that have the bait included - these are available only from licensed professional pest controllers.
There are do-it-yourself baiting systems (such as the CSIRO bait box), either built by the home owner or by a professional pest controller. In either case the bait must be applied by a professional pest controller.
Bait systems can be applied as stand alone treatments, or as part of a combined approach. Bait systems can form part of the inspection of a house, acting as a continuous monitoring system.
Active ingredients in baits include:
Note: Chemical treatments are only available to licensed pest controllers.