Pre-Construction Termite Treatment
By Rachel C.
The old adage of “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” is absolutely true, especially when it comes to building a home and preventing termites. While it is nearly impossible to prevent anything from happening one hundred percent, pre-treating the area where your home is to be constructed or where an addition is to be built, can drastically increase your chances of remaining free of termites.
The goal of pre-construction termite treatments is to form a chemical barrier in the ground that will keep subterranean termites from coming up from the soil to feed on the wood structures. Because the area to be treated is free of obstructions (such as a building), this type of treatment is less labor intensive, and requires less termiticide to be used, making the treatment less expensive than treating an existing structure. Another benefit of pre-treating is that the exterminator can cover every square inch of ground, creating a more secure barrier.
Soil treatment – Application of termiticide
In order to properly treat for termites during pre-construction, the area will need to have termiticides applied several times at different stages. The exterminator will need to be in close contact with the builder in order to accurately arrange treatments. The design of the home and the type of soil it is being built upon may cause some variation in the application of the barrier.
While methods can vary a bit depending on the building codes for the specific area, the first step for pre-construction termite treatment is usually to treat the slab. Once the land has been graded, the foundation form has been installed, and the footings have been dug, the area should be treated. This is usually done by treating with a termiticide barrier at a rate of one gallon of chemical solution per every ten square feet.
When the footings have been poured, a mason will complete the foundation using blocks over the poured footings. As soon as this is done, the foundation will be backfilled with the surrounding soil. The plumbing pipes are laid, and more soil is added if necessary. It is at this time that the entire area is treated again with a termiticide barrier. Some extermination companies opt to skip the first treatment, and begin pre-construction treatments at this time.
While termites cannot bore into or eat concrete, the slabs can crack with time creating perfect entry points for them. If the surrounding soil has not been treated, the termites can make their way to the slabs, through the cracks, and into the main structure.
Final preconstruction treatment
The final pre-construction treatment comes with the last grading, but prior to the landscaping. It is recommended that a trench be dug approximately four to six inches deep and at least twelve inches from the foundation out into the yard. Four gallons of termiticide is applied for every ten feet surrounding the home in a continuous spray.
After the home is complete, it is still a good idea to keep the protective barrier intact. This can be done by taking care not to disturb the soil surrounding the foundation in the twelve inch radius. If you plan to add a deck, porch, or other addition to the home, the protective barrier should be extended an additional twelve inches into the yard from the new structure.
A more extensive pre-construction treatment can also be done in place of or in addition to the above mentioned spray method. This type of treatment is known as “rodding” and is carried out by injecting a permethrin based termiticide gel deep into the ground.
Traditional spray methods only allow the termiticide to penetrate about one inch into the ground. Rodding uses a metal pole that ranges from four to six feet in length, and is filled with the termiticide. The top of the pole has a knob that keeps the pole pressurized. The pole is repeatedly pushed into and pulled out of the ground to remove the soil, leaving behind deep holes. This is done until a grid pattern of holes, approximately eighteen inches apart is formed. The holes are then injected with the termiticide gel in order to keep termites away from the area.
How long does pre-construction treatment last?
A proper pre-construction termite treatment can last anywhere from two to five years. Even though these treatments are quite effective, it is still recommended that inspect your home periodically for any damage or signs of termites. Also, try to keep the area surrounding the building free of residual wood or other cellulose based material, as these attract termites. This will ensure your structure is continually protected and will head off any potential infestations before they begin.
Rachel C. is a writer who has several years experience writing for the pest control industry. She is a frequent contributor to magazines, some publications, and websites.