Termite FAQ 3

Continued from page 2

36.   Which are the methods of termite control that exist nowadays?

Nowadays, in the market, two types of treatments against termites; each one presents some different features. They are chemical barriers and inhibitor baits.

37.   In which does the treatment by injection or chemical barrier consists?

Chemical barrier treatment consists of injecting liquid insecticide in the floor, walls, and wooden elements in the building.

38.   How is anti-termite treatment by injection carried out?

The treatment of injection must be carried out making drills in the floor, walls and wooden elements, each twenty centimetres, and pressure inject the insecticide liquid, using some valves to avoid the exit of the injected insecticide. Around the house perimeter, a trench is excavated and the insecticide is applied into this trench.

39.   Which are the advantages of an injection treatment?

The advantage of this kind of treatment is that it gives rapid protection, as the insecticide, injected in the underground and wooden elements, kills termites when it comes into contact with them, leaving a residual effect that temporarily protects the building.

40.   What are the disadvantages of an injection treatment?

The chemical barriers do not eliminate the complete colony; they will just eliminate those termites with which will come into contact. The insecticide liquid does not last forever, and will biodegrade over time. Also, it may break up large termite colonies into smaller colonies if large groups of termites with young are separated. Finally, the insecticide may seep into the water table, posing an environmental threat.  

41.   What is bait treatment?

The treatment by baits consists of the installation of control stations on the floor and in the places where termites are detected. Baits laced with termite poison are placed into these stations.

42. How can we carry out bait treatment?

The treatment with baits must be carried out by companies with qualified staff, and trained in the management of termites. The stations must be distributed along the whole surface of the treated zone, so that maximum exposure to the termites becomes possible.

43.   What is the chitin of the termites?

These insects have an external skeleton. This skeleton is made by different compounds, one of these is chitin. The chitin is a macromolecule that is part of the exoskeleton of the insects and has its own features of hardness and flexibility.

Termite FAQ part 3

Photo by David Mora.

44.   What is an inhibitor of the synthesis of the chitin?

The inhibitors of the synthesis of the chitin, are molecules synthesized in a laboratory that, in a commercial way, is used as active material in termite baits. These substances impede the production of this molecule; so that a new skeleton cannot make for the moult, fundamental activity that termites need for their growth.

45.    What is the trophallaxis between termites?

Termites have societies. These societies present relation behaviours between the members that form a colony. One of these social behaviours is the one known as trophallaxis. Trophallaxis consists of the transference of food from one termite to another, via mouth to mouth, or anus to mouth. In the case of anus to mouth, within the food transferred, is part of the intestinal bacteria that is used to digest the cellulose which wood contains.

46.   Do baits to control termites really work?

Existing systems with baits are guaranteed by the scientific community, and by the experience of many official companies. In this respect we can state in a restricted sense that baits work.

The baiting system makes use of the social behaviour of trophallaxis in termites, in a way that the active poison that baits contain, is distributed within the colony; it not only affects the termites that ate the bait, but all those that are fed by them later on, back in the colony.

47.   How much time it takes to eliminate a termite colony, using baits?

The time taken is going to depend on two factors: the points of contact with the colony, and the colony size. The more control stations are occupied, the more will be the quantity of bait being eaten and distributed around. The bigger the colony, the more will be the number of termites to eliminate. The statistics show that, as an average, we need six months to completely eliminate a colony; although in some cases, this period will be reduced while in other cases, more time is needed.

48.   Which are the advantages of bait treatment?

The treatment with baits allow the total elimination of the termite colony; avoiding those inherent problems with chemical barriers, like when they are broken, or when the insecticide is not spread in a right way over the treated surface. It also avoids the fragmentation of the colony too, preventing sub-colonies from arising, which can continue to attack the building once the chemical barrier’s effects have worn off.

49.   Which are the disadvantages of a treatment by baits?

The bait systems need time to work, which may take months. In the meantime, damage will still occur.

50.   If I decide to hire a company to control the termites, what must I know?

Before you hire a company to control the termites, it is important that you have time to get familiar with the different treatment types. Also, any product used to control termites, must be approved for environmental use. The treatments must also be carried out by properly accredited and trained companies.

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A termite FAQ list (Frequently Asked Questions). Page 3 of 3.