During the construction of buildings, physical and sometimes chemical barriers are used against termites. In a sense, they are not barriers that stop termites getting into a building; the fine difference is that they stop termites getting into a building unseen because they force the termite to build their tell-tale mud tunnels out around or over the barriers where, during a regular inspection, they can be detected.
Barriers can be seriously compromised by all manner of common occurrences, from building extensions to enthusiastic gardening. A termite strategy which relies solely on barrier protection is likely to fail. Termite traps and baiting are needed to be confident of success.
Physical barriers include ant caps on piers . Termites, which extend their feeding range by building mud tunnels, can negotiate these structures, so greater protection is needed.
Termites can negotiate such physical barriers as ant caps on piers, and termites may find survivable paths to your timber through cracks in brickwork, expansion joints or concrete footings.
Chemical barriers are less effective. We create chemical termite barriers by treating the soil adjacent to the building’s piers and footings. From the 50s to the 80s the chemicals we used as barriers remained effective for several decades. These days we use shorter-lasting substances effective for 10-15 years. But either of these barriers can be breached in a number of ways:
- Expansion joints in concrete assemblies offer a path for termites
- Chemically treated soil can be washed away or otherwise disturbed during gardening or maintenance.
- Treated soil can be covered by a survivable (for termites) layer of fresh soil or mulch.
Anything which disturbs the ground around the perimeter of the building risks offering termites a pass to its interior. If you find that hard to believe, just look at the documentation attached to any quote for laying a chemical barrier, and see the exclusions! The message is clear, you can’t entirely depend on barriers of any type so you should inspect your property regularly – or have it done professionally.
In any event, don’t rely on your barrier to protect you!
What can you do?
It’s almost impossible to repair the chinks in your termite armour because you can’t jack up your house and surrounding concrete paths. But you can offer termites from any surrounding colony some decoy timbers in our Termitraps. They should be part of any comprehensive termite strategy. They provide an easily checked monitor for the presence of termite activity, and when teamed with our Tuckerbag baits, they enable you to exterminate your termites at their source – their nest.
Replenish your chemical barrier, or use traps?
If your property is more than 15 years old its initial chemical barrier will be largely degraded. You may be advised by a pest inspector to refresh your chemical barrier – an exercise likely to cost you several thousand dollars.
You could be well advised to spend a few hundred dollars on traps and baits. They are far less costly that a chemical barrier, and are a means of eradicating, not merely deterring, your foe.