The ‘insurance’ termite segment can be a really difficult sell. Research suggests up to 73% of Australians haven’t had their home inspected for termites1 and of those that have, many don’t take the next step of installing a protective system to keep termites out.
Ensuring homeowners are across their options and stressing the need for ongoing protection is an important part of the duty of care for pest managers. The homeowner may reject the recommendation but will appreciate your care and you will have planted a seed that may result in a system installation down the track.
But what system is most effective? There are really only two choices in this segment: a liquid chemical treatment or a monitoring system.
Liquid chemical treatments create a continuous treated zone around the foundation of a structure. When an individual termite comes into contact with the chemical, the termite dies either immediately or within weeks or months, depending on the chemical mode of action.
In order to apply an effective liquid treatment, it’s necessary to dig a trench around the structure, and in many cases drill through concrete and brick to make the treatment continuous. For large areas, this process could take hours to apply potentially hundreds of litres of termiticide.
Even with this preparation, many things can obstruct the chemical treatment and limit the effectiveness of the liquid chemical. These may be as simple as a dog digging in the garden, a tree root growing or plumbing repairs; a termite only requires a 1.5 mm gap to find their way through. And liquid treatments can degrade over time, leaving the structure vulnerable to ongoing attack.
Monitoring systems offer a significantly higher degree of safety to the installer, homeowner and wider environment due to the lack of exposure to any chemicals, with minimal disruption to the landscape. Most systems use wood monitors or ‘baits’ to lure termites into the stations, where they are detected by pest managers and the monitors replaced by termiticide as required.
Other systems, led by Sentricon Alwaysactive, are active from installation, which is a ‘game changer’ technology. Alwaysactive is working from the moment it’s installed just like a liquid chemical treatment, whilst offering all the safety aspects of traditional monitoring systems.
Sentricon systems are professionally installed and are positioned to be found quickly and easily by foraging termites. The Sentricon system is proven to be preferable to wood to termites who identify them as a preferred food source2 and lay down pheromone trails to the rod for other worker termites to find. “The termite colony’s constant foraging behaviour detects any vulnerability in a liquid chemical treatment, but ensures the success of the Sentricon system. No trenching, just small auger holes and smart science,” advises Corteva professional pest manager, Joanne George.
The active ingredient in Sentricon, hexaflumuron, doesn’t cause immediate death, so termites return to the rod for more food, which they distribute throughout the colony. The colony’s eggs immediately become unviable and as workers die at moulting, the colony starves over the coming weeks to months.
“A termite’s skeleton is on the outside – a bit like a mud crab – so to grow, they have to periodically moult that skin,” explains termite management expert, Shane Clarke. “The adults that eat Sentricon aren’t affected, but as they moult, the juveniles are. And this results in the breakdown of the colony.”
Sentricon termiticide rods are only replaced when they are more than 50% consumed by termites. “That’s part of the beauty of our system,” Ms George explains. “They’re extremely durable. We recommend doing a full review of the system every five years, but if the rods haven’t been consumed, they remain active well beyond that.
“Studies from the US show the rods are still just as efficacious in the ground after almost 11 years, if not more so. This durability is a critical feature for remote areas where monitoring visits may be extended, for areas that experience extreme weather conditions and for certain installations that require extended life of a product, such as construction.
“Sentricon provides premium protection and is the only choice for true peace of mind and total termite colony elimination.”
1 Cookson, L. J. and Trajstman, A.C. Termite survey and hazard mapping. Clayton, Victoria: CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products; 2002. Technical report 137.
2 Eger, J., Lees, M.D., Fisher, M.L., Messenger, M. and Tolley, M.P. (2011). Discovery and Consumption of a Novel Durable Bait Matrix by Subterranean Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Sociobiology. 58. 651-666.
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