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Why Termite Barriers Fail

April 03, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 136

Every time you hear a termite horror story or see a TV news program that shows termites scurrying though crumbling timber, it is because the termite barrier has failed.

Termite barriers are supposed to be put in place during the building process. Here in Australia, there are Standards for termite barriers but still they fail.

The reasons are simple: termites either bridge the barriers or the barriers have degraded.

Despite the Standards, builders and pest control companies regularly fail to complete the chemical barrier process. A residual insecticide is supposed to be applied to the soil around the perimeter of building when the building is almost completed.

In most cases, it's a termite barrier that doesn't exist.

Once the formwork for the concrete driveway and the paths to the front door and down the side of the house is put in place ready for the concrete truck, the Pestie is supposed to to apply the chemical barrier but no one remembers to call him back - so that part of the barrier never eventuates.

The saga continues: once the external tradies leave, the site needs tidying so a bobcat smoothes out the soil in readiness for the landscaping. The edges of the slab are supposed to be exposed so any termite tunnels can be seen as they try to get up into any gaps in the brick or masonry veneer. But, raw edges of the concrete slab are considered unsightly so either the bobcat driver or the landscaper who follows, build the soil up to the first course of bricks. And, still no finishing chemical barrier is applied.

Even if it had, when new owners move in they usually add mulch to the garden and this provides a layer to bridge across from untreated soil to the wall.

Over the years, other 'bridges' can be used by termites to gain access. Pergolas, pool pump screens, side gates, kennels, cubby houses, granny flats - all have given termites pathways into the main building.

Barriers do a good job, especially the physical barriers such as glass and granite particles, metal shields and the concrete slab itself. But termites are out there in nests below soil level or in trees and they will keep trying to get to all the timber inside the structure if they can.

Further complicating the matter is the homeowner's perception that everything's great mate. The house has been built to the Australia Standards, the certificate says termite barriers are in place and will last 'forever' - no worries.

If you don't want a costly termite event, there are two things to do...

1.Put monitors in the soil around the buildings to intercept termite scouts foraging for food. When/if they find the monitors, adding a bait which they take back to kill off their nest is easy to do, safe, inexpensive and effective. There is a very high probability that the subterranean termite species (which do 99% of the damage to Australian homes) will find the monitors because their natural instinct is to continually seek new food sources. You can kill nests faster than termites can build them because it takes 3-5 years for a colony to become a significant threat.

2.Inspect your home at least once, preferably twice a year. Don't assume they haven't already gained access just because they haven't done enough damage to be noticed; the next inspection should detect them. Inspections should reveal termite damage before it gets to be extensive and costly. You do it just in case they've found a way inside before they found an outside monitor.

You can get a professional inspection or you can learn to do it yourself. Learn more at the link below to see how you can do an inspection as good or better than many professionals.

Ion Staunton is an entomologist and former pest technician. He is the inventor of the Termite Trap Colony Killing System. Learn more at

Source: EzineArticles
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