Monitoring stations and other preventative measures
Monitoring stations are designed to send warnings to homeowners when there is termite activity present in the immediate area of your home before they attack your home structure. In principle their design is very simple; it involves inserting untreated timber (usually Tasmanian Oak) every 2 to 3 meters (or 8 feet) around your property in plastic tubes (the stations) in the ground. These stations are then inspected every month to monitor if any activity has occured. If active termites are discovered in the stations, you can bait them here with poison dust and they will distribute the bait to the colony and eventually to the queen, eradicating the colony before they can even discover your home.
Now you may ask, “what if they go right in between the stations to my home and start eating there?” This is a very good question and we do recommend that you undertake regular termite inspections even after you have installed a barrier, however, monitoring stations do work the vast majority of the time and this is because termites forage randomly for food and, sooner or later, they discover one of your monitoring stations with it’s soft and preferable timber inside.
The weakness of the monitoring station system is its dependence on the vigilance of the person monitoring them. If they are not installed and checked properly, or if the timber inside is left to rot, termites will not be identified and the stations will prove useless. I have had a very good success rate using monitoring stations around people’s properties but remember, they can’t stop termites by themselves as they don’t contain poison, you are expected to perform regular checks of the stations for them to work!
Other preventative measure involves the installation of perimeter barriers around the home. A popular barrier is the ‘physical barrier’ preferred by those who are performing renovations or for new buildings under construction. A physical barrier involves installing metal mesh or special granules around the property that termites can’t move or penetrate. This results in the termites’ path to the property getting blocked and they are diverted away from your home with no harm done.
In some cases a special plastic material mixed with insecticides can be used, for example Kordon. Kordon lasts as long as the building itself and as soon as termites come in contact with it, they’ll die and therefore they can’t penetrate the building to cause any damage.
One of the most important barriers is a ‘chemical barrier’. A chemical barrier ensures that any termite that attempts to penetrate the property will become infected or die. There are two different types of chemicals used in a chemical barrier, repellent and non repellent.
Repellent chemicals are cheaper as the are normal insecticides, often toxic to humans as well. Termites will sense the barrier and it will repel them. Some die right away from the insecticide, which sends a signal to the others to avoid the area. The downside of the repellent barrier is that if the termites manage to find a gap through the barrier, they will use it and, generally, colonies can survive on either side of the barrier and continue to expand. The worstcase scenario is when the nest is inside your home and you make a repellent perimeter barrier effectively trapping them inside!
Non repellent chemicals are more expensive and much less toxic to humans than repellent ones. Termites won’t sense anything while crawling through these barriers which means that many more of them will be infected and ultimately the entire colony is doomed. Non repellent chemicals are fantastic! One of the latest ones, Altriset, is not only environmentally friendly, it is also absolutely nontoxic to humans, pets and beneficial organisms such as worms and bees.
Chemical barriers normally last around 10 years, depending on the concentration and the chemical. Make sure you read the information on the label of the chemical your pest controller is using.
Installing a perimeter barrier such as is an effective way to protect homes from termites. If your property has a subfloor, installing the chemical barrier in the subfloor is the most effective way to protect your home against termites.