Preventing The Return Of Termites

termites in a damaged window frame

In our first article on termites, we tackled the treatment options available when you find live termites during an inspection. After an initial termite treatment to rid the building of live termites, the second phase then has to be implemented.

This focuses on preventing the termites from returning.

Let’s have a closer look. But first, make sure you’ve read up on termite treatments in phase one.

Second phase treatments to prevent the return of termites

After the initial treatment has been applied, it’s onto the next step – stop termites from returning.

Whatever the method chosen during the first phase, the second phase of treatment doesn’t commence until all termite activity in the building being treated is completed.

Phase two can be done through the following methods, or a combination thereof:

  • Chemical soil treatments
  • Structural changes to the building
  • Baiting and monitoring systems

Again, the method chosen for phase two will depend on a variety of factors. This includes where the termites and their nest was, the customer’s budget, site considerations, and the convenience and success rate of different treatment methods.

Chemical soil treatments

By treating the soil through which the termites travel between nest and food source, you can prevent them from returning.

Usually, this is done by digging a trench around the foundation of the building, down to a point 50mm below the top of the footing, and treating the soil with a chemical termiticide. The trench is then back-filled with treated soil.

The treatment prevents future termite infestations as the termites can no longer reach the building without encountering the termiticide. Any remaining termites will be eliminated as they pass through this soil on their return to the nest.

Termite baiting and monitoring systems

Another approach to termite management via termite baiting and monitoring systems is quite similar to the approach described in phase one.

This baiting system is often combined with liquid soil treatments, but it will depend on the site. Both above ground and in ground baiting systems can be used during the second phase of termite treatment.

Structural changes to the building

Sometimes, changes to the customer’s home or other premises are necessary to prevent the return of termites. Certain conditions are conducive to termites and where possible, should be eliminated to give better chances of eradicating the problem in the long term.

Some conditions that are conducive to termite infestation (and the ways in which the building can be modified) include:

  • Loose timbers. They may be lying around on the ground, formwork timbers which remain in place under the house, wood piles in the yard or under the house, etc. These must be removed.
  • Timber posts in direct contact with the ground. Instead, timber posts should have metal stirrups installed, to create a 75mm inspection zone.
  • Faulty plumbing, damp, and leaking pipes, toilets, or showers. In addition, water overflow (from aircons, water pipes, and geysers for example) discharging near the house. These should be fixed by a plumber to get rid of damp or excess water.
  • Drainage problems and/or inadequate ventilation. These should be fixed by a professional to prevent damp, dark, and poorly ventilated environments.

This is not an exhaustive list, and each site will differ. However, you should recommend these options in writing to your customer wherever the site itself might be contributing to a termite problem by creating a favourable environment for them to thrive.

termites close up

Educating customers around termite treatment and management

Pest controllers need to apply their knowledge and expertise and provide the correct information to customers around termite management. The different types of treatments scenarios, and their benefits, should be explained in full to customers , who can then make a well-informed decision around what treatment options to go. Both with the initial treatment as well as in stage two.

Provide your best recommendation in writing and explain it in detail, including the termiticide you intend to use and the process. If the customer doesn’t accept your recommendation, you can then discuss the other options. Be sure to note down the key conversation points and that your first recommendation was declined. Ideally this is also communicated in writing to the customer, including any risks of future termite damage to their property that may result due to their choice of termite treatment.

A customer might decide your initial recommendation won’t work for them because you’d have to drill through walls or tiles. If other options are available, explain how the treatment differs and any impact this might have. And remember, you should only agree to a different option if you’re confident you can still eliminate the termites and have communicated to the customer the risks the alternate treatment poses.

A termite management plan is important to ensure termites are kept at bay. Homeowner insurance doesn’t cover termite damage, so being proactive is the best path. Read more about termite management plans in our article Termite Management Plan: What It Is & Why You Need It

Check your insurance is adequate before dealing with termites

Are you properly insured to handle a termite management claim? Remember that letting your pest control insurance expire can be an expensive mistake.

Our specialised insurance offering means that if termite activity or damage continues after your treatment, you need never be without adequate cover.

And if you need to make an insurance claim, you can rest easy that your business and valuable assets will be protected.

Check out Rapid Solutions’ professional indemnity insurance as a starting point.