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AN EARLY CHECKOUT FOR TERMITES

A Sydney pest manager finds that a termite problem at a challenging property is best dealt with using the Sentricon AlwaysActive system.

 

In August 2020, Tony Smyth, owner/operator of Pestlogic on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, was contacted by a property manager who works with high-end properties. The homeowner had recently discovered termite activity on an exterior wall as well as around an internal power point of a detached guest house in Palm Beach. The guest house had experienced intermittent termite troubles but activity had been dormant since early 2018, according to a previous inspection report. Mr Smyth set out to investigate.

An inspection revealed that an in-ground baiting system had previously been installed at the site. “The system that was installed was old-school, using timber monitoring devices to attract termites – which are a complete waste of time and money,” said Mr Symth.

“The system was in a state of disrepair, installed incorrectly with some stations five metres apart, some stations missing completely, or had never been installed to begin with. The owner estimates the system had been in the ground since 2010 but hadn’t been serviced for some time.”

The two-storey guest house was constructed in the late 90s and is built into a steep hill. It is slab-on-ground construction with besser block walls also doubling as retaining walls, with a number of exposed walls lined with fibre cement cladding. The interior comprises non-treated timber stud walls with gyprock lining and the internal floor is exposed polished concrete. The rear wall of the guest house is at least three metres underground with a good portion on both of the sides also set deep into the hill.

 

The two-storey guest house was built into a steep hill, limiting the options for treating the active termites

 

An underslab chemical treatment was carried out during the initial construction but it is unknown if any penetration work had been conducted. Even though the besser block walls were supposed to be core filled during construction, termites had still been getting inside, most likely through the plumbing or telecommunications wiring. Unfortunately, Termatrac and camera investigations proved inconclusive.

Mr Smyth has been using Sentricon AlwaysActive since the product’s launch in 2015. Although not previously a user of the traditional monitor and baiting system, the AlwaysActive system with its additional benefits has been a very good fit for his business. After assessing the situation at the guest house, he felt con dent that AlwaysActive was the right solution for the job.

For starters, the slab footing was way too deep in the soil to consider applying a traditional chemical treated zone. “The owner did not want liquid chemicals or dusts used as they are very eco-conscious,” said Mr Smyth. “They also preferred that no holes were made in walls for Above Ground (AG) stations. Using a moist AG bait station near a live power point was not a clever idea anyway!”

After learning how the AlwaysActive termiticide rods were stable in the soil and would not leach into the water table, the owner was impressed. They also have very inquisitive dogs, so were comforted by the fact that even if consumed, the active ingredient in Sentricon, hexa umuron, is only specific to termites that have an exoskeleton. The rods presented no danger to the owner’s pets.

Mr Smyth said, “I installed Sentricon AlwaysActive in early September 2020. Twenty of the Sentricon ready to install (RTI) stations were placed around the guest house covering 60 lineal metres, and another eight stations were installed up close to the boundary line near a stand of large spotted gums (main picture, above) that were on a neighbouring property. So 28 stations in total. Amazingly, that‘s how many come in a box, just perfect!”

Upon first inspection of the in-ground stations, Mr Smyth found one station at the guest house and one station on the boundary line were already active with termites. About 80% of the termiticide rods were still left in those stations so there was no need to replace the rods at this point.

“The property manager was getting really excited,” he said. “On my second inspection two weeks later, the rods in the same two stations were both nearly fully consumed, so the rods were replaced in those two stations. An additional boundary line station also had active termites feeding. It appeared that we were dealing with a very large termite colony.”

In early December 2020, Tony returned for the third inspection after initial installation and was pleased to see that feeding in all the stations had ceased and there was no observable activity in the guest house. The property manager and homeowner were extremely happy with the performance of Sentricon AlwaysActive and Mr Smyth has scheduled the next site inspection for three months’ time after a final check where no termite activity was noted. Having flexibility around the exact timing of these quarterly inspections is another advantage of using Sentricon AlwaysActive.

Mr Symth explained, “The fact that the active ingredient is already in the highly durable, highly dense matrix from the get-go allows exibility of the timing of ongoing quarterly site visits.

“In this case, the very private owner wasn’t too keen on having the pest man visit whilst she was in residence at her holiday house. If I inspect a week early or a week late [to avoid disturbing the owner], it doesn’t matter because the termiticide is already working its magic in the sub-soil. That is a real bene t to me and my business and gives me and my customers peace of mind.”

The success of Sentricon AlwaysActive at this site has led to referrals and subsequent installations of the system at other locations – a welcome result for Pestlogic.