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FIPRONIL FOAM IN A CAN – I’D LIKE TO SEE THAT!

Ultraforce Termite Foam from Sherwood Chemicals heralds a new era of termite control, with the active ingredient being applied via aerosol. 

Sherwood Chemicals have introduced an Australian first for the eradication of termites with the launch of a ready to use fipronil aerosol foam formulation.

According to Sherwood Chemicals’ Australian general manager, John Ralph, “Foam application to both termite workings and cavity voids with specialised foaming equipment has been a successful technique for the treatment of termite infestations for many years. However, for spot treatments and inaccessible areas the process is time consuming and labour intensive. Ultraforce Termite Foam is a premixed, ready to use termite eradication tool designed to increase the productivity of technicians with improved efficacy and safety.”

Sherwood Chemicals are well known for their formulation chemistry, high quality liquid termiticides and cost effective convenient to use aerosols. Ultraforce Termite Foam is the combination of two of Sherwood’s most successful formulations, Fipforce Aqua Termiticide containing fipronil, and Chaindrite Extra crawling insect aerosol, a cost effective and convenient odourless spray. Ultraforce Termite Foam is manufactured according to the highest quality specifications to deliver innovation and convenience to professional pest managers.

Sherwood Chemicals are the leading manufacturer of aerosol formulations in SE Asia. Their aerosol factory in Thailand produces over 25 million cans each year. In 2010 during a tour of the Sherwood aerosol factory in Thailand by a number of key Australian pest managers, the idea of an aerosol foam targeting termites originated. With its strength in aerosol manufacture, and access to the new non-repellent slow acting insecticides, Sherwood started developing the concept.

The visiting pest managers all agreed that foaming using specialised application equipment, although effective, was time consuming and in some cases inconvenient, particularly when moving equipment through roof cavities or tight crawl spaces. In addition, it took time to calibrate equipment to ensure the correct ratio of active to compatible foaming surfactants, as did the maintenance of equipment.

Sherwood formulation chemists needed to perfect a formulation that would allow controlled delivery of foamed material throughout termite workings to achieve uniform application. Having developed the formulation, efficacy trials were undertaken to confirm activity on a range of the most important Australian termite species. These included Coptotermes spp., Schedorhinotermes spp. and the great northern termite Mastotermes darwiniensis. The laboratory tests confirmed the most effective dose and compatible surfactants to deliver a wet foam to maximise residual surface deposits of fipronil to termite workings.

Following the lab trials, work against termite colonies of Coptotermes acinaciformis in trees was carried out to ensure that the results could be replicated in the field. In the region around Gloucester, NSW, Coptotermes acinaciformis, the most common Australian economic termite species, builds nests in eucalyptus trees such as the grey box (Eucalyptus microcarpa). The location of a nest can be detected by the presence of flight cuts, while drilling into the heart of the tree and inserting a temperature probe can confirm the position of the colony.

Temperatures in the range of 28-38ºC indicate the presence of a healthy termite nest. Monitoring the nest temperature and the presence and behaviour of termites can be used to determine the health of the colony over time. A nest temperature within two degrees Celsius of the ambient temperature, a lack of new termite mudding and the general absence of termites, indicates the colony has been eradicated.

The field trial clearly showed that the Ultraforce Termite Foam killed all termite activity in treated nests within 14 days after treatment (as illustrated in the graph). Nest temperatures dramatically dropped when compared to the control after seven and 14 days after treatment, and treated nest temperatures returned to within two degrees Celsius of the ambient temperature at four weeks post application.

Further trials tested the product performance in commonly encountered house settings. These house trials were completed in NSW against Coptotermes spp. and Mastotermes spp. in Queensland utilising licensed pest managers.

All trials clearly demonstrated that Ultraforce Termite Foam provided outstanding results in the field, and most importantly was easy to apply.

According to Vic Morgan of Envirotechnics in Perth, “The foam has allowed us flexibility in managing termite infestations within homes and difficult to access places. It has ease of application and excellent coverage. The consistency of the foam provides longevity to ensure prolonged control of active termites as they contact the treated areas. We will utilise the foam as a first stage treatment that deals with the client’s anxiety of having active termites attacking their home.

“After we have eradicated the termites from within the structure we will continue to implement integrated termite management plans for our clients by utilising the range of Sherwood’s termite protection products.

“We are delighted to support Sherwood in progressing development in Australia with products that provide our business with flexibility and the tools to satisfy our customers with less disturbance. We have already placed this new tool in our technicians toolbox and the initial feedback from technicians was thank god someone is listening.”

Aaron Bonney of P.O.D’s Pest Control, North Queensland who deals with Mastotermes spp. commented that, “Everybody will find this aerosol foam very easy to use and safe. The product is of a consistent dispersion, whilst maintaining its foam state for around eight minutes before dissipating. Obviously it requires no mixing and is easy to apply with its rotating flexible nozzle.”

Peter Haywood from Accurate Pest Management on the Sunshine Coast has been impressed with the delivery system and the new technology offered in the Ultraforce Termite Foam aerosol. He too considers the rotating flexible nozzle of great benefit for application in difficult to access places and has seen his conversion success increase for termite barriers since he started utilising the termite foam tool.

Niche products are rarely developed by the large multinationals for small volume markets such as professional pest management. As a formulation specialist, Sherwood excels at developing new products based on feedback from professionals. This is what makes Sherwood unique, and as a company we will continue to invest in new convenient formulations together with improvements to existing products.

Elton Arderne, Sherwood’s east coast business manager concluded, “The price of Ultraforce Termite Foam will mean it is a cost effective solution for termite eradication. In much the same way that Chaindrite Extra Aerosol has revolutionised the general pest market, Ultraforce Termite Foam will revolutionise the termite spot treatment market through convenience and more productive technicians.”

Ultraforce Termite Foam will be available in May through Globe Australia. For more information contact Sherwood Chemicals or Globe Australia.