Learn how Xterm termite bait was used to help protect Sri Thandayuthapani Temple in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Termites are undoubtedly one of the biggest causes of concern for a property owner or manager. Due to their habit of foraging for food from multiple sources and rarely exposing themselves to the environment, they are not easy to find and control. Locating the colony is even more challenging in large, historic structures, where plentiful sources of timber offer termites an endless food supply.
This was the case with the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple, which at 128 years old, is one of the oldest and largest (1,800 sqm) temples in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Hindu temple is famous for its intricate architecture that resembles the temple in India for the Chettiar community and is a popular site for devotees of the deity, Lord Murugan. It attracts some 5,000 devotees during festival season and some 300 people on auspicious days.
Being an old building, the structure is made primarily from wood. Temple board trustee the late Mr Ganesan explained, “It’s an old building with timber and lime walls. The whole roof is made from timber and clay tiles.”
In 2019, damage to the building was observed, which seemed to be a result of termite activity. Fellow temple board trustee Ramasami Subramaniam Chettiar said, “We had renovated the temple in 2015, complete with chemical spray, and there were no termites found. But four years later, we noticed some tell-tale warning signs, so we called Pest Sciences.”
Upon surveying the building, Pest Sciences found that the termite infestation was extensive in the 85-year-old main hall, the Chettiar Hall. Subterranean termites had damaged the attic rafter, roof truss, supporting wood and attic subfloor. Part of the roof was threatening to collapse.
Christopher Lim, managing director of Pest Sciences, said, “We identified the subterranean termite species as Coptotermes gestroi. Over 80% of the termite infestations in buildings isumin Malaysia are caused by this species.
“We proposed the use of Sumitomo Chemical’s Xterm, the revolutionary termite baiting technology, as the solution to the problem. It is clean and neat, and we knew it would tackle the job efficiently and effectively.”
Consequently, Xterm’s above-ground termite baiting system was installed in the temple: three units where the active termites were found, one unit on the ground floor, and two units in the roof truss and attic rafter areas.
The Xterm bait comprises two components that make it attractive to foraging worker termites: firstly, a highly palatable bait matrix (cellulose); and secondly, an insect growth regulator (bistrifluron).
Once the bait is discovered by the worker termites, they create trails to direct the rest of the foraging termites to the food source. The slow-acting toxicant in the bait does not kill the termites instantly upon consumption; instead, it offers them ample time to return to their nest to spread the toxicant amongst their nestmates through trophallaxis (food sharing).
As a chitin synthesis inhibitor (CSI), bistrifluron prevents the termites from forming a new exoskeleton, inhibiting the moulting process. Thus, exposed termites will not survive through the next moult, a crucial process in termite life cycle. The toxicant spreads between the termites and the number of worker termites decreases, and the colony ultimately dies.
After installation of the Xterm above-ground baiting system at the Sri Thandayuthapani Temple, the bait stations were closely monitored to ensure the uptake of the bait by the termites. The bait was replenished as necessary to ensure constant feeding.
It normally takes four to six weeks to eliminate a termite colony. However in this case, the termite problem was solved in eight weeks due to the heavy level of infestation and the fact that a thorough post-treatment inspection was conducted across the entire temple.
Was the temple’s board of trustees happy with the result? Mr Ramasami said, “Yes, we were extremely pleased, as the termite infestation was worrying – the wooden roof above us might have collapsed at any moment.
“We are happy with Xterm as it was not messy to use, and had no odour. There is no concerning chemical in the formula. Best of all, treatment of our temple took less than eight weeks and it was a cost-effective solution.”
Quarterly inspections of the temple that were conducted within the Xterm 12-month warranty period confirmed that there were no signs of further termite infestation.
Xterm delivers four notable benefits
Fast process: Xterm is a fast-acting termite colony eradication baiting system, with an average eradication time of four to six weeks.
Proven efficiency: Xterm is one of the very few proven means of eliminating a termite colony, which is usually situated deep in the ground away from the building under attack.
Environmentally friendly: Xterm is a product of Sumitomo Chemical that has been uniquely designed to be safer for people’s homes, children and pets, as both the product and the active ingredient, bistrifluron, have a low acute toxicity profile.
No drilling, no fuss: The above-ground bait stations can be easily mounted using adhesive tape. The in-ground bait stations are inserted into pre-dug cavities in the area surrounding the property.