We asked pest managers to tell us which termite management systems they used and why.
The protection of existing buildings from termite attack – the post-construction termite market – generates a significant proportion of business turnover for many pest control companies. With a wide variety of different systems and products on the market, Pest Pulse surveyed pest managers to find out what they used.
Generally speaking, there are two types of products used to create the termite management systems for existing buildings: liquid termiticides for soil treatments, and termite monitoring and baiting systems. Although pest managers may well have a preference for the type of product they recommend, over 80% of pest managers will use both types of products, depending on the situation. Factors such as construction type, termite species, soil conditions, cost and owner preferences will be key in the decision process.
However, around 10% of pest managers only use monitoring and baiting systems and just under 5% of pest managers only use liquid soil termiticides. For those companies only offering liquid termite treatments, it is assumed they are missing out on potential business (or making an incorrect recommendation), as liquid soil treatments cannot provide a compliant treated zone for all situations/construction types.
There’s no doubt over recent years there has been a significant move towards non-repellent (non-pyrethroid) termiticides. Just over 40% of pest managers exclusively use non-repellent termiticides, although a similar number will still use repellent as well, depending on the situation. Under 10% of pest managers only use pyrethroid (‘repellent’) termiticides for their soil treatments.
Although a range of factors will influence the choice of termiticide, the survey asked pest managers to prioritise eight key consideration factors in order of priority from most to least important (1 – most important, 8 – least important). The average scores are shown in Table 1, where lower scores represent the more important factors.
Table 1: Factors affecting choice of termiticide
|Factor affecting choice||Average importance|
|Performance under high rainfall||3.84|
|Environmental impact / safety||4.09|
|No callbacks / re-treats||4.65|
|Duration of performance||5.09|
With the closeness of average scores, it is clear than a number of factors can impact the choice of termiticide. However, the most important factor was product price, not one of the performance-related factors. Of the factors relating to performance, the most important was the ‘performance under high rainfall situations’ and surprisingly, ‘duration of performance’ was the least important. Interestingly, ‘performance under high rainfall situations’ was the only performance factor that scored higher than ‘environmental impact/safety’. ‘Quality’ was scored the least important factor, but maybe this term was too vague, as ’brand’ which arguably involves an element of ‘quality’, was rated higher than all the performance factors other than ‘performance under high rainfall conditions’.
In terms of preferred products, not surprisingly Termidor got the most mentions amongst the ‘nonrepellent’ products and Biflex got the most mentions amongst the pyrethroid products.
About 50% of pest managers had installed reticulation systems in conjunction with the liquid termiticide treatments, with eight brands of reticulation system getting a mention. With the new regulations regarding the need to be able to replenish liquid treatments used in pre-construction termite protection, the use of reticulation systems may increase further.
It was encouraging to see that over 80% of pest managers wait to ensure termite activity inside the building has been eradicated before applying the liquid soil treatment, as is recommended. However, 15% of pest managers apply the soil treatment at the same time as treating the active termites and just under 5% of pest managers only carry out a perimeter treatment (and do not treat the active termites directly).
When it comes to dealing with active termites, pest managers use a range of products, although baits are the most frequently mentioned, with nearly 80% of pest managers stating they used baits to control active infestations in buildings. Foams was the next most mentioned, with 65% of respondents saying they used either aerosol foams or made their own (Figure 1).
When it comes to the use of termite monitoring and baiting systems, some 50% of respondents mentioned that they use the more traditional monitoring and baiting systems. Of these traditional monitoring and baiting systems, Exterra received the most mentions as the preferred product. However, there has definitely been a shift away from traditional monitoring and baiting products, with over 60% of respondents stating they had used Sentricon AlwaysActive (Figure 2).
A few of the ad hoc comments indicated that there was an opportunity for improved education in termite management – there was some frustration when quoting for jobs, with misinformation being provided to customers from competitors. A few felt some of the product claims being made by suppliers did not translate to the observed performance in the field. That said, the general feedback from respondents was that there was a good range of products available, which could be used to tackle any situation.