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STRATEGIC BAITING BANISHES TERMITES FROM SIX-STAR RESORT

When termites made themselves at home at the Ambassador’s residence in Timor-Leste and a six-star resort in the Philippines, the pest managers in charge decided Exterra was the termite solution for the job. 

When it comes to termite management, we are dealing with the most destructive of timber pests, which seriously threaten structures of significant asset value. In these situations, professionals need to have a high degree of certainty that they can remove the termites from the structures being attacked, eliminate the colony (or colonies), present and provide ongoing protection.

The Exterra Termite Colony Elimination System from Ensystex fits the bill, as a system that has been used globally to protect entire cities. This has included the cities of Hunan and Anhui in China, which involved the placement of Exterra in-ground stations around 900 km of building perimeters as part of The World Bank Project in Jiangsu. The city of Thouars in France also employed Exterra as part of the Collective Termite Elimination Program, as have major dam infrastructures in southern Africa and hundreds of thousands of properties in Australia.

Termites are always a challenge to control, but up to the north of Australia and beyond, the termites get even tougher. This was the challenge facing Paul Stevenson of PPC Timor and his team (main picture above). Especially considering the fact that he was dealing with one of the most high-profile buildings in the region, the Australian Ambassador’s Residence in Timor-Leste.

Exterra in-ground stations were used to quickly intercept the termites. In-ground stations were used due to the high level of termite activity at the property and the conservation measures in place to protect the heritage value of the property. The latter made placement of above-ground stations more of a paperwork challenge.

One of the great benefits of Exterra though, with Focus Termite Attractant added to the in-ground stations, is that it enables the in-ground stations to reliably intercept foraging termites in the soil. In fact, after just two weeks, Coptotermes curvignathus termites had hit the timbers in an in concrete station and the colony was eliminated within ten weeks of the Requiem Termite Bait being added.

News of the early success of Exterra quickly spread in the local community, where termites were considered an ‘uncontrollable’ pest with many buildings reporting severe termite damage. In just a few months, many more high-profile sites, including the US Embassy and several major hotels, were protected by PPC Timor. “Mr Stevenson feels very satisfied with the impact Exterra has had on his business and the confidence it provides him when facing tough termite management challenges,” reported Steve Broadbent, regional director of Ensystex.

The grandest Exterra success story of 2018 though rests with Jimmy Alic of iExterminate. Mr Alic had to deal with an entire island that was heavily infested with termites, which were destroying a six-star eco resort. Balesin Island Club is marketed as a destination of unmatched natural beauty, located o the eastern coast of Luzon in the Philippines. This flagship project consists of a 500-hectare tropical island paradise with 7.3 kilometres of white sand beaches. Referred to by the Philippines Star newspaper as a ‘billionaires’ lair’, the termites were definitely not welcome guests!

When dealing with an entire island of high-end buildings with significant capital outlay in timber fittings (read: very expensive), it is essential to have confidence in the termite management system being employed to both quickly stop the termites in their tracks, and keep the infrastructure safe in the long term.

This was why Mr Alic selected Exterra. More than 1500 in-ground stations were placed, together with 380 above-ground stations, the latter in buildings already facing termite destruction. The in-ground stations were placed every five metres around all the structures on the island, providing protection of 7,500 metres of building perimeters.

Above-ground stations were placed on all points of termite activity within those buildings where termites were already present and actively damaging the timbers within. The core strategy was to gain quick control of the large number of well-established termite colonies on the island through the placement of the above-ground stations, then, for the in-ground stations to provide ongoing protection against future attack to the resorts’ buildings. Some 150 of the in-ground stations also intercepted termites within the first few weeks and were baited as part of the initial termite colonies elimination program.

Termite activity in an in-ground station after only two weeks

Within three months of station placement, an estimated 100 colonies of Coptotermes gestroi had been eliminated. Colony estimates were based on the distances between buildings and analysis of the caste activity in the stations. Colony elimination was only confirmed when termites had consumed at least 100 g of Requiem (in most cases feeding was between 500 g and 2 kg), a change in worker to soldier caste ratios was observed, and there was a significant decline in termite numbers, followed by two consecutive inspections revealing no termites present.

When only soldiers remain in the bait station, colony elimination is not far away

One year later, the resort remains termite free with no reported termite activity in any in-ground stations and no activity located in any of the resorts’ buildings.

“The Exterra system lends itself to dealing with termite infestations in the toughest of environments where you need to be highly confident of being successful,” said Mr Broadbent.

“Exterra is well proven and enables professionals to quickly bring a colony to elimination through the use of both in-ground and above-ground stations which, due the high palatability of the Requiem Termite Bait, can be almost guaranteed to secure termite feeding within weeks of correct installation. Exterra can provide the results even when there is very little termite activity present due to disturbance, but you just know they are going to come back with a vengeance. This enables Exterra to provide both the colony elimination phase and the ongoing protection phase recommended by the Australian Standard Series AS3600 Termite protection.”

When creating an in-ground interception system, especially when trying to control active termites, the bait has to be both highly attractive and large enough in size in order to divert termites from their current foraging sites. With Exterra, the Requiem bait is used in combination with patented, larger size Exterra Quaterra in-ground stations. Mr Broadbent explained, “Independent studies have confirmed that larger stations better attract termites and induce more termite feeding.1 When this is linked with Ensystex’s patented Focus Termite Attractant, termites are drawn into the in-ground stations, creating a ‘termite interception zone’ to better intercept the termites .2

“Exterra is a system that can be trusted to also intercept the termites foraging in the soil and quickly eliminate the colony. After providing colony elimination, Exterra then acts as a highly reliable ongoing protection system.”

1 T.A. Evans, P.V. Gleeson (2006). The Effect of Bait Design on Bait Consumption in Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Bull Entomol Res. Feb 96 (1): 85-90.

C.D. Howick (1975). Influences of Specimen Size, Test Period and Matrix on the Amounts of Wood Eaten by Similar Groups of Laboratory Termites. Proceedings of the British Wood Preservation Association.

M. Lenz, B. Kard, J.K. Mauldin, T.A. Evans, J.L. Etheridge, H.M. Abbey (2000). Size of Food Resource Determines Brood Placement in Reticulitermes avipes (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae). Presented at 31st annual meeting of the International Research Group on Wood Preservation; Paper no. 383.

2 E.J. Bernklau, E.A. Fromm, T.M. Judd, and L.B. Bjostad (2005). Attraction of Subterranean Termites (Isoptera) To Carbon Dioxide. J. Econ. Entomol. 98 (2).

S.G. Broadbent, M. Farr, E.J. Bernklau, M.S. Siderhurst, D.M. James, and L.B. Bjostad (2006). Field Attraction of Termites to a Carbon Dioxide-Generating Bait in Australia. Sociobiology 48 (3).

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