Peter Ambrose-Pearce from Syngenta shares his tips on how to conduct a thorough pest inspection after a liquid termiticide treatment has been applied. 

Comprehensive inspection reports are key to successful termite management. But for inspections post-treatment, especially when a treated zone has been installed, there are a few areas in which to pay particular attention.

Clearly the first priority is to ensure that there is no new activity or damage. Thorough records of the location and scale of activity/damage from the pre-treatment inspection and for subsequent inspections is vital. Use of clear photos, location maps and descriptions are required. Refrain from writing on the original documents (use copies), as each inspection stands on its own and should be a complete inspection of the structure. Storing all documents ‘In the cloud’ makes access so much easier – we should utilise technology to our advantage. This allows comparison of reports to see if there has been any new activity.

However, once a treated zone has been installed, it is important that you inspect the treated zone for any environmental conditions that could impact the effectiveness of your liquid soil treatments. Some situations worth noting include:

  • Shrubbery removed from within 1.5m of the structure, or newly added plants like flowers and vegetables
  • Added decorative stones, mulch or straw that is thick enough to cause or screen a potential problem
  • Broken, overflowing or missing rain gutters or downpipes
  • New debris, like bricks and pavers, wooden boards or cardboard boxes, stored adjacent to or directly above the treated structure
  • Puddles or low soil levels accumulating near the structure
  • Burrows in treated soil made by rodents and other animals
  • Saturated soil near the structure from a weather incident, like a flood. This can allow soil bridging or soil scour
  • An added extension to the structure or close by structure such as a rainwater tank slab or garden equipment shed
  • Even include any new invasive subterranean termite species that has been recorded in or near the area you are inspecting.

Photos of the treated zone from all sides of the structure taken at the time of installation are extremely useful as a reference point.

While you’re inspecting the area for notable records, remember that finding new wings within a structure does not necessarily mean termites have swarmed since your last inspection. Wings from previous flights can be pocketed in a seam around a door, a window of a bathroom and in other tight spaces, which may not have been visible during the previous inspection.

Inspections are complex and require attention to detail, thinking like a termite to assess all possible entry routes will help ensure successful termite inspections. Liquid soil treatments to create a treated zone work well when applied correctly and left undisturbed. For buildings with a treated zone in place, making sure the treated zone remains intact should be a focus of any post-treatment inspections.

Peter Ambrose-Pearce, Technical Sales Manager, Syngenta

Adapted from article by Austin M. Frishman, PhD

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