Monitoring systems are a reliable, proven way to protect against termites, explains Charles McClintock of Sumitomo Chemical Australia.

“I don’t do baiting”, is still a surprisingly commonc comment from termite professionals during discussions around their preferred termite management systems. Whereas having a preference for liquid soil treatments over termite monitoring and baiting systems is perfectly acceptable, it is a fact that liquid soil treatments are not the appropriate solution for every property.

There are three situations where liquid soil treatments are often unsuitable: sloping blocks can cause issues with termiticide or soil movement and sometimes the building may actually be built into the slope, preventing application of termiticide to below the footings; rocky or unsuitable soil types may prevent the application of a liquid termiticide in a continuous barrier; and building construction type, either by design or by fault, may not allow the application of a soil treatment to form an integrated and continuous system with the physical attributes of the building.

Attempting to carry out a liquid treatment in scenarios such as these is unlikely to deliver the required level of protection, leaving your customer at risk of further attack and creating liability and insurance issues for yourself.

Termite monitoring systems are placed around the property to be protected, typically every three metres, just under the drip line of the eaves. Wood in the bait stations acts as an attractant to termites in the area and if active termites are observed in the bait stations during an inspection, termite bait is added to the bait station. Termites feed on the bait, taking it back to the nest and eliminating the colony. With a monitoring system in place a key component of the management system is the regular inspections, every 2-3 months depending on the level of termite pressure.

Termite monitoring systems can be placed in a wide variety of soils, protecting a wide variety of construction types. In addition to the flexibility of being able to use baiting systems in a variety of situations, for customers and companies looking for an environmentally smart option, monitoring and baiting systems fit the bill, as there is no chemical sprayed into the environment and baits are targeted only at termites.

Pest managers unfamiliar with monitoring systems are often nervous about the possibility of termites finding their way in between bait stations and into the building. However, as long as the installed distance between bait stations meets label requirements and regular inspections are maintained, the chances of termites getting to the building without attacking a bait station first are very small indeed. The success of a variety of bait systems around the world is testament to this.

When installed and managed correctly, termite monitoring and baiting systems can come with similar warranties to liquid soil treatments. For example, an Xterm installation allows pest managers to offer the five-year TimberSecure insurance from Rapid Solutions.

One of the additional performance benefits that monitoring and baiting systems have over liquid soil treatments is that they have the potential to reduce the level of termite pressure on the building. Any activity detected in the monitoring stations can be treated with bait, resulting in the subsequent elimination of the colony. With the Xterm monitoring and baiting system, this control is normally delivered with a single cartridge of bait, often within a matter of weeks (Evans, 2010). Finding termites in the monitoring stations and eliminating the colony is very reassuring to property owners.

Colony control can often be achieved with a single Xterm bait cartridge

This interaction with the customer is a significant benefit of baiting systems and one that a number of companies utilise to their benefit. By having regular contact with the consumer during the year, there’s the opportunity to build a relationship and upsell other services during these more frequent visits. In addition, by charging for the inspection visits as they occur, companies can even out payments over the year, making it easier for the customer but also providing important cash flow during the cooler months.

There are significant business benefits for embracing termite monitoring systems as an integral part of your business, and at the very least they should be there in your toolbox to use on the jobs when they are the only solution.

Further reading: Evans, T.A. 2010. ‘Rapid elimination of field colonies of subterranean termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae) using bistrifluron solid bait pellets’. Journal of Economic Entomology; 103(2):423-32, 2010.

Charles McClintock, Professional Products Business Manager, Sumitomo Chemical Australia

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