Termite Prevention: Chemical Soil Treatments vs Monitoring & Baiting Systems

Termite Prevention: Chemical Soil Treatments vs Monitoring & Baiting Systems

Termite Prevention: Chemical Soil Treatments vs Monitoring & Baiting Systems

Termite prevention and treatment options can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. Often the need for a preventative termite barrier arises during a stressful time such as building a house, buying a house, or after treating for termites in your own home.

In this article we will provide an introduction to chemical soil treatments and termite monitoring & baiting systems. Then we’ll delve into the benefits and disadvantages of each type of termite protection.

The short story: chemical soil treatments are preferred if you can access all of the termite entry points. But monitoring & baiting systems can be effective if they are installed properly and checked regularly.

The best opportunity you have to get the best termite prevention is during the construction of the house. A good quality pre-construction termite barrier, installed by a competent installer, can be warranted for up to 50 years. However, after construction, your only options for termite prevention are chemical soil treatments and termite monitoring & baiting systems.

Of the many termite control companies in Albury-Wodonga most do quality work. However, some technicians are in the habit of sticking with what they know with and only do chemical soil treatments (termite sprays). While others prefer the simpler installation that comes with only installing termite monitoring & baiting systems. We believe every house is different, and therefore every home requires a tailored prevention plan that based on what we discover during a termite inspection.

Chemical Soil Treatment Key Features

Chemical soil treatments are old-school but great for some buildings. They involve trenching around all termite entry points (stumps, foundation walls, footings, baseboards) and flooding the trench and backfilled soil with termiticide. As termites try to use these entry points, they come into contact with the treated soil and die.

Infographic showing termites attempting to travel though a chemical soil treatments zone.
Termites attempting to travel through a chemical soil treatment zone (red). Image from BASF Australia.

Monitoring & Baiting System Key Features

Termite monitoring & baiting systems are very different from chemical soil treatments. They involve digging monitoring ‘stations’ into the ground at regular intervals around the perimeter. The idea is that as termites come towards your house, they find the stations first. They then consume the termite bait and feed the rest of the termite colony with it. This eliminates the colony (hopefully) before they reach your house.

Typical termite monitoring & baiting systems installed around a house perimeter.
A typical termite monitoring & baiting system installed around the perimeter of a house. Image from BASF Australia.

The Pros and Cons of Chemical Soil Treatments

Trenching around a concrete stump to install a chemical soil treatments for termites in Albury/Wodonga.
Installing a chemical soil treatment is hard (and expensive) work, but when done right you can get lasting prevention. We did this one in Albury, NSW.

This method is the more traditional way of preventing termite attacks. If done right, it can give you long-lasting termite prevention. Benefits include:

  • Less ongoing maintenance (and expense): when compared to monitoring & baiting systems. Chemical soil treatments need replenishment every five to ten years in most cases.
  • Safer and less toxic: Modern products available to pest controllers are much safer than the old toxic stuff. They also bind very strongly to soils and are not likely to leach into the surrounding soil.
  • Chemical soil treatments are effective against all species of termite.

Limitations of chemical soil treatments:

  • Chemical soil treatments rely on access to all potential termite entry points. In some houses, access to all entry points is not possible, and that can leave gaps in the treated zone.
  • They require handling chemicals that have a potential for misuse if used by consumers.
  • Chemical soil treatments often require cutting or drilling of large amounts of concrete to access soil for treatment.
  • The soil in most parts of Albury/Wodonga and Rutherglen/Corowa is heavy clay type. This does not retain chemicals and can result in gaps in the treated zone.
  • Damage to cables, pipes, and other services may occur when drilling and cutting concrete.
  • They don’t eliminate termite colonies. The colony attacking the house can still remain on the property, only to enter the building again when the treated zone has expired.
  • Termite sprays are more expensive upfront due to the large amount of work involved.
Drill holes in a concrete path from a chemical soil treatment in Albury NSW.
Chemical soil treatments can result in unsightly drill holes in paths.

The Pros and Cons of Termite Monitoring & Baiting Systems

People consider these treatments less effective than traditional methods, but they do have some advantages over chemical soil treatments:

  • They don’t rely on access to all the entry points. They go around the perimeter of the building, removing the need to access entry points. They’re a good option when you can’t get under a floor or get to every stump for chemical soil treatment.
  • Termite monitoring & baiting systems don’t require chemicals to work. The bait is not added until termites are found in timber-only termite monitoring systems. They are much safer, and homeowners can use them without the risk of harming the environment.
  • In most cases, there is no concrete cutting required. Sometimes the installer must core the concrete, but only every 3 metres.
  • They actually eliminate termite colonies on the property. The baiting process kills entire colonies, further lowering your risk of attack.
  • The upfront cost is much lower because the labour involved is less strenuous.
Termite monitoring & baiting system installed in concrete pavers in Albury NSW.
If concrete cutting is required for monitoring & baiting systems, you only need an 80mm core every three metres. Much more attractive than drill holes for chemical soil treatments.

Limitations of monitoring & baiting systems:

  • The monitoring stations need to be checked regularly, so they have a higher ongoing maintenance cost.
  • They are not as reliable at stopping termites from entering buildings as chemical soil treatments. But they are preferable when access to entry points is restricted.
  • Termite bait is not effective against all species of termite, including those in the Termitidae family. Luckily, not many of these types of termites attack houses in our local area of Albury/Wodonga to Rutherglen/Corowa.

Which Termite Prevention Method is Right for You?

The correct termite prevention method depends on how your house is constructed, the potential environmental impacts of each method, how important the visual appearance of the treatment is to you, and your budget.

The best way to find out which type of termite prevention is right for you is to call your local pest controller. They can conduct a termite inspection and recommend the right option for your property.

However, beware of pest controllers that only offer one type of treatment! It’s easy for old termite managers to get set in their ways and stick with the method they’re most comfortable with. Every house is different and every species of termite is different as well. A complete termite management system requires its own Termite Management Plan and Treatment Proposal.

You can contact us on 02 6032 7137 or message us directly to find out more about how to protect your home from termites.

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