Termites: The silent destroyer
Termites are probably your home’s worst enemy. They work tirelessly day and night foraging for food. Once they find that scrumptious beam in your house, they will chew it piece by piece, second after second. Before you realise they have invaded your home, it is already too late. The damage has been done.
What do termites feed on?
Subterranean termites feed exclusively on wood and wood products containing cellulose. In their intestines, termites have protozoa that provide enzymes to digest cellulose. Termites are able to tear off extremely small fragments of wood using their hard, saw-toothed jaws. Termites often infest buildings and damage lumber wood panels, flooring, sheetrock, wallpaper, plastics, paper products and fabric made of plant fibers. The most serious damage results from the loss of structural strength. Other costly losses include attacks on flooring, carpeting, art work, books, clothing, furniture and valuable papers.
How do I know if my house is infested?
Termites rarely come to the surface to feed. So most of the time, you will only find out that they are there when it’s too late. However, there are signs that one can look out for as a warning of their presence.
- Swarmers in or around the house, especially near light sources after rain.
- The presence of mud shelters on foundations or other walls running from the ground upwards in to the house.
- Stray wings left near door and window frames.
- Paint that has started to bubble on wood surfaces that sound hollow when knocked.
- Acoustic signals of termites gnawing on and knocking against wood surfaces.
Why should I use a bait?
Before baiting became available, conventional termite treatments involved drilling and pumping of chemicals inside and outside the house, leaving large amounts of termiticide in the ground. These chemicals can be detrimental to the environment.
Bait systems are a relatively new tool to remove termites from your home. These normally consist of plastic sleeves which are put in the ground around the house. Commonly, inside these sleeves are pieces of wood, paper, cardboard or any cellulose-based products acting as “monitors” to detect termites. When termites are seen feeding on these stations, the “monitor” is replaced by a bait containing a termiticide.
In addition to monitoring stations around the house, direct placement of baits above ground can also be used to great effect. This method is proactive as bait stations are positioned on sites with termite activity. Termite infestations are treated when seen. Above ground stations do not depend on the termites locating the bait stations. They start working the moment they are installed.
Baits are attractive to the termite workers. Once found, they will “tell” the rest of the colony members about the food source. The message is delivered through a trail of pheromone laid by the workers. This substance is known as pheromone. Other workers then follow this trail that eventually leads them to the new food source.
Pesticides in bait stations
There are two types of chemicals used in bait stations:-Insect growth regulators (IGRs) and slow release toxicants. IGRs are hormones specific to insects. In termite baits, IGRs mostly prevent termites from forming new exoskeletons. These are also known as Chitin Synthesis Inhibitors (CSI). After feeding on baits containing CSI, termites cannot moult properly, resulting in their death.
Baits consumed will not kill the termites immediately, giving them ample time to return to their nest and spread the bait amongst their nestmates with the same toxicant. This bait is transferred through the colony until it ultimately implodes and dies.
What is Xterm™ and how does it work?
- The novel Xterm™ compressed bait matrix has allowed the co-development of low profile above ground Xterm™ bait stations that will ensure termite control no longer requires the use of large unsightly bait boxes.
- The Xterm™ system uses bait cartridges loaded with multi-surface tablets, ensuring easy bait acceptance as every termite has a surface to feed on. The in-built hygroscopic nature of the bait allows moisture to penetrate the bait further increasing its palatability.
- The active within Xterm™ is a CSI which when used in the sealed Xterm™ cartridge system ensures an action specific to termites with no effect on non-target organisms or the environment.
- The Xterm™ bait cartridge system allows easy, clean application of bait to the stations as and when required. The “oscillating Xterm™ bait cartridge replacement program” ensures minimum disturbance to feeding termites.