At some point in life, you’ve probably heard of termites. The wood eating, home-destroying insects that will munch away at all the wood in your house over time. However, termites can be dealt with fairly easily nowadays.
Soil treatment or liquid injection is a termite treatment method in which a repellent chemical solution is injected or sprayed into the soil beneath your home. This can be done ahead of time to prevent further infestations, with the termicide sprayed before the concrete floor slabs are laid down.
For homes that have already been completed, holes can be bored in the floor and the chemicals injected before being resealed.
Drywood termites, on the other hand, construct their nests above ground, thriving without soil and obtaining moisture from the air and wood they consume. This species’ treatment is a little different: holes are bored into the wood they infest, and then termicide is injected.
A baiting technique is a superior option for eradicating entire colonies without causing property owners any inconvenience. It’s a tried-and-true approach for eradicating worker termites and cutting off their food supply. The king, queen, and soldier termites all starve to death.
Termite baiting is a multi-step process that takes many weeks to months to complete, depending on the magnitude of the infestation.
Because termites only eat wood and cellulose, they must first establish a feeding cycle. Scouts must locate termite bait sites and leave a scent for worker termites to follow and consume the bait. The bait will be replaced with undetectable toxic compounds that will eventually kill the worker termites after a feeding cycle has been established.
Next, to prevent the worker termites from moulting and reproducing, hormones will be injected into the feeding station. The amount of hormones injected is determined by the colony’s size. Once enough worker termites have been destroyed, the termite colony will starve to death.
Termite extermination costs vary based on the size of the property, but are typically in the range of RM2.50 per sq ft for soil treatment and RM1,200 for termite baiting.
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Part one of this article described the various types of termites found in Malaysia and how to tell if they are present in your home. These little creatures are incredibly destructive and have been known to cause damage of up to RM400 million a year.
So, armed with some knowledge of what they look like and how an infestation can be identified, how do you get rid of them? Here are two recommended approaches.
Soil treatment or liquid injection
This is an effective solution for termite control where a repellant chemical solution, also known as termicide, is injected or sprayed into the soil under your property.
This can be done before construction to avoid future infestations, with the termicide sprayed before concrete floor slabs are placed.
For homes that are already built, holes can be drilled into the floor and injected with the chemicals before being resealed afterwards.
Drywood termites, however, build their nests above ground, surviving without soil and drawing moisture from the air and wood they infest. Treatment for this species is slightly different: holes are drilled into the wood they infest, and then injected with termicide.
A baiting system is the better approach for eliminating entire colonies without creating disruption to property owners. It is a well-proven method that targets worker termites, cutting off food supply. The king, queen and soldier termites end up dying of starvation.
Termite baiting is a gradual process that takes several weeks to months, depending on the infestation size, and involves a few steps:
Termites only eat wood and cellulose, so the feeding cycle must first be established. Scouts will need to find the termite bait station and leave a scent for worker termites to follow and feed on the bait in these stations.
Once a feeding cycle has been set, the bait will be replaced with undetectable toxic chemicals that eventually kill the worker termites.
- Growth hormones
The next step is to inject hormones into the feeding station to stop the worker termites from moulting and reproducing. The quantity of hormones injected depends on the size of the colony.
- Wait it out
Once enough worker termites are killed, the entire termite population will gradually die of starvation.
Frequently asked questions
1. How much will termite treatment cost?
The cost of eradicating termites will vary depending on the size of the property but is generally in the region of RM2.50 per sq ft for soil treatment, and upwards of RM1,200 for termite baiting.
2. How safe is it?
When administered correctly by a professional, termite treatments should be safe. Direct contact with chemicals can cause irritations and complications, so it’s better to discuss with the exterminator regarding products and methods that are safe for the family, including pets.
3. How long does each treatment last?
Soil treatment typically lasts up to five years before the termicide biodegrades. Bait stations last for up to 12 months and should be maintained yearly to remain effective.
The type of termite, degree of infestation, home environment, and accessibility of the targeted area can affect how long each treatment lasts.
4. Can I handle an infestation myself?
If you have individual items of furniture with an infestation, try moving it into the sun as drying it out may eliminate the bugs.
Treating your home with chemicals found in hardware stores can be effective for smaller targeted spots like a piece of furniture or a small patch on the wall, but may not work for widespread areas.
If you are thinking of using professional-grade termicide, it is much safer to leave it to the experts.
5. Are organic treatments effective?
The chemical compound borax, borate salts and sprays have been proven to kill termites. Borate salts have a low toxicity level and are water-soluble. Sprays are an effective way of treating homes but can only provide a partial protective barrier within a limited area.
Other organic products like orange-oil sprays, although popular, have not been proven effective.
Source: Free Malaysia Today