Termite Chemical Information
There are currently four general kinds of termiticides registered for soil treatment in Victoria and it’s our policy to provide you with information you need to the termiticide to be used around your own house or building.
Since all termiticides are effective in their intended purpose, the choice often boils down to toxicity and odour versus longevity and resistance to leaching.
We have listed here only products that are water-based, meaning that they have virtually no odour and do not contain solvents.
Brand – Premise, from Bayer
Type – Chloro-Nicotinyl (an insect nerve inhibitor)
Toxicity – Rated S5. “Practically non-toxic” both oral and dermal.
Odour – This water-based insecticide is almost odourless.
Longevity – The label claims “at least two years”. Bayer advise us that they are intending to re-label claiming five years.
Bayer’s printed information states “At CSIRO test sites, Premise was effective for a minimum of 2 years with more than 6 years control achieve at some sites. Trail work in infested buildings has shown that more than 90 pct are still termite free 5-6 years after treatment.”
Bayer also claims that Imidacloprid has some indirect colony control effect. In other words, it will kill termites without repelling them, and can have a negative effect on the health and numbers of any colony infesting the immediate area.
Brand – Biflex Aqua, from F.M.C.
Type – Synthetic pyrethroid water based termiticide
Toxicity – Rated S6, oral – “slightly toxic”, dermal – “practically non-toxic”.
Odour – This water based termiticide is almost odourless.
Longevity – the label claims “at least 10 years” when applied at maximum strength. In practical conditions around a typical home, due to water exposure, disturbance of garden beds etc STC recommends re-treatment each 5 years.
A characteristic of Bifenthrin is that it binds very quickly and strongly to the soil particles. This makes it a good option where moisture movement in the soil may be a factor. On the downside, for the same reason, it tends to be filtered out by the soil so that it will not seep through and penetrate some target areas as well as a product like as Imidacloprid.
Brand – Termidore, from BASF
Type – Benzisothiazolin
Toxicity – -Rated S6, oral-harmful if swallowed, dermal-may irritate skin, does not readily penetrate skin. Repeated exposure may cause allergic reaction.
Odour – has a slight vegetable oil smell.
Longevity – re-treatment each 5 years should be expected.
Termidore was launched in 2002 after some presentations from the USA, where it is used extensively. It has quickly built up a reputation as “the best” termiticide, because of claims made that it has strong indirect colony control effects. Trials in USA have shown that a treatment around a perimeter of a building (only) can control termites entering the building from within internal points that were never treated.
We’re not aware of similar results in Australia, and the label directions do not mention this indirect effect. It should be used like all the other soil treatments, and the aim should be to form a continuous zone of treated soil. However, a (non-quantified) colony control effect is strongly suspected, and the effectiveness of Fipronil as a termiticide is beyond doubt.
Because of this, we regard this product as “top of the range” and its cost premium is generally worthwhile on jobs where a continuous soil treatment is unlikely to be achievable due to building characteristics.
It’s important to remember that Specialist Termite Control cannot guarantee that termite colony control will occur, since this will depend on many factors including the termite pressure around the particular areas treated. The best security is achieved by the formation of a continuous soil treatment.
Our best advice
When it comes to results, at Specialist Termite Control we believe that all three chemicals discussed above will work effectively in Victorian conditions. While we sometimes do see a breach by termites straight through soil that we absolutely know has been correctly treated, this is not common and generally the barriers provide excellent on-going protection.
What matters to you?
Your decision will probably be based on a trade-off between longevity, toxicity and cost.
In our experience the choices appear reasonably simple and are as follows:-
- Lowest Toxicity (Acute)- Imidacloprid.
- Longest Lasting (with slight odour) – Bifenthrin.
- Most effective where there is a risk of a non-continuous soil treatment – Fipronil
Australia has one of the most stringent pest control industry regulatory systems in the world. All the termiticides that are proposed to treat your premises have undergone thorough evaluation and approval by national and state government authorities. Please be assured that our company will use these approved termiticides in strict accordance with all government regulations.
The following commonsense precautions should be observed both before and after your premises are treated:
- You should advise us of any pets or any personal or family allergies, or other concerns.
- You must remove or protect any people, animals, birds or fish during the treatment period.
- Avoid contact with treated surfaces until the termiticide has dried.
- Observe any verbal advice provided by your termite technician at the time of treatment.
- Ensure your premises are properly ventilated after treatment.
The failures of these treatments, which are all too common in the industry, are generally a function of building design and treatment application rather than termiticide effectiveness. For example, if the footings of a building cannot be effectively accessed by the pest controller because of concrete paving or tiling covering the footing, then the termiticide application is likely to be less than continuous and therefore imperfect.
It is important for the building owner and termite specialist to discuss the costs and benefits of, for instance, cutting and removing concrete paving from around a building compared with line-drilling and injecting through the concrete. This will have a greater effect on the outcome than the choice of chemical.