Melbourne’s Termite Specialists

Chemical Barriers – Chemical Soil Treatments

Treating soil at the base of buildings, both to the external perimeter and under buildings, to create a chemical “termite barrier”, is a common method for protecting structures from termite infestation.

How do chemical soil treatments protect buildings from termite attacks?

A chemical soil treatment involves the application of a liquid termiticide to the ground around and under buildings, using high volumes of termiticide to saturate the soil. The timbers themselves or house internals are not treated.

The idea is to create a ‘treated zone’ that prevents termites travelling through the soil and up the footings to access the building.

The effectiveness of such a termite treatment is reliant on ensuring a complete and continuous treated zone that works in conjunction with structural elements of the building such as concrete slab or strip footings. When installed professionally this can prevent concealed termite entry to the building. Obviously, any gaps in the treatment or cracks in the building foundations can potentially allow termites’ access to the structure.

The chemical applications are not intended to kill termites; nor will it typically kill termite nests. It also won’t stop termites from turning up in nearby areas that have not been treated. It is simply designed to prevent concealed termite attacks. Termites could still build a mud tube over the treated zone to gain access to your home. The good news, is that when they do this, their activity can be easily seen (either by the homeowner or during a regular termite inspection), and the problem dealt with before significant damage is done.

Manual trench digging
Manually digging trench
Automatic trench digging
Trench digging with automatic digger
Liquid termiticide soil treatments
Applying chemical to trench
Drilling and injecting chemical through concrete slab

The termite chemicals we use…

There are two types of chemicals used for soil treatments; repellent chemicals and non-repellent chemicals.

Repellent chemicals

Older termite treatment products use repellent chemicals – the termites can detect their presence in the soil and avoid the treated area. Although quite effective, such treatments do have drawbacks, if there is a gap in the treated zone, the termites can quite easily find it, as it is the only soil that is not repellent. The positive of these repellent based chemicals is that they have a greater longevity then others products thus require less reapplication and are typically less expensive than their non-repellent counterparts.

Non-repellent chemicals

The newer termite chemicals are non-repellent. Termites cannot detect their presence in the soil and will enter a treated zone and die (rather than be repelled). Such treatments are also considered more ‘forgiving’, in that if there is a gap in the treatment (as can often happen with uneven chemical distribution in the soil) the termites are unable to detect the areas of untreated soil and purposely bypass it. The chances of the termites accidentally walking through an untreated area without also passing through a treated area are very small indeed. Not surprisingly these newer chemicals are more expensive than the older repellent chemicals. More information on termite chemicals

Termite barrier or treated zone?

Chemical soil treatments are often called termite “barriers”. Historically this came about as many of the older chemicals were repellent to termites. Termites coming into contact with this treated soil around the home would be repelled by the chemical, preventing them from entering the home – an invisible, protective “barrier”. However, it is important to understand that neither soil chemical treatments nor physical termite membranes, such as termite sheeting or “ant” capping, give 100% protection against termites entering your property. When they are installed correctly they are design to prevent CONCEALED termite entry – the termites cannot get in without becoming visible. When their activity is noticed by the homeowner or during a termite inspection, it can then be dealt with.

Chemical soil treatment or termite monitoring system?

Chemical soil treatments can be very effective, but whether we recommend a chemical soil treatment as an option for your building will very much depend on the structure’s construction and environmental conditions around the property. Chemical treatments are simply not suitable for all construction types and situations. Any scenario that makes application of a continuous treated zone difficult, for example homes with very poor sub floor access, rocky soils or concreted areas surrounding the building, makes protection of buildings with chemicals more difficult. We see little point in recommending a chemical barrier to a building where such restrictions mean that the barrier will not be reasonably complete. We do not like the idea of a 90% barrier because it gives a false sense of security. In our experience, termites seem to be pretty good at finding the gaps! We will always evaluate the situation at your property and discuss the options available, the pros and cons, so you can make an informed choice for the best termite treatment for your property and your situation.

If you’re worried about termites

or want more information on chemical soil treatments call

1300 695 949

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