WELCOME TO OUR TERMITE VIDEO SERIES
In this series, Tom Aldridge, the owner of Suburban Pest Management covers everything you need to know about termites. He covers how they work, how you can recognise them, how to treat them, and how you can protect your home and family from the damage they do. He also takes an in-depth look at termite treatments including our chemical soil treatments and barriers. Lastly, he gives an unique perspective on product warranties and our service guarantee and why you should choose Suburban Pest Management.
If you prefer to see the series on YouTube, you can find the playlist on the SPM channel. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos.
VIDEO 1 – INTRODUCTION - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TERMITES
Southeast Queensland is renowned for being a hotspot for termite activity. If you haven't found evidence of termites in your home, yard, or in your neighbour’s yard, then you're probably not looking hard enough!
At Suburban, we cover all aspects of pest management, and termites are by far the main focus of our work, and because our industry is so competitive, particularly in SEQ, there is a mountain of information, or more to the point, misinformation out there, on the best way to treat termites, and protect your home from termite attack.
Why trust Suburban?
We don’t expect you to take our word for it, but in this series, we explain in an easy-to-understand way, how termite treatments work, and then you can ask any respectable Pest company in our area and we would expect them to say exactly the same thing. Most of the information out there is confusing or conflicting, but if we arm you with the right information, to enable you to ask the right questions, then you have a much greater chance of getting the right advice.
VIDEO 2 - WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND TERMITES IN YOUR HOME
The main termites to be concerned about in Australia are subterranean, meaning they travel through the ground and majority of the time, enter your home completely undetected. This is why most of our clients sadly only call us when termites are already in their home, causing unknown amounts of damage. People are looking to find a solution fast, and they want somebody to help.
If you are watching this video because you have just found termites in your home, the first things you should do are:
- Avoid disturbing the termites any further
- Cover the area, even if you have to tape the termite damaged timber
- Put the can of fly spray back in the cupboard.
Even though you want them gone as soon as possible, having the live termites there when we get to site is more beneficial in the overall process, and generally, we can have one of our Technicians at your place the same business day or following business day, preventing any further damage.
What's involved with protecting your home and what is the best option for your home? There is a simple three step process:
- Carry out a thorough Inspection and treat the live termites using a chemical or bait
- Install an ongoing Termite Management System to prevent the termites from returning
- Maintain that Termite Management System year on year.
In the next video, we will focus on how we treat the live termites and why the correct procedure is so crucial.
VIDEO 3 – HOW TO TREAT LIVE TERMITES IN YOUR HOME (COLONY CONTROL)
The majority of the time when termites are located, the nest or the remaining colony is generally nowhere to be found. So spraying the few hundred will not stop the million or more termites that are still back in that nest unless the correct process is followed.
Using the most effective products and having an exceptional understanding of exactly HOW to use those products is essential if you want to eliminate the entire colony. Having said that, even if you succeed and eliminate the colony, you haven’t completely solved the issue.
When termites enter your building, they will leave a pheromone trail back to their nest, so the rest of the colony can go back and forth efficiently, without getting lost. Some pest companies in Brisbane do only half the job, that is, they only treat the live termites (which we call Termite Colony Control), and do not explain the importance of an external chemical soil treatment or baiting system.
In the next video, we explain about chemical soil treatments and how important they are as part of a long-term termite treatment solution.
VIDEO 4 – LONG-TERM PROTECTION FROM TERMITES USING TERMIDOR
How Do I Protect My Home Now and Into the Future?
Once the live termites have been effected, the next step is looking at a long-term solution to protect your home from future termite attack. There are two main applications we use:
- Chemical applications
- Baiting applications
The best approach depends on several factors:
- the species of termites located
- the design of the building
- whatever you as the client would be most comfortable with.
At Suburban, we have found that if a chemical application can adequately manage the risk of termites, then this usually requires less ongoing monitoring and maintenance, and can be more economical in the long run.
Alternatively, installing Bait Stations can be more discreet or less invasive, and you can reduce termite activity near the building, which in turn reduces the risk of termite attack to your property.
Some properties require a combination of both, sometimes as a result of the property design, or perhaps due to the extreme pressure termites are putting on the property. For some homeowners, a combination of treatments might be the right choice providing peace of mind, knowing that their home has the ultimate protection.
How do Chemical Treatments work and why are they so effective?
The more important question is how can chemical treatments fail? The products professionals use can literally be purchased by anyone on the internet, but having the expertise to know exactly how to install them is the only way to truly safeguard your home in the long- run.
Traditionally, the chemicals used were repellent chemicals, meaning that as termites attempted to gain access to the building they would quickly be effected, and the idea was that this would deter others from trying to get in. Termites, however, are persistent and would simply move around looking for a weakness in the barrier, which almost every house would have a limitation somewhere.
This meant treatments failed, and as a result, non-repellent products like Termidor were created. Non-repellency simply means termites won't realise the chemical is there.
This has a twofold effect: firstly, termites will continue to track through the treated soil zone and take the product back to the nest on their bodies, creating a transfer effect to other termites, and eliminating the entire colony. Secondly, because they don't realise the chemical barrier is there, should there be a weakness in the treatment somewhere, such as a limitation, the termites aren't looking for it. This means, there is far less of a chance of the treatment failing. The fact is, we simply don't have treatments fail when we use Termidor.
Regardless of which product you choose, the application is the same, meaning the chemical must get down to the top of the footing and create a continuous treated zone around the external perimeter of the building. This is because termites tend to track or forage anywhere within 500mm of the surface, and when they hit the footing, they will typically come up to the surface and try to gain access anywhere from the first course of bricks up. They don't need weepholes; they can excavate right through the mortar on the first course of bricks and enter completely undetected. If you treat only the surface of the soil (as some DIY products would lead you to believe), termites could simply track right under the treatment and start causing problems to your home.
In our next video, we look at effective trenching and application of a chemical soil treatment, and how we at Suburban go above and beyond to protect your home for the long term.
VIDEO 5 – THE IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT TRENCHING WITH CHEMICAL SOIL TREATMENTS
For an effective chemical soil treatment, any areas we can trench (instead of drilling and injecting) will always offer a better application. These can be grass or lawn, garden, or could involve lifting pavers (if they're not concreted in).
Given the treatment is only a few hundred millimetres off the building, this usually isn't too invasive (no bobcat is required), but it may mean disturbing some of the lawn, or removing a few plants too close to the building. If this is required, it will be discussed with you prior, and there are alternative treatments available (like bait stations) if this is a concern for you.
As mentioned in a previous video, it is essential to get right down to the footing. On occasion, this might mean deeper footings (say deeper than 300mm), which could require rod injecting to get there. However, most of the time it means digging the soil out of the trench and exposing the top of the footing (technically 50mm past the top of the footing).
Once the footing is exposed, it is important to dig under any plumbing or electrical services that sit on or through the footing (that might be in the way) and remove all mortar and debris from on top of the footing. Termites love to find these areas and track straight underneath them, which is why we always dig right under these to apply the chemical appropriately. Imagine doing all that digging and falling short with the treatment by simply not doing that little bit extra?
Once the chemical is applied to the footing area, and underneath these services, the process is then to start to backfill the soil and mix the chemical right through to create a continuous treated zone.
A major point of difference at Suburban is we will replace the soil dug out with our own soil mix as standard. A full replacement may not always be required but adding some newly brought in soil should be standard practice, however, it is not common practice in our industry. The chemical only binds to organic matter, so any rocks, clay, tree roots or any building rubble must be removed, otherwise gaps will be left and the treated zone will not be continuous.
Getting the ground height back to what it was is crucial and leaving the site neat and tidy is an important part of any service for any technician visiting your home. At Suburban our goal is to always leave your place as neat and tidy as we found it.
In our next video, we cover drilling into concrete and tiles.
VIDEO 6 – THE IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT DRILLING WITH CHEMICAL SOIL TREATMENTS
Almost every property we come across has some concrete or paving outside. Unfortunately, drilling concrete is never as effective as when we can trench to the footing, as we discussed in the previous video.
In an ideal world, the most effective course of action for concrete is to cut a strip out approximately 300mm away from the building, and then follow the trenching process we already mentioned. This is a significant and costly exercise and often not viable or desired.
So the next best option is to drill through the concrete and inject the chemical beneath it with the intention of getting the product right down to the top of the footing. Because we don't know what is beneath the concrete, there is also a risk of hitting services like plumbing, so you really want a company with enough experience to know where to drill and how to do it safely.
At Suburban, hitting these services is so rare that we offer to repair them in the unlikely event we do hit them. How many other companies would offer such a guarantee?
Even if we can successfully drill around the building, you may recall in a previous video it was mentioned that the chemical does not bind well to things like clay, rock, tree roots and if there are plumbing services in the way then this could prevent the treatment from being continuous as well.
So here at Suburban, we go the extra mile to overcome this, by adding a wetting agent to our treatments as standard. This enables the Termidor to bind stronger into these areas and create a better chance of getting the full life expectancy out of the product.
When it comes to drilling pavers or tiles, the risk of chipping or cracking is usually the biggest concern from homeowners. Using quality equipment like diamond tip drill bits and having well-trained experts in how to use the equipment gives the best chance of a quality finish every time.
There are, however, alternative solutions if drilling tiles or pavers is not desired.
Lastly, finishing the work using concrete seals or plugs, or mortaring up the holes comes down to a personal preference but having the choice can make all the difference with being satisfied with the finished product.
VIDEO 7 - TERMIDOR HE VS TERMIDOR SC
Termidor SC has been the most successful termite solution in Australia for the last 20 years and our own experience backs that, as it has been our most effective product over our 10,000 treatments in that time.
In 2018, BASF (who make Termidor), brought out a new and improved formulation, Termidor HE (or High Efficiency). With an advanced polymer matrix added to the same brilliant Termidor product, it meant the same effective solution, but now the product travels further into the soil, allowing for better coverage.
This means less drill holes in your concrete or tiles, and better coverage in areas with limitations or soil types like clay, for example, SC standard drill spacing is every 200mm, compared to HE which can be anywhere up to 450mm. That's less than half the amount of drill holes required, with the same amount of product used. Further, HE can be ideal for buildings with deeper footings where rod injecting is more viable than trenching all the way down to the footing.
Without getting too technical, the end result with either product is the same effective guarantee, backed with a $2 million product warranty.
Apart from building limitations, the choice of HE or SC ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you prefer less drillholes, then Termidor HE is the way to go. If this is not a big deal, then Termidor SC is a great option. Either way, using Termidor to future proof your home from termite attack is the best way to have peace of mind, with an ideal long- term solution.
In our next video, we look at Termite Baiting Systems.
VIDEO 8 – WHY NOT CHOOSE A TERMITE BAITING SYSTEM INSTEAD?
So far this series, we focused on Chemical Solutions, but now we look at Baiting Systems.
Bait stations are designed to be installed at regular intervals around the building and are there to intercept termite activity as they track towards your home.
There are many different baiting systems available. Some systems are designed to use timber or an attractant in the stations, and when termites enter, a bait can be added which will effect the entire termite colony. Other systems are designed to have the combined attractant and bait already in the stations from the very start, so the moment termites enter the station and consume the contents they effect the entire colony.
So it sounds like the already baited stations would be a lot better option for your property right? Unfortunately, it's not usually as simple as set and forget. Once installed, regular checking and servicing of the stations is essential for the system to be effective.
While there is great value in having such a system, because of the ongoing monitoring, we have found that when you compare a chemical solution to a baiting solution say over a 5 to 10 year period, the chemical solution is normally the more cost effective approach in the long run.
Having said that, there are three main reasons why a Baiting System could be the preferred option:
- When a chemical treatment is too limited and risks failing or termites bypassing the system - The chemical must get right down to the top of the footing and create a continuous treated zone around the perimeter. This is not always possible, especially for homes built into a hill or on a sloping block. If there are hidden cold joints internally or other areas termites can bypass the treatment, so Baiting Systems that are designed to intercept termites tracking towards the building can be far more effective with these types of homes.
- Applying a chemical treatment might be too invasive or too costly for some - Some people might want drill holes or trenching through gardens avoided entirely. Whilst we always take the utmost care, we get some people who simply want to avoid disturbance around their home. With certain home designs the cost of a chemical application outweighs bait stations, such as on a building with a subfloor or crawl space underneath. With chemical, the internal and external perimeter are needed, which doubles the footprint and the cost
- Personal preference - Even though the products we use are extremely safe, some people prefer to avoid chemicals altogether. Maybe you've had success with bait stations at another property and want to continue with what's worked for you previously.
At the end of the day, the company you choose should explain the pros and cons of both solutions to you, and then armed with the right information, the choice is yours with what feels best for you and your family.
VIDEO 9 – WHICH TYPE OF TERMITE BAITING SYSTEM SHOULD I CHOOSE?
As mentioned in the previous video, there are a number of termite baiting systems available. There are even stations you can buy on the internet for DIY purposes. You may also be surprised to know that for many pests, like Cockroaches and Rodents, Tom actually endorses the DIY approach if you are that way inclined. However, he does not recommend DIY approaches when it comes to termites. If you get it wrong, the damage they do is simply not worth the risk. By using a professional, along with premium products, you stand the best chance of protecting your home for the long-term.
At Suburban, we are accredited to use most systems available, however we have found three to be extremely effective. We recommend:
- Exterra Termite Interception and Baiting System
- Sentricon Always Active
- Trelona Advance Termite Bait System
At Suburban, we will always recommend the system that is most suitable for your property, rather than offering the same one regardless of the situation, which unfortunately some companies do.
Exterra Termite Interception and Baiting System
This has been our most popular baiting system over the last 20 years and proven itself to be our most effective.
Exterra is designed to use timber interceptors, and once termite activity is evident within a station, Requiem bait is added. This means we need to monitor the stations more frequently compared to other systems that have the bait already in them.
Why is Exterra so Effective?
Using chemical products, like Termidor, to treat live termites can be very effective, however it is very hard to measure that success. We can treat them one day and return a short time later and have no activity present, which indicates success, but if we are not able to locate the nest, we cannot say for sure. The thing about Requiem or similar bait products is we require multiple visits to top up the feeding stations. This means we can physically see the bait being consumed over time, and see the live termites being effected. This includes signs like seeing the ratio of workers to soldiers changing over several visits, and the colour of the termites changing too.
The result is that it can take longer than chemical, but guarantees elimination, where chemical cannot. Plus, it gives you confidence when you can see the progress happening throughout the colony control process.
Sentricon Always Active
Sentricon Always Active was the first of its kind to embed the active ingredient into the bait that is installed into the station. This means that when termites start consuming the contents in the station, they begin the colony control process immediately, rather than needing to wait for our next visit for the bait to be added (like with Exterra).
This ground-breaking concept means monitoring the stations less frequently whilst still being effective. It DOES still require some monitoring though or it will eventually become ineffective.
This should have brought the price down substantially, however, unfortunately the cost of the new technology meant the product was far more expensive compared to other systems.
Trelona Advance Termite Bait System
More recently, BASF, who make the chemical product Termidor, brought out their own active bait station which is called Trelona Advance Termite Bait System. It uses the same concept as Sentricon, but is more versatile due to the variety of cartridge options you can place in the stations along with the ability to use it in-conjunction with a Termidor Chemical Soil Treatment.
This has been a huge benefit for those who prefer a chemical solution, but who had limitations (like a timber deck in the way).This product allows us to still achieve a full Termite Management System using a combination of products from the same manufacturer.
To top it off, the frequency of monitoring Trelona is similar to that of Sentricon, which can save you money.
Which one of these systems would suit your property?
Ultimately this would need to be determined by our Technician on a case by case basis, however, typically we are likely to recommend the Exterra System for most high risk sites where a chemical solution is not suitable.
Trelona is great for homes with less pressure from the risk of termites, or where a partial system is required, like in combination with a chemical solution as discussed earlier.
Buildings with less risk can accommodate less frequent monitoring, which can reduce the cost and is always our aim at Suburban, that is, to find the ideal tipping point for adequate protection with maximum value!
Regardless of the system you choose, it is important to remember that it is only effective if it is maintained. This means ongoing monitoring, but also equally important is choosing a company you know will service the stations properly AND offer more than just checking stations.
In our next video, we explain the SPM difference and why we are talking about so much more than just the Termite Bait stations.
VIDEO 10 – THE SPM DIFFERENCE – THE NEXT LEVEL IN TERMITE BAITING SYSTEMS
Regardless of the system, there are some important items that MUST be included as part of your Bait Station Termite Management System.
The key is to look at the overall termite management of your property, and whilst there are many factors that you, as the homeowner, can assist with, the most important is choosing the right company to assist with the parts you shouldn't handle yourself.
The focus, when selecting a professional pest company, is understanding what else they provide along with the Bait stations.
Here are some points you should consider:
- A full Timber Pest Inspection in accordance with the Australian Standard is essential. - Even if you don't suspect termites in your home, it is crucial that a thorough check of the house is still carried out. If there is termite activity, it is important to treat these directly rather than waiting for them to hit the new stations that are getting installed. A thorough inspection will also include an extensive written report indicating all of the important findings and recommendations on what you can do as the homeowner to reduce the risk of termite activity
- Correct placement of the Bait stations can make a massive difference - installing stations every 3 - 5 metres around the building is what is required
- An experienced Technician will know the subtle differences to achieve the best results.
- Installing the stations discretely while still maintaining the safe spacing between the stations. Remember if you put them too far apart you risk termites missing them and still getting into your house
- Installing the stations so they are less likely to be in the way, or damaged
- Installing them strategically to be the most attractive for termites, for example, knowing if in concrete, in grass areas, or in gardens would be most effective for your property
- Your installer should supply you with a map with a location of all the stations, so you know where they are and how many there are.
- Regular servicing of the stations is crucial, not just a 'check' of the System
- Being able to explain to you as the homeowner how to help maintain the System is important. Knowing how often the stations will need to be checked is also crucial, for example, if you pay for a 12-month package, you want to be confident the company will turn up more than twice in that time to look after the System.
- Will they just turn up without warning, will they actually find all the stations and will they actually do anything with them or just open and close the lid again?
- If the stations are only "checked' and not serviced properly, as time goes on, things like dirt, weeds, and other pests like ants can build up and make the stations unattractive for termites.
- If the person quoting you the service didn't make you feel super confident they will be able to offer a quality service, is it really worth spending the money at all?
- Being kept informed of what's happening at your property is key to a strong relationship
- A lot of clients are happy for us to attend their property while they are work, or just not home. This shows they trust our team to carry out the service, but even if we did a great job, it isn't a great service if they're not updated on what we did and what we found.
- Our process is to always discuss our findings with you in person (if you're onsite), as well as send you an update letter on our latest visit after every service. Because that's what our clients expect. They want to know they are getting value out of the system.
Because the reality is you are not relying on the stations to protect your home, you are relying on a professional pest company to do this. There is no product warranty offered with any bait stations, so you need a company who will guarantee their service. Otherwise, where are you left if something goes wrong?
There's a reason that Suburban Pest Management have been around for nearly 30 years, and why our 10,000 Termite Management Systems are backed by a company guarantee and a reputation for quality. And in a competitive area like Southeast Queensland, reputation is everything!
If you want to save money, and get the cheapest job, we could offer you cheaper alternatives. But if you want to future proof your home from termite attack, and rest easy knowing you are backed by a longstanding company, then experience the SPM difference and keep your family safe for years to come.
VIDEO 11 - THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRODUCT WARRANTY AND A COMPANY GUARANTEE
Most pest companies provide a product warranty, and sadly for our industry (and for the consumer), it can take just two weeks to become a qualified Pest Technician. This means that in less than a month someone who has never done Pest Control before can start running their own business and offering you a fancy warranty, even if they have zero experience.
This is a negative view, but the point is that in our industry products almost never fail, however, poor installations very often do, and normally this cannot be identified until months or years down the track. What does this mean for the Product Warranty that was promised to you? This is a Manufacturer's Warranty, and they will in no way uphold a Warranty for a poor installation. So as the consumer, you're left to chase the operator who installed it.
Did your installer have a QBCC licence? Did they have insurance? And are they even still operating? A cowboy installer or even just someone inexperienced who carries out a poor treatment that fails will have no leg to stand on. And as a consumer it can be like chasing a ghost.
After all these negatives, let’s finish up on a positive note. There are many fantastic pest companies right throughout Australia, offering amazing service. The challenge is working out the good from the bad.
When you are weighing up multiple quotes, or multiple companies, there are a few great questions you can ask yourself:
- Is the business licenced and insured?
- How long have they been in business? And how confident are you they will still be in business in a few years’ time if something goes wrong?
- What do their Google Reviews or Facebook Reviews say about them?
- How informative is their website, or the information they provided you if they came to site?
- And did they knock you off your feet throughout the quote process?
If they aren't impressing you BEFORE they win the job, how good will the service be afterwards? Alarm bells should ring for you if they were slow to get to site, turned up late, or took ages to give you the quote. Is this what you can expect when you book the job?
Comparing quotes is much more than comparing price. If you weren't confident the Technician had all the answers when onsite, are you confident they can offer you a company guarantee to keep your family and your home secure for years to come?
Here at Suburban, there's a reason that we have been around for nearly 30 years, and a reason why our 10,000 Termite Management Systems are backed by a company guarantee and a reputation for quality. If you want to future proof your home from termite attack, and rest easy knowing you are backed by a longstanding company, then experience the SPM difference and keep your family safe for years to come.
If you would like to get a quote, fill in the form below or if you wish to find out more, give us a call on 1300 65 65 72.