Pre-Construction Termite Treatment: Why it’s Important
The goal of pre-construction termite treatment
Pre-construction termite treatment is an attempt to prevent termite infestation in new construction. The pre-construction treatment attempts to detour infestation from the most common termites found to invade houses.
Being in the building industry for many years I have seen my fair share of termite damage. In this article I will cover a few things I learnt along the way regarding these little “white ants”. I should also thank my friend Mike Higgins from Pro Termites based in Queensland. He’s always just a phone call away should i need advice.
Live in unground colonies and have orangish-brown oval-shaped heads
Are found in underground colonies and are one of the most aggressive species of termites.
Require wood with a high moisture content to establish a nest.
Do not require soil. They can start a nest on any cellulose material used for your home and decaying wood debris left around the house. Drywood termites also live in the wood they eat.
Information on the different types of termites.
Why pre-construction is effective
Pre-construction termite treatment is required by the BCA (Building code of Australia). Treating termites during pre-construction is effective for a variety of reasons.
- Creates a more secure barrier
Without any obstructions, all areas of the soil can be treated.
Less termiticide is required without any obstructions.
- Easier to complete treatment before construction is done
Pre-construction treatment is less labor-intensive and also allows for the structure of the house to be treated.
For information on the BCA standards, you can find a handbook of termite risk management here.
How Preconstruction treatment works
When it comes to pretreating your home for termites you have a couple of options.
- Chemical barriers
- Physical barriers
- Bait stations
- Using termite resistant timber
Chemical termite barriers can be used on the soil or the wood of the structure. When treating the soil with termiticide the foundation form(Used to mold concrete for the foundation) is installed first, then liquid termiticide is sprayed around and inside the foundation area.
The ground area will have to be treated before the visible barrier(Used to keep moisture from concrete) is installed if you are using concrete slabs. Using liquid termiticide will require 100 gallons or more of termiticide. Along with spraying, you can also use rodding during preconstruction to prevent termites.
Rodding uses a termiticide gel and has the advantage of reaching further in the ground than liquid termiticide. The gel is inserted into the ground in a 4-inch deep hole with each hole 18-inches apart. Treating the wood of the house requires that the houses’ structure be sprayed with liquid termiticide.
Treating the houses’ wooden structure has the benefit of longevity. Since the houses’ structure is not exposed to the elements the chemicals used are unable to breakdown. Spraying the wood only requires about 3-5 gallons compared to the 100 or more gallons you’ll need if you are treating the ground.
A physical barrier requires a material to be laid down that termites are unable to penetrate through. You have the option to use a sealant, mesh screens, Particle barriers like sand, or basalt. Physical barriers are long last and will provide you with protection for 25-50 years. Most companies will even offer you a warranty during this timeframe.
Bait stations are normally used in conjunction with another method. Once the termites take the bait from the bait station, artificial hormones or some form of a toxic substance is used to disrupt the termites’ body systems. Without the worker termites, the colony is unable to feed itself and the queen starves. Most bait stations stay active for around 5 years.
Termite resistant timber
There are a few trees that are naturally resistant to termites. Only certain parts of the tree are resistant to terminates though, the heartwood and the bark. Pressure-treated wood should not be used indoor there is the chance some of the chemicals may leak and cause problems but for fences and patios, pressure-treated wood is a great option.
Why preconstruction termite treatment is important
With no obstructions in the way, pre-construction is the perfect time to start treatment for termites. Treating the soil with termiticide is the most common option but treating the soil only protects against Subterranean termites. Your best option is to use more than one of these methods.
You will probably want to leave this up to professionals transporting 100 plus gallons of termiticide isn’t easy for a DIYer(Do it yourself). You will still want to get regular inspections to make sure everything is up to spect but when done properly preconstruction termite treatment should leave your house termite free and your wallet happy.