How Long Does a Termite Treatment Last?

If you own your own home or an investment property, you’re already on your guard against termites. Aside from natural disasters, subterranean termites (also known as white ants) pose one of the biggest threats to the structural integrity and value of your investment. Given the opportunity, they’ll turn your dreams to worthless dust. Hands down, one of the best weapons to have in your arsenal is a termite treatment. Termite treatments promise a long-term solution to the problem. That’s all well and good, but exactly how long does a termite treatment last?

Termite treatment options

A termite treatment involves the application of a chemical to the soil around your property. Most often, the termite treatment used is a ‘termiticide’. As the name suggests, a termiticide targets and kills termites.

A termite treatment’s a good option if your property’s already under attack from termites, or if you want to be proactive and protect your property from a termite attack in the future.

Termiticides – How they work

A termiticide works in two ways:

  1. It kills the termites that come into direct contact with treated soil, and
  2. It uses the termites that survive the initial exposure as carriers, transporting it back into the colony and setting up a catastrophic chain reaction.

For the layperson, a termite colony can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to locate. It’s usually deep underground and a significant distance from the termites’ food source: your home. Fortunately for you, a termiticide bypasses the need to locate the colony itself. It does this by getting between the termites and their food source.

Termites love cellulose. Your home’s a delightful smorgasbord of all things wood; architraves, skirting boards, doors and structural timbers that are chock-a-block with cellulose. To a hungry termite with a whole colony to feed, it’s well worth the risk of leaving the protection of the colony to forage at your place.

A correctly applied termiticide sets up a protective barrier around your home. It’s applied to the perimeter of your home. It should also be applied to any expansion joins in concrete and along the edges of any paving, tiling or concrete slab. This can involve ‘trenching’ and drilling, where the chemical is injected directly into the soil.

Most termite treatments are not repellents. They’re designed to be undetectable so that your termites won’t go out of their way to avoid the affected area. As the worker termites come and go from the colony to forage for food, they cross the barrier. Some are killed straight away. The survivors return to the colony with the digested wood – and that’s where the termiticide is at its most effective.

The transfer process, that is, the process of feeding and grooming and other termite-to-termite contact that occurs, is the mechanism through which the termiticide then spreads throughout the colony. Termites are also known to cannibalise their dead, speeding up the process even more. Eventually, the termiticide makes its way to the queen. Once she succumbs, the entire colony collapses.

Factors affecting the effectiveness and lifespan of your termite treatment

How long does a termite treatment last? In reality, it varies. Here are some of the main factors affecting the longevity of your termite treatment.

1. Product choice

There are a number of different termite treatments on the market. Some are water based, others are solvent based. Some have been around for years, others are relative new-comers, taking advantage of the latest research and development. The product you choose has a direct bearing on how long your termite treatment will last.

Common termite treatment products on the market include Termidor (manufactured by BASF), Altriset and Premise (manufactured by Bayer). Each has a rating as to how long it is likely to last when correctly applied. Most termite treatments have a lifespan of 5-8 years, so it’s probably much less than you think.

When it comes to termite treatments for your home, it’s far better an option to be safe than sorry and to opt for a regular schedule of pest inspections and termite treatments rather than to make the assumption you’re safe.

2. How current your termite treatment is

You might think that your home’s adequately protected because your termite treatment is old-school – an organochlorine. It’s a common misconception that these chemical termite treatments that were applied pre 1995 (prior to being outlawed for health reasons) last for 3-4 decades. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all. The lifespan of these first generation termiticides was grossly exaggerated. Manufacturers of modern termite treatments are far more conservative in their estimates as to how long your termite treatment will last.

3. Product application

Deficiencies in the way the termite treatment’s been applied will greatly undermine its effectiveness in protecting your home. Deficiencies in the application of your termite treatment can include gaps in the protective barrier. This allows termites to come and go without being exposed to the termiticide.

A substandard application of a termite treatment can even render the treatment completely ineffective and a complete waste of money from the start. You might think that you have peace of mind but in reality, you’ll have a false sense of security. In the meantime, it’s buying time for the termites to continue on their destructive path and extensively damage your property.

4. The effect of intervening events on the lifespan of your termite treatment

Other factors that may undermine the effectiveness and longevity of a termite treatment include:

  • subsidence (soil compaction, expansion and movement)
  • water leaks or flooding around your property
  • major excavation works (including demolition, building or extension works) carried out on your property.

If the soil immediately adjacent to your property’s been significantly disrupted, you’ll need to consider whether your termite treatment’s doing its job properly at all.

Getting the right answers – How long will YOUR termite treatment last?

If you’ve recently acquired a property, up until recently it was extremely difficult to find out whether a termite treatment had been applied, the product used and date of application.

Bit by bit, stricter regulation of the industry is moving to overcome this problem. It’s doing this by imposing an obligation on licensed operators who carry out termite treatments to supply a certificate of treatment. In addition, you can find out more information about your property’s most recent termite treatment by consulting the information contained on a durable treatment label housed inside your property’s electrical meter box. That information’s a good starting point for estimating the likely life-span of your termite treatment.

How best to maximise the lifespan of your termite treatment

Your termite treatment also has to be correctly applied by someone who knows what they’re doing. In order to maximise the effectiveness and lifespan of your termite treatment, you must use an expert. The application of a termite treatment should only be done by a professional pest controller. That is, someone who’s

  • qualified
  • experienced
  • fully compliant with state and federal legislation and the applicable Australian standards
  • accredited by the manufacturer of the termite treatment product
  • licensed by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission
  • fully insured with professional liability insurance, and
  • armed with the right equipment for the job.

How long does a termite treatment last?’ is a tricky question. When there’s so much at stake, you need to rely on an expert to assess the extent of your termite problem and outline your termite treatment options. This means carrying out a thorough termite inspection, for starters. Next, they should advise you on a tailored solution and the best termite treatment for your situation. If it’s peace of mind and a long-term solution you’re looking for, contact the team at Pegasus Environmental today on (07) 5522 0089.

How long does a termite treatment last? There are many factors to consider. Contact the experts at Pegasus Environmental to have all your termite questions answered!

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