Termites are a natural part of the environment. Termites breakdown dead wood are natural scavengers and are social insects forming small to large colonies. Termites are common misnomer as White Ants. Termites cause more damage than fire, storm and floods put together throughout the world.
Termites are living in underground colonies. They are unable to survive without moisture. Soil is their major source of moisture and is their shield to resist sunlight. So termites always try to keep touch with soil.
A Termite Colony consists of a Queen which is in the chamber and never forages out and controls the colony through the chemical stimulus. A King which is short-lived and generally dies after mating. Soldiers protect the colony and are fed by the workers. Workers form the majority of the population in a termite colony. Workers build nests, tunnels, feed other termites, raise nymphs, are sterile and blind. What we usually see are the workers which are the major cause for damage of wood. Subterranean Termites are the species which pose major risk in India.
Precautions against Termites
- Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the home including entry points for utilities and pipes.
- Repair fascia and soffits and rotted roof shingles. Some termites are drawn to deteriorating wood.
- Routinely inspect the foundation of your home for signs of mud tubes (used by termites to reach a food source), cracked or bubbling paint and wood that sounds hollow when tapped.
- Maintain a one-inch gap between soil and wood portions of the home.
- Store the wood at least 20 feet away from the house and 5 inches off the ground.
- Direct water away from your house through properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.
Traditional treatment and its drawbacks
Historically, the best way to stop Termites from destroying homes is by creating a chemical barrier with a termitcide in the soil around the structure. The repellent nature of conventional termitcide actively encourages termites to avoid the barrier and look for gaps that are formed due to application difficulties, shifting of treated mass, subsidence, structural difficulties, etc.
New generation treatment
It creates non-repellent chemical region, the foraging termites do not detect this region while foraging and get exposed to the chemical. On contact with the chemical field, termites become dysfunctional but do not die immediately. They continue interacting with the other colony mates, in the process they transfer the chemical to the other colony members, intoxicating the whole colony leading to suppression of the colony. This is what is called “Domino effect”.
Pre-construction Termite control treatment
- Treatment of the bottom surface and sides of the excavations made for column pits, wall trenches and basements.
- Treat of the refill earth on both sides of all built-up walls and vertical surface of substructure.
- Treatment of the entire leveled surface, before laying the floor.
- Treatment of RCC framed structures with column and plinth beams and RCC basement.
- Drenching the pipes, wastes and conduits entering the soil.
Post-construction Termite control treatment
- By drilling holes in the concrete or masonry apron around the building at the junction of floor and walls, cracks, crevices, joints etc., and treating the same.
- By injecting the pesticide in the walls and other parts of the structure.
- By digging trenches along the external wall of building exposing the foundation wall surface and making rod holes.
- By digging trenches of back fill earth.
- For RCC framed structure by excavating trenches exposing the sides of the column and plinth beams and treating the backfill earth and the vertical surface of the structure.