You can’t really claim to have killed termites by killing just a thousand or so with a spray or by tearing infested timber apart. You need to kill the colony.
An established nest/colony may contain a million or more individuals and the queen of a large colony may be laying a thousand or more eggs a day! If you begin repairs before killing the colony, in many instances you will have given them new food. The chances are extremely high, the termites will be back.
You may be inclined to have a new chemical/pesticidal barrier applied but this doesn’t guarantee that the current hidden entry point will be found and defended by this chemical application. You can’t jack up a house to start again. If you’ve found termites, but disturbed them, your first action is to try and find other infested timbers and begin a baiting process (explained below). Of all the ways to kill termite colonies, baiting is considered to be the most reliable method.
Below is helpful information on how you can approach various situations and circumstances where you might find active termites.
I’ve found termites in the garden
Live termites found scurrying through mulch, leaf litter, in a load of firewood, etc, are not in a situation where they are able to be baited. Plenty of people have placed bait in mulch where they saw termites —but it doesn’t work. Probably because the termites could not secure the bait from ants or, they didn’t have secure tunnel access. The best procedure is to place multiple Traps in the area and wait for them to access the Traps in their usual way.See the products
Found in fences, retaining walls, stacked timber or the firewood heap.
These items are made of solid wood and therefore the termites may well be Coptos or Schedos. They could also be one of the not-so-serious termites. We recommend getting them identified; they won’t eat much in the few days or hours it takes. Photos not only of the soldiers but also of the mud on the fence, wall or timber can be a useful aid to identification. We can then advise the best treatment method.See our FREE ID service
I’ve found termites in mounds
Just completely destroy the mound. Termites that build mounds are subterranean but not included in the termites that do 99% of the $damage to homes. This is because mounds are very visible, not tolerated around buildings and it is very easy to kill these colonies by physically destroying the mound. If you are on an acreage property, make it your rule not to allow any mounds to develop within 100 metres of a building or other structure. If you live in suburbia and there are no mounds in your backyard, take a glance over your fences to see if the neighbours have mounds. A 50 metre travel to your home would not be out of the question.
Use a crowbar, a pick/mattock to break open the top/sides. The outer is often very hard. The less dense and crumbly interior is easier to break. The queen and the nursery are at the base of the mound and if you can’t physically get down there, use 30-50 litres of the dilute insecticidal mixture of permethrin, chlorpyrifos or a bifenthrin concentrate which can be purchased from a local hardware store. These insecticides may be known by various brand names but the active ingredients are on the front panel of the label. Although not highly toxic, they are poisons and you should read the label for dilution and safety directions. Using a watering can/bucket, pour at least 30-50 litres of solution down into the mound. It’s more important to use high volume than a high concentration. You want it to percolate all the way down to the bottom to kill off the queen. The colony will be re-built in weeks if you don’t.
I’ve found termites inside a hollow stump or a hollow tree
Coptos and Schedos often build their nest inside hollow trees and stumps. So do a few other species, but as it is very easy to kill termite nests inside trees, it should be done no matter which species it is. The treatment will not kill the tree and, although insecticides are used, they are poured down the inside of the tree and remain there away from people, pets and wildlife. Follow label instructions on dilution and the use of protective procedures. The insecticide inside the tree will last for about 10 years but setting Traps around the buildings is still recommended because termites don’t only set up nests in trees —and we know for sure, termites are in your neighborhood!
I’ve found termite nests in the branches of trees
These termites are either feeding on the decaying interior of the tree or they build tunnels down the outside which then radiate out in many directions (often on top of the ground) to grass and leaf litter. If you can easily reach the nest, physically destroy is as for mounds built on the ground, otherwise you can keep breaking their tunnels and maybe spray insecticide around the base of the tree to eventually ‘starve’ them out. You could of course, get an arborist to climb up and cut the nest out. You could even drill into the trunk of the tree and inject bifenthrin by following the instructions in this section. Just because you have mounds, it doesn’t mean the other, more significant Coptos and Schedos aren’t around. You should consider putting TermiTrap monitors out to intercept them just in case they are.See the products
Because you can’t be sure you’ve actually killed the nest, you should inspect the area and your house every 3 months for the next year.
I’ve found termites plastering a fence
These are probably Heterotermes which are more interested in the fungus growing on the surface of timber such as paling fences, sleepers in retaining walls, etc. They come from the soil and they certainly have been known to find a way inside a house through weepholes. They seldom get into an outside monitor and the Colony Killer Termite Bait is of little use as they don’t build a substantial nest. Probably the easiest way to kill them is to brush off the plastered ‘mud’ mixture and spray the area with a bifenthrin or permethrin solution made from a concentrate bought from your local hardware store. You should also apply a high volume along the line where the fence touches the ground and particularly around the posts. This is best done with a watering can so there is no droplet drift and the soil is saturated. The residue in the soil will last for about 5-10 years. And, because you can’t be sure you’ve actually killed the nest by destroying thousands of soldiers and workers, you should inspect the area (and your house) every 3 months for the next year. Re-do if necessary. You can use our Photo ID service to help you in identifying your termites.
Destroys houses, trees, vehicle tyres and many other materials, faster than any other termite.
I’m in the north and have found giant termites
The Giant Northern Termite Mastotermes darwiniensis destroys houses, trees, vehicle tyres (yes, rubber tyres!) and many other materials, faster than any other termite. They don’t cause the most dollars worth of damage in Australia; that title goes to the Coptos, simply because Coptos are distributed over all the mainland (including where Mastos thrive) and consequently they run up their dollars in the high population cities/suburbs. Identification is pretty easy: Mastos are 13-15mm long (that’s more than half an inch). Most other termites are less than 10mm. They don’t build big mounds; those magnetic (north-south) mounds up your way are grass eaters. Mastos are easy to entice into monitors. Inspect monitors every month as they eat quickly. If you find live Mastos, the IGR (chloruazuron) baits are ineffective. You will need to call in a professional who will probably use a fipronil product. If you are apprehensive of chemicals, do not worry unduly. Fipronil is the chemical in Frontline which is put directly onto the skin of dogs to kill and prevent fleas, so the usual dilution of 3 ml/litre of fipronil is even less toxic.
If you’ve found live termites busy eating timber, you’ll need to use bait on the outside of the timber and they will begin carrying it back to kill their colony.
Here’s a step by step guide.
Don’t disturb them!
You may want to pull things apart to see how far the damage goes. Don’t. This will have the effect of scaring termite workers from the area – and you need them to be the carriers of the bait back to the nest.
Make a small hole as shown here.
Prepare a Termite Tuckerbag
Our Termite Tuckerbags are filled with an insect growth inhibitor called Chlorfluazuron – its deadly to the life cycle of termites, but won’t harm you, your family or pets. You peel open the adhesive on the top and add water. . .
Then you place the opening of the hole over the affected area. The Tuckerbags have an adhesive on them so they can be stuck directly to affected areas. Here it’s been added to a fencepost where termites were found. . .
Here it’s been stuck to the architrave of a window . . .
The termites harvest the bait, taking it back to the nest where it kills the whole colony
Larger nests will need more than one Tuckerbag.Buy now
How Termite Tuckerbags work with Termite Traps.
This is a Termite Trap. There are more details on where to place them in the Defending Your Home section below. Also lots of easy to understand instructions in our How To Guide.
The underside of the Termite Trap . . .
Once termites move into the trap from the bottom and set up home . . .
You’ll see this has happened without needing to open the Trap because the trap ‘viewing port ‘ will be blocked out with the termites’ mud. . .
Once termites move into the trap from the bottom and set up home . . .
This is your cue to add bait. You add 500ml of water to the Termite Tuckerbag . . .
. . and the Tuckerbag affixes directly to the top
of the Trap
And . . . this image is the inside of a box after a successful treatment before you clean out and reset the Trap.
You’ve set a system of traps and baits that’s deadly to termites, but won’t harm you, your family or pets. You’re using the same technique a professional pest controller will be using, but you are saving hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in the process.Buy now
The termites that attack homes follow the same instincts they’ve used for millions of years. These few instincts are predictable. You can help them self destruct by following these recommendations — and be just as predictably successful.
We use this instinct
The worker termite’s main job is to find food, chew off a tummyfull and return to the nest to feed the nymphs and Royalty. Workers are like an endless conveyor belt. It’s what they do.
How we use this instinct
By feeding them a bait which is more palatable, they take it back, instead of chewed wood.
The bait contains a chemical that stops their moulting process and the viability of the queen’s eggs. The colony dies. It may take awhile but it is the most consistently reliable control method. Professionals use the same technique and the same bait — have done for 15+ years — because it works!
What you use
The carton of Colony Killer Bait is usually enough to kill a large colony or a couple of smaller colonies. What you don’t use will store for years.