Termite is that type of an insect which can be destructive for a newly or old constructed house. Specially for houses that have lots of solid wood used during finishing works such as in doors, door frames, wardrobes, consoles, kitchen cabinets etc. It can be devastating both for natural solid wood and laminated sheets such as palaiwood or MDF. It can even destroy anything made from paper such as books and your official documents. It is found everywhere specially in newly developed societies where most of the plots or land surrounding your house is empty or has old trees that attract termites.
Major source of food for termites is rotten wood and if you have any tree in your lawn or outside home that has rotten roots or stems will definitely attract termites. Different woods have different natural characteristics, some woods are hard and some are soft. Soft woods are also one of the sources that attract termites. Another attraction for termites is moist wood, any wood that has more than acceptable moisture content should not be used during construction or kept inside house after finishing. It will attract termite which will then make its way inside the house and causing damage. Termites are smart enough to make there way through sewerage pipes or electric conduit pipes to anywhere their food source is. Though it can not eat uPVC or plastic but it can definitely make its way through it. Similarly termite can not damage concrete or bricks but it can fit through the cracks available to it.
For natural environment, termites are beneficial since it eats up the rotten wood and turns it into an organic material that improves the quality of soil. But when we develop and build house on land, termites become destructive. Termites exist in form of family and a colony that has a king and queen responsible for reproduction till the family reaches a certain size. For a house to be completely safe from a termite attack, precautionary measures are mandatory at the time of construction at certain stages to prevent this colony from being nourishing. These precautionary measures are termed as “anti termite spray” or “termite treatment”. Sometimes it is also referred to as “termite proofing”, however in reality there is no thing as termite proofing because there is no medicine that can completely eradicate or kill the termites. Termite treatments keep the insects away from the area within which treatment has been done.
Signs of termite in a house
Most significant signs of termite presence in a house is the emergence of mud tubes on walls in irregular but upward direction as shown in picture below. If these kind of tubes exist on internal or external walls of your house then it definitely means that termite is damaging wood items of your house. Similar tubes should be searched on tree stems too inside or outside your house. If found, tree should be removed before the termite travels inside the house or anti termite spray should be carried out at earliest.
Treatment for Under construction house
For a house that is under construction, anti termite spray is carried out at three different stages for complete protection against termite.
When you start the construction of your house and digging or excavation for foundations is complete, first stage of anti termite spray is done at this stage. Medicine is sprayed in whole excavated foundations using a pressure pump such that no space is left unsprayed.
Next round of spray is done at the time of internal and external floor pcc. When compaction of floors is done and brick ballast or gravel is laid, before concreting all internal and external spaces of ground floor are sprayed using same medicine through same company that was used at the time of stage 1.
Final stage of termite proofing is carried at finishing stage during wood works at the time of making of wooden door frames (chogath), doors, wardrobes and kitchen cabinets.
Treatment for old house
For old houses where termite signs are found, treatment is completely different as mentioned above. In this case drilling is done up to the depth of 2ft along all the internal and external walls of house and medicine is pumped in with pressure. An alternate to this method that is in practice these days is special pvc piping during the construction of foundations of a house as shown in picture below. This method is also recommended as it has special inlet nozzle visible outside from where medicine can be pumped into the foundations and directly into the soil anytime in future if required. However mostly this method has a blocking disadvantage of its outlet nozzles present inside foundations or concealed in soil.
Quality check of medicine on site
Different brands of termite treatment consists of different chemicals that can be categorised as:
- Killer chemical
- Repellent chemical
- Slow poisoning
Most common and recommended chemicals worldwide fall under the category of repellents, almost 85% chemicals are repellents for termite whereas rest are killers and slow poisons. Most common repellent chemical used in Pakistan is known as “fipronil”. Few companies use slow poison chemical in their medicine which is termed as “imidacloprid” and some use repellent whose chemical name is “bifenthrin”. It is important to mention here that all names mentioned above are chemical formulas used in brands of different companies, these are not the brand names of medicines.
As stated earlier, most recommended chemical formula for termite treatment in house is “fipronil”, every termite treatment medicine is made with a mixture of different ingredients that includes a certain percentage of active formula (fipronil or any other as mentioned above) along with other ingredients which are mostly petrochemicals and soil binders. While dealing with the vendors:
- Inquire about the chemical that they use in their medicine.
- If it is fipronil, it should consist of 2.5% of active fipronil ingredient if it is “EC”(Emily fireable concentrate), if it is “non EC” the active ingredient should be 5%.
- Inquire about the quality of petrochemicals and soil binders used along with the other ingredients. Least price of medicine means the quality of ingredients other than the fipronil is very low and it should be avoided. Good quality medicine will definitely cost more. Hence deal with more than 1 vendors for a better understanding and idea.
- Inquire about the after sales services and warranty period.
As stated earlier, there is no such thing as complete termite proofing. Termite can only be kept away from the house. To be on safer side it is better to get outer boundary of your house treated once every three years.