Termite Problems Help - Chemical or Bait Stations

Hi OZ Bargain

I recently had a termite inspection and found a long list of damage to the house, they aren't in the property currently as it was sprayed in 2009 with chemicals. I believe these barriers last about 10 years so I'm not sure what path to go down.

Pest company has recommended bait stations that are check quarterly (1k per year) this included a free inspection of the property . This means if termites are spotted they can get it early and prevent further damage.

The other options I'm looking at is a new chemical barrier but I was told I would need to rip up decking to avoid gaps in the barrier. Not sure how much the chemical treatments cost?

Given the damage should I now get a building inspection to confirm how much I need to replace?(flooring, walls, etc)

Located in North East Melbourne (hostspot) Just wondering what other people do to protect their homes.

Be kind, very overwhelmed


closed Comments

  • +3

    Pest company has recommended bait stations

    Get a second opinion. If they suggest the same then do that.

  • +2

    A barrier treatment usually costs 3-5k. Best to get a builder in to determine if the damage is structural. Make repairs where needed and put a new barrier down. Monitoring stations are hit and miss and will cost a lot more than a chemical treatment.

  • For an oz bargainer try the following:

    I just used google to find the site.

  • +3

    The temptation w termites is overkill.

    'Overkill' literally poisons everything and leaves the chemicals in the ground, the water- the plants, evaporating as gas… you might think its alright, its under the house, but…

    The 'professionals' drill holes in the ground, concrete under which ants commonly build colonies, and pump it full of organo-phosphates (derivatives of DDT-like compounds). This only works if they find the main nest (hard to do first go) and if the termites fail to move their queen to one of their subsidiary nests.

    The reason it can fail is, poor targeting, not removing the root cause (E.g. water or food accessible from ground level). The solution however, is usually more chemicals. Which is why the pesticide dudes have drums of it, as well as big compressors, on their trucks.

    Anyway, regardless of that approach, termites are just like other communal insects. They exhibit predictable behaviours, and regularly move their colonies- such as when the going gets bad, or the conditions elsewhere, improve. So knowing this, we can simply bait them, ascertain their location, and then target an attack using a very small amount of harmful substance, on the colony. If we fail the first time… we simply retry.

    And even if you don't have them, maintaining baits is a good way of making sure a property doesn't attract them. Especially helpful for any property that has timber footings or a timber floor close to the ground, and/or a constantly damp, sub floor area that a termite colony might find after a swarm event (Aug-Nov in Oz).

    Either way, water sources are the most common attractant for termites. Remove these and the ants will go over time, or at least not come back if you upset them after their water source dries up. Often pipes mounted along joists up under the floors that gather condensation, but if you have a leaky garden tap, toilet or bathroom floor waste or something, it might be all the fix you need.

    Baits can be bought online and don't have to empty the bank. Place all round the house as you might have done already, and inspect every 4-6 weeks. You can make your own by cutting up tasty morsels of timber (say 6" chunks of untreated pine, 3-4" square/round, for example). Drill a 20mm hole at each end, whack one end into the ground, and cover the top one with doubled over glad wrap, held in place by an elastic band. The idea is that the ants come up the bottom hole, hollow the lump out, and you then see the top hole go from empty to full of waste pulp and mud. Cover your bait with an upturned plastic pot, so it's nice and dark underneath (and the ants feel proteceted/emboldened to do their worst)

    Once you know where they are active, you quietly and carefully find a mud tunnel, knock carefully pop an edge off it with a sharp knife, verify it has ants running inside it and place some powdered white-ant killer into to tunnel using a puffer. Carefully seal the mud tunnel back up with the part you removed, and wait. In a few weeks the queen should have had some of the poison rubbed onto her and the nest will begin to disband.

    The advantage is this is a verifiable way you can cheaply manage termites yourself. It only requires patience, care and tenacity to find them. Also, you can check as frequently as you like, (since they will always come back unless you get rid of their food and water source(s) they rely on.

    So if I were you I'd setup fresh baits, every 2m around the house and other timber structures, especially around damp spots. Fix and leaks. Then just watch the baits to see what happens. If you have them attack any baits, put on your overalls and go under the house very quietly and carefully to see where they are active, find the biggest mud tunnels, and plan a targeted attack of the queen.

  • +5

    This guys cut and paste answer contains a lot of misinformation and should be ignored. Nobody uses organophosphates anymore. More so DDT is an organochlorine and was banned in the 90’s. Also, dusting a termite monitor will never contact enough termites and the current tried and true method is by baiting the station after activity is detected. Not that successful for beginners. It also seems you suggest the OP wait until the termites are attacking the house and then dust. As the OP has only asked which system would be better I suggest a barrier especially if you do the maths. The company would charge to install the stations then $1k per year to check them. Compare that to a barrier which might cost $5k for ten years and it’s half the price. I know this is a bargain site but suggesting the OP does his own monitoring in a house that has previously been attacked is just not sensible.

    • Thanks, I'm working on the moisture issues that the house has with new drains and fixing broken stormwaters, With a new chemical treatment I should still do annual inspections?

      • Any structure that has had previous termite damage would be regarded as high risk and should definitely be inspected yearly.

      • The barrier treatment will offer some kind of warranty e.g. they'll come back if any suspicions of activity etc. But it's only valid with a paid annual inspection.

        I've chosen to lock-in for life really: have them inspect every year, and I think it's every 7 years redo the barrier.

        I would never use baits. Not because I'm an expert and know what I'm talking about, but I just don't agree with the principle. Attracting the pest to your home so you can kill them just seems like a really dumb thing to do. You'd better have enough bait for all of them, or what are the others that came for a feed going to eat?

    • @sraymond - knows what he is talking about 100% regarding treatment
      The value in annual inspections following treatment is dependent heavily on age of home, construction method, access and location.

      @resisting the urge The treatment suggestions are 30 years outdated and illegal for example the puffer method described used Arsenic - long ago banned. However the maintenance, environmental risk management and inspections contain some valid truths.

      Most home owners will not be experienced in inspecting for termites or willing to inspect sub-floor and roof voids - a diy solution obviously depends on the homeowners risk appetite and home value.

      TLDR Baits work so does injection/trenching. Termite baiting and monitoring charges are an expensive service

  • +1

    Can only speak from our experience, but we found termite damage in our house (termites were gone) and were advised to do the barrier solution. It was expensive but I think it was worth it for peace of mind.

    We did get a discount with the barrier solution though, since we drilled the holes in the concrete ourselves. Not sure if that is a viable option for you.

    • Thanks, do they do both side of the foundation?

      • hmm - not sure what you mean by that. Could you elaborate?

        We went around the perimeter of the house (as in the actual house building) and drilled holes about…4 inches deep and 30cm apart.

      • If you have a subfloor a treatment will include trenching down on both sides of the foundation.

  • this is how i understand it

    chemical barrier is best, termite gets infected, and infects other termites, as they touch each other. use termidor

    bait station just prevents them getting in, doesn't kill them, so one day they come back or eat trees etc.

    go with a company that gives a warranty, in return all you do is have them do annual inspection

    • This true with Fipronil, however Bifenthrin and similar whilst they will kill the termites act as a repellent - to the best of my understanding.

  • +1

    FWIW though daunting at first glance DIY chemical barrier is much simpler than many basic garden jobs. We live rural on big house with big concrete verandah all around - in order to do barrier on house only I could have trenched (but due to high rainfall here I didn't want this) so drilled through slab and applied mix under. Is a lot of work but done over several weekends much better than the $5k+ bill.

    Termidor is best choice - though it's essentially just fipronil and you can find this much cheaper via generic brands. Very good thread on this over at Whirlpool. Loads of info on DIY available all over - with common sense it's very safe, a lot of folks who poo poo it have (IMHO) either paid through nose for pro's to do (which I have zero issue with if you've more $$$ than time) or are pro's posing as responders (what happened in the DIY thread at WP).

    Our place was very low termite risk (double brick on very thick, fully exposed slab) but it ended up costing me under $300 to do and I know it was done properly, which with all due respect I doubt I could say for a pro here as the under slab injection was tricky due to clay soil. Anyway lots of options for the OP - but I'd do a good quality barrier and not worry about the annual inspections.

    • +2

      I was a part of the thread on whirlpool and can guarantee your job was not done properly. Unless you had a genuine injector hooked up to a pump sprayer.

      I also find it irresponsible of you to suggest someone who has had termites in their house forego annual inspections.

      Lastly Fiprinol based termiticides are not Termidor. That’s like saying home brand cola is coke.

    • My dad has a DIY approach too. When his kitchen ceiling fell down, he sprayed them and repaired the damage. He seems to be winning price wise.

      Not my recommendation though.

  • Curious was this a home recently acquired? Can you establish damage was known by previous owners?

    If last treated in 2009 it would be beneficial to have the barrier treatment redone for peace of mind. Normally the concrete drill holes are plugged so there would be no further drilling required if done properly the first time. I wouldn't go as far as ripping up the deck. A few boards… maybe but all depends on what the access is like.

    Termite bait stations

    • Someone new about damage not sure if previous owner or one before that.

      • If you can prove they knew about it then its a material fact that should have been disclosed on section 32. Any evidence of repairs etc? IANAL

        Did you have a pre purchase building and pest inspection? Not that they are the be all and end all.

        • Some wood has been replaced, purchased at auction so no inspection sadly. All looked above board.

        • Are you sure that has to be declared? I had to google what a Section 32 is - it seems that Victoria has tried to move aware from the old real estate "buyer beware"??

          But what I read said it only covers covenants, easements, zonings and outgoing, and specifically does not cover building condition or compliance.

          • +1

            @SlickMick: In Victoria "if you knowingly conceal from a potential buyer a material fact about a property you are selling, you are breaking the law. This applies from 1 March 2020". I'm no expert but looks like the old "buyer beware" cannot be relied upon as much as it has been in the past.

            VIC - Material Fact Guidelines

            What is a material fact?
            A material fact is a fact that would be important to a potential purchaser in deciding whether or not to buy any land. In the context of a proposed sale >of land, a material fact is one that influences a purchaser in deciding whether or not to buy any land at all, or to buy land only at a certain price.
            A fact is not inuendo, gossip or mere speculation. However, an opinion may be a “material fact”, if it is an expert opinion that is honestly held on >reasonable grounds, and the vendor or agent have knowledge of that expert opinion.
            Failure to disclose a fact alone is not sufficient to establish an offence under s12(d). The fact must be material. A fact can be 'material' in two ways:
            1. Generally: a fact that an average, reasonably informed purchaser with a fair-minded understanding of the property market, including the role of >an estate agent, would generally regard as material in their decision to buy land (examples are provided below).
            2. Specifically: if a fact about land is known by the vendor (or the vendor’s agent, including an estate agent) to be important to a specific >purchaser, it can be material, even if other agents and consumers would not generally consider that fact to be important or of significance to them. >This knowledge could arise if (for example) a particular purchaser:
            a) asks a specific question about the land of the vendor or the vendor’s agent (including their estate agent), and/or
            b) where a purchaser informs the vendor/agent of their intended use of the land.

            • @oO0Dam0Oo: That seems to be a good step forward. Wonder if other states are doing anything.

  • +1

    I just recently found termites in my garage. I found a mud tunnel going up the wall. Just like you I was honestly just overwhelmed and stressed. Many sleepless nights. At first I just wanted to go cheap. Bait it and move on but considering this is my home and the damage they can cause I decided to ease my stress I needed to pay for peace of mind.

    One thing to know is you aren't covered in home insurance as it could have been prevented so its not something to ignore!

    I got 4 quotes and it only ranged from $1200-$1800, and that is for the complete works. Drilling holes around the perimeter and using Termidor ( I went with Fipronil, over Bifenthirin as I had active termites) so I wanted the contact and kill over the barrier treatment. Also I have quite a large perimeter so I doubt it will cost over $2000. And I just need a yearly pest inspection for warranty at a cost of about $180

    In summary, it's not like ants that are just a nuisance, these things could do damage in excess of 50k so I just take the hit to the hip pocket so I can just sleep at night. Don't listen to people saying "just do it yourself" this isn't something to be a tight ass about. Do it properly so its done correctly and you can rest easy knowing you have a warranty. Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there!

    • Damn I paid 4k IIRC! although I had a fair amount of drilling required and large perimeter.

      • I think my quote says 70 metres around my perimeter and 80% of it was drilling. I have noticed on here though that each states costs seem to vary for things. My solar system for example was $3600 for 24 panels and inverter installed and I see that others are quoting $5000 for half the panels in other cities.So it seems its best to get a few quotes to see what the true market cost is for your state.
        I know when I tell people I got quoted lower they are quick to shave $100's off their quote as they thought initially I looked like an easy target.

    • Mine me asking who you used?

      • I just used local pest control in my area. Most were referred to me by friends and family.

      • Vic here and used VIP pest services.

        DM me if you want direct contact details.

  • Just a useful snippet I have is that I knew somebody that got termites by having wood stacked up against the house. The side of the house should have nothing stacked up against it was the advice from the exterminator fwiw.

    • Gold haha

  • -1

    I would not be seeking mediocre advice from this forum… except if someone were to advise you contact a "professional" pest control unit, immediately.

    What are you thinking… if it is a house, your entire asset could be eaten away and the insurer now reads that you only thought of Baygon.

    • +1

      You never know, maybe some of the replies came from professionals. Don’t know what the comment about insurance means. They don’t cover termite damage…..ever. Also, nobody mentioned Baygon. The OP originally asked which was better baiting or barrier treatment. Unfortunately the thread went off topic with a few diy posts. Probably should be closed.

  • I have about 5 years experience managing a property in Darwin which previously had a very large termite problem but is now going great. The baits were not recommended as being effective by quite a few of the professionals I engaged. This property had an extensive barrier which was previously ineffective. What worked was having a rigorous inspection, including the roof space, and thorough chemical application especially in the hot spots for the termites, sometimes this will need a 3 monthly follow up and another chemical treatment if necessary. Once it's cleared of termites you can then do a 6 monthly inspection, and thereafter the normal 12 monthly inspections. In my experience, the barrier is not good value for money and not guaranteed to be effective - I wouldn't recommend it unless necessary for insurance purposes.