Article: Bug-Off! Volume 1, Issue 3 – August 2020
Author: PMATT Member Luke Sheppard, Operations Director of Trinidad Pest Control Limited.
Website: Trinidad Pest Control Limited
Subterranean termites can do severe damage. Roofing, mouldings, fittings and furniture, electrical wiring and even carpet underlay can be destroyed very rapidly.
Subterranean (Reticulitermes) live underground. They colonise in vast networks feeding on buried wood and cellulose material. The insects naturally forage up to the ground surface, seeking out new food sources for the colony.
The insects are often noticeable at ground level making their way up walls. Damaged wood tends to be soiled with a muddy residue. The insects are approximately a quarter inch long with a cream-coloured body equipped with opposing curved black jaws. At the first of any of these signs an established pest management firm should be called for advice on treatment.
There are two main control approaches. One is aimed at eradicating the entire colony. Baited chemicals are applied into the soil which attract and are consumed by the termites. The baited termites then distribute the active ingredient along to other individuals cumulatively via an instinctive grooming and feeding process called trophallaxis.
The second approach is Barrier Prevention which basically is establishing a repellent zone under a floor slab. This chemical presence prevents the insects’ access into a building through its foundation. Such protective barriers can be introduced by surface spraying the foundation at the pre-construction stage or, in existing structures, by drilling small holes through the floors and pumping in termiticide toxicants. Reputable companies in Trinidad and Tobago will warrantee both of these types of application for up to five years.