Leading Edge Pest Management, Inc.

Phone: (925) 689-2222  •  Toll Free: (800) 471-5555  •  E-mail:

April 22, 2009

DRYWOOD TERMITE CONTROL

The Structural Pest Control Board in 2006 and 2007 awarded contracts to Dr. Vernard Lewis, University of California, Berkeley and Dr. Michael Rust, University of California, Riverside, to conduct evaluations on the effectiveness of six commonly used products for the control of Drywood termites (Genera Kalotermes & Incisitermes). These two professors and their teams came up with some interesting results.  Subsequent to these results, the P.C.O.C. (Pest Control Operators of California) published the findings in its magazine circa spring 2009.

I have been licensed Structural Pest Control Owner-Operator of Leading Edge Pest Control Management, and performing Branch 3 Structural Pest Control Inspections and chemical treatments since 1965. I have been an expert consultant for the Structural Pest Control Board on numerous occasions and am very experienced in the applications and treatment methods and procedures referred to in this article. I would like to express my professional opinion based on my vast field experience and applications of the chemicals and treatments referenced in this article. Those test results from the study parallel experiences that Leading Edge Pest Management has achieved in the field with a few exceptions. 

On page seventeen of the referenced article, there are two charts, table one and two, indicating the mortality of Drywood termites treated and the products that they were treated with. You can see these charts by going to www.pcoc.org. These products have been used for many years by pest control companies throughout the world.   In the mid-1990’s, Leading Edge Pest Management was using Power Plant, (an orange product), tim-bor and bora-care extensively for Drywood termite control. Then other products came into the market, like Premise and Termidor. Our company switched over to some of the newer products because we found them safe and effective with fewer problems than the Power Plant.  Today we also still use an orange product called ProCitra DL. 

I would like to comment on the various products tested by the professors referenced in their study.     Destructive testing by Leading Edge Pest Management during various repairs required walls and ceilings to be opened where Drywood termite infestations and damage occurred.  After opening the walls or ceilings we could visually see the extent of the infestations.   We have found that usually the tunnels, or as we call them galleries, may extend anywhere from 10’ to 20’ feet from the kick hole the customer sees coming out through the finished walls.  Based on these observations, we used various criteria to determine the best treat options for complete eradication. The comments listed below are based on our field use and the results obtained. The chemicals referenced were used in our treatment control for Drywood termites based on our experience and use of those chemicals.  We would like to help provide additional information to the use of the chemicals referenced and provide a better understanding to the applications and effectiveness of the chemicals based on our 45 years experience in Structural Pest Control localized chemical treatments.

Tim-bor: (Disodium Octoborate Tetrahydrate)

Tim-bor is a high alkaline borate salt.  It is mined at Boron in Southern California.  It is effective as a termiticide for two reasons. Insects that forages on wood treated with the product would ingest the tim-bor.  The borates in tim-bor kill protozoa. The cellulose ingested by the wood destroying insect, in this case Drywood termites, would eliminate the protozoa in the digestive system.  All cellulose that goes into the Drywood termite system is engulfed by protozoa.  The protozoa extracts the nutrients from that wood.  That extracted material, the sugars and the nutrients, goes into the termite stomach and is used by the insect for survival.  This is called a symbiosis.  In other words that termite could not live without the protozoa in its digestive tract.  The borates eliminate the protozoa.  The second way that tim-bor works is that the salt itself acts as a desiccant and removes moisture from the wood.  Even the slightest amount of moisture being removed from the wood wall could be critical to the survival of the Drywood termites.  Drywood termites do not go into the soil.  They get the water they need for survival from the wood that they consume.   Leading Edge Pest Management has proven, time and time again, that tim-bor treatments even in high moisture areas are effective.   The quantity of the tim-bor used is the key to the quality of the treatment.  The more tim-bor used the more effective it is as a desiccant.  

Tim-bor dust also by itself, in an attic area or in a wall void is effective. When a winged termite enters the dusted area and picks up the material on the outside of their bodies they would be eliminated by ingesting that material when they clean themselves.  This dust also acts as a desiccant.

Bora-Care:  (Disodium Octoborate Tetrahydrate)

Bora-care is a product that contains the tim-bor type high alkaline salt. This salt is combined with surfactants in a honey like material.  That honey like material is then mixed with water and applied to the wood work.  The surfactants help the Bora-Care penetrate the wood deeper.   This material works in all the same ways that tim-bor does only it leaves more of the salt beneath the wood surface.   This helps the product last longer in the weather.

XT-2000:  (d-Limonene) also referred to as Orange Oil

Leading Edge Pest Management used Power Plant products in the early 90’s. During these years we had a great deal of success and a few failures.  Failures came because we did not realize the extreme repellency of this product.  Termites move just as quickly as ants do.  If you have ever been out in the garden and you placed a water hose on the ground and flooded an ant nest you have seen how fast ants can move.   Termites are the same.  If we start in the center of a Drywood termite nest where the customer sees the kick hole and the pellets coming out of the walls, we could end up fracturing the colony.  It is critical to try to determine the size of the infestation.  You always want to start treating from just beyond the outside of that infestation back towards the center of the colony, otherwise termites may escape.  What I mean by fracturing the colony is that you may eliminate the bulk of insects but end up with small pockets of untreated insects which would then become small colonies.  These colonies will not come back into the repellant area.  All of the major complaints when we used this oil product were due to the odor and lack of insect control.  Our customers would ask us when is the smell is going to go away?  We had several failures that did require fumigations which we did perform for the customers at no charge after the treatments did fail.  We would ask any customer to please refer to the MSDS on this product, the material data safety sheet.  We at Leading Edge Pest Management still perform ProCitra DL treatments.

Termidor:  (Fipronil)

Termidor is a highly effective termiticide.  We mix it with foam and inject it into the galleries.  (Please refer to the end of this article regarding foamers)  Termidor’s base ingredient Fifronil is the same product as that used in Front Line for fleas for cats and dogs.  We prefer to use termidor at the lower toxic levels for several reasons. The first reason would be that it works.  The second reason we like to use it inside sealed walls is that it is not exposed to the weather and it does not travel into the environment. The third reason is that it has no odor.  We have never had a customer complain about the odor of this material.  The very last reason which is probably one of the best reasons is that it is a non-repellant.  Non-repellant means that the insects that encounter the product can not see taste or smell it.    Social insects, where there are kings and queens and workers like ants and termites tend to travel throughout the colony doing their jobs. Termidor is slow acting and spreads throughout the colony before the effectiveness kicks in and helps eliminate the entire colony to the customers benefit.

Premise:  (Imidacloprid)

The way the scientist used Premise, they could not have much luck.   That particular pre-packaged container that they were using, which looks similar to a shaving cream can, does not have enough material and does not have the material at a high enough percentage rate to effectively work.   The inert ingredient in Premise is Imidacloprid which is the same base product used in Advantage for fleas for cats and dogs. This product, like Termidor, is a non-repellant, and works similarly on the insects.  We have excellent luck using this product because we have our own foamers and mix our own material.  We do not use the pre-packaged containers.   Our foamers are hooked up the kick holes and the foam goes into the kick hole directly.  We have experienced the foam traveling more that 20’ from the kick holes through the galleries in these walls.

Optigard Foam:  (Imidacloprid)

We don’t use Optigard foam as much as the Premise or Termidor; however, when we have used it we have had great luck with this material.  We at Leading Edge Pest Management just prefer to use Premise or Termidor. We don’t have very many customers call for Optigard; however we would use this material if requested.  We did do some work with the Optigard  foam at P. G & E’s substations  during the testing periods for this product.

Foamer Equipment:

We at Leading Edge Pest Management have foaming equipment. This equipment mixes the foam with the termiticide.  We have used this equipment for over 15 years to eliminate infestations.  These foamers supply us with an endless amount of foam.  We hook the foamers up to the kick holes where the feces or pellets are coming out.  We inject our material into the galleries causing a minimum amount of surface damage.  This makes the customer very happy because there is very little destruction to the surface of their walls and the insects are eliminated with non-repellants that have no odor except for the adjuvant (the foam).  Sometimes the adjuvant’s have a smell similar to soap which does not last to long.  We do not get complaints, about this odor.  Remember these products are being dispensed inside the finished walls not out in the open.

Repellants versus Non-Repellants: 

Chemicals today are high tech.  They are much better that they used to be because of public and industry demand.  Insecticides come in two forms.  Repellant and non-repellant:  Repellant means that the insect can see, taste and smell the material and that it drives the insects away. If an area inside a wall isn’t completely treated the insects cannot come back into the treated area which could allow for colonies to be fractured.  Non-repellant insecticides on the other hand are insecticides that the insects cannot see, taste or smell.  These materials when applied inside of galleries are long lasting and have a slow mode of action.  Drywood termites are social insects; they have a king, queen and soldiers, etc.  These termiticides are slow acting and disperse throughout the colony effectively eliminating the infestations.  We offer up to 10 years of extended warranties for these types of treatments.  The treatment that occurs inside a wall is not subject to environmental pressures from the outside and does tend to last longer.

We hope that Leading Edge Pest Management has helped you to understand some of the products used in our industry and the opinions we have pertaining to these products through our many years of experience in the field.

Written by, 

David J. Roe, President
Leading Edge Pest Management

 

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Leading Edge Pest Management, Inc.

1250 Contra Costa Blvd. Suite #201
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523


Phone: (925) 689-2222
Fax: (925) 689-2244
Toll Free: (800) 471-5555
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