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Termites are not fussy about which buildings they destroy, old or new.
Given a chance, they will sneak in any way they can such as through tiny cracks in foundations and cracks in bricks mortar.
The last thing you want is for your biggest financial asset to be chewed up by the little white bugs.
Therefore, proactive precaution may well be your best defensive strategy.
Among the most effective ways of preventing termites from entering properties in the first place is with termite barriers.
As the name suggests, termite barriers are obstructions or force fields that prevent termites from gaining access to a property.
There are two principal types – physical and chemical – and they act in different ways.
Physical Termite Barriers
Physical termite barriers are typically installed before the construction of new builds and if done correctly will provide protection for many years.
They are integrated into structural elements of a building to present a complete and continuous barrier that the destructive insects are unable to penetrate.
As they can’t bore or chew their way through physical barriers, termites have to try and get around them.
When they do so, they can be easily detected. Most physical barriers are not actually designed to stop termites from entering a building.
There are designed to make termite attacks visible at an early stage.
Types of Physical Barriers
There are several different types of physical barriers that can be used. Among them are:
- Membranes – thick and flexible polymer sheeting containing strong insecticides. Membranes act as both physical and chemical barriers.
- Foams and sealants – are used to fill in gaps in concrete buildings through which termites might be able to enter. Typically, foams and sealants contain a repellent that keeps the insects away.
- Stainless steel mesh – marine grade stainless steel mesh with holes that are too small for the insects to pass through.
- Termite collars – plastic collars that are integrated with concrete slabs to prevent termites from using pipes and cables to get into a building.
- Graded stone – finely crushed granite that is difficult for termites to tunnel through.
Chemical Termite Barriers
A chemical termite barrier is a chemically treated zone around the outside of a property.
The barrier will either run around the perimeter of your home or under its concrete slab.
The choice of chemical or termiticide used to form the barrier can either repel the insects or kill them.
If the latter, a slow-acting poison is used that they unwittingly spread to other termites so their entire colony is eradicated.
The problem with a repellent is that it may not keep the hungry pests away forever.
Creating Chemical Termite Barriers
To create the barrier pest control technicians will dig a trench around a building and add the termiticide to the soil.
Alternatively, holes can be drilled into the ground where there is pavement and cement and the poison is pumped into them.
They are then capped with plugs that can be the same colour as the concrete or walkway.
Several types of chemicals can be used to create the barriers, and they go under such brand names as Termidor, Biflex, Prothor or Premise.
All are safe for humans and pets, but not for termites.
When installed by a professional, a chemical barrier can provide protection for up to eight years.
Some chemicals will not last as long and will need to be topped up.
The length of effectiveness depends on the type of chemical used, the way it is applied and the quality of the soil as it needs to be good enough to hold the termiticide.