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Article posted on December 19, 2019

DIY Termite Spray Becomes An $11,000 Mistake For Homeowner

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We were called out recently to see a client that had been experiencing recurring termite troubles over the years. This particular client wasn’t new to us -he’d called Pest-Ex to do termite inspections on his home regularly, however this particular homeowner always insisted on trying to treat the termites himself. Even though we had repeatedly found termites in his fence, his garage, and even more recently, his lounge room.

When we inspect a property, we always recommend a course of professional treatment to eliminate any termites we find. We also offer solutions to prevent them from coming back. Unfortunately, this homeowner decided he wasn’t interested in any of that. Instead, he would use a product that he’d purchased from the hardware store. Essentially what he was doing was finding termites, spraying them, then calling us out to perform an inspection.

Of course this was utterly pointless, because by the time we’d arrive, the termites would have abandoned the treated area and moved somewhere else. This went on for months, until of course – it ended badly.

What’s a DIY termite treatment?

The termite treatments you can buy from a hardware store kill the termites immediately on contact. They are usually bifenthrin or imidacloprid based products and work in a similar way to a fly spray. Basically when it comes into contact with the termites, it kills them.

One of the issues with this is that termites have a natural sense for when they are in threat and will completely abandon the area as soon as a region is treated with a repellent type spray. When it dries, it’s got no residual effect whatsoever. By the next morning, the termites have either abandoned the area where it was wet and come up a metre or two away. Or they abandon the area and come up on the other side of the house.

A homeowner may be killing 500 termites in his wall using a spray from the local hardware, however, what they fail to realise is that the nest contains millions of termites. It should also be noted that each day, a colony will produce a further 2,000 to 5,000 termites.

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Instead, we use a product called Termidor, which has a transfer effect. Termites are not able to detect it, and they pass it on to the other termites in the colony. In this way, we can eliminate the termite activity entirely. Termidor costs half the price in the long run of the DIY chemicals, and it’s a permanent solution.

What our inspection revealed

When we were called back to inspect the property, the homeowner told us he had used a DIY product containing bifenthrin in the wall on the second floor, where he’d found termites. He told us all the termites were gone, but he wanted to make sure.

We performed a full termite inspection. Using an infrared camera, we found that the colony had abandoned the treated area and moved just one metre away. The coptotermes termites (also known as subterranean termites) had already started to form a sub-nest next to the area he had treated.

We’ve been trying to explain to this homeowner why DIY termite treatments don’t work for several years.  All he was doing was moving the termites on. He’s had a constant problem year after year of termites returning, and it’s the same colony. The same species of termite appears in his property once or twice a year. He finally agreed to treat the property with Termidor to eliminate the termite colony and install a full perimeter termite barrier around the property.

Counting the cost

Unfortunately, the damage to his property had been done. It cost him $11,000 for a new upstairs bathroom. The upper floor joists were completely eaten out by termites, which he couldn’t see until he lifted the floorboards. All the flooring had buckled. The floor joists had been eaten out, and because the floor bowed and bent down due to the pressure, it had broken the waterproofing membrane.

Homeowners think they are saving money by doing DIY termite treatments, but this case shows just how devastating the consequences can be. Even worse, termite damage isn’t covered by home insurance. This homeowner had a big bill he was liable for. The termite treatment cost for this home owner was double what it should have been plus the damages and repair bills incurred.

What to do if you think you have termites

Don’t disturb them or try a DIY treatment in the area. When homeowners spray chemicals, it makes it harder for us to find the termites.

Call us to perform a full inspection of the house and property, including the garden. Because the area of activity hasn’t been disturbed, we’ll have access to an excellent feeding site. It gives us a defined area to apply non-repellent. Or if we’re doing a baiting treatment, it gives us a perfect spot to start above ground baiting.

Just because you’ve sprayed the window frames with a DIY product, for example, it doesn’t mean you’re free of termites. We may inspect the property and discover they’re still all through the mulch outside, and the colony is thriving. They just haven’t had time to get back into the house yet.

The biggest misconception is that DIY termite products are all repellents. There’s no such thing as a DIY termite product that’s designed to eliminate the nest. Unless you’re eliminating the nest, you’re going to have a constant termite headache.

Book a termite inspection with us today

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If you’re concerned that you might have termites in your home or it’s been a while since your last inspection, get in touch with us today. We’ll organise a time to come out and make sure that your home is protected.

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Kent Bailey
11 months ago
Just had my home barrier treatment for termites by Pest Ex. In every way a brilliant job and fantastic friendly service unlike...read more anything else I have struck on the Gold Coast. This is a very professional company and every person involved was excellent in every way. Strongly recommend them to all who read this review because you won't do better.
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Christie McCabe
a year ago
On time. Efficient. Friendly. Informative. Well priced. Our experience with Pest-Ex was easy from the moment Reception answered our call. Our routine...read more pest inspection could be done the next day (a Saturday which is most convenient for full time workers). Karl arrived at 7am with a smile to complete the service and carried out the work efficiently informing us of the process where required. Thanks team.
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Chris Burt
2 years ago
Very professional and able to identify our pest problem on the spot. Was on time and great communication with admin girls via...read more phone. Very conscious of keeping our pet safe after the treatment which was a classy touch. Highly recommend!
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6 months ago
Great people and always helpful and providing a good service.
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Lorrie Cruickshanks
a year ago
Thank you to Garyn who first identified the issues, he was extremely thorough and prompt and then to John and Janine and...read more the team who treated and area and placed the baits. The process was fully explained and they were extremely courteous and very professional. Thank you to all the team. The office also kept us up to date with when their representatives would be visiting and this is very much appreciated. Great work.
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Donna Hamerton
a year ago
After reading reviews, I'm glad that I chose Pest-Ex. Maria in the office was more than understanding to accommodate me and times....read more I was able to get a booking the same day I made the enquiry. Garyn my technician was even able to come earlier. When he arrived he was happy to explain everything that was going to happen and how to work around my pets and children. Need pest control done - hire these guys.
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Phoebe Worth
2 years ago
Impressed with the service. The technician Steve was on time, friendly and thorough - you could tell he was not rushing the...read more job. Will be using Pest-Ex again. Thanks guys!
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Mickey Ketch
a year ago
This company actually investigates the problem instead of just spraying your place and leaving. Very HIGH knowledge and experience in what they...read more do. They took the time to investigate the cause, the source of the problem and elimnated it completely which included going through every cupboard, cracks hiding spots the lot. We had a cochroach problem in our apartment for 3 months and we had 4 different companies come out and NONE of them investigated they only sprayed. After we called PestEx, Mr. Phillips was very knowledgeable and experienced eliminating our problem entirely. We also use PestEx in our shop and both Mr Phillips and Marty are EXCELLENT in resolving and maintaining pest problems. HIGHLY RECOMMEND PEST EX. BEST I'VE SEEN IN QUEENSLAND.