Termites cause more damage to homes than flood, fire and storms put together. Surveys find that more than one in five houses will be attacked during their lifetime. Termites have a well developed social structure. A colony may be made up of a million individual insects. The termite queen mates with the king and produces the eggs. The eggs give rise to nymphs which progress through a series of moults to become either workers or soldiers. The termite queen is the most important termite in the colony.
Without her there will be no eggs, nymphs, workers or soldiers and therefore, no future for the colony. The feeding of such a large number of termites must be co-ordinated. After feeding on timber, foraging worker termites return to the nest full of chewed wood. The cellulose in the wood is digested by microorganisms in the gut. The digested cellulose is passed around to feed the other termites (which are sterile) or alates. Workers build the nest and tunnels, forage for food, tend the nymphs, eggs and queen and feed the soldiers. The soldiers defend the colony against enemies such as ants.
Methods of termite control
1. Soil applied termiticides act to protect the house against concealed entry by termites. Soil termiticides cannot reliably eradicate colonies.
2. Arsenic dust can be applied to termite workings in an attempt to eradicate the colony. Many homeowners may be concerned about a Schedule 7 Dangerous Poison being used in their homes.
3. Baits aim to eradicate the colony and are placed in the ground around an infested house. The termites must then locate the baits and carry the toxin back to the colony and pass it around. The disadvantage of baiting is the time delay from when termites are found in a house to when they locate the baits outside and start feeding.
The aim of a soil applied chemical treatment is to isolate the house from the termite colony.
Premise, the no odour termiticide from Bayer
The termite queen is the most important termite in the colony. Without her there will be no eggs, nymphs, workers or soldiers and therefore, no future for the colony. The feeding of such a large number of termites must be co-ordinated. After feeding on timber, foraging worker termites return to the nest full of chewed wood. The cellulose in the wood is digested by microorganisms in the gut. The digested cellulose is passed around to feed the other termites (which are sterile) or alates. Workers build the nest and tunnels, forage for food, tend the nymphs, eggs and queen and feed the soldiers. The soldiers defend the colony against enemies such as ants. which cannot feed themselves or do not forage. This process is called trophallaxis. In this way, the entire colony can be fed while only a relatively small number of termites actually contact the food source.
What is Intrigue?
Intrigue, developed in Australia by Bayer, is the world’s first termite dust containing a chitin synthesis inhibitor (CSI). Intrigue offers PCOs a welcome alternative to current dust treatments. It combines the application technique of arsenic dust but with the much more favourable toxicological profile of an insect growth regulator.
Intrigue can be used to eradicate treated colonies. However, there may be more than one colony around a house so it is strongly recommended that a Premise soil treatment be applied.
Who can use Intrigue? Intrigue is for the use of licensed, competent Pest Managers only and is sold through pest control distributors. As termite dusting is a highly skilled practice this product will not be available to the general public. In fact, Bayer strongly recommends that all Pest Managers complete an Intrigue training course prior to using Intrigue in the field. This is to ensure that the best possible results are achieved.
Is Intrigue safe?
The active ingredient of Intrigue is triflumuron. It is a chitin synthesis inhibitor which only affects organisms which produce chitin (insects and crustaceans). Thus all vertebrates (birds and mammals), which do not produce chitin, will not be affected by Intrigue. As the application is in very low doses and is directed only in termite workings, there is little risk to any non-target organisms.
Skillful dusting techniques are critical to success. As many termites as possible should be dusted.
How is Intrigue applied?
Intrigue is applied in very small quantitiesto termite workings using a termite hand puffer. It may also be applied using powered applicators such as the recently developed A-Gun. Intrigue is applied to active termite galleries, aggregation devices (eg bait boxes) and nests. The most important point when using. Intrigue is to dust as many termites as possible. The greater the number dusted the greater the chances of success. Repeat applications may be necesary.
Does it work?
Intrigue has been developed in Australia and has been found to work against Australian termites. Trial work has been carried out over the past four years with excellent results. Extensive trials have been carried out against Coptotermes. In the first trials termites were dusted directly in their nests and monitored using a temperature probe. In the second set of trials, termites were aggregated in bait boxes or buckets by known nests and dusted. At some sites, the tree was cut down at the end of the trial and the nest opened to reveal no live termites. The graphs below show the results. Complete eradication of termite colonies was achieved in as little as four weeks but may take as long as 12 months depending on the size of the colony and the conditions.
Further supervised field trials have been carried out by Pest Managers which also confirm the effectiveness of Intrigue.
A competent dusting technique is essential to achieve the best results.