Frequently asked questions
DIY TERMALERT® is easy to use but from time to time users ask questions.
If you have a question then fire away and I can answer it here for others to see.

About termites
What is the difference between white ants and termites ?
Is it true that 1 in 4 homes will be attacked by termites ?

The old myth about termites and sunlight
DIY Termalert Inground detectors.
Why are your products so cheap ?
Will in ground detectors ATTRACT TERMITES towards my home ?

Why can't termite detectors be installed 6 metres apart ?
Can I mow over your detectors ?
How often should the inner food source be replaced ?
WHY ARE YOUR DETECTORS SO SMALL?
Why aren't other systems as easy to inspect ?
Treatment time.

Why is using a TAD so important ?
If you must attempt direct treatment via 'active' in ground detectors
Are there any cheap ( and effective ) treatment chemicals ?
Treatment using a CSI ?
Can I apply Termite Dusts to an inground detector ?

How can I kill the Queen termite ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


None. They are the same home destroying creature.
Someone in the past observed they were light in colour and 'thought' they were ants.
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Unfortunately, yes although this figure is based on 'reported' attacks. When you consider
the number of attacks that are hidden ( that is, not reported ) the real figure could be 1 in 2.
Would you willingly report termite damage knowing the devaluation it would cause ?
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A great many references are made to termites being light averse, photophobic etc.
At the same time as making statements like these some manufacturers still incorporate
clear windows in their detector designs. You would imagine that these 'light averse' creatures
wouldn't go anywhere near these obvious sources of sunlight. It's just an old tale based on
the observance of termites dying out in the open exposed to sunlight. The actual reason for
their demise is the fact that they dried out, no longer having the protection of their humidity
and temperature controlled environments.
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Shouldn't you be asking "Why are all the others so expensive ?"
Normally it's manufacturer > Distributor > Wholesaler > Retailer > Installer > You
Here it's Manufacturer > You ( no middlemen ).
I have been down the 'Retail through major hardware store' road and in order for them
to achieve 'their' required profit margin the retail price would have to be 3-4 times more
than the price you are paying direct PLUS I would have to wait 3-6 months before my
first pay cheque from them.
BTW Don't expect fancy packaging ( aka rubbish bin fodder ).
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While it's true that some makers suggest a 6 metre spacing this is purely to reduce the overall
cost of a set of expensive detectors. The suggestion that they can attract termites over
distances great than 3mm has never been 'independently' scientifically proven.
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These huge multinationals telling people that their inground detectors can actually attract
termites have done a great job of shooting themselves in the foot. From time to time I get
buyers asking 'Will your detectors attract termites towards my home ?'. Makes me wonder just
how many people don't ask and have convinced themselves ( with help ) that termites will
come galloping towards their home if they install inground detectors.
I can guarantee that no inground detector can attract termites. Ever since they were first
introduced 30 years ago ( despite advertisers hype ) the great downside of inground detectors
is that they simply can't attract termites. Given that a termite is genetically geared to seek
out food on the surface it's not surprising that they find inground detectors by chance alone. They
'find' inground detectors the same way you would 'find' a tree in a forest by running around while
wearing a blindfold.
CO2 attraction ?
Based on one dubious test it was shown that 'statistically' more termites were attracted
to CO2 when given a choice of two pathways. No explanation was provided as to why
nearly half the termites were NOT. A company then patented a compound that created
a source of CO2 inside in ground detector stations. Several years later a major manufacturer
of in ground monitoring devices bought the patent rights with the view to dominating the
marketplace. Their own rather dubious field test proved concusively that termites were
attracted to the treated to the treated food sources as opposed to those without this 'magic'
compound. The area in which this test took place was was generally dry so the food sources
containing this CO2 mimic needed to be watered. It's little wonder that termites populated
food sources containing water as opposed to the dry non-compound sources.
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Sure you can if you want to wreck them. DIY Termalert® was never designed
for installation in lawns. It was designed to go close to homes in garden beds. Installing
any inground detectors further out from a home means you will need many more for good
perimeter monitoring. In lawns is not such a great idea anyway. In any case the vibration
caused ( or the impact ) by a mower can result in termites abandoning the detector. You would
probably find it difficult to locate my detectors.
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It really depends on the average moisture content of ymy subsoil. There is no way to be sure
apart from pulling them up every 12 months and having a look. One advantage of using
DIY Termalert® Inground detectors is that replacement food sources are less than $2.00 each.
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They were never designed for in situ treatment of active termites. Direct treatment of
active termites inside an inground detector can result in too many false positives.
The object should be to establish 'contact' with their underground world and populate an
above ground aggregation device.
Once enough termites have occupied the device, they are 'directly' treated.
The TAD is one such recommended aggregation device.
My recommendation is to use Termidor Dust® as opposed to treatments that involve
the use of CSI's ( Chitin Synthesis Inhibitors ). This method however is extremely expensive
and satisfactory results can be achieved using a CSI, which is an easier diy at about 1/10th
the cost.
The size and shape of an inground detector has nothing to do with how termites find them.
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Around 30 years ago the first commercial inground detector systems were developed. At this
time the intent was that only licensed pest controllers could gain access for inspection
and treatment. These systems were primarily developed by chemical companies as a
means to distribute termiticides through these specially licensed controllers. The inground
detectors were 'locked' and could not be inspected by the property owners themselves. This was
a very handy way for chemical manufacturers to corner the market. After primary patents
had expired every man and his dog began marketting similar devices. While many were
no longer locked they were still based an original assumption that termites were light averse.

There are other termite detectors with clear windows but none as easy to inspect. The big
timber detectors are a perfect example and I myself produced them years ago. Due to the
dark zone they were too difficult to inspect 'at a glance'. One maker added white beads
but they would become discoloured too quickly. I also stopped making big timber detectors
because they could rot too quickly in some soils and the entire detector needed replacing.

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The TAD ( Termite Aggregation Device ) or similar aboveground device is the only way
that enough termites can be collected for effective treatment. Remember that you need
to be able to treat 15,000 directly to achieve any real impact on the source colony.
Once you have observed termite activity in an inground detector you can use a CSI container
coupled to the detector or simply install a TAD over the active detector and wait for a sizable
termite population to arrive and treat them using a CSI paste or termiticide dusts.
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Although handing 'treatment' over to an experienced pest controller is recommended,
this may not be affordable for some. Once you have an 'active' in ground detector the 'treatment'
method is quite simple. Note that all actions should be delicate so as not to panic the little
home wreckers.
Remove cap to identify the species as a potential home wrecker. In many cases there may
be Microtermes in residence. Microtermes = relax. If a worrying species...
1. Cover the opening asap with a few layers of moistened tissue or cardboard.
2. Set down a plastic container with a hole the same size as the in ground detector's top.
3. Add the mixed CSI ( Nemesis, TermatriX or similar ).
4. Cover with a loose fitting lid and place a plastic bucket over it all with a weight on top.
5. Keep replacing the CSI until activity ceases. The usual inspection/top up interval
is 2 weeks. If the activity is strong then weekly inspections are recommended..

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If you can't afford a pest man for the treatment phase you could consider using
a mild Boric Acid* solution to impregnate the food mass of my Termite Aggregator at the outset.
You simply install the Termite Aggregator over the top or alongside an 'active' inground monitor.
You can also use it to impregnate your own home made termite food source.
I can supply the 'exact' amount required to make up 2 litres of solution.
All recipes on the internet actually create a 'repellent' ( which is not a good thing if your
intention is to eliminate your termite threat ). The amount I supply is 'padded out' with an
inert feeding stimulant so that the exact amount of Boric Acid remains a trade secret.
* I know some of you reading this will turn your nose up but Boric Acid if used correctly can have
a devastating effect on termite populations. Termites have never built up a resistance to it. During laboratory
tests to evaluate treatments to protect timber from termite attack it was discovered that Boric Acid at
a certain concentration was not detectable yet resulted in a very high mortality rate. Too weak and termites
were not affected. Too strong and termites were repelled after a tiny nibble.
Please note that although Boric Acid is a proven termiticide, I can't market it
as such without going through a nightmarish pile of red tape and considerable
expense. Any Boric Acid mix I supply must be regarded as a Fungi Inhibitor
.

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Treating activity via an active Termalert in ground detector.
There is even a manufacturer of a CSI in plastic tubs with holes in the bottom which almost
fit the top of my detectors. They are available at www .termitetrap .com.au If you wish to
purchase another form of CSI treatment it can be fiddly but just as effective. You can use
any container with a hole drilled in the bottom and fill it with the CSI mixture. Just lift and
twist off the detector's inspection window, add a little mixture to the opening and place your
container filled with the rest of the mixed bait on my inground detector.
Cover the container and stabilise it. Check weekly and top up if necessary.
Treating areas directly ( where termite activity has been found )
Applying bait directly to an infested area.
1. Establish an exposed area of activity.
You can dig out a small area or drill a 5mm hole. If you observe active termites
then get ready for ACTION. If not wait until the next day to observe whether or not
the area has been repaired by termites. If so get ready for ACTION. If not then
try to establish another active site.
ACTION=The following.
Pour 200ml clean water into the sachet, seal and knead. Keep adding water 10mls
at a time until the mixture is like a whole lots of large crumbs.
Push a small amount of mixed bait into the active area.
Now you can relax a little as the termites will be occupied with consuming the bait.
Make a hole in one side of the pouch and fix it against the active area.
If in a vertical application, simply lay the pouch over the active area, protect it from movement
and cover it with something easily removeable ( say foil ) to prevent direct sun strike.
If horizontal, you can tape the pouch in place and cover it as above.
Check weekly and replace bait if necessary.
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Using dusts ( like Termidor® or Intrigue® ) in ANY inground detector is not recommended
and can easily prove to be a waste of money. Manufacturers of dusts recommend that a
minimum of 15,000 termites need to be treated 'directly'. This simply can't be achieved
by puffing dust into an inground detector. The active constituents of the dusts are not
self replicating and must directly adhere to a termite body to become effective. Any dust
that simply settles won't adhere to any termites and they will not eat it. Termites will eat it
off each others' bodies because it is part of a grooming process to prevent the build up
of fungi. The same restrictions apply to the use of dusts to treat termites active inside
a home. Simply puffing dust into a hole where you see termites is another great way to
burn money. There is no way you can affect enough termites by puffing dust into a tunnel
that is 2mm wide at the most.
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Killing the Queen
That's easy. You find the nest and keep digging until you find the biggest termite you
have ever seen and kill it. There is no other sure fire way but what most people don't know
( because no one mentions it ) is that the Queen is not the only egg layer in a colony.
When eggs hatch they go through many instar ( moulting ) stages until they become one of
many termite types. Just how they become a particular type ( caste ) of termite is unknown but
one of these castes is a supplementary reproductive. Termites haven't survived for millions
of years by having colonies of millions depending on just one Queen to lay eggs. These
supplementary reproductives can't lay eggs while the King and Queen suppress them
by a means not yet understood but can venture forth when required to help populate satellite nests.
They can also commence egg laying within the central colony if the Queen dies.
Those nests inside the walls of peoples' homes have supplementary reproductives belting out eggs
just like the Queen in the main colony.
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