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Termite Barrier

Summary: Liquid termite barrier treatments work great, but what happens if the soil is too wet to accept the chemical? Know the label rules so you can be sure you are getting what you paid for.

Bill; Sacramento, CA. asks:

What action should the applicator take if the soil will not accept the proper amount of termiticide during a termite barrier treatment?

A. Apply what the soil will accept, same concentration?

B. Multiple applications at a lower rate?

C. Reduce application volume, use the same concentration?

D. Reduce application volume, use a corresponding increase in concentration?


First off, I want to say you have done your homework. That is a great question with excellent choices. I'll try to go through the options with you, plus add one of my own.

A. Apply what the soil will accept, same concentration?
Under the letter of the law, a professional applicator must follow the label. That means, the concentration of the pesticide must be mixed according to the label, as well. The label says nothing about applying less material than recommended. So, this one is not the right option.

B. Multiple applications at a lower rate?
Again, the label does not provide for multiple applications. In fact, there are stipulations that specifically prevent multiple applications of a termiticide. Per the Termidor label, "Retreatment for subterranean termites can only be performed if there is clear evidence of reinfestation or disruption of the barrier due to construction, excavation, or landscaping and/or evidence of
the breakdown of the termiticide barrier in the soil." It says nothing about retreatments due to wet soils.

C. Reduce application volume, use the same concentration?
Reducing the volume goes against the label, but in fact, that is what most applicators will do. It's a dilemma for the applicator. If you apply the total amount of termiticide at the full volume when the soil won't accept it, you end up leaving small lakes of pesticide sitting on top of the soil. The applicators can use a rod to funnel the material into the ground, but that defeats efforts to apply coverage evenly along the foundation. Lots of termite applicators opt to take this shortcut.

D. Reduce application volume, use a corresponding increase in concentration?
This is the best option. The label on some termiticides contend with waterlogged soils or other unaccepting soil conditions with the following statement: (Using Termidor as the example.) "While TERMIDOR® SC is labeled for use at 0.06% - 0.125% finished solution, the 0.06% finished solution should be used for typical control situations. Where severe termite infestations occur, where problem soils occur or where difficult or problem construction types are encountered, it may be necessary to use 0.125% TERMIDOR® SC Termiticide/Insecticide." The label also says: "Do not treat
while precipitation is occurring." and "Do not treat soil that is water saturated or frozen."

Termidor, also gives this option on its label: "If the soil will not accept these labeled volumes of TERMIDOR® SC, twice the concentration of TERMIDOR® SC Termiticide/Insecticide may be applied in half the volume of finished solution." But, the label also clearly states, "These œapplication volume instructions do not ever apply to ground that is water saturated or frozen." So, an applicator should not be trying to put down termiticides in water saturated soils.

The label also says: "Large reductions of application volume reduce the ability to obtain a continuous barrier. Variance is allowed when volume and concentration are consistent with label directed rates and a continuous chemical barrier is still achieved. At reduced application volume, it may be necessary for the applicator to drill holes closer than 12 inches apart to
create a continuous barrier."

Here's my added fifth option.
Termite bait. If liquid termiticides cannot be properly applied, use a termite bait. Termite baits have been found to do a terrific job of eliminating termite colonies. Sentricon by Dow AgroSciences is, by far, the leading termite bait
product. The drawback is that Sentricon is a licensed product that only about ten percent of all the pest control companies are allowed access. The plus side is that the companies that do have license to use Sentricon are usually the leaders in their regions. You get a limited choice of companies from which to chose, but your choices are from the top of the heap.

I hope this answered your question.

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