Termites can wreak havoc on our buildings if left unchecked. This is especially true in warmer areas of the country such as Queensland, where termite infestations can be a much more serious issue than in New South Wales or Victoria. The history of preventing and treating termite infestations in the country is long, shaping the way we’ve managed the land and designed our homes throughout time.
Unbeknownst to many, termites have had a big imprint on Australian architecture. Older Queenslander style houses were built to minimise the risk of termite infestation by raising the floor above the ground on stumps made of termite resistant material. This was before chemical pesticides were in wide use during the 1950’s.
Steel caps were placed over the stumps so the termites had to create large mud structures over the caps before they could reach the timber part of the property. With the house raised, you could easily inspect for signs of termites. Homeowners regularly poured sump oil around the base of the stumps to deter termite activity.
Slab On Ground Houses and Organic Chloride
By the early 1960’s, new pesticides came into wide practice that made it possible to build houses with concrete slabs poured on top of a layer of pesticide. The chemicals in these pesticides were called organic chloride and would crystallise in the soil structure, preventing termite infestation and working as an effective termite barrier over a long period of time. New slab on ground style homes became widely popular for their style as well as being easier, faster and cheaper to build.
Dangers of Organic Chlorides Uncovered
During the 70’s and 80’s, research began emerging that outlined the harmful side effects of organic chloride on humans and the environment. As a result, a widespread phase out across all industries gradually took place, from agriculture to construction. By 1995, buildings were no longer protected by organic chlorides meaning homes were once again under threat from termites.
New Methods for Treating Termites
Over time, new chemical treatments have been discovered to prevent and destroy termite infestations. Underslab spraying continued with new chemicals including synthetic pyrethroids such as bifenthrin or organophosphates such as chlorpyrifos. These chemicals have a relatively short life expectancy, compared to organic chlorides, minimising their environmental impact.
Poor application practices of the new products during the 90’s left many buildings under protected. While termite treatments have improved since then and are highly reliable today, they’re still not as effective as the older ones. Some builders have opted for new construction approaches to protect homes, such as the monolithic slab design. This involves building a thicker and wider slab so termites can’t reach the actual building without creating extensive mud tunnels.
Contact Us for Termite and Pest Control
Do you have a termite problem on your property in Brisbane, Redland Bay, Ipswich or Logan? Get in touch with the team at Critters Pest Management. We use state-of-the-art thermal imaging to detect termite activity and provide highly effective and sustainable termite inspection and termite treatment methods including termite barriers.
Call our friendly professionals today on 1300 186 255 to make a booking or contact us online.