Termite Soil Treatments 101
Robert (Bob) Batman
There are two classes of soil treatment: 1) Tradition Soil Treatment, and; 2) TERMIDOR. This FAQ is limited to traditional liquid soil treatments. Click on the Termidor Termite Treatment FAQ for the newest option in termite treating. The
answers to the following FAQ are based on facts as well as the
terms, conditions, provisions, limitations, exclusions and disclaimers
which are part of most professional pest control termite soil
WHAT IS A TERMITE SOIL TREATMENT?
A termite "Soil Treatment Service" consists of placing a liquid
pesticide, a termiticide, into the soil in accordance with the
products label/labeling instructions except as hindered, limited,
or prevented by obstructions and/or customer authorization. The
treated soil is sometimes referred to as a soil barrier, however, it would be more properly referred to as simply "treated soil." This FAQ may refer to "treated soil" as a barrier, however, there really is no such thing as a perfect barrier. Termite Soil Treatment
offers the potential for immediate, although temporary, remedy:
it does not eliminate termite colonies. Termite soil treatment
is a liquid pesticide application to soil. It is not a wood treatment
nor is it a baiting service. CAUTION AND NOTICE: KEEP CHILDREN
AND PESTS AWAY FROM TREATED SOIL UNTIL IT DRIES. DO NOT PLANT
ANY EDIBLE PLANTS (plants you eat) IN AREAS WHERE THEIR ROOTS
WILL REACH THE TREATED SOIL.
HOW IS A SOIL TREATMENT PERFORMED?
Before going further, it may be beneficial for you to know something
about a termite machine (rig): the machine and attachments which
are used to perform the treatment. The termite rig has a holding
tank which holds the termiticide (tank size isn't important).
The gasoline powered rigs have gasoline engines, pumps, sometimes
a gear reduction device, an adjustable pressure regulator, hose-reel(s),
hoses and shut-off valves, and an application device called a
valve handle. Attached to the application end of the hose is a
valve handle and attached to the valve handle is a hollow rod
(rods come in various lengths). The valve handle or application
device is sometimes referred to, in our industry, as a rodder.
Some of these rods can be fitted with a special spray tip (different
tips for different spray patterns). If the holding tank has termiticide
in it and the termite rig is running when the treatment technician
pulls the valve handle lever (trigger or lever), termiticide comes
out of the rod tip (the spray pattern depending on the type of
tip attached to the service end of the rod).
service technician could place the termiticide directly into the
soil by sticking the tip of the rod into the soil and pulling
the valve handle lever. The technician can trench and rod the
soil or s/he can direct the termiticide through a void or drill-hole
towards the soil area to be treated. Rodding, therefore, refers
to sticking the rod directly into the soil, through a drill-hole,
through a void, or placing the rod tip against a drill-hole (using
the drill-hole to direct the pesticide towards the soil area to
be treated) and triggering the valve handle lever to apply the
soil areas, where termiticide needs to be placed, may be obstructed
by concrete, wood, or some other obstruction. When this is the
case, there are three alternatives: 1) the property owner can
remove the obstruction for treatment access, 2) the treatment
technician can, if possible, drill treatment access holes through
it, or 3) the area in question will not be treated and not included
as part of the treatment because of the existing obstruction.
property owner, under most treatment agreements, is responsible
for removing treatment obstructions. Obviously, it is not practical
to remove certain obstructions, and it is not reasonable for any
person to assume, or construe to imply, that certain obstructions
do not exist. Even when the treatment technician can drill treatment
access holes through a substance, it does not mean the obstruction
did not exist or that the soil was adequately treated.
treatment is, therefore, placement of a liquid residual pesticide
(a termiticide) into the soil in accordance with the product's
label/labeling instructions except as hindered, limited, or prevented
by obstructions and/or customer authorization. It is not a wood
treatment nor is it a baiting service. Now that you know something
about what a termite soil treatment consist of, you should know
a few important facts about termite soil barriers (treated soil).
If you have had or are planning to have a soil treatment, you
should read the next section, section IV, very carefully.
WHAT FACTORS ADVERSELY AFFECT AND OR LIMIT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF
TERMITE SOIL TREATMENTS?
Certain obstructions will either hinder, limit or prevent placement
of the termiticide into the soil where it needs to be placed to
be effective and certain factors will adversely influence or disrupt
the termiticide soil barrier following treatment.
which hinder, limit, or prevent placement of termiticide into
soil where it needs to be placed to be effective and factors which
disrupt or adversely affect termite soil barriers (not in any
particular order): 1) Acts of Nature (earthquakes, floods, drought
and the cracking open of soil due to evaporation, freezing/thawing
conditions, erosion, and high or fluctuating water table in treated
soil areas; 2) Placing new dirt or mulch over treated soil; 3)
Placing wood (fire wood or other) adjacent a treated structure;
4) Placing storage or debris adjacent a treated structure; 5)
Structural water problems can support live termite infestation
within a building, even when the soil barrier is effective; 6)
Digging and/or removal or addition of plants in treated soil (includes,
but is not limited to, regrading and planting following pre-construction
and or existing construction soil treatment); 7) Plant root growth;
8) Adding new construction over and/or beyond treated soil; 9)
Active sump systems; 10) Sprinkler systems; 11) Vegetative obstructions;
12) Construction obstructions (styrofoam between foundation and
soil, wood forming boards left in ground, and any debris in/under
backfill); 13) Structural obstructions; 14) Soil obstructions
(clay and/or gumbo, rocks, roots, backfill debris, pipes, and
etc.); 15) Storage obstructions; 16) Microorganisms in the soil;
17) High organic content in soil; 18) Leaching, 19) Soil texture:
Certain termiticides work better in certain soil textures than
others, and; 20) the natural degradation of the termiticide.
NOTE: The treating company has no control over any of the afore
listed twenty (20) factors which either obstruct treatment (placement
of termite into the soil where it needs to be placed to provide
effective control) or disrupt or otherwise adversely affect existing
soil barriers. Now you know why all termite soil treatments are
limited as to extent and effectiveness. Due to the aforementioned
factors, there is no such thing as a perfect termite soil treatment.
IS A TERMITE SOIL TREATMENT EFFECTIVE?
Termite soil treatments, performed by a well trained service technician
using good equipment and an appropriate termiticide, is, in most
cases, a very effective control measure. My company's soil treatment
reinfestation ratio is less than one (1) percent and it just doesn't
get any better than that in our industry! Soil treatment offers
immediate remedy potential.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS A SOIL TREATMENT AND HOW LONG WILL A TERMITE
SOIL TREATMENT LAST?
Most professional pest control operators (PCO) are smart enough
to approach these waters very carefully. A PCO should not make
any specific claims with respect to product effectiveness and/or
longevity which cannot be supported by official scientific evidence'
which has been published by the official scientific community.'
PCO can, however, based solely on his company's experience, make
comments regarding a product or product comparisons: nothing wrong
industry research evidence,' can be used to infer certain things
with respect to product effectiveness and/or longevity, however,
you should know and remember that there is a difference between
what is published by the official scientific community' and that
which is published as industry research evidence.'
not assume anything! If a pesticide manufacturer advertisement
says that their product may last "up to 10 years," what has the
manufacturer actually told you? Nothing! Words have meaning...pay
attention! Most pest control operators will simply express exactly
what the pesticide manufacturer advertises: "the pesticide manufacturer
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STANDARD TREATMENT AND A PARTIAL
Basically there are two (2) classifications of termite soil treatment
with respect to extent of treatment: 1) a standard treatment:
one which meets or exceeds the state's prescribed standards, and;
2) a partial or limited treatment: one that does not meet (is
of lesser extent than) the state prescribed standards. It could
cost thousands of dollars to treat even a small house in accordance
to the published standards of some states! Any of various obstructions
existing at treatment time could, and do commonly, prevent standard
treatment: such situations are beyond the control of the treating
company (also, read number 3).
type of partial treatment, a "Spot Treatment," refers to performing
treatment to only to the soil adjacent to or under a small section
of the structure. Spot soil treatment is sometimes recommended
along with Baiting System Programs. Such a combination treatment
(spot soil treatment plus a baiting system/program) is certainly
worthy of consideration. The spot treatment temporarily stops
termite invasion in the treatment area while the baiting service
offers the potential for termite colony elimination. See or FAQ
on Termite Baiting Service.
WHAT ABOUT TERMITE DAMAGE?
Parties concerned about damage (any damage) should contract the
services of a licensed and qualified expert in the building trade
to inspect for damage and perform needed repairs. Visible termite
damage noted on a termite treatment diagram should be considered
only as a form of visible evidence (one form of visible termite
infestation evidence) of current or previous termite infestation
which was observed by the treatment technician at treatment time.
It should be further understood that some degree of termite damage,
including hidden damage, may be present in any structure which
has visible evidence of either active or previous termite infestation.
Do not confuse a termite treatment agreement with an inspection
report: they are two different things. Remember, termites eat
wood and other cellulose based materials. Most termite soil treatment
agreements specifically disclose, that, in no way, implied or
otherwise, is the termite treating company responsible for any
termite damage, whenever incurred, to the structure or its contents
or for any repairs. Parties concerned about damage should contract
the services of a licensed expert in the building trade to inspect
for damage and perform needed repairs. If a termite treatment
company contracts to perform any termite damage repair, it should
be separately contracted and should be performed by qualified
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT TERMITE SOIL TREATMENT GUARANTEES AND
Do not assume anything! Read termite treatment agreements very
carefully. You will probably find the soil treatment agreement
is not a guarantee that the treated structure is free of either
1) live termite infestation or 2) termite damage nor is it a guarantee
that future termite infestation will not occur.
soil treatment may or may not include a Limited and Conditional
Service Warranty ("warranty"). Warranty herein refers to a future
performance obligation on the part of the treating company if
or when certain specified situations arise and certain specified
conditions do not exist. See our FAQ on Termite Soil Treatment
SHOULD I PLANT EDIBLE PLANTS IN TERMITE TREATED SOIL?
No! Do not eat any part of any plant which has roots in treated
soil. Do not plant any edible plants where their roots can reach
treated soil. Ask a plant expert about the extent of a plant's
SHOULD I FIX WATER PROBLEMS (WOOD TO GROUND CONTACT AREAS, WOOD
ROT AREAS, AND AREAS IN THE FOUNDATION, ROOFING, AND EXTERIOR
SIDING/TRIM WHICH ARE NOT WATER TIGHT) ?
Yes! It doesn't take much of a water problem for termites to survive
in a structure following a termite soil treatment. If you have
water problems you do not want to fix, then you should consider
a Termite Baiting Service. See our FAQ on Termite Baiting Service.
Considering all the facts contained in the preceding ten (10) FAQ and
answers, a termite soil treatment remains one of the most effective and
economically feasible termite control aids available; a choice worthy
of consideration. It is the only control aid which has the potential of
providing an immediate remedy against invading termites.
If you live in the Greater Kansas City Missouri/Kansas Area and
need Termite Treatment/Service, Give Best Exterminators, Inc. a call
(816) 765-8844 or (913) 671-8844.