Termites are dangerous
Hailed the silent destroyer, timber destroying subterranean termites, also known as white-ants, are any home owner’s worst nightmare!
You may not notice termites for years without any immediate signs. You might only discover them when the damage is severe. These termites, however, are not the only ones causing the damage. Various unregistered pest control officers and building contractors add to the problem by using inadequate and incorrectly applied treatment methods.
The type of termite found at the site determines the type of termite treatment used. Only a trained technician can classify the type of termite present on the premises. Furthermore, the type of termite further varies according to the geographical location of the premises.
There are two main categories of termites:
- The Subterranean and Dry Wood Termite can be found throughout South Africa.
- In the Western Cape, the Harvester termites are the most common species.
Termites form an important part of our local ecosystem by breaking down dead cellulose material. This, however, become a serious liability in residential areas. Timber is used in buildings and homes. When termites attack they weaken the timber, which can lead to the collapse of the building.
Ridding a building of termites requires special skills. There is, however, a few essential tips that homeowners can use to lessen the risk of termite infestations. Firstly, this includes eliminating moisture problems, by repairing leaky taps and water pipes. Secondly, by removing potential food sources such as firewood and wood stumps around the perimeter of the house.
- The South African Pest Control Association (SAPCA) regularly receives complaints from homeowners that the grounds or the structure have not been treated properly. Often this is the result of building contractors appointing unregistered pest control officers. They act illegally in either using banned chemicals or applying chemicals incorrectly.
Modern termiticides, which are more ‘environmentally friendly’, only offer a protection and efficiency guarantee to a maximum of 5 years.
This, however, is not always the case, according to Mark Enslin, President of the South African Pest Control Association. There are pest control officers that offer termite-proof buildings at a rate below the wholesale cost of the chemicals. In addition, they are still offering a 10-year guarantee.
“There is no way that this can be possible,” says Enslin. He continues by saying that any pest control company charging a low price with a 10-year guarantee, is either using banned substances like Chlordane. Alternatively, they are not using the termiticides at the prescribed dosages. “Since Chlordane has been banned, pest control companies are no longer able to offer a 10-year guarantee. There is currently no chemical on the market that can offer the kind of protection that Chlordane did,” says Enslin.
Chlordane has a hazardous effect on humans and the environment. The chemical contaminates the air of homes by diffusion through concrete flooring or outgassing from previously treated indoor areas. Documented health problems can include child cancers, leukaemia, chronic infections, bronchitis, asthma, infertility, neurological disorders and aggression.
Registered pest control operators
SAPCA motivates consumers and the industry to only make use of registered pest control operators. SAPCA members adhere to a strict code of conduct prohibiting them from undercutting. The code also bars them from using unregistered and misappropriating chemicals.
“The Department of Agriculture registers all SAPCA members. In addition, if the customers have a complaint about a SAPCA member, they have better recourse,” says Enslin. Also, you must receive a certificate of proof that the termite proofing was done in accordance with National Building Regulation.
When selecting a pest control officer to termite-proof your home or to treat a current infestation ensure that he/she complies with the following:
- employed by a licensed pest control company.
- in possession of advanced knowledge of construction and home building.
- expert knowledge of termite identification and biology.
- understanding of the local and state ordinances regarding pest control.
- knowledge of the various treatment methods and resources to customise a treatment plan suitable for your development.
- awareness of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved materials and environmental standards.
- ability to provide detailed written notes of the preliminary inspection.
- confidence in a guarantee of service from a stable company providing effective termite prevention, treatment and control.
- lastly, be suspicious of ‘cheap pricing’ and extended guarantees that exceed 5 years.
For more information contact The South African Pest Control Association on 0861114556 or visit their website.