Chemical insecticides are more common than all other forms of termite control, and for good reason. To put it simply, chemical insecticides are easily the most reliable and effective forms of termite control. However, most experts agree that alternative termite control measures will be developed in the near future as technology continues to advance. Many different ideas concerning the successful eradication and control of termites have been suggested over the years. Some of these ideas even became pest-control products. But most non-chemical forms of termite control have been dismissed as unreliable and ultimately ineffective.
Back in 1957, when the pest control industry was in its infancy, a group of researchers examined the efficacy of using sand to prevent termite infestations. Some people used to pour sand around the borders of their homes, as termites cannot easily get passed sand barriers. This is due to the size and relative dryness of sand grains. Termites cannot make tunnels through sand very well, as sand is not as pliable as moist soil. Sand-grains are also sometimes too large for single termites to transport. According to researchers, lab and field tests suggested that using sand as a method to prevent termite infestations would yield inconsistent results. Sometimes the sand would work as a useful barrier, but other times termites would find a way past sand barriers. However, it was suggested that the sand used in the study was not the proper type. It is possible that the size of the sand-grains used did not meet the requirements of the study.
Another suggested method of termite control is known as “whole structure heating”. This method was first examined by academic experts back in the 1970’s. Although drywood termites can tolerate high temperatures better than subterranean termites, it does not take an excessively high degree of heat to kill termites. Theoretically, the application of a proper degree of heat should kill all termites within an applied area. However, studies have shown that using heat to kill termites may not always eradicate an infestation. These occasional failures are likely due to “heat sinks”, which are areas in a home that are particularly difficult to heat. For example, the temperature of soil beneath cold concrete may not become hot enough to eradicate termites that may be present in the area. Other ideas included the use of electric shocks and microwaves for controlling termite populations. Fumigants, and the application of chemicals in soil have repeatedly demonstrated the highest degree of efficacy in published studies.
Do you think that electronic forms of termite surveillance or population control will become available to either pest control professionals, or to the public, or both in the near future?
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