Integrated Pest Management for Termites

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a proactive approach to controlling pests, including termites. IPM for termites focuses on structural changes you can make to your home to reduce the risk of a termite infestation. IPM uses the least amount of targeted treatment materials required to prevent and control termite infestations. A few IPM practices to prevent and reduce termite activity when constructing a home include: “building them out” (designing homes that do not attract termites), building homes with non-cellulose building materials and using termite barriers.

Termite management and control are ongoing processes. Even with modern termiticide formulations and technologies, it is still necessary to work with a termite specialist to help protect your home. Termite specialists have expertise in identifying the signs of termite activity – including mud tubes and discarded wings – and have special tools to locate potential trouble spots in and around your home.

Just like you monitor your health at your annual physical, you also should regularly monitor the potential for termite infestations in and around your home. Your pest management professional (PMP) is your best resource for termite management and control. Only through teamwork and cooperation with your termite specialist can you maintain continuous termite control and prevention.

Applying Integrated Pest Management Techniques to Protect Your Home by Roger E. Gold, Ph.D., Texas A&M University

The first step of an integrated pest management program for termites is to inspect or monitor the structure. It is critical for a professional to determine which species of termites have infested your home, where they are located, the extent of the colony size and the conditions conducive to the survival of termites in your house. Since moisture is a key element to the survival of subterranean termites, every effort should be made to identify and correct moisture problems in and around the structure before other control measures are attempted.

Well-trained termite control specialists understand construction elements in conjunction with the biology of termites and the ways they establish colonies. These professionals are able to identify the termite species and direct control measures to target that specific species and infested area of the structure.

A number of treatment options are available to address termite infestations. Each structure is unique, and your technician should develop a pest management plan after considering your home’s specific construction elements and termite species. There really are no “silver bullets” when it comes to termite prevention, remediation and management, but it is possible to achieve population reduction with many of the tools currently available.

Termiticides including liquids, baits and a combination of the two treatments have all proven to be effective in reducing termite populations. The key to controlling termite activity is to find the combination of products and strategies that are effective in your particular situation. All pesticides degrade over time, so regular inspections and re-treatments are often necessary.

Termite management is a process, not an event. If you want to protect your home over time, you must maintain a continuous dialogue with your termite specialist. It is critical to detect and address termite infestations early, and continuously inspect and monitor your home's termite protection for effectiveness.