Common Questions

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I think I have termites, what should I do?

The first and most important step is to ensure termites are not disturbed, and contact a trusted pest technician that can identify the species and give you transparent quality information on how to manage the problem safely and effectively.

Should I spray termites with household insect spray?

Please NO. This will encourage the termites not affected by the spray to “go to ground” and possibly find another feeding point. It is best to leave the area undisturbed so your technician can identify and bait the active termites.

Should I expose the area where I have found termites?

NO. Exposure to light will encourage the termites to “go to ground” and possibly find another feeding point. It is best to leave the area undisturbed so your technician can bait the active termites.

Why don’t you use residual sprays to get rid of termites?

Big question… we might need to meet for coffee. In the meantime, here’s the short answer…

Most pest control companies will topically treat the active termites with a chemical and then recommend a chemical soil treatment to stop the termites from making their way into the building. This requires “drenching” the soil around the building with 100’s of litres of emulsion through injection or trenching and flooding with a spray.

Products used for this purpose contain active agents (registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Society APVMA) for termite treatment including: arsenic tri-oxide, bifenthrin, (a synthetic pyrethroid), chlorpyrifos, fipronil, imidacloprid. These are residual chemicals meaning their active ingredient stays in the soil and acts on termites as they come into contact with it over a given period. Unfortunately their mode of action may have any of the following toxicity impacts: neurotoxicity, developmental or reproductive effects, endocrine disruption, carcinogenic effects and/or impacts on the environment. Many of these chemicals are regularly reviewed to identify impacts over time and history has shown the effects of some chemicals thought safe were not known for decades.

  • Residual sprays used inside buildings will leave residue on surfaces where people and pets can potentially be exposed to accumulative toxicity. This is an extra concern for humans with developing immune systems (infants and children) and those of us who are immune compromised.
  • Residual chemicals can potentially move into the environment having an impact on water ways, fish and birds. Children and animals playing in outdoor areas have potential to be exposed, especially with trenching and flooding.
  • Chemical manufacturers have labels advising spray handlers to dress in full protective clothing when applying many of these chemicals – we’ll let you decide what that might indicate. Our policy is that if we have to dress in full protective clothing there’s a risk to ourselves, others and the environment that we’re not willing to take.
  • Managing toxicity is heavily reliant on correct application which is regulated through the Health Department and often based on public vigilance and reporting of incorrect application. The public trust the registered technicians and often don’t know what needs reporting. There are trustworthy pest technicians doing great work but it’s not a perfect system, which is why at Holistic Pest Solutions, we base our standards on best practice integrated pest management.

As part of our ethical practice standards we have developed a chemical selection criteria to guide our work.

What is a Chitin synthesis inhibitor (CSI) and how does it work on termites?

CSI’s are growth regulators that inhibit the production of chitin. When CSI bait is ingested by termites their ability to produce chitin (the main component of an insect’s exoskeleton) is inhibited.

How effective are baiting and monitoring systems?

Monitored CSI baiting systems are the only way that your technician can look for evidence that a colony has collapsed. This approach addresses the source of the termite problem as opposed to “blocking” them out with chemicals. An example of the structural consequence of chemical barriers sprays was a duplex we were called to where one side was chemically treated to eradicate termites, however the termites moved into the neighbouring vacant duplex and did considerable structural damage. Had the owner initially been given the option to have the termites treated using a monitored baiting system, the colony could have been destroyed limiting the damage to the adjacent property.

You can also see the benefit baiting over the use of residual chemicals view FAQ above: Why don’t you use residual sprays to get rid of termites?

What makes a property susceptible to termites?

Subterranean termites need moisture, so any issues with drainage, water leaks, water discharged against a building, ventilation or concealed or covered weep holes are some examples of the conditions that can make your building more susceptible to termites. Your construction method may make your property more or less susceptible. Our technicians are fully trained to identify areas or issues on your property that make it more susceptible to termites, and will provide a full explanation during the post inspection consultation, which is also detailed in a report.

How often should I get my property inspected?

It’s a property owner’s decision how often you have your property inspected for termites, however with one of our inspections you will learn more about what makes a property susceptible to termite attack which can help you decide. When we do an initial inspection we can let you know of any susceptibility issues and recommend how often you should have the property inspected based on the risk. The Department of Commerce (WA) have unbiased information about termite management in your home. Their information for consumers states:

For early detection in your home and garden it is advisable to get a licensed pest controller to inspect all accessible timber and potential termite entry points every six to 12 months. Often the first sign of termites will be when you see their wafer thin mud tunnel on timber (this protects them from the environment and maintains humidity levels).

How much does a termite inspection cost?

The short answer is between $250 and $350. The time it will take to do the inspection is minimum 1 hour and will depend on the size of your property, the number of buildings and the type of construction. You can request a quote or contact us for more information.

How much does a pre-purchase timber pest inspection cost?

The short answer is between $250 and $350. The time it will take us to do the inspection will depend on the size of your property, the number of buildings and the type of construction. You can request a quote or contact us for more information.

What information do I need to give you when I book a pre-purchase timber pest inspection?

We need to know:

  • Your name, contact number, email address
  • The address of the property to be inspected
  • The name and contact number for the authorised person who will be in attendance and provide access to the property
  • The email of all parties you would like to receive a copy of the report

We also advise purchasers to request property owners provide details of past termite treatments.

How long does it take from when I book a timber pest inspection report to when it will be available to give my agents?

We can usually schedule a timber pest inspection within 3 working days of booking and have the report to your agents within 24 hours of the inspection (often sooner). If time is of the essence, let us know and we’ll do everything we can to accommodate, including sending the report directly to your agent.

Can you guarantee there are no termites on the property before we buy?

Unfortunately NO. Why? Because termites build nests in trees and underground and forage for suitable timber to sustain their queen and colony and can enter a building at any time and in areas that are not always visible. When a pest technician does an inspection they:

  • Are vigilant in their search for evidence of termite activity and report their observations;
  • Notify you of conditions that may make the property you want to purchase more susceptible to termite issues; and
  • Recommend steps you can take to reduce susceptibility.

We offer a professional inspection by a fully qualified technician to Australian Standards (AS 4349.3-2010).

Can I manage termite risk myself?

Yes, we work on an educational model which gives you quality information about termite susceptibility, how to reduce susceptibility, and how to monitor for termites in your garden and buildings regularly. We can support you with annual inspections (or more frequently if required), and termite treatment if termites become evident.

We also can offer termite protection systems which we install and you can monitor yourself with our support. Our support includes quarterly monitoring reminders and a monitoring template for you to use each time you check your stations. You complete the template and send it back to us quarterly.

Self managed systems work if you are vigilant and like the idea of learning about termites, how they behave and what conditions they look for. If you’d like more information on this option contact us.

Can you guarantee termites will not enter my buildings if we use a monitoring system?

Unfortunately we can’t. There are no systems on the market (including chemical options) that guarantee your property will not be attacked by termites. However, we can check if your building is eligible for a warranty to cover your property for termite damage costs (up to $100k) when you have an Exterra Monitoring System in place.

How does a termite monitoring system work?

We use the Exterra termite monitoring system for Termite Protection of buildings. Although there are a number of termite monitoring systems on the market, we have found this system and the bait developed by Exterra to be the most effective available. They were the originators of the monitoring system technology in Australia and offer excellent support services. As a bonus, they also partner with Australian Wildlife Conservancy. You can download the Exterra Information Sheet on Termite Protection here

How much does an Exterra Termite Protection System cost?

Installation costs start at $1,600. The cost depends on the number of buildings on your property that you want protected, and the size of your building/s. The first step is for us to complete a termite inspection ($250-$350). Based on this inspection and consultation we give you a quote on the installation and monitoring of the Protection System.

Ongoing annual support and servicing starts at $400 per year and depends on whether you self monitor or have us monitor for you. All support and servicing includes an annual termite inspection of your property and consult at that time.

How much does an Ant service cost?

Our prices start from $220 +GST depending on the size of your property. For most species we can offer a 6 month warranty period where we will retreat if the same species returns within 6 months from the date of treatment.

If you have neighbours with the same ant problems, we can quote for doing more than one property during the same call out, making it more economical. With some species (especially the coastal brown ants), involving neighbouring properties will make the treatment effective for longer periods.

How much does a Cockroach service cost?

Our prices start from $220 +GST depending on the type of premises and the extent of the infestation. When servicing food establishments we prefer to schedule times outside opening hours to be able to check the premises effectively and ensure discretion.

What can I do to avoid Cockroaches?

  • Avoid leaving pet food out as this can attract cockroaches.
  • Cockroaches emit pheromones which attract more cockroaches so it is important to keep surfaces and kitchen areas clean, and remove food waste regularly.
  • Cockroaches often find their way into buildings in cardboard packaging (they love those corrugated hidey holes), so ensure you remove any cardboard from the building as soon as packaging has been unwrapped (recycle).
  • Cockroaches enter through crevices and like damp places, so keeping your building well maintained will make it more difficult for them to find harbourage.

How much does a Rodent service cost?

Our prices start from $220 +GST depending on the type of premises and the extent of the infestation. When servicing food establishments we prefer to schedule times outside opening hours to be able to check the premises effectively and ensure discretion.

How do I know whether I have Rodents?

You may notice droppings in undersink cupboards, behind fridges or in drawers; the smell of their urine, chewed food packaging, nesting areas have been made using material or shredded paper, and damage to structures where they’ve chewed through to create access to indoor areas. You may also disturbed by the noise of their activity at night as they are active from dusk until dawn.

What can I do to avoid Rodents?

  • Exclude rodents from the premises if possible;
  • Remove food sources: place all food into sealed containers, avoid leaving pet food out, wipe and sweep away fallen food and crumbs; and
  • Remove materials that can be used for nesting.

What happens when we ask you to help us solve a pest problem?

We work with you using the following approach:

  1. Identify the species – this tells us everything we need to know to offer you the best service and information for ongoing management. We may ask you some questions over the phone to help with the identification process remotely. We’ll check again when we get to the property.
  2. Determine the reason the species has become a problem. This will assist with ongoing prevention strategies so once we have the pest under control you can take measures for ongoing prevention.
  3. Provide the safest least toxic immediate solution to the problem.
  4. Offer quality information and support for ongoing management.

Can you help with pest problems that you don’t have listed here?

If you have other pest problems, give us a call to find out if we can help. If we can’t help, we may be able to refer you to someone who can.

Can you do a management plan for all our pest management needs?

Yes, we do consultations and management plans for day care centres, schools, and food premises that want to ensure they keep their spaces healthy and protected. Contact us for more information.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective health and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Genuine Urban IPM technicians use their knowledge of pest lifecycle and behaviour to find safe, effective ways to manage their presence. A good IPM practitioner also uses a consultative approach to develop and implement pest management plans based on the needs of the home or business in relation to the economic and health issues presented by pests.

IPM best practice always assesses a pest problem by initially determining relevant physical, cultural and biological approaches to manage pest issues. Physical approaches include proofing (where possible) to exclude pests. Cultural approaches include any practices that can be put in place by building users to reduce the potential for pests to find shelter, food, water and breeding conditions. Biological approaches may include any environmental changes that can be made to reduce a problem species  capacity to meet their survival needs and/or encouraging predator species to keep numbers under control.

Chemical intervention is the final approach considered by genuine IPM practitioners who will always use the most effective least toxic approach to reduce numbers so that ongoing management strategies are economical and effective. We have developed a decision making criteria which guide our use of chemicals so there is transparency around our approach.

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