Ask Mr ePest

Author: Dennis Murphy  

Answer: General ant control begins with locating and treating the nest site or using baits. Some ants make trails from their nest site to a food supply. You may be able to follow the worker ants from the food back to the nest.  When you have found the nest, then apply some liquid insecticide directly to it (eg. TempoDelta ForceBarmac Out of BoundsCislin 25) . Some ant species do not make strong trails, so locating the nest can be difficult.  
In general, baits are the best method of ant control, but this method takes time and patience. There are some dry or granular baits available, but the most effective formulations are liquids.

Place the baits where you have seen the most ant activity.  Ant feeding behavior is very variable. It often depends on the time of year, whether they are rearing young in the colony, and in the availability of other food sources. You may need to try several different kinds of ant bait, and switch them periodically. Control will take time.  
Spraying a liquid insecticide around the perimeter of the house or structure can be used for control. It may help by placing an insecticide on the surfaces that the ants will walk on as they enter the house. Because of the sun and humidity most insecticides must be re-applied periodically.  Granular insecticides can be effective for ground-nesting ants. They are applied to the ground around the perimeter of the house (eg. Barmac Chlorpyrifos Granules).

Answer: Cockroaches are sometimes difficult to control, and any method used takes time and patience, it is not likely to be one treatment.
The best control strategy for the control of household cockroaches is to use baits, perhaps combined with liquid sprays. (eg. TempoDelta ForceCislin 25Maxforce GelMaxforce White GelMaxforce Goldmore products here>> )  This type of control strategy is much more effective than an aerosol (fogging) spray treatment. 
Baits should be placed where you have seen the cockroaches. The gel formulation should be applied to cracks and crevices in the places that you have seen the cockroaches. The small gel placements may be eaten quickly by the cockroaches, replace the bait where you see it has been eaten. The small nymphs (babies!) and the adults will eat the bait, even several days after you apply it. Bait not eaten will remain effective for several months.  
German cockroaches (small roaches - about ½" long) can be controlled by using either bait stations or gel baits. Large cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches and American cockroaches are best controlled with the gel formulation. Re-apply the bait when it is eaten. Give this method about three weeks to work. 

Be sure to seal up any entryways to prevent a re-infestation.  Weep holes, cracks, crevices and roof voids are best treated with dust insecticides to lay down a path to prevent infestation to take place.  Recommended products include  Coopex Dust, or Permethrin D professional Dust.  The use of hand bulb dusters or electric dust applicators is essential for even distribution. 

Answer: Full question: I was replacing two window screens and when I took apart the  aluminum frame, what appeared as 100s, if not 1000s, of what looked like termites fly out from within the aluminum frames. Looking at the wood around the window frame, I could not see any evidence of termintes, only inside the aluminum frame.

Termite Swarmer
Winged Termite

Flying Ant
Flying Ant

I have not taken off any other window screeens as this was two of two. I was not aware that termites would nest in an aluminum frame. No apparent tracks from the screen into the window frame was visible. Were these really termites or some other type of flying ant?


ANSWER:  Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between winged ants and winged termites. There are three body parts that are distinctive -- waist, wings, and antennae.  You have to look closely. It may help to have a magnifying glass.

Winged ants have a pinched "waist" and three distinct body segments. Winged termites do not have a "waist". Their body seems to be made up of just one segment -- long and slender.

Winged ants (swarmers) have a pair of large front wings and a smaller pair of back wings. Winged termites have two pair of same-size wings.

Ants have bent or "elbowed" antennae. Termites have straight antennae.

If you are not sure, call the local pest controller to have a termite specialist come and identify the insects.

If you find flying ants of termites emerging from your house or surrounding structures they can be treated with dusting, liquid sprays, or specialised aerosols (eg.  Coopex Dust,  TempoCislin Ultra).


We are going to break this question into two segments:

1. Existing Termite Infestations:

If you have an active termite infestation in your home, we feel that a combination of traditional liquid termiticides and termite baits is the best approach.

Applying liquid termite chemicals can be a complicated and difficult job, requiring lots of specialised equipment and training. Having the house treated by a professional pest control operator would be a prudent thing to do, particularly if you are on a slab or basement.

Difficult situations in applying termite chemicals:

A. Homes on slabs because of the drilling required.

B. Homes that have a basement, because of the drilling required.

C. If you need a clearance letter, or proof of termite treatment, this needs to be done by a licensed pest control operator. Mortgage companies won't accept proof of termite clearance other than from a certified company. 

Situations that are more accessible in applying your own termite chemicals:

A. You can treat your fence posts, wooden sheds, mail boxes, etc. in the yard.

B. If your home is a block type of construction, and you do have adequate crawl space clearance to apply the chemicals.

C. If after the house has been treated, you could choose to install and maintain your own termite baiting system. 

D. If you feel that your house is treatable under difficult conditions or you have experience in termiticide applications, we will be glad to discuss the situation with you if you wish.

2. Preventative Treatments:

A preventative treatment would be forming a chemical barrier with a liquid termiticide as discussed at Traditional treatments-controlling termites. It talks about trenching your soil with a diluted termite chemical, giving your the recommendations. If you leave the treated soil, undisturbed, this barrier will last about 5 years.

The advent of termite baits to the market has made preventative treatments very easy to do.   

Termite baits have proven to be an effective means of dealing with termites. Remember though, that termite baits are not a barrier. They will reduce the population of termites in the area and thereby lessening the chances of termites finding their way into your house.

You must also remember that termite bait stations must be monitored at an appropriate interval for them to be effective. If you are not the type of person who will monitor them on a regular basis,then I would hire a professional service company to install and monitor the bait stations


The technology of non repellents such as Bayer Premise Termiticide is an advancement over other termite insecticides that are only repellent barriers such as Biflex.

With "repellant" termiticides, any of the smallest gap in the treated soil can be detected and exploited by the termites to gain entry in the building. They will find ways around it. This is a major short-coming of the more traditional chemicals used for termite control.

The exception of this would be the use of non-repellents such as Premise or Termidor. Because Premise and Termidor are made up of a non repellents , they are undetectable by termites. The termites can't see, smell, taste or avoid these products.

An Overview of Termite Chemicals -Termiticides

For many years, the traditional method of controlling subterranean termites was to apply a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide, to the soil. It has worked by applying a chemical barrier around and beneath the structure in order to block all possible routes of termite entry. Any termites attempting to penetrate through the treated soil were either killed or repelled.

However, there are many obstacles to forming such a barrier. Many possible termite entry points are hidden behind walls, floor coverings, and other obstructions.

Even where access for termite treatment is possible, it is difficult to uniformly wet soil and achieve thorough coverage. A typical "barrier" treatment may involve hundreds of gallons of solution injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls. Considering that termites can tunnel through small untreated gaps as narrow as pencil lead in the soil, it is understandable why the traditional/ barrier liquid termite treatments have failed to correct termite problems at times.


Most termiticides are not as stable in most soils as termiticides which were manufactured prior to 1989. Chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides (termiticides) like chlordane, aldrin, lindane, etc. were known to have tremendous stability in soils and lasted a lot longer than the present termiticides.The same qualities which made them good termiticides also made them environmentally unsafe. Chlordane got the bad reputation from wide misuse and was taken off the market in the USA.

There are several different insecticides used by pest control operators for soil treatment for termites currently. All are safe and effective when used according to label directions. The insecticides remain effective in the soil for approximately 5 to 10 years. Each product has slight advantages and disadvantages.

Effective termite treatments require a great volume of termiticide. For example, a single-story house that is 1200 sq. ft. (40' x 30') can require 112 gallons of diluted termiticide just to treat the soil along the foundation walls (inside and out). The total gallons needed may exceed 150 gallons depending upon the construction of the house.

The physical and chemical nature of your soil surrounding your home can impact the effectiveness of the chemicals stability with respect to time. Soil clay content, pH, Organic matter content, particularly organic carbon content will greatly influence the rate of break down of the termiticide in soil.

Baiting for termites, although generally more expensive, may be a better alternative.

Controlling Termites - liquid barrier termite treatments

Pre Treatment: 
Pre Construction Termite Treatment of Structures

Homes and other buildings can be pretreated at the time of construction to protect them against termite attack .

Foundational walls and piers:

After the footings are poured and the foundational walls and /or piers have been constructed, apply the termiticide such as Premise or Biflex to a trench in the soil as per label directiadjacent to the foundation.

Soil on both sides of the exposed foundational walls and soil surrounding should be soaked down to the foundation footing at the labeled rate.

Apply at the diluted rate. Poured in with a watering can or bucket is easier than using a sprayer. Pour the finished solution in the trench. Once the trench is filled with the finished mix, cover the trench back with the dirt that was removed. 

Soil at the bottom of the trench can be loosened with a spade or iron bar to allow further penetration.

For outside basement walls (where the footing is deep) most pest control operators apply the chemical by injecting it along the foundation through a hollow rod attached at the end of the hose in place of a soil nozzle. This is called "rodding". The result is a continuous chemical barrier from footing to surface.

This should be applied to both the inside and outside of the foundation and also around piers, chimney bases,pipes,conduits,and other structures in contact to the soil.

Use at the rate as per label directoins and instructions. The diluted termiticide should be mixed in with the soil, as it replaced.


Above: Floating Slab Above:  Monolithic Slab Above:  Suspended Slab


For effective pretreatment termite proofing, much of the chemical barrier needs to put under the concrete slabs. Obviously it is easier to put out the barrier termite treatment BEFORE a slab has been poured. After it has been poured, it will need to be drilled and a chemical injected under the slab to seal off termite entry points. This is not a "do it yourself project".

Apply a diluted termiticide such as Premise 200SC Termiticide or Bilfex at the label rate, covering the square footage.

Along both sides of the foundational walls and interior foundational walls and plumbing, apply this diluted a. 

Termite Renovation and Construction Considerations

Post Construction Termite Treatment:

A thorough inspection is the first and most important step. Calling in a professional pest control service may be necessary, as their experience can locate the specific areas in your structure where termite attack is likely to occur.

Basement construction may require treatment which injects termiticides into the soil through holes drilled in the basement floor at regular intervals.

Crawl space treatment also involves trenching or rodding soil along the foundation walls and around piers and pipes, then applying termiticides to the soil.  Dig narrow trenches along both the inside and outside of foundation walls and around piers and chimney bases,applied at the product label rate and directions for use.

Also be sure to trench and treat around sewer pipes, conduits and all other structural members in contact with the soil.

Mix the termiticide with the soil as it is replaced.

The State regulations differ state to state on treatment and drilling activity required.

Other Termite Problems

In certain areas of the country you may encounter different types of termites, such as Formosan, dampwood, drywood, etc. If your home is infested with one of these termites, it may require different or more extensive treatment procedures including wood treatment and fumigation.

Construction Considerations in Termite Control

Changing the soil along the foundation such as digging or removal of treated soil can encourage termites to your home.

Disturbing the termite treatment may void any termite warranty that you may have on your home.