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Subterranean termites

Dear George,

We live in the Caribbean and we have subteranian termites by the tons. Our home is 100% concrete including the roof. Our resources here are rather limited. I have an area in which I really cannot install by excavation a chemical barrier because the immediately adjacent concrete wall is the external wall of our 28,000 gallon cistern. Our problem is that when I prune the woody landscape plants in this area, the mites tunnel up from the earth, up the outside of the trunk of the plant, enter through the pruned wound, eat their way downward and eventually kill the plant by destroying the root system.  Yes, they are termites and yes they produce the clay tunnel and no, they are not merely attacking a plant that is sick from another disease.  I can gently pop the top edge off of the tunnel and watch the little buggers.  I have let them go on one plant just to make sure my theory was correct and I was right on.

Here's the it really true that Sevin has no impact on termites?  I know it is not labeled for termites but I have found a couple of references on the web to it working anyway, in two cases recommended to a homeowner by an exterminator in terms of routinely applying the powder or spray to an infected stump.  How about Tralomethrin .03%?   If I apply one or the other of these regularly to the ground around the base of these plants and the termites have to tunnel through this to tunnel up the stump, won't it have some effect?  I am comfortable with these products on the surface of the ground or cultivated in to a shallow level a few feet out from the cistern but not with the routine termiticides.  In the long run, I will go for the bait, but wonder if it is really true that these two insecticides have NO impact on termites or if it is merely true that they are not labelled for such because in the larger sense, they will not be as effective as the termiticides.  Is there any homemade termiticide that works at all?  Thank you so very much!


All the ---methrins(pyrethroids) are residual in the soil to my knowledge.  A carbamate like Sevin should do some termite damage too.  Label expansion to include additional insects is expensive, and that is why so many products list only the target specie that have been tested on the efficacy test runs for field and lab type testing.

I am not at all sure that those products, you include, Tralomethrin, and Sevin would be safe near a cistern.  I think, obviously leaching can possibly invade your cistern in time.

Insect growth regulators dispersed throughout the field of termite activity, sounds like a winner in this case.  There are over-the-counter IGR products out there.  If you have a local supplier, check with that agency, otherwise, our website has a link to a supplier.  You can discuss this with him too. 
Mention you talked to me.

Best regards,
George Manning

Consulting Entomologist
Chicago Pest Control

Chicago Exterminator
American Pest Solutions

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