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Termite Control: Transfer Effect Versus Domino Effect


Why is Termidor better than Premise?

Subterranean Termites swarm and take flight every spring to reproduce and spread according to noted Entomologist Gregg Henderson.  Dr. Henderson PhD is a leading expert in the field of Entomology and frequently contributes both to publications and speaking engagements at industry conferences as you can see from how frequently his name is on the schedule in the link to the 2014 National Conference on Urban Entomology.  Entomology is the study of insects in general, but Dr. Henderson has become a highly quotable image in the industry specifically with termites. He recently lead a study on the Transfer Effect versus the Domino Effect.

The “transfer effect” is the industry favorite and reason for the study.  It is an effect that comes from the termiticide Termidor.  The ‘domino effect’ of a termiticide known as Premise is a very similar pesticide for killing termites.  However, as Dr. Henderson and his colleagues noted, more pest control companies prefer Termidor over Premise despite it being a much older termiticide.  The researchers wanted to know why the industry didn’t switch over to Premise.  From previous studies they knew that Termidor was more effective.  But, they wanted to understand why it was transferred by termites more often than Premise and resulting in more deaths.

Both types of termiticide are a liquid spray that is meant to excite the termites’ central nervous system and then cause the termite to die of over excitation. It’s kind of like giving the termites crack.  They then spread the love around the nest and more and more termites are affected by the poison.  Both are essentially odorless and undetectable to the termite.  So the termite picks up the poison and spreads it to its buddies back at the nest.  Hence names like “Transfer Effect” and “Domino Effect”.  Though both types of termiticide work with the same physiological pathway, it had previously been found that Termidor did spread around the colony more and kill a significantly larger portion of the nest.

But why?  Premise works too fast.  According to the study within in 9 hours of exposure the initially effected termites stop moving around and start resting.  Their antennae start to droop and stop communicating, and they dig less.  In other words, they start to look sick.  Because they look sick the rest of the colony avoids them.  As a result, the “domino effect” doesn’t happen to very many in the colony.

Termidor in contrast, showed more excited workers, moving more, digging more, and communicating normally.  In other words, these guys look like they’re not just healthy workers, they’re the life of the party workers.  They appear to have the most energy.  This makes it easy for them to essentially make friends and influence termites.  Then, after spreading Termidor around the colony, the initially infected termites go from hyper to dead.  So yes, Termidor is better than Premise.  See the full scientific article to read more: Transfer Effect versus Domino Effect.

Dr. Henderson concludes the article with a final thought.  These termiticides work best when placed as close to the nest as possible and near known traffic areas.  Certified Termidor Technicians at Magic Pest Control can offer a free termite inspection and make sure that if there are signs of a termite colony, Termidor is being placed appropriately.

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