Understanding that chemical and physical barriers have their limitations, and wanting to reduce chemicals within the environment, Corteva studied how termites behave, how they feed and how they grow for possible answers. According to Joanne George, professional pest business manager, it’s understanding their biology that is the key to their management.
‘We know that termites are constantly foraging and searching for their next meal,’ she says. ‘Like many insects they have an external skin, or exoskeleton. For a termite to live and grow, it has to shed this outer skin on a regular basis, which is called moulting.’
Joanne adds that once this natural shedding cycle is halted, the termite cannot grow.
‘[That means] no growth, no feeding, no termites and, ultimately, no colony,’ she says. ‘Being able to use this process against termites was the first step. Packaging this into an effective and durable system took another 17 years of research, with the final result being Sentricon AlwaysActive.’
First and foremost the food had to be much more desirable than their usual dead plant and cellulose fare.
‘In lab tests, when given a choice, termites chose to eat Sentricon 10 times more often than wood,’ Joanne says.
Secondly, it had to be so powerfully effective that it could destroy the entire colony – therefore it is what happens after they feed that is really critical. ‘The termites lay down trails to the stations for other worker termites and share their food with the entire colony.
‘The colony either dies at their next moult or due to starvation from a loss of workers.’