Termite control continues to be an evolving market. For many years, PMPs used products that created a repellent barrier around homes and commercial structures. Then termite baits entered the picture, and they changed the business model completely. Non-repellent termitcides soon followed and shook up the market again. With so many changes, some pest management professionals packed up and left the termite business altogether. But on April 1, 2000, Aventis launched Termidor (active ingredient fipronil) and changed the termite market for many PMPs.
Since its launch, Termidor has protected more than 8 million U.S. homes. And BASF continues to innovate, introducing higher-efficiency application systems and different formulations, which provide a variety of options for PMPs’ toolboxes.
PCT recently interviewed several PMPs who have used Termidor over the years. Here are their thoughts on how Termidor changed how they do business.
Dixon Pest Services, Thomasville, Ga.
Dixon Pest Services has been providing commercial and residential pest control in southern Georgia and northern Florida since 1964. Today, the firm’s services include pest control, termite control, fire ant control, mosquito protection and more. But that wasn’t always the case. In the early 1990s, owner Charles Dixon took a long, hard look at the challenges of effectively treating termite infestations and at his treatment options. He ultimately decided to pull out of the termite business.
Although he wasn’t taking on new termite clients, he kept his finger on the pulse of the industry. He said when he started seeing the success PMPs were having with Termidor, he started to look at providing termite services again. After talking with his insurance company and performing the necessary due diligence, he reentered the market slowly and used Termidor.
“Over those eight or nine years that we weren’t treating, we kept up with our termite warranties to the best of our ability,” Dixon said. “We got back into the business by visiting those customers.”
And he said he saw great results. Now, termite treatments make up 25 percent of Dixon’s business. “That was a big chunk of business that we didn’t have,” he said.
Dixon has six or seven technicians dedicated to termite work, primarily using the Termidor HP II High Precision Injection System. He said business is booming.
Action Pest Control, Evansville, Ind.
For Scott Robbins, technical services manager at Action Pest Control, which provides residential and commercial pest control services in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, the key to termite treatments was efficacy.
When the products of the late ’90s weren’t providing reliable control in a timely manner, Robbins said Action looked for another solution. “Our founder, Kevin Pass, asked himself what he would want protecting his house, and the answer was Termidor,” Robbins said.
Action Pest Control has been applying Termidor in one form or another since the product’s introduction. “Action did not have a service failure in our first three years. Then, through reductions in retreatments, labor savings and better renewal retention, we started to enjoy a significant increase in profitability,” Robbins said. “To say we were fans would be an understatement. Termidor simply made us better at termite control through the forgiveness of non-repellency, transfer and long residual.”
With the success in treatments — and an increase in profitability — it only made sense to adopt the newest Termidor innovations as they hit the market. Action was one of the first companies to trial and adopt the Exterior Perimeter/Localized Interior (EP/LI) application methods, which Robbins said resulted in even more labor savings, without any significant change in product performance.
“As the Termidor products we apply have evolved, we continue to enjoy more technician efficiency and increased productivity. This started with EP/LI, then came Termidor HE termiticide and a reduction in product volume, trench size, drilling, etc. The change to HE from Termidor 80 WG termiticide/insecticide made our technicians 40 percent more productive,” he said. “Now we are using Termidor HP II and the High Precision Injection System and, wouldn’t you know it, we gained another 40 percent in productivity. Now we have HP units at six branch locations.”
With HP II, Robbins said the application is fast, minimally invasive and still provides the expected efficacy Action has come to know and trust.
Although Robbins said most of the firm’s work is done with HP II, Action also uses Termidor SC for ant management, Termidor Foam for some interior gallery treatments and Termidor HE for some conventional applications when Termidor HP II treatments are not an option, like a post construction treatment with uneven final grade.
Massey Services, Orlando, Fla.
“We began using Termidor as soon as the label was approved in Florida, and have used it ever since,” said Adam Jones, vice president of quality assurance for Massey Services.
According to Jones, Massey struggled when it came to successfully controlling termites through the 1990s, even though he and his team started looking at termite treatments differently beginning in 1993.
“We embarked on an intense training regimen to teach our team members about home construction,” he said. “We adopted an aggressive approach towards utilization of every treatment specification allowed by the label to ensure that we were getting the termiticide into all of the potential access points of the home.”
But treatment failures were still high.
“Customer satisfaction was low and the industry was rife with litigation due to damages caused by termites. While we were able to effectively manage our damage claims, the cost of these damage claims and the accompanied stress on our management teams was causing serious doubt about continuing to provide guaranteed termite protection to our customers,” Jones said. “Termidor changed all of that. We finally had a product that was effective at controlling existing infestations, even under problematic construction practices and conducive conditions.”
With the adoption of Termidor, Jones said Massey’s retreatments plummeted to nearly zero, and to this day less than one-tenth of one percent of Massey customers experience a termite re-infestation.
Not only are technicians not dedicating time and materials to retreatments, but management is no longer bogged down with damage claims, he said.
The author is an Ohio-based writer.
Additional Case Studies
ABC Home and Commercial Services, Austin, Texas
According to Jenkins, they started with a joint approach, using the traditional baiting process they were used to, along with spot treatments of the new Termidor product. Their results were good. So good, that next season Jenkins decided to streamline service and use only Termidor. Transitioning back to a liquid application did take some training, but Jenkins said Termidor reps were there for support, from training technicians on how Termidor affects a colony of termites, to the actual application techniques. The training paid off, both for the customers and ABC’s bottom line.
“The effect from Termidor was immediate. We went from battling termites to solving virtually every infestation we encountered,” Jenkins said. “With the single Termidor application we were able to stop the termites and not deal with any re-infestations.”
Jenkins is so confident in his treatments, that today, once ABC treats the structure and eliminates the infestation, he opted to add termite coverage to the company’s basic pest protection program. “Termites are covered just as we would cover roaches, ants or other household pest problems,” Jenkins said. That protection program has now been a key differentiator between ABC and its competitors for years.
“The bottom line impact was that the customer received the best value for their dollar, termite elimination at a very reasonable price,” Jenkins said. “The company received tremendous benefit in that we have over the years virtually eliminated termite retreats. When we treat a structure, we very seldom have to go back next year for a retreat of the problem.”
Viking Pest Control, Warren, N.J.
According to Collar, competing termite products at that time had retreat rates higher than 5 percent. With Termidor Viking’s retreat rate was nearly zero. “Ultimately, BASF has provided us a product that offers the ultimate liquid termiticide to help protect our customers single biggest investment, their homes,” Collar said. “In the end, our customers need the products we use to work, and there is no question that Termidor does just that. It works.”
As the Termidor product line evolved, Viking took advantage of its more efficient applications, which could be performed faster, with less product. “When Viking adopted Termidor HE in 2017, we saw a further reduction in labor costs associated with drilling and trenching,” Collar said. “In 2019 we tested Termidor HP II and have found the labor reduction and direct treatment time savings have led to increased profitability as well as a level of treatment precision that was not possible in the past.
“In the past products could be either under-mixed or over-mixed. They might be contaminated if an applicator failed to segregate his materials or flush tanks, lines or application equipment prior to utilizing a termiticide. Drilling and trenching is often difficult as well as time consuming,” said Collar. “All of these factors could influence the overall effectiveness of the application and ultimately, the protection of the clients home.”