A Masa technician applies termiticide

A Masa technician applies termiticide

What Masa does to protect wood

Mohammad Arif Hussain, entomologist at Masa, understands the behaviour of wood pests like few others and here shows how one can deal them a fatal blow

June 2015

In most developing countries timber plays an important role in building construction in the form of windows, doors and general furniture, thanks to its high strength-to-weight ratio, ease of working with tools and machines, insulation and water absorbing properties and resistance to chemicals. Its inherent beauty makes it a suitable material for buildings.

Still, there are elements that damage wooden structures, and the worst among those are termites. For severity of attacks, beetles come next and are followed by bees, wasps and ants. It may also be said that fungi are another significant damaging force, particularly when the climate is warm and humid.



Our major problem is with subterranean termites. The hard, saw-toothed jaws of termites work like shears and are able to bite off extremely small fragments of wood, one piece at a time. Over time, they can bring about the collapse of an entire building, meaning possible financial ruin for a homeowner.

The best way to control subterranean termites is avoiding areas of water accumulation near foundations of homes. Prevent their access by diverting water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Store firewood at least 20 feet away from the home, and keep mulch at least 15 inches from the foundation. Indoors, homeowners should reduce humidity through proper ventilation of crawl spaces, attics and basements to avoid attracting subterranean swarms.



On the basis of distinctive habits and problem-solving challenges, beetles rank near the top. There are two kinds: those that will reinfest the wood they have emerged from until the wood can no longer be used and must be replaced, and those that emerge from wood after it has been milled. The young are typically at the damaging stage. Pupation usually occurs in wood where larvae feed. This so-called resting stage lasts, for most wood-infesting beetles, about 10 days to two weeks. It is not actually a resting stage, but nature’s way of changing a worm-like grub into a completely different adult beetle with wings.



Fungi thrive in climates normally quite warm and humid. Wood-rotting fungal spores are found everywhere and they germinate instantly as soon as suitable environmental conditions prevail.



Wood infested by insect pests

Wood infested by insect pests

A termite treatment may involve any of the following basic steps: mechanical alteration/sanitation; soil treatment; wood treatment; foundation treatment and bait/monitoring.


• Mechanical alteration/sanitation: Wood, paper, cardboard and other cellulose debris under or against a structure increase the risk of termite infestation. Similarly, materials such as wood supports and fence posts when in contact with the soil and the structure present easy access for termite entry. Regardless of what treatment options are used, these items should be corrected. Debris must be removed and wood/soil contacts should be broken. Termites thrive in moist environments and can survive above ground in excessively wet wood. Correcting plumbing and roof leaks and other defects contributing to such conditions is imperative. Mechanical alteration/sanitation techniques alone are rarely sufficient to prevent or control a termite infestation.

• Soil treatment :  Treatment of the soil establishes a termiticide barrier in the soil under and adjacent to a building. A continuous barrier must be established along the inside and outside of the foundation wall, under slabs and around utility entrances. A vertical barrier is established in the soil by trenching or trenching and rodding along all sides of foundation elements such as foundation walls, chimney bases, pilasters, and pillars. The trench must be at least 6 inches in depth. Termiticide is applied by trenching or trenching and rodding from the top of the grade to the top of the footing or to a minimum depth of 30 inches. 

• Wood treatment : This type of treatment involves applications of termiticides directly to wood to eliminate existing termite infestations or to make the wood resistant to termites. There are several supplemental ways in which wood treatments are used in the pest control industry.

Pressure-treated wood is frequently used in the construction of buildings and provides effective termite control if it is used for all wood construction and at least to the ceiling level of the first floor.

Spraying termiticides on the wood already in place provides only surface protection and does not penetrate to the centre of the wood, where it is most needed.

In damaged wood, termiticide can be injected into the cavities made by termites. This will provide better control than will a brush or spray application.

• Foundation treatment: Foundation treatment involves the application of termiticides to foundation elements. The objective of this treatment is to create a barrier by placing termiticides inside concrete block/multiple brick walls where voids exist. This is accomplished by drilling foundation elements and injecting termiticides. Drilling and treating foundation elements allows termiticides to be placed on top of concrete footings where cracks may exist. In addition, where evidence of either past or present subterranean termite infestation exists, voids in multiple masonry foundation elements must be drilled and treated at a minimum distance of four feet in all directions from such evidence.

• Baits/monitoring systems : These systems are a recent innovation in termite control. Termiticide baits control termites by eliminating or reducing the size of the termite colony. They do not create a barrier around the structure, as do liquid insecticides. Presently, termiticide baits are either insect growth regulators (IGRs) or slow acting poisons.

All related pests of wood may have different modes of action, habits and life cycle but what they have in common is that they attack wood and cause damage sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars each year.

Masa Establishment, a pioneer in pest control management in Saudi Arabia, has comprehensive knowledge of the way insects live as well as safety measures needed to control insect pests, having successfully treated and saved thousands of buildings, artwork, museums, antiques, wooden frames and other similar materials made of wood. Its treatment methods are based on 35 years of dedicated service to the public and environment.

Masa has a selection of termiticides done on a scientific basis. Recently the company registered a new termiticide of the neonicotinoid family, Raslan Plus, with Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), the Saudi pesticide regulatory authority. Raslan Plus has an active ingredient imidacloprid 30.5 per cent SC. It is a systematic and contact insecticide, ecologically friendly and displays low toxicity towards people and animals. It is odourless and creates a non-detectable treated zone that functions not as a repellent zone/barrier, but as a “killing field” whose effects may be transmissible to other termites leading to contamination of the colony.

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