The Many Aspects Of The Termite Booster Shot

Booster- a happy sounding word that was no doubt coined to inspire confidence or give a ray of hope when customers were looking for success in the face of failure.

As long as there’s been termite work there has always been the booster. The booster was really just a retreat that in some cases was needed when barriers failed and in others it simply gave value to the annual renewal inspection. People came to believe that every year they were paying to have the job done again & got upset if you didn’t spray. My guess is termite companies somewhat fostered this idea and in the end compromised and instead of doing whole new soil treats, they did a little booster.

In the early days of termite barriers retreats were a way of life and managers and salesman called out on the carpet had to find a way of soothing the angry homeowners while still adding credibility to their service. I’m not sure who coined the term or gave this pacifying treatment its name but I believe it has served the pest control industry well over the years.

The Booster Is Forbidden

In todays world you never hear the word “booster” any more. In fact, boosters for the most part are against label and strictly taboo but they were the way it was done not so many years ago. Some companies did boosters every 3 or 4 years while others performed this treatment annually. Both sold the benefit of keeping the soil barrier at 100% and adding to the chemical strength to keep your home termite free. In time, the powers that be frowned on this ‘extra spray’ and clamped down on the freedom of booster shots. The rationale is completely in line with responsible pest control but such a great thing is hard to let go. Some companies hung on to the way of the booster for years after they were restricted and many customers also felt jilted when their yearly ‘freebie’ was taken away.

Was The Booster Just Repackaged And Priced Higher?

Homeowners across the nation still use the term and ask for this service but each year it gets less and less. It took the industry a few years to get all the operators on board and now I’m not aware of anyone in my town that does boosters for a boosters sake. (maybe there’s a few) Termite labels are pretty clear and dispensing product around a home for the sake of tradition or the peace of mind of the housewife is no longer accepted. There are however two valid reasons to re-spray a structure that is allowed.

#1, finding live termites on a structure would be a valid reason to retreat even if a recent treatment has been done. #2 and I wouldn’t say this is on any label I’ve read (but maybe). If there is no active contract or agreement for protection then a structure can be retreated. This would be true even if you knew the building had a recent service and no current infestation is noted but there is no current contract.

What you’ll find now in the industry is a termite contract, (erroneously called a bond), is only good for 5 years. At the end of the term the agreement becomes null and void and voilà’, you need a new treatment. Well, that is if you want to continue to have a written guarantee. Now the path is clear for you to have a new barrier put down and this new treatment is not much more than a glorified ‘booster shot.’

Let’s Agree To Disagree

While I do agree that we don’t need to pound the soil with mindless treatments on a yearly basis I’m also not a fan of the 5 year trap. Let’s be honest-with the booster shot there were very few if anybody spewing out 200 gallons of mix every year. They’d go broke. Most did a ‘booster’ around suspect areas or the spots where mother nature wreaked havoc on the soil barrier and it was never much material at all. Down spout and a/c drip line areas, excess landscaping that removed or degraded what was put down, leaky spigots, wood to ground, dogs digging next to the house and the list goes on and on. If you wanted to, you could always find a reason to retreat and even some label recommendations that would back you up. But- in the end the logic of too much is too much won out. Now what we have is no extra treatments allowed and at the end of 5 years the termite company pulls out unless a new deal is struck and treatment rendered. This new treatment is in most cases minus the drilling and just to the soil– hmm-hey, I think we call that a ‘booster shot!’ Now however this booster aka new treatment is around 100 gallons for the average home and costs as much or more than the original treatment.

What if Boosters Became The Norm?

One other aspect to the booster debate to consider is “Have they (boosters) been out done by technology or should they be the way things are done because of it?” At no other time in history have we been able to WIPE OUT entire infestations with such little amounts of product. So do we even need anything in between or contracts at all? Why shouldn’t ‘boosters’ be the treatment of choice? Just a targeted shot to a suspect area or one where our training tells us there may be trouble. It seems to me we’d get great results and accomplish what many have pushed for for so long. Funny how things in life have a tendency to go full circle, today the booster-tomorrow maybe we’ll get some techs dusting again. Hey! I think it would be worth the SHOT!

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.
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  • Debbie Conway Gehrlich

    Good Afternoon,
    Our Condominium complex has a contract for pest prevention treatments (not boosters) The perform the pest prevention treatments yearly as well as inspections. Is this something you would recommend? We are in Georgia.

  • Highly! Inspections are very important. From what I gather you get pest treatments for roaches etc….a termite treatment is different but regardless…..inspections are very important to at least be able to see the early signs of a termite problem. At that time (or sooner) you can decide on an actual termite treatment

  • Martha Benson

    My Florida home was treated for termite prevention when it was built 18 years ago. We have maintained the contract with yearly inspections and no additional treatments that I remember. At my yearly inspection today (no sign of termites nor have we ever had any in this house), I was advised that the company is recommending a “booster” treatment at the cost of almost $400. After this they would require yearly inspections and additional treatments every 5 years to maintain the contract. As a recent widow whose husband always handled such things, I’m wondering if this is an advisable treatment and change to my contract, or if I should continue with just the yearly inspections if I can. I’m not sure if this is a requirement, but I don’t think so.