Termites
Reporter: Rodney Lohse

Termite carnage - forget burglars, these are the worst home invaders you'll ever find inside your home. They can eat their way through tens of thousands of dollars of your property in a matter of months.

One in five Australian homes will have a termite attack and by world standards, we have some of the most aggressive termites on the planet. They're big, they're hungry, they cause hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage every year and, once they're in, it takes some serious chemical warfare to get them out.

And those chemicals, while deadly to termites, aren't good for us either. That was the case for Janette Lucas who shortly after having her house sprayed for termites, fell ill.

"They came out and they dug trenches all around the house, put the treatment in there and sort of left it so that it was left all over the pavers and everything else. So then I thought I'd go out there and clean it up because I live with my grandchildren and I got really affected by this toxic chemical," Janette said.

It got the point where Janette had to move house.

"I got really bad joints, problems with my joints, like flu symptoms, headaches, nausea," Janette said.

Its a concerning thought for any family. You want to protect your home from white ants but at what cost?

Well, a humble Aussie tree maybe the answer to stopping termites but without risking your health. Its known as false sandalwood and over millions of years, the tree has developed and become resistant to termites.

"An endemic tree to Australia that grows up through central NSW and Queensland, it's been known to the bushies and the farmers out there for quite some time as termite resistant wood," said Professor David Leach from the University of Southern Cross.

For many years it was suspected false sandalwood was so hard it was thought that termites may just prefer to eat softer woods - but that wasn't so.

"The product that we've been developing is an essential oil extracted from Eremophila Mitchellii," Professor Leach said.

And it works. Termites hate that essential oil - it kills them on contact and acts as a barrier to keep them at bay. The best news is its virtually non-toxic to other animals.

Bio Prospect is the Australian company that has spent millions working with the CSIRO and the university of Southern Cross to bring this termite killer to the market.

"There are a number of ways in which the product can be used, and we're not just talking about soil applied termiticide here. We're also talking about timber treatment so you know the concept of taking this compound out of timber and then putting it back onto timber for protecting that timber from attack from termites," Professor Leach said.

It has the potential to revolutionise termite treatment across the world. The only but is it is most likely still two years before all the necessary testing is done so it can go into commercial production.

That's bad news for termites, but good news for us.

Further information

For more information on Bioprospect's natural termite treatment, which will be called Termilone when it finally hits the market. Visit the website at:

www.bioprospect.com

Contact BioProspect

Level 3, Suite 7A

320 Adelaide Street

Brisbane Queensland 4000

Australia

Phone: (07) 3229 5755

Email: info@bioprospect.com