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Basaltic Termite Barrier

Dr. Minoru Tamashiro

Basaltic Termite Barrier, or BTB, is a non-chemical, physical termite barrier developed several years ago by Dr. Minoru Tamashiro, and licensed by the University of Hawaii. BTB is not construction or concrete sand, but rather sieved basalt rock. Dr. Tamashiro found that particles of a specific size, weight, shape, and hardness could be compacted so as to create a barrier resistant to termite penetration. Since BTB is a physical barrier and not a chemical barrier, it should last indefinitely, given proper installation and maintenance.

The principle behind BTB is simple. There are three basic requirements for a particulate barrier to be effective. First, the granules must be small enough to pack well so that there aren't any gaps the termites can squeeze through. At the same time, the granules must be big and heavy enough so that the termites can't pick them up and move them. Third, the granules must be too hard for the termites to chew.

Basaltic Termite Barrier works by physically preventing termites from coming up from the ground and making contact with the foundation or structure. It does not kill the termites, but instead presents a roadblock. It is like the termites hit a brick wall.

In Hawaii, BTB is currently produced and sold under a license agreement between the University of Hawaii and Ameron HC&D.


Below is a demonstration of BTB's effectiveness when properly installed. The foundation of the model house on the left was laid on a four-inch thick layer of BTB. The one on the right was laid on a four-inch thick layer of plain concrete sand. In both cases, the BTB or concrete sand rested on a bed of clay soil which was artificially infested with several thousand Formosan termites.



Here is a brief article about Basaltic Termite Barrier at the University of Hawaii Technology Licensing Group (TLG) website.

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