Termites are the cause of the greatest economic losses of timber-in-service in Australia. Under the right conditions, it can take only a matter of months for a termite colony to severely damage almost all the timber in a home. Read on to find out how you can detect and eradicate termites and prevent your home from termite destruction.
Detecting and Eradicating Termites.
The annoying part is that termites are hard to find even for experts and it is usually only after a chair leg goes through a weakened floor that people notice their unwelcome visitors for the first time. Termites typically leave the thinnest of barriers between themselves and the atmosphere. You can find them in low density woods like skirtings, architraves, floorboards and pine house framing timbers, but they can get into denser hardwood timbers if undetected.
If your neighbours have had termite problems, or you suspect you are in a termite-prone area, it may be wise to get a pest inspection. It is also important to understand that once termite activity has been identified on your property, even if a treatment has been successfully applied termite damage may have occurred either before or during the treatment process. Some of this damage may be visible, but as much of the timber of a building is concealed and hard to see, such as behind wall and ceiling linings, the damage may be quite extensive and can affect the structure of the home. Undertake a thorough inspection in these areas to determine the extent of the damage.
While a treatment may have eradicated a previous infestation of termites, it is no guarantee that they won't return. Physical barriers can be bridged or broken and chemical treatments can deteriorate over time. That is why you should have regular inspections conducted.
Termites can be eradicated. The eradication treatment should be performed by an expert, so make sure you contact only currently licensed members of your State's pest control association. Termiticide is applied at critical locations around the property. Termites clean or "groom" each other and eventually the toxin is passed through the entire colony.
Where Termites Like to Hide.
Termites like to hide in areas where there are high levels of moisture. Keep sub-floor and roof spaces dry and well ventilated. Ensure the adjacent ground surfaces drain away from the building. Avoid the temptation to build up garden beds directly against the external walls, particularly against weatherboards, and keep well clear of sub-floor ventilation grilles or openings.
Weepholes drain moisture and condensation from within the wall cavities so ensure they are kept clean and free of garden mulch and litter. Blocked weepholes not only increase moisture levels within these spaces but also may provide concealed access for termites.
Termites can also gain access to concealed concrete slabs through poorly sealed pipe penetrations, slab cracks and the brick or cladding interface.
To guard against a termite attack, we recommend taking these precautions:
Remove all timber debris from under the house. Timber debris encourages foraging termites. Move piles of timber or firewood away from the house, and store the timber in a dry, well-ventilated location. Old decayed tree stumps should be removed to below ground level. If you notice what you think is termite activity, leave them alone and arrange an inspection by an expert.
Never disturb what you think may be termite activity. This prompts the termites to move elsewhere which makes future detection and eradication more difficult. It may also result in the damage being increased elsewhere.
Provide good ventilation under all suspended floors. The reduced humidity and moisture makes the subfloor area vastly less attractive to termites. Leaking water pipes or bad drainage encourages termite presence so these faults should be fixed asap.
Examine new constructions: New constructions and concrete additions to the house such as verandahs and timber decking may not have ant caps. They may also also cover up previously laid termite chemical treatments making the area more susceptible to termites again.
The underside of a concrete slab is a popular place for termite nests. If you have concrete laid next to the timber frame of your house, damp conditions may promote termite entry and is extremely difficult to detect. You should consider this when renovating: if concrete-next-to-timber is part of the design, have an expert first put in place a preventative treatment.
termites, timber, tree stumps, home