9 helpful tips to ensure your home is correctly managed to ensure you never have to worry again:
- Have completed a Visual Termite Inspection & detailed report in accordance with AS3660.2 every 6 to 12 months.
- Put in place a Termiticide treated zone around your home to prevent termite ingress.
- Put in place an Interception & Baiting system to monitor and eradicate termite colonies around your property.
- Carry out all recommendations and rectify all areas listed in the report, as these recommendations will help limit your chances of termite attacks on your home.
- Obtain a warranty program that not only treats and eradicates the termites if they get in, but repairs all damages and make goods repairs, so you are never financially strained from these devastating insects.
- Use a company that cares about your house and their reputation.
- Use a company that has competent, industry trained, insured and licensed staff.
- Use a company that specialises in Termite Management.
- New Homes – Have your builder provide a system that has a 10 year timber replacement warranty, tested extensively, installed by a licensed technician to AS3660.1 and is backed by a leading chemical company.
Termites are the cause of the greatest economic losses of timber in structures in Australia. Independent data compiled by State Forests shows 1 in every 5 homes is attacked by termites at some stage in its life, however CSIRO data indicates that it could be as high as 1 in 3.
Australia’s subterranean termite species (white ants) are the most destructive termites in the world. In fact it can take “as little as 3 months for a termite colony to severely damage almost all the timber in a home”.
The most destructive species live in large underground nests containing several million timber-destroying insects. The problem arises when a nest matures near your home. Your home provides natural shelter and a food source for the termites.
The gallery system of a single colony may exploit food sources over as much as one hectare, with individual galleries extending up to 50 metres to enter your home, where there is a smorgasbord of timber to feast upon.
Even concrete slabs do not act as a barrier; they can penetrate through cracks in the slab to gain access to your home. They even build mud tubes to gain access to above ground timbers.
In rare cases termites may create their nest in the cavity wall of the property without making ground contact. In these cases it may be impossible to determine their presence until extensive timber damage occurs.
Once in contact with the timber they excavate it, often leaving only a thin veneer on the outside. If left undiscovered the economic species can cause many thousands of dollars damage and may cost two to five thousand dollars (or more) to treat.
These termites are social insects usually living in underground nests. Nests may be in trees or in rare instances they may be in above ground areas within the property.
They tunnel underground to enter the building and then remain hidden within the timber making it very difficult to locate them. Where timbers are concealed, as in most modern homes, it makes it even more difficult to locate their presence, especially if gardens have been built up around the home and termite barriers are either not in place or poorly maintained.
Termites form nests in all sorts of locations and they are usually not visible. There may be more than one nest on a property. The diet of termites in the natural environment is the various hardwood and softwood species growing throughout Australia. These same timbers are used in buildings.
Worker termites move out from their underground nest into surrounding areas where they obtain food and return to nurture the other casts of termites within the nest. Termites are extremely sensitive to temperature, humidity and light and hence cannot move over ground like most insects. They travel in mud encrusted tunnels to the source of food. Detection of termites is usually by locating these mud tunnels rising from the ground into the affected structure. This takes an expert eye.
Termite barriers protect a building by forcing termites to show themselves. Termites can build mud tunnels around termite barriers to reach the timber above. The presence of termite tracks or leads does not necessarily mean that termites have entered the timber. A clear view of walls and piers and easy access to the sub-floor means that detection should be fairly easy. However many styles of construction do not lend themselves to ready detection of termites. The design of some properties is such that they make the detection by a pest inspector difficult, if not impossible.
The tapping and probing of walls and internal timbers is an adjunct or additional means of detection of termites but is not as reliable as locating tracks. The use of a moisture meter is a useful aid for determining the presence of termites concealed behind thin wall panels, but it only detects high levels of activity.
Older damage that has dried out will not be recorded. It may also provide false readings. Termite tracks may be present in the ceiling space however some roofs of a low pitch and with the presence of sisalation, insulation, air conditioning ductwork and hot water services may prevent a full inspection of the timbers in these areas.
Therefore since foolproof and absolute certain detection is not possible the use of protective barriers and regular inspections is a necessary step in protecting timbers from termite attack.
The fruiting bodies of wood decay fungi vary in size, shape and colour. The type of fungi encountered by pest controllers usually resides in poorly ventilated subfloors, below wet areas of the home, exterior timbers and in areas that retain water in the soil. The durability and type of timbers are factors along with the temperature and environment. Removal of the moisture source usually alleviates the problem. Fungal decay is attractive to termites and if the problem is not rectified it may well lead to future termite attack.
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