Termite Control

Posted on by fpadm

With one of the warmest winters on record, Sydneysiders can look forward to a Spring full of sun, sand and- unfortunately, termites. The warm weather has brought the termites out for an early season, with the Bush Telegraph reporting sightings of a termite swarm in Gippsland that was several metres high, containing at least one million termites. Every year termites cause damage to businesses and homes across Australia, so be sure to take a read of our guide to protecting your property from termites.

What are termites?

Termites are destructive, social insects, who are known commonly in Australia as ‘white ants’. Termites live in colonies that can number from several hundred to several million individuals. Colonies use decentralised systems of activity guided by swarm intelligence, which exploit food sources and environments unavailable to any single insect acting alone.

How to inspect for termites

Termites are often difficult to find, and are often referred to as ‘silent destroyers’ because they may be secretly hiding and thriving in your home or garden without any immediate signs of damage.

Despite them being referred to as ‘white ants’, they are whitish in colour and don’t have a segmented body. You never see termites out in the open. They are always in a concealed environment staying warm and moist. Concealment is their primary survival mechanism, so termite inspection is very important.

Where termites hide

Termites like to hide where there are high levels of moisture. When inspecting for termites, keep an eye out for the following:

  1. Shelter Tubes- Look for long, discoloured streaks on walls or trim, or insect feces piled up outside of holes in the wood.
  2. Damage- Indoors, wood can discolour or paint may blister and bubble. Outdoors, the insects can often be found if pieces of infested wood are turned over.
  3. Hollow spots- Termites eat the cellulose found in wood, so by knocking on walls you can often find hollow spots where the insects have eaten away the wood.
  4. Termites can often be difficult to find, so if you suspect an infestation but still can’t find anything, call the experts.

How to protect your home or business

According to entomologist Ion Staunton, termite infestations happen every Spring, and so Australian homeowners should take a long-term view when defending their homes. Be sure to take these precautions to defend your home or business against a termite infestation:

  • Remove all timber debris from under the house and store the timber in a dry, well-ventilated location.
    Never disturb what you think may be termite activity, this prompts the termites to move elsewhere, making future detection more difficult.
  • Provide good ventilation under all suspended floors, the reduced humidity and moisture makes the subfloor area vastly less attractive to termites.
  • Examine new constructions as these additions 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 can cause significant structural damage to your home and business, and as they are difficult to detect you may not know you have them until its too late. Be sure to get help from professionals if you suspect a termite infestation.

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