Termites are difficult for the untrained eye to spot and even if you think your house is safe, you cannot be 100% certain unless an inspection is carried out. A Termite problem needs to be tackled early to reduce the risk of greater damage in the future. Besides the damage Termites can cause to your home and its framework, it can also leave a deep hole in your pocket.
Termites destroy thousands of Australian properties each year and many home owners fail to realise that termite damage is generally not covered by standard home insurance policies. The risk of Termites living within your property is significantly increase when you install pergolas and retainer walls made from wood or use mulch, bark and wood chips in your garden.
Queensland’s Destructive Species
Termites are a species of insect that has inhabited Australia for millions of years. They are also known as white ants, although they are actually more closely related to cockroaches than they are to ants. Australia has over 300 sub-species of termites, grouped into:
Only a few of these are a serious threat to the structure of your home, all of these being subterranean termites.
Unfortunately, of all Australia’s 300+ termite species, the three that cause most damage to property are among those most commonly found in Queensland. This includes the species known as the world’s most destructive — the Mastotermes Darwiniensis, which until recently was never found south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Much to the dismay of residents, a large colony was discovered on the Gold Coast in 2011.
The Mastotermes is about three times bigger and stronger than other subterranean termite. They are so aggressive that they can cut through car and tractor tires and electric wiring, and can destroy live trees and whole crops. While most termite species would take years to destroy your house completely, the Mastotermes can achieve this in a matter of months.
Next to the Mastotermes, the Coptotermes Acinaciformis is the most destructive Australian termite, and in fact it is the species that has caused the most damage, because it is more widespread. The Coptotermes loves to nest in your patio, and is ecstatic when it finds firewood left between your garden shed and your fences, as this is a perfect nesting spot from which it can easily find its way into your house. Once there it can destroy your electrical wiring and wall lining boards, and will attack many non-wooden items in search of cellulose materials.
The Schedorhinotermes Intermedius does almost as much damage as the Coptotermes, but in different patterns. It is described as artistic, as it produces complex grooves and ruts in the wood, especially around nails. You may not appreciate its artistic efforts when you find the huge gouges it has taken out of your beautiful timber structures. The Schedorhinotermes also loves to nest in your patio.
You Need A Termite Inspection
It can’t be stressed too strongly that termites devour your timber from the inside out, so by the time you become aware of it, your timber frames could be too fragile to hold up your house. That’s why it is so essential to have a regular termite inspection carried out, whether you believe you have termites or not. Australian Pest Control standards recommend that a termite inspection should be conducted at least every 12 months in cooler areas, and twice a year in warmer or tropical areas like the Gold Coast. The best time to have an inspection done is between early spring and late summer, when the termites are at their most active.
The inspector may use several types of sensitive equipment, including Termatrac, a device that uses microwave technology to detect movement, and bore scopes, which allow visual access to the interiors of walls and other structures. The termite inspection usually takes 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the property — the outside structures will be inspected as well as the inside. You will receive a report detailing any evidence of termite activity that was found, and what is the level of risk of your property becoming infested in the future.
Prevention And Treatment
If the dreaded signs of termite activity are detected, it’s time to start a termite treatment program. If the actual nest can be spotted, it may be possible to get rid of the nest directly, either by removing it, or by spraying with insecticide. The nest could be anywhere within about 80 meters of the house, possibly in firewood stockpiles, trees or stumps. Even if the nest can’t be found, the termites have to be prevented from entering your home, usually by applying a chemical soil barrier.
There are different ways of dealing with termite activity actually in the house, the most usual being baiting or dusting. With baiting, the termites are fed with a food they like, which contains a termiticide, while with the dusting method, dust containing the ingredient is inserted into termite workings, so that it settles on the termites. Either way they carry the termiticide back to the colony. Another method gaining popularity is foam formulation, in which foam termiticide is injected into voids where the nests are, where it dissolves the mud tunnels and penetrates the nest.
As well as termite treatment, you need a termite management systems in place to prevent future infestation. The two main methods are in-soil chemical barriers, and baiting systems. Putting down an in-soil chemical barrier involves applying a chemical termiticide to the soil all around the building. It binds with the soil so that the termites can’t get through without encountering the chemical. Baiting is a more up-to-date method, and involves placing termite baiting stations in a zone round the perimeter of the property, containing the termites’ preferred timber, a termite attractant, and the bait treated with chemical.
The fact that you haven’t seen any termites round the house is no guarantee that they are not eating away your foundations, if you haven’t had a termite inspection for more than 12 months, it might be a good idea to book one in!
For professional Termite Management on the Gold Coast, call Pest Guru on 1300 819 693 or Book a Service.
All service costs^ shown below are based on an average 3 or 4 bedroom house of up to 40m2, please contact us for service costs for premises of other sizes.
^ We reserve the right to change our prices at any time without further notice. However, if you have booked a service, we guarantee the price at the time the service was booked.
^^ All warranty periods listed, represent the maximum available periods and serve as a guide only, the actual periods offered are at the discretion of the technician at the time of the service and are based on conducive conditions and environmental factors.