If you suspect that there is a termite colony (or a few) in your home, then you need to call a professional termite control company for a thorough termite inspection. If you don’t (or think you don’t), it’s recommended that you perform an annual inspection around your property even if you have never had a problem with termites. These pests can easily go unnoticed for long periods of time until the visible damage occurs.
South East Queensland, Australia has been one of the serious hot spots for termite activity. However, it’s difficult for many residents to know whether or not they have a termite problem until it’s too late. In this article, we’ll share some the most essential details homeowners and residents of South East Queensland should know about termites and pest control.
Facts About the Termite Problem in Australia
The most important that you should know about termites is that they can pose a real threat to your property, and the expenses you can incur when dealing with the actual damage can be enormous. According to Architecture Queensland and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, when termites strike a given property, the average repair cost per home stands at $4,500. Furthermore, termite infestation and termite damage are quite common in Australia. In fact, during the pre-purchase inspection, experts estimate that almost 30% of Australian homes show termite damage.
How to Know if You have Termites Around Your Home
The easiest and the most effective way to know if your home is infested or is in danger of termite infestation is a regular inspection by a licensed, termite control contractor. As professionals, they will check for any tell-tale signs of an infestation or a potential infestation, and work with you to prevent termite damage before it even begins.
Although the most professional and comprehensive pest and termite inspection cannot prevent future invasions, it’s still a vital process of proper property maintenance, enabling you to spot problems before it’s too late. By addressing any problem areas found during the inspection, you will save yourself a lot of money, time, and grief in the long run.
DIY vs. Professional Termite Inspections
DIY termite inspections are not recommended. Termite activity is simply too well hidden for a layman to uncover without the extensive training and experience professionals have. Some of the common problems that these professionals are trained to spot include:
• Colonies of termites hidden inside tree trunks and the root crown areas of Eucalypt and oak trees, just to name a few. The entry and exit points into the colonies can actually be sealed behind them, and are therefore much harder to locate.
• Underground tunnels termites build to transport food and seek out.
• Termite wings, which are a good sign of an impending attack. Wings that “swarmers” or alates have shed at any potential entry points indicate a real danger: there are termites on the verge of breaking in, if they have not broken in already. Sometimes, the alates can be spotted caught in spider webs or other places around the yard.
• Presence of mud tubes these are the tubes termites build along the base of a tree in order to access moisture.
• Signs of damage on the outdoor landscaping, such as untreated timber fences. Fallen trees and other untreated timber laying on the ground in the yard are some of the critical sites to check for termites.
When the signs of a colony getting closer to your house are spotted early, the problem can be dealt with more effectively. Keep in mind that even if your yard appears to be termite free, the pest company can advise you on the conditions around your home and steps you can take to prevent a termite invasion.
How and Why Termites Attack
The more you understand about termites, the easier it is for you to see how and why they pose a major threat to homes in South East Queensland and other places in Australia. Termites generally want what we have moisture, wood, and warmth. They love to live in warm, humid areas and that’s why they can be found in moist crawlspaces, leaking roofs, rotted out trees, and even well-watered plants. Termites can also nest comfortably underground, in fence posts, or in soil mounts.
Their remarkable level of organisation is perhaps the main reason they are successful in gaining access to these areas. A termite colony starts with the king and queen, who are surrounded by the soldiers, workers, and the reproductives (alates). Alates often grow up to become the kings and queens of future colonies. Although it takes all of them to create a thriving colony, the workers are largely responsible for termite damage. They generally have hardened mandibles, which are ideal for not only munching wood, but also carrying their treasure back to the colony. Worker termites are willing to travel up to 250 feet from their colony to find food.
What to Do When Termites Attack
When the home inspection reveals that you have termites in or around your home, you need to take the appropriate measures to alleviate the problem as soon as possible. The first step is usually a complete extermination. Some of the solutions available include liquid chemical barriers, and below- or above ground termite baiting systems. However, regardless of the circumstances, the pest control company should tailor their approach based on the type of termite infestation, the point of entry, among other factors.
It’s crucial that the professionals get to the root cause of the problem that unwittingly made your house or structure inviting to the termites. This would inform them on the best way to prevent future re-infestation. Based on the damage already done, it’s likely that you will have to make structural repairs.
The termite control company should advise you on how to improve the ventilation around the high moisture areas, the various repairs you might need to make inside and outside the house, including replacing the peeling paint, rotten siding, damaged window sills, etc. Some companies will help you enhance the protection of your property against termites by treating the soil with a safe termiticide if appropriate.
Buying a House In Brisbane or the Gold Coast?
If you’re thinking of purchasing a home in South East Queensland, please be sure to have a pre-purchase building and pest check done by a licenced building inspector. For around $400 you can have both the pest and the building inspections co-ordinated.