No property is safe from termites!
Termites are the cause of the greatest economic losses of timber in service in Australia.
1 in every 3 homes is attacked by termites at some stage in its life. Latest figures suggest that the annual cost of termite infestation in Australia now exceeds 1.5 billion dollars!
Australia’s subterranean termites are the most destructive timber pests in the world.
It can take as little as 3 months for a termite colony to severely damage almost all the timber in a home.
Despite what many people believe termites are NOT “white ants”. In fact they are not even related to ants.
Termites cause more damage to homes than flood, fire and storms put together. And can cost $100,000 or more to fix.
There is no household insurance that covers you for termite damage.
There are hundreds of termite species in Australia but only a few cause economic damage.
The most common species found in Australia Coptotermes acinaciformis is the most destructive termite species in the world.
Termites can work their way into a house from under the floor, up the wall cavity, alongside plumbing penetrations or through construction joints in the concrete.
One termite colony can hold up to 1 million termites. The individual members include the Queen, King, Workers and Soldiers. The Queen can lay over 2000 eggs per day and can live up to 40 years.
They can exploit food sources over as much as one hectare.
Most termite damage is invisible because they eat from the inside of the timber.
The bottom line is that Termites are a constant threat to your property. Without an effective prevention program your home is exposed to potential termite damage which could remain unnoticed until it becomes a serious and costly problem.
Australian Standard AS3660.2-2000 recommends the installation of a Termite Management System-even in those houses that show no evidence of termites or termite damage.
What you should do if you discover termites
- If you find any evidence of termites, damaged timbers or mud workings then immediately contact a professional termite/pest company.
- Don’t panic-they have probably been there a while so a few more days will make little difference.
- Do not disturb the termites and/or workings in any way.If you have already made a hole in the timber then tape over it with black electrical tape.
- Do not spray them with insecticide.
- Do not treat the problem yourself.
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Want to reduce your risk of a Termite infestation?
- Have your property inspected by a licensed termite inspector at least every 12 months. Always follow the recommendations.
- It is essential that current a termite management system is in place at all times.
- Vegetation. General vegetation around foundation areas should be managed so that inspection zones and airflow are not impeded. Planting of trees and shrubs near buildings should be avoided to limit root intrusion and resulting concealed termite entry points.
- Gardens. The building of gardens may allow concealed termite entry points. They should not be planted against the perimeter of the building or at a minimum should be below inspection zones.
- Attachments to buildings-such as downpipes, fences, service conduits and service pipes should have a nominal gap to allow clear and uninterrupted visual inspection across the inspection zone. Structures such as steps, verandahs, porches, access ramps, carports, trellises, decks, HWS, air conditioners etc which are not protected by a treated zone should be separated from the building by a gap of at least 25mm.
- Do not store cellulose based materials such as timber under your house in contact with the ground
- Do not cover weep holes or slab edges if possible. This can allow concealed termite entry.
- Fix any leaking taps, showers or pipes, termites are attracted to moisture.
- Fix any subfloor ventilation problems, again termites are attracted to moisture/dampness.
- Fix any drainage problems. Divert surface and ground water away from the building with drainage systems.
- Remove all stumps from the gardens and surrounds. These provide a food source and ideal nesting site.
- Install metal stirrups where timber posts are in direct contact with ground.
- Avoid the build-up of soil against the exterior of buildings which can allow concealed termite entry.
- Ensure external plumbing such as gutters, downpipes and drains do not overflow causing excessive moisture near buildings.
- Never store firewood on the ground adjacent to a building.
- Ensure that termite shielding (ant caps) are not damaged or breached in any way.
- Do not use untreated timbers to form garden beds or retaining walls.
- Irrigations systems are to be kept as far away from the external walls of the premises as possible. Excessive watering should be avoided.
- Air-conditioning or hot water system overflows should be directed either further away from the property or into a drain.
- Reduce the amount of inaccessible areas-cut trapdoors and entry points.
- When building or renovating use construction techniques that isolate the timber components of the house from contact with the soil. This can be achieved by installing physical barriers or treated zones. Design features may also be incorporated to assist in preventing termites from invading the building.
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