Helpful Information

About termites

What do you know about termites in Australia?

Chances are - very little. In fact, you may not even know you have termites in your home, until it is too late. Our most important termite species live in underground nests containing up to two million wood eating termites. That's a lot of hungry mouths that travel 100 metres, or more, in search of food. And your home provides them with a smorgasbord to feast upon. The trouble is, as the termites travel underground, and enter your home by concealed mud tunnels, you may have no idea they're ready to devour your place.

Termites get right inside the timber to feed. So they may be feasting away, hidden in your walls, or hollowing out the support timbers in your roof, without you knowing. They could also be dining on the timbers in your subfloor.

And please don't think that just because your home is built on a concrete slab you're safe from marauding termites. Termites build shelter tubes over the edge of slabs, or enter through shrinkage cracks and around pipes. When they're hungry, and that's all the time, nothing will stop a termite grabbing a quick lunch.

Protecting your Home

Any structure can be attacked by termites. Periodic maintenance should include measures to minimise the possibilities of infestation in and around your home. Factors which may lead to infestation include:

1. Edge of concrete slab concealed - Ensure the edge of your slab is fully exposed

2. Weep holes blocked - Ensure weep holes are fully exposed.

3. Less than 400mm clearance - Try and improve ventilation to these areas.

4. Earth/Wood Contact - Remove all such contact areas by lowering or digging away the soil. Use metal stirrups to mount pergolas, etc.

5. Damp areas - Remove moisture sources, repair leaking downpipes, taps, etc and grade soil to ensure run-off.

6. Form-work & scrap timber - Remove all scrap timbers and do not store any timber adjacent to the house.

7. Stumps - Remove or have test drilled and checked by a timber pest manager

8. Mulch - Try and avoid using mulch on garden beds adjacent to the house.

9. Tree branches touching the structure - Remove all such occurrences.

10. Wood rot - Replace any decayed timbers.

11. A full Inspection and Report should be carried out every six months - Regular inspections DO NOT stop attack, but may limit the amount of damage by detecting problems early.

12. Engage a professional pest controller who is insured to provide a management program - There is no way of preventing attack. The provision of a complete termite barrier will impede and discourage concealed entry into a building. It cannot prevent attack. Termites can still bridge or breach barriers but they can be detected more readily during routine inspections.

Tips to Reduce the Risk from Termites

There are many things you can do to reduce the risk of termites attacking your home. Termites require moisture, food and warmth to live.

Following is a list of things you can be doing around your home to help reduce the risks from termites.

  • Remove stored timber and debris.
  • Repair leaking taps and pipes.
  • Ensure that vents to sub-floor areas are never blocked by soil or gardens.
  • Divert all hot water services and air-conditioning overflows away from the side of the house.
  • Ensure storm water run-off is properly connected.
  • Use only treated timber in garden beds, retaining walls or fence posts.
  • Construct timber fences and support posts with at least a 50 mm clearance between the timbers and the soil.
  • Don't allow climbing plants or bushy gardens to grow against the structure.
  • Remove dead trees or stumps.
  • Ensure that termite shielding is not damaged or breached in any way.

Have you found termites?

Finding termites in your house or property can be a scary thing.

Firstly, don't disturb them, break open their nests and leads or start ripping walls off. This will cause the termites to temporarily vacate their workings in your property thereby making the treatment of the termites more difficult.

If you haven't had a termite inspection or treatment done in the past you need to arrange for a professional pest manager to come and inspect your property. They will provide you with details on how the termite infestation can be managed. You can find a professional pest manager at Property Inspections.

If you have had a professional pest manager undertake a termite inspection or treatment to your property it best that you contact them and have them return to your property. As they have been to your property in the past and may have implemented a termite treatment they will have more of an understanding of what may have caused the termite infestation and what actions need to be taken. It may be a case that a conducive condition at the property, such as the slab edge not being exposed, or a limitation to their treatment such as the inability to put a complete chemical barrier around the house due to paths, has allowed the termites to enter the property.

Until the termites are eliminated from your property you shouldn't undertake any building, renovating or landscaping work, that will disturb them. It is best to let the termites get affected by the treatment that has been undertaken. Your professional pest manager will let you know when the termites have been eliminated.

Termites can cause considerable damage if left untreated. It is therefore essential that you always have an annual termite inspection on your property, and if recommended, by your professional pest manager, have a termite treatment undertaken to protect your home. If termites are located in your home you need to organise for a treatment to be carried out immediately.

Treated Zone vs Monitored Zone

Do you know the difference between the treatments available for your property and any termite issues?

We've put together a summary below on the differences between a 'treated' zone and a 'monitored' zone.

Please note: Before deciding on the best treatment option for your property, it is always best to seek the advice of your pest professional.

Treated Zone

A treated zone uses a highly effective liquid treatment around the termite entry points into your home. This exposes the termites if they attempt to enter.

How is this done?

  1. Complete a thorough termite inspection by a qualified technician for past or current subterranean termite infestation.
  2. Any termite colony found to be attacking the site will be eliminated using a registered colony elimination process (dusting or baiting)
  3. Construct a treated zone by applying chemicals to the soil:
    • Trenching the soil around the perimeter of the building and any supports or other ground contacts; and/or
    • Carefully drilling through slab areas that adjoin the perimeter of your building like pathways; and/or
    • Installing a termite chemical reticulation system (if required) that is used to reapply chemical if necessary.
  4. Regular or at least annual termite inspections.
  5. Following the treatment, you can apply for a five year termite insurance policy. This policy covers new timber damage and repair.

What you need to know

  1. The applied chemical needs to contact the slab edge and the footings of the house all around the perimeter.
  2. If the floor is suspended, chemical needs to be applied externally and underneath.
  3. It is best to remove paving, tiles or concrete to treat the soil directly where possible.
  4. If unable to treat directly, chemical will be injected into the soil after drilling.

Advantages

  • Treated zone is effective for a number of years.
  • Depending on treatment type, this will repel termites or kill them as or after they cross the barrier.

Disadvantages

  • Treated zone will need to be replenished at some point.
  • If the treated zone is disturbed or covered the barrier may be breached or bridged.

Monitoring Zone

A monitoring zone uses a strategically installed series of unobtrusive termite monitoring stations in the ground around your home to detect termites.

These stations are checked regularly. If termites are found in the monitoring stations then the monitor is replaced with a control-bait, which termites feed on and carry back to the nest. There, they infect the other termites resulting in elimination of the colony attacking your home. Once the colony is eliminated the system reverts to its monitoring phase.

How do we do this?

  1. Complete a thorough termite inspection by a qualified technician for past or current subterranean termite infestation.
  2. Any termite colony found to be attacking the site will be eliminated.
  3. Install a series of termite monitoring stations around your home.
  4. Regularly monitor the system for termite attacks to ensure a timely warning.
  5. Bait and eliminate any termite colonies that are detected.
  6. Continue to monitor for termites.
  7. Regular annual termite inspection of the property.
  8. Following the installation, you can apply for a five year termite insurance policy. This policy covers new timber damage and repair.

What you need to know

  1. In ground monitoring stations may require holes to be created in concrete and paving.
  2. The monitoring stations must be inspected regularly.
  3. The bait stations cannot be contaminated.
  4. If the monitoring stations are damaged you need to contact your pest professional immediately.
  5. If you discover termites you need to contact your pest professional immediately.

Advantages

  • Eliminates the entire attacking termite colony.
  • The chemical bait is used only when needed.
  • Usually easy to add or modify monitoring stations if the property changes.
  • You can see the system working.

Disadvantages

  • Requires regular inspections.
  • Takes time to eliminate a colony.

Please note: Before deciding on the best treatment option for your property, it is always best to seek the advice of your pest professional.