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Published by TOP4 Team
It’s is estimated that one in three unprotected Australian homes will be affected by termites at some stage. Yet, the damage is generally not covered by household insurance. The only insurance you have is to make your home as unattractive as possible to these industrious bugs and to have regular inspections.
Prevention. Ensure that your home is not attractive to termites. Don’t store timber under the house. Keep untreated timber off the ground, unless it is naturally termite resistant. Damp Timber in a poorly drained and ventilated area is termite heaven.
Expose the edges of concrete slabs by 75-100mm so you can monitor any activity. Keep the base of walls clear of vegetation and mulch to make inspection easier.
Keep the underside perimeter of the house as dry as possible. Repair leaky pipes and showers, dripping air conditioners and poor drainage. Keep watering systems away from walls. If the house’s underside is damp, install extra vents.
Inspection. In termite risk areas, have a pest inspection at least once a year. It’s a good idea to have a regular look around yourself, but so that you know what you are looking for, accompany a pest inspector for the first inspection. If you notice anything, call in the professionals to assess the situation and write a report including appropriate remedies.
The tools of the trade include a strong torch, large screwdriver, moisture meter and safety gear (remember there may be residual poisons in the subfloor). More advanced gear includes a stethoscope and a borescope to look in wall cavities. A new development is non-invasive microwave detector, called Termatrac, which can detect termite activity in hidden cavities.
The main visual evidence you’ll find is the mud tunnels termites build around obstructions. If found, don’t disturb the workings, as they’ll simply pack their mandibles and leave, only to reappear somewhere else a short time later.
Treatment of Activity. As pest treatments with less potent chemicals need to be smarter, a detailed understanding of the biology and habits of each termite species is essential. Your pest controller should recommend which system or combination of systems will work best in your situation.
Initial treatment may be confined to the mud tunnels at the base of walls so termites passing across the working face will pick up the poison and gradually wipe out the colony. This may take several weeks.
Monitoring systems or bait stations designed to attract and intercept termites where they enter buildings are also available. When activity is noted the station is dusted with toxic chemicals.