Termites are a threat that should never be underestimated. In Australia, these insidious insects are responsible for millions of dollars of damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure every year. When it comes to termite control in Australia, knowing how to identify these critters, prevent their spread, and respond to infestations will go a long way in protecting your valuable assets.
This comprehensive guide to termite control in Australia covers everything you need to know about these wood-munching insects, and the strategies you can implement to keep your property termite-free.
Termites are social insects that work together in colonies, comprising several million individuals. They consume wood, recycle dead plant material, and improve soil fertility. However, their appetite for wood and the rapid pace at which they consume it means they can cause significant, costly damage to structures made of wood or other cellulose-based materials.
In Australia, there are over 350 species of termites, but the primary culprits causing damage to homes and businesses are:
particularly Coptotermes acinaciformis, known as the destructive native termite.
particularly Schedorhinotermes intermedius, known as the common intermediate termite.
known as the giant termite, found mostly in tropical regions.
Understanding the behaviour, life cycles, and diet of these termites will enable you to adopt proactive measures to prevent infestations and control their spread if you find them on your property.
Signs of Termite Infestations
Early detection is crucial for effective termite control. Identifying the signs of an infestation can save you thousands of dollars in structural damage to your property. Keep an eye out for the following:
These are pencil-sized tubes that termites build and use as protection while they travel. Look for them near the foundations of your property.
Termites consume wood from the inside out, hollowing it in the process. Investigate any structural elements and furniture that seem unusually soft, brittle, or have cracks.
Termite droppings (frass):
Frass is a mixture of faecal matter and wood debris expelled by termites. Frass sometimes resembles sawdust or sand and can often be found near termite entry points.
Discarded termite wings:
Termites shed their wings during the reproductive phase. If you find tiny wings around your home, it may indicate that termite swarmers have settled nearby.
In heavy infestations, you may hear termites clicking or tapping as they chew through wood.
Termite Inspection: How to Check for Termites
Regular termite inspections are crucial for early detection and effective termite treatment. Professionals usually carry out these inspections annually, but you can perform your investigations by looking for signs of termite infestation.
Look for signs like mud tubes, damaged wood, termite droppings, and discarded wings around foundation walls, windowsills, skirting boards, and the vicinity of any wood-based structures. In crawl spaces, check for signs around support beams, floor joists, and any plumbing.
Termite Prevention and Control
Termite barriers and treatments:
Termite barriers are an effective way to prevent termite access to your home. There are two main types:
- Physical barriers:
Installed during the construction phase of a building, these barriers use steel mesh or gravel to prevent termites from gaining entry. For existing structures, create a break in the termite’s path using a termite-resistant material like a slab of concrete.
- Chemical barriers:
These involve applying termiticides – chemicals designed to repel or kill termites – to the soil around a structure. They can be applied during construction or retrofitted to an existing building.
Regular termite treatment is necessary to maintain the effectiveness of both barriers.
Termite baiting systems:
Termite baiting systems use termite-attracting baits containing slow-acting poison. Worker termites carry the bait back to the colony, poisoning and eventually wiping out the entire nest. Baiting systems can be either placed above-ground, in areas of known termite activity, or installed below-ground around the perimeter of your property.
What to Do in the Event of an Infestation
If you discover an active termite infestation, resist the temptation to disturb the area. Disturbing the termites may cause them to relocate within your property, making eradication more challenging.
It’s crucial to call a professional pest control company as soon as possible. They will assess the extent of the infestation, provide an appropriate termite treatment plan, and advise on future preventative measures. In some cases, structural repairs may be necessary to address the damage caused by the termites.
Termite control in Australia should never be taken lightly due to the severe damages they inflict on properties. This comprehensive guide covered the key aspects of termite control, from understanding termites and their habits, to the prevention and control strategies like barriers, treatments, and baiting systems. Should you encounter an infestation, seek professional help immediately to avoid worsening damages. Regular inspections and preventive measures will help ensure your property remains termite-free and safeguard your investment.