1. termite picWhat is a termite?
  2. Is a termite, a white ant?
  3. What should i do if i find termites?
  4. How long should a termite inspection take?
  5. Is there anything I should do before the termite inspection?
  6. Will you be spraying any chemicals during your inspection?
  7. How can termites be treated?
  8. Can you just come out & treat my termites without a termite inspection
  9. How long does it take for termites to do significant damage?
  10. Can I do anything to help reduce the risk of termites?
  11. Can I do a termite treatment myself?
  12. How often should I have a termite inspection performed by a licensed technician?
  13. What do I do if my neighbor has termites?
  14. What should I do if I see winged termites? (Also known as winged reproductives or alates)
  15. Why does the soil against my house need to be dug up & treated if I choose a chemical treatment?
  16. What does termite damage look like?
  17. What is cellulose?
  18. Is it possible for termites to attack a new house?
  19. My home is built on a concrete slab. Does this mean I am safer from termite attack?

 

What is a termite?

A termite is a small insect that is pale white to yellowish in colour. It is a highly evolved insect that works in a complex social structure known as a colony. They work from a central nest location working through a series of mud encrusted tunnels/galleries. They will often conceal themselves & gain access into a building at a subterranean (underground) level. They will then excavate & consume timbers within a home often leaving just the outside layer of timber.

Is a termite, a white ant?

Yes. The slang term white ant has long been used to describe termites. However termites are more related to cockroaches than any other insect.

What should I do if I find termites?

Do not panic, do not disturb the termites. Never attempt to treat termites yourself. The termite damage you see is often a very small amount of activity compared to the potentially millions of termites located within a nest that can be up to 50 meters from the damage/activity you are looking at. Call a professional & book a termite inspection.

How long should a termite inspection take?

Based on a 3-4 bedroom home. A termite inspection should take approximately 2 hours.

Is there anything I should do before the termite inspection?

The termite inspection involves inspecting every accessible area both inside & around your home. The more areas that we can gain access to the better. For example if the garage or an understairs cupboard is full of extensively stored goods, it will restrict what an inspector may see. Thoroughness is the key to any successful inspection.

Will you be spraying any chemicals during your inspection?

No. The inspection involves inspecting every accessible area both inside & around your home. If termite activity is found then a separate contract would be entered into. This is known as a "Subterranean Termite Treatment Proposal In Accordance With The Australian Standards – AS3660.2". With this information you can make an informed decision in regards to how you would like to protect your home against termites.

How can termites be treated?

Generally termites can be treated either by a chemical method or with the use of a baiting system.

Chemical methods - When termites have been located within the building it is important to eradicate this activity first before any further preventative work can be performed externally. This involves the use of a traditional chemical dusting or a combination of a chemical liquid/foam application applied directly to the termite workings inside the building. It is then reassessed in approximately 21- 30 days. If the internal treatment is successful the next step is to provide a continuous external chemical treated zone around the perimeter of your home to protect it from future attack.

Baiting Systems - The most recent developments in termite management systems involves the use of termite baiting & interception systems. This involves the placement of low toxicity baited above ground termite stations to areas of termite activity located (when applicable) &/or the placement of in-ground termite stations around the perimeter of your building to intercept & bait termite activity. This has proven to be a very successful termite management system as it eliminates the termite activity right back to the source of the problem i.e the termite nests.

Can you just come out & treat my termites without a termite inspection

No. This is possibly one of the most important decisions you will ever make in regards to your home. Before any termite activity can be treated it is very important to have a termite inspection performed to Australian Standards. Think of this as an initial assessment of the overall scenario & what needs to done next. This typically involves an inspection of the internal accessible sections of the building including the roof void(s), subfloors - (an accessible crawl space under the building if applicable), the external walls of the building, the grounds of the property up to 30 metres from the main building including trees, tree stumps, timbers in contact with the soil such as fences, landscaping timbers & retaining walls. The time taken to perform a termite inspection will vary due to different types of building constructions & the actual size of the building. Typically a 3-4 bedroom home should take approximately 2 hours to complete.

How long does it take for termites to do significant damage?

This is very difficult question to answer. Usually when significant damage has been found within a structure, termites have been established for many months. Termite damage within a structure is dependent mostly upon climatic conditions – (termites will favor hotter climates, good sources of moisture & high humidity). The actual species of termite & the population of the colony – (nest) also play a major role in how quickly damage can be done.

Can I do anything to help reduce the risk of termites?

Risk reduction is a crucial part of any termite management program. A few examples are:

(1) Removing (where possible) any timbers that are in constant contact with the soil

(2) Reducing all sources of moisture such as leaking pipes/taps, rectifying bad drainage areas against the external walls of the building

(3) Connecting discharge overflows such as air conditioner & hot water system overflows into appropriate storm water drainage.

(4) The removal of gardens abutting external walls of the building can reduce the moisture levels in those areas.

(5) Exposing water tanks & hot water systems away from the external walls of the building. These areas provide a perfect moisture source & concealed area for termite activity.

(6) By removing extensively stored goods away from the external walls. Stored goods provide termites with concealed & therefore unseen areas of termite activity.

It is very important however to note that none of this advice takes away the importance of having regular termite inspections performed by a qualified & licensed timber pest technician.

Can I do a termite treatment myself?

Some termite treatments are available in hardware stores that may help to treat non critical areas such as a mail box post or sandbox etc. However it is very important to note that these treatments are often very limited. Any type of termite management program that is to be used to protect a building should be considered to be a complete termite management program that has been assessed & performed by a qualified & licensed timber pest technician.

How often should I have a termite inspection performed by a licensed technician?

Australian Standards state that a termite inspection should be performed at least every 12 months. However this can vary greatly upon your surroundings such as being close to bush land or a natural reserve, being in an area where there is a higher than usual moisture source, or when an extensive amount of conducive conditions (situations that may attract termites) are found on your property. It is not uncommon that some timber pest technicians may recommend termite inspections as frequently as every 3 months depending on the level of risk associated with that property.

What do I do if my neighbor has termites?

Termites may travel as much as 50 metres from their central location (nest). However this distance can be extended if the species of termite is a multi-site nester. It is always advisable to have regular termite inspections performed by a licensed professional.

What should I do if I see winged termites? (Also known as winged reproductives or alates)

You may typically see winged termites around the months of October through to February. Although this time frame can vary due to more favorable climatic conditions being available to termites such as constant temperatures around 25-36 degress, a relative humidity around 100% & ideally a constant breeze. These termites are potentially the kings & queens of a future colony if they survive. The presence of winged termites means that an already established nest may be close by. It is always advisable to have a termite inspection carried out.

Why does the soil against my house need to be dug up & treated if I choose a chemical treatment?

Often when termites gain access into a building it can be at a concealed & subterranean level. It is important to apply this chemical into the areas where termites may gain access.

What does termite damage look like?

This will vary greatly. Termites will often excavate & consume cellulose related products such as paper, cardboard & timber (some species of termites have been found to excavate through internal gyprock wall linings). Often termite damage can go undetected for many months as termites will excavate a buildings skirting board, door frame, architrave timber etc often leaving just the thin outside layer of timber. The termite damage may not be apparent at all. Sometimes it will appear as though the timbers have become wavy. Spotting of the timbers may also be present but this takes a trained eye to assess what has caused the spotting. In all cases if termite damage has been found it is always important to leave this area undisturbed & to call a qualified & licensed timber pest technician.

What is cellulose?

Cellulose is the most common organic compound found on Earth. It is the main structural component of the primary cell wall of a plant i.e. timber. Termites consume cellulose & depending on the species they will then use tiny single celled organisms or an intestinal bacteria within their guts to break down this cellulose to provide an adequate food source. Termites are highly social insects that will transfer this food to other members of the colony. The more termites within a colony the quicker they will consume the timbers.

Is it possible for termites to attack a new house?

Termites have been found attacking new homes within weeks after construction.

My home is built on a concrete slab. Does this mean I am safer from termite attack?

No. This is often an unknown situation for most homeowners. Termites may gain access through gaps between the plumbing penetrations & the concrete for example the kitchen, bathroom & laundry pipes, the gaps between the buildings footing & concrete slab, the gaps between the buildings footing & brickwork, through cracks in the concrete slab itself when it hasn't had enough time to "cure" or even over the edge of an exposed concrete slab edge. Termites will often gain access underground in through the substructure of your building where it is impossible to detect their presence until they have damaged the timber in your home.

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