Termites are small, soft-bodied, social insects that feed on wood, grass, dead leaves, bark, humus, fungi or the dung of herbivores. They are commonly known as white ants, but are not related to true ants.
There are over 2300 species of termites of which about 350 occur in Australia, and of these about 12 damage sound timber.
Termites are active in nearly every residential block, although not all damage timber.
Isolating the superstructure of the house (containing the edible components) from the ground is the most important part of protecting it from termite attack. This can be done in three ways:
Make the building unattractive to termites;
Use barriers and design features to prevent termites invading the building;
Ensure the building is easily accessible for termite inspection.
Inspecting for termite activity:
All houses should be inspected annually. Licensed pest control operators are the best agents to carry out inspections. A thorough inspection could take two or more hours, depending on the construction of the house, and consumers should expect to be charged accordingly. An inspection should result in a signed, written report detailing the findings and indicating areas that could not be inspected adequately.
Inspection for termites should be made simple. For slab-on-ground construction, the outer edge of the concrete slab should be easily accessible. Provide a minimum crawl space of 400 mm between the ground and the floor in suspended floor construction.
The perimeters of all buildings should be unimpeded by plants or similar. Allow 50 to 100 mm between steps, gate posts and other adjoining structures, and the building for easy inspection. Where extensions abut the house, ensure the join is unobstructed.
Note: It is in the interest of home buyers to arrange and pay for the inspection and Termite Free certificate when purchasing a house so they, and not the vendor, are the client of the pest control operator.
In this way the buyer can be sure of the standard of inspection and can exercise consumer rights without intervention from the vendor after the purchase, if problems arise later.
Termites are commonly found in gardens but their presence is not necessarily cause for concern. Building protection relies on effective barriers and not on the presence or absence of termites.
Source: Department of Agriculture & Food of Western Australia
Regular inspections and preventative maintenance is the best method of reducing the chances of a termite infestation. Termite damage can be very damaging to timber within a building structure, casuing potential finacial burden and stress.
Southern Forest Pest Management uses state of the art thermal imagine equipment to detact internal moisture and "hotspots' for termite activity, even in areas that cannot be easily accessed.
Contact Southern Forest Pest Managament today to arrange your annual termite inspection.