It is clear that termites are a significant concern for homeowners, especially when a house is one of the biggest investments, for the average Australian person. Termites cause $100 million dollars of damage per year and more than one in four homes are attacked during their life time. So it’s important to have the correct termite control measures to protect your largest asset.
With the rapid growth of most capital cities in Australia and their expansion into wooded areas, termites are becoming more prevalent, with more homes being attacked.
You may be surprised to learn that, in Australia, termites cause more damage to our homes than all natural disasters combined, and yet many of us take no preventative measures whatsoever to protect our properties.
Here are some tips on effective termite control for your home against subterranean termites:
1. Have regular pest inspections as, least annually carried out to check for termite infestation.
2. Do not store untreated timber such as firewood up against the home.
3. Hardwood timber garden sleepers are conducive to termite infestation and they need be replaced with termite resistant materials, such as treated pine or masonry
4. With suspended floor homes, timber located on the ground under the house should be removed since it can act as an attractant to Termites
5. Ensure venting to the sub floor is not blocked. The venting allows air flow to keep the area dry and be less attractive to termites.
6. Moist soil attracts termites, ensure drainage pipes from hot water systems, air conditioners, leaking taps etc are not dripping into the soil, fix all leaking pipes or water damage around the house promptly
7. If your home is brick, at the base of the perimeter you will notice gaps between the bricks. These are known as weep holes to allow ventilation to the cavity and the escape of moisture that may accumulate in it. Ensure the weep holes are kept clear of concrete, dirt, garden mulch or any obstruction that would allow termites to gain entry without being detected. Maintain a debris free inspection zone of 75 mm below your weep holes.
8. Ensure that the posts on the deck / pergola /gazebo be placed on metal stirrups and that there is a clearance of at least 75mm be made between the base of pergola posts and finished ground level
9. Homes with a concrete slab, where the exposed slab edge forms part of the physical termite barrier system. Ensure the slab edge remains exposed as part of the inspection zone. Ensure that the vegetation from around the perimeter of the building be removed so that it does not allow for concealed termite entry.
10. All concrete floors and infill areas are conductive to termites; unless various measures have been taken when the house was built. Unless written evidence of a termite preventative program in accord with “Australian Standard AS 3660. Protection of buildings from subterranean termites – Prevention, detection and treatment of infestation” is provided a treatment should always be considered to prevent attack.
11. If you see a termite mud tunnel leading into your house or any where on your property, resist the temptation to break it open and destroy it. Arrange for a pest manager to inspect the area. A good pest manager will be able to identify the termites, which is an aid to a treatment method, and can advise as to whether the termites are a threat or not
12. Keep your home as finely maintained as possible. Make sure that the paint on the exterior surfaces is kept in good condition. Keep vents screened to keep out the flying pests.
13. Before buying a home have it thoroughly inspected and follow up regular inspections.
Termite Protection for your Home
Stopping termites before they can become established in your home is the best termite protection method. Even if you have no sign of termites, it’s a good idea to have a protective barrier in place. Physical termite barriers prevent concealed entry by termites into your building. Termites that attempt to gain entry when they come up to the physical barrier and will have to go around it, and they should be found during an inspection.
Chemical soil termite treatment is probably the most common approach to both eradicating a termite infestation and protecting a house from future attack. It can be applied during construction of a house and after. The soil is treated with chemicals to provide a continuous barrier in the ground against termite entry. There are a number of termite products are available and they don’t all work in the same way. Repellent pesticides will protect your house if the barrier is complete. Any gap will be detected by termites and could allow them entry to your house.
Non-repellent ones allow the termites to pass through the affected soil. Where they will absorb the slow-acting poison, carry it back to the colony, pass it on and thus eradicate the entire colony.
Termite Baiting systems are when bait stations are installed at key points around and under the house. The stations contain no chemicals, only wood that will attract the termites. The stations require regular inspections and need to be monitored. When termites are discovered in the bait stations non-repellent bait is introduced and the termites feed off the bait. The termites eat the bait and taking it back to the colony where it is passed on to other termites, thus killing the entire colony.
Top tips on protecting your home against pests
It’s a lot easier to prevent pests from entering your home than it is to get rid of them.
Here are some tips for pest prevention:
1. Sweep or vacuum, the floors on a regular basis. Food and residue need to be removed quickly so that pests won’t be attracted.
2. Ensure all dishes are washed after they have been used, and be sure to wipe down the sink.
3. Ensure that any slow moving drains are cleared and cleaned. Pests come indoors searching for water. Be sure to repair any leaky sinks and drains in your home.
4. Wipe down the outside of food containers. Residue on your honey, syrup, oil, and peanut butter containers can be a bug attraction.
5. Store food properly, pests can get into all but the most tightly sealed packaging. Be sure to store items in the kitchen in containers that properly seal. Remove your dry goods like sugars, flours, and bulk mixes in airtight containers.
6. Throw out fruits and vegetables that are spoilt. Those ripe fresh foods will attract ants, fruit flies, and many other pests.
7. Clean garbage containers. Washing down the insides and outsides of your trash and recycling containers.
8. Put a lid on your trash. Lids on trash will keep pests out, keep smells in, and keep infestations away. Choose bins and buckets with lids when shopping for garbage and recycling containers.
9. Prune foliage near the house. Bushes, trees, and shrubs, and even flowerbeds that touch your home can help provide additional entry points for pests. Trim back these items to reduce the risk of an infestation.
10. Use Screens to cover up floor drains, vents, windows and ducts; pests frequently gain entry to the home through such spots, and often use them as homes as well.
If you are worried about termites in your home the best solution is to have a year round termite control and protection program from a professional termite controller.