General Termite Information
Termite Infestations cause millions of dollars in damage each year to timber-in-service. Termites are a problem in most parts of Australia but they are particularly active in hot wet areas such as Cairns and Coastal Qld.
Homeowners and contractors must realize newly built homes represent large investments, and the cheapest method of termite management may not be the best or most appropriate method for their specific site requirements.
There are several methods available to treat subterranean termites. A chemical treatment is the most common treatment type available for subterranean termites. The goal of a subterranean termite chemical treatment is to establish a continuous termiticide barrier between the termite colony (usually in the soil) and timber in a building. This is done by placing termiticide in the soil around the foundation elements to provide a barrier preventing termites from entering the structure. Technicians trench the soil and inject termiticide beneath it. This creates a protective barrier around the property.
In-ground baiting systems are also becoming a popular method for treatment of subterranean termites. A subterranean termite baiting system involves placement of cellulose (wood material) bait stations at strategic locations around the perimeter of the home. Worker termites, which constantly forage for wood to feed their colony, locate the cellulose bait stations and leave special scent trails to summon their mates to the food source. The cellulose material in the bait station is then replaced with a chemical inhibitor, retarding the molting process in termites and preventing them from growing. The carrier termites then bring the chemical back to the colony and–if everything goes well–spread the inhibitor throughout the remainder of the colony. Because of the growth inhibitor, the carrier and the rest of the colony will die.
Precautions To Take To Reduce The Risk Of A Subterranean Termite Infestation
TIMBER STACKED AGAINST BUILDING,
Timber and/or debris stacked against the house should be removed so the chemical barrier will not be bridged.
CLIMBING PLANTS ON WALLS,
Climbing plants and/or thick vegetation growing against the house can provide a bridge over the termite barrier, also the roots of the plants could be excavated by termites and penetrate the termite barrier.
Leaking taps, broken service pipes, open ended down pipes, leaking hot water systems can result in termites using the moisture to start a nest.
BUILT UP GARDENS,
Garden beds with pine bark built up over weep-holes will provide termites access over the termite barrier.
TILLING OF GARDEN BEDS,
After a termite barrier is installed around your house the making of garden beds and or the tilling of garden beds will result in a break of the barrier. Pets digging around the house will result in the same.
DEAD TREES AND STUMPS,
Dead trees and stumps are good sites for termite nests.
A competent inspector should be knowledgeable on building practice and the biology of termites and have enough field experience to determine if there is an infestation in the building. In general, the inspector should know the habits of termites, the way they work, the places where they are likely to be found and the signs which show they are present.
Regular competent inspections at a maximum interval of 12 months are recommended, with more frequent inspections at intervals of 3 months or 6 months where local termite risk is high. Further inspection is recommended when bridging or breaching of a barrier has occurred, e.g. home additions or earthworks such as gardening adjacent to the building. Refer to a pest controller or consultant for advice.
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