More commonly known as “white ants”, this destructive pest is connected to the cockroach family. In Australia there are hundreds of termite species, many of which present no hazard to homes and buildings. There are, however, several species that do pose a threat which are the cause of major damage to properties, more than any storms, floods or fires. There are around 350 species of termites in Australia.
There are three main groups of termites – subterranean, drywood and dampwood. The first, subterranean, are the major threat to timber buildings. Most termites are wood eaters, feeding on cellulose, an organic plant material, and travelling along the ground from their nest and constructing tunnels of mud into your property. Rarely coming into the open air, preferring to inhabit moist, dark areas. These destructive insects may live in colonies that may be located some 300 metres from the source of their food, which makes it difficult to trace, some many feet below the surface, or possibly even in mounds up to 6 metres tall.
Checking your home for termite infestation
You may initially discover winged termites in the home, which usually indicates an infestation. Inside your property, tap on any wood construction such as window frames, doors, skirting boards, and listen to hear a hollow, dull sound. Make a check of paintwork for blistering and bubbling and look for any bulging in architraves, skirting boards and wall linings.
In outside locations, inspect for small tunnels of mud along pathways or against the house walls. Many trails will be discovered in warm, moist zones next to foundation posts or under the building in storage areas.
How best to eradicate the termites
In the main, specialist, professional skills are required to rid your home of termites. Building construction knowledge is required, to identify the critical entry points, many of which are difficult to access and will be well hidden. A typical termite treatment may utilise equipment such as soil treatment rods, large capacity tanks, pumps and masonry drills together with many gallons of a termiticide, a liquid pesticide that has to be injected into the building at crucial points, within foundation walls, below concrete slabs and alongside the foundation of the property.