Generally considered “eco-friendly” pests, termites are quite helpful when it comes to the environment. However, when they turn to attack homes, they can become an absolute nightmare to contend with.
Termites are small voracious creatures that have a solid appetite for wood. Known to finish off houses and wooden beams overnight, these winged insects can cause destruction and untold damage to structures if left alone.
There are a variety of termite species out there and each kind has a different taste when it comes to building nests or food. The three most common ones include:
These are the most destructive species. Termites eat anything containing cellulose which is the sugar linked molecules of timber. Cellulose also appears in material such as animal skin. It is also present in paper, gyprock, cardboard and of course their favourite food which is the framework of a home. House timber frames are often made using fallen or processed trees. In nature, it is the termite’s job to recycle these fallen trees.
Although this species of termites only consume particular types of timber and hardwood, they nevertheless still wreak a lot of havoc. They build their nest underground but also build arboreal nests in, under or on tree stumps.
This species are almost as destructive as Coptotermes. Creating their nest on or in tree stumps and underground, they produce distinct damage which is usually patchy with random portions taken off the timber.
Tips to Prevent a Termite Infestation
Prevention is certainly better than looking for a cure so when dealing with termites, it’s best to prepare ahead of time than suffer the consequences.
Here are a few things to remember when prepping a home to prevent termite problems.
1. Termites love wood so eliminating possible food sources can help. Another thing to note is that they cannot survive without moisture so removing leaks and plumbing problems can greatly curtail the risk of a termite infestation.
2. Always ensure that there’s proper ventilation all over and under the home or building. Termites love to gather in humid or damp areas so making sure of this means there are less chances of calling for pest control companies to take care of the problem. Make sure to get a termite inspection annually by a qualified pest control technician. One that uses radar to look inside walls and determine if termites are present.
3. Regular termite inspections should always be conducted. This should be done by a professional company who knows what kind of signs to look for. New wall penetrating radar makes termite detection much easier.
4. Any type of stored timber should be raised on piers or bricks. Scrap timber items should be immediately removed from the property. Dead trees or plants will easily attract termites so it pays to clear them out. Never stack items against home walls. Termites love shadowy areas to construct their mud tubes in. They can also penetrate the mortar joints of brickwork within four days below ground level.
5. Termites live underground and they love it when wooden beams come in contact with the soil or ground. For home pest control, always make sure to leave at least 24 inches of space between wooden structures and the soil if possible. Homes with less clearances should have a chemical barrier installed in the soil thus barring termites from entering that area. Regular termite inspections should be carried out by a qualified technician
6. Think of termites as underground cows. They wander through the soil levels looking for cellulose (food), in the form of fallen timber or a house frame. Termites are blind so it would be very unusual to see them on the surface. Everything eats them. Birds, ants, lizards, they have many enemies. There can be up to a million termites in every termite nest which can be up to 100 metres away from the food source (the home). The nest can be under a house concrete slab, in a home wall or inside a thick tree trunk.
Understanding how termites live and feed can go a long way when it comes to taking the right steps to avoid termite infestations. If a home has a concrete slab and the brickwork has been covered by soil, pavers, concrete paths & gardens, then it is wide open to a termite infestation. A reliable termite barrier should be installed immediately.