Having any kind of pest in your home is, at best, a nuisance. Termites, however, can prove to be a real threat to the structural integrity of the home. Termite control is essential to keep these destructive insects in check.
What are Termites?
Termites, also known as white ants, are colonial animals with a very highly developed social structure. The colonies are carefully organised, making termites very efficient. Whilst the majority of termite species live in the ground because of the need for water, there are hardier species to which cellulose is more important.
These tiny little creatures can create a wide range of damage.
Varieties of Termites
Termites fall into two broad categories – drywood termites and subterranean termites.
These attack unrotted, dry wood. They are pretty hardy and are most prevalent along the coast.
These are the most common timber pests found in Australia. They live in the soil and need a consistent supply of water. They build mud tubes to allow them to move from place to place and hollow out their food from the inside out.
Dealing with and Preventing Termites
Stopping the termites before they can gain a foothold is the most cost-effective way of managing the problem. Prevention is not that difficult – it’s mostly common sense.
Do not waste your time with insecticides – they won’t help with termites. Be careful not to store ‘food’ for termites (cellulose-based materials) like cardboard boxes and wooden objects under your home or anywhere that they can directly touch the soil. That’s just inviting them in.
Make sure that your yard is tidy and that any cellulose-based materials such as mulch and bark, for instance, are cleared from directly around the house.
Make sure that you attend to any water leaks as fast as possible – termites love water. Be especially careful to check for damp spots under the house often and make sure that there is enough ventilation in the crawl spaces.
Always use treated timbers when building any retaining walls or garden beds.
Get a professional pest inspector to do a regular thorough check – that way, should pests have sneaked in, the amount of damage they can inflict will be limited.
Check for evidence of termite infestations yourself – look for mud trails, accumulation of mud in joins, tapping noises behind walls and blistered paint.
Once again, when it comes to controlling pests, prevention is the best cure – be vigilant and you shouldn’t have any problems.