While there are over 350 different types of termites in Australia, it should be of some comfort that of these, only about 10 species pose any significant threat to our homes. Sydney has always been home to many of these varieties of Termites because of the existence of relatively large area of natural habitat for colonies to grow.
The threat to homes arises when a colony of termites in a near by area reaches maturity and initiates a process where winged, fertile pairs of termites known as alates are produced and released to form a new colony. Termite colonies can pose a threat to homes fairly close by as they will forage within a 150m radius.
The good news is that the number of successful new colonies founded by royal pairs is reassuringly low. Most get gobbled up by birds or spiders while others simply run out of time. Unfortunately sometimes termites do make your home, their new residence and in this situation, early detection is the key. Termites do not only live in wood, they also eat it which causes great damage to our buldings. The problem is that they remain undetected most of the time until the timbers are seriously damaged. And once they have entered a building the termites do not stick to wood alone, they also dig into paper, cloth, carpets etc.
Termites are very small and the mature queen of some species can produce up to 10.000 eggs a week! Their destructive nature is fuelled only by their will for survival rather than a vendetta against you personally; so damage to your home can take a little bit of time depending on the species. This being the case, if you follow the simple guidelines listed below combined with a professional inspection every 8 – 12 months you should never have to tell the story of how termites ate you out of house and home.
Top Ten Termite Tips
Termites usually colonise areas if they are dark, damp and inaccessible, the following ten tips will help you reduce the risk of termite attack to your home in-between inspections.
- Keep obstructions away from air vents to the underside of your house to keep air circulating and the ground under your home dry, do not store goods on the ground in the sub-floor area.
- Keep flower beds and mulch well away from the walls of your house.
- Possibly have the perimeter of your home treated with low impact, family safe products that target the termites not you!
- Do a visual inspection under your home at least twice a year (where practicable) and keep an eye out for mud tracks, leaking pipes, scrap timbers or any other possible food sources as these will encourage termite activity.
- Make sure that your ant caps are in place and in good condition (the tin or plastic overhanging lid that sits on your foundation walls and piers) termites and ants can climb over these – but it makes it easier to find activity when present.
- Do not allow decaying timber or rubbish to accumulate around your home – keep your property clear of these termite delicacies all together.
- Remove any tree stumps on your property to ensure that they do not become the new termite Hilton with your house on the buffet breakfast menu
- If you store wood for your fire, make sure you have it on a metal frame well elevated up off the ground and away from the house.
- Do a visual inspection from time to time around the external perimeter of your home, paying particular attention to the foundation walls for mud tunnels, air vents to make sure they are clear, downpipes and guttering not leaking.
- Do get a professional pest inspector in to check your property at least once every 12 months and take note of all the recommendations in the report .
No one can completely indemnify you against termites but with a little common sense, the check list above and one of our friendly team giving your property regular termite check-ups termites peace of mind can be yours.
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