Every homeowner’s worst nightmare is “you have termites”.
But what are somethings you can do around your home that can help reduce the risk factor of termites setting up home in your humble abode?
I have been researching on different ways that the average homeowner can prevent the risk of termites entering their home.
Unfortunately for homeowners insurance companies do not pay out claims for termite damage.
It is recommended by Australian standards to have a termite inspection yearly and if in a bushy area to have every six months.
So what are somethings you can do around your home to reduce the risk factor of termites.
Reduce humidity in your subfloor by installing a cross flow ventilation fan.
Go around your property and remove any timber landscaping post.
Remove timbers in subfloor.
Fix any leaking pipes in and around your home.
Remove any wood chippings in your landscaping area.
If you have a section for firewood or untreated timber I highly recommend that the firewood and untreated timber be removed from your premises.
Divert any water sources away from your home.
Have a day where you do some pruning of bushes and heavy foliage.
Get a ladder and check your gutters and remove any debris that maybe in your gutters.
Remove any dead stumps or trees from your premises.
Make sure that water overflow pipes and air-conditioning pipes are directed away from your home.
Seal any cracks and crevices in and around your home.
Remove any moisture in and around your home.
Replace or repair any damage shingles, fascia and soffits.
Do mini inspection and check for any changes in and around your home.
If you have found out that you indeed have termites please do not disturb them as by disturbing the termites will cause the termites to move to another location in your home making it harder for the termite technician to ascertain how bad the termite infestation is in your home.
The word Alate refers to pest that is of a form of a social insect.
These can refer to Termite, Ants, Thrips and Aphids.
Females are often referred to queens or Gynes and the males are often referred to kings or drones.
In the past few days Termite Alates have taken flight across Sydney. This happens when there has been abundance of rain and then high humidity and heat. Alates are poor flyers with their wings being very fragile and often breaking away from their body. A female Alate will attempt to attract a male Alate when they have settled from their flight in order to make their own colony and will reproduce.
So what does that mean for homeowners across Sydney?
Sydneysiders are now at risk of termites potentially setting up house in their place of home or business.
No one wants to think that their home or business could be damaged by termites and let alone these days with the economy rising who can afford all the repairs that come with termites and the damage that they can cause.
So what can you do to prepare for termites?
By Australian standards it is recommended that each premises has a prevention barrier and regular termite inspections. For homes in really bushy areas the CSIRO recommends that you have 6 monthly termite inspections and for areas that are not so busy every 12 months.
Below is something you can do to reduce the risk of termites attacking your premises.
Remove all debris from your subfloor and external areas
Remove bark and wood chippings
Remove any logs and sleepers
Replace of wooden fences that have wood rot in them
Hot water tank overflow pipe will need to be drained further away from your premises
Ventilation system will need to be put in place for those who have subfloors with high humidity as dark, damp and moist environments are a dream come true for termites
Do mini inspections on your premises, go around check to see if anything looks abnormal like timbers warping, paint bubbling or blistering, saw dust like material, changes in the colour of paint, cracks that may appear, water leaks and mud particles or mud leads.
Unfortunately Sydney homeowners are often unaware of termites chewing through their premises until it is either too late as their house has significant damage or their premises collapsed to the ground.
I know that I am always saying in my blogs, across social media or even to our clients on the phone how vital it is to have regular termite inspections done and a prevention barrier put into place as your homeowners insurance company will not pay you out if termites attack your premises if this has not been done.
I often say that homeowners and investors get the raw end of the banana as not only do they have to worry about mortgage repayments, day to day living and if you have kids their activities but you also have to worry about protecting your biggest investment you will ever have against termites.
We all know that our homes are our biggest investment and finding out that our humble abode has termites would shake anybody to the core.
Unfortunately your insurance company will not pay you out if you have termitedamage to your home or even worse if your home falls downs due to termite damage.
What do Termites Look like?
People often confuse Termites and Ants as being the same but they are nowhere remotely similar. Did you know that Termites are actually related to cockroaches yep that’s right they are related.
• Queen Termite: pale yellow-brown to black, queen will live up to 25 years and is solely confined to one place as she reproduces for the colony. • Alates: darkish brown to black in colour with two long wings that are equal in length, roughly half an inch. • Workers: creamish whitish colour with no wings and less than half an inch. • Soldiers: creamish whitish colour with a brownish colour head, no wings, large jaws, they are the colony defender.
• Queen Termite: brownish to creamish colour, queen will live up to 45 years and is solely confined to one place as she reproduces for the colony. • Alates: darkish brown to black in colour with two long wings that are equal in length, roughly half an inch. • Workers: creamish whitish colour with no wings and less than half an inch. • Soldiers: creamish whitish colour with a brownish colour head, no wings, large jaws, they are the colony defender.
• A Pair of Winged Termites will find a nice damp chamber and will reproduce a few eggs the first year and is known for their small colonies. In some cases Dampwood Termites can build larger colonies if the conditions are right. • There is no king or queen in Dampwood Termites. • There are no Dampwood Termite workers only soldiers and alates. • Nymph Termites do all the work that would have been done by worker. • Brownish creamish in colour with a large head with pincers protruding from it.
What are the signs of Termites?
For many home owners unfortunately we all are unaware that our homes has Termites until they we have a Termite Inspection or before we start to see damage on our home. How can we be more proactive in saving our home from the devastating damage which Termites leave behind?
Signs of Termites
Most homeowners with termites don’t even realise they have termites until they start seeing the damage. What can you do is little inspections around your property and look for any irregular signs and if something doesn’t look the same whether is warped out of shape or there is mud like substances. Here are a few signs that will help with your mini inspections:
• Mud looking material on wooden surfaces. When termites eat a hole through an exterior wall what they will do is patch it up with their faeces and dirt. This is called mud-leads and will have the appearance of mud like substance. • Look out for any winged termites or discarded long wings. When Termites swarm this means that they are looking for a new home for the king and queen to mate. This usually happens in warmer months after it has rained as the humidity in the air makes it ideal for Termites to mate. • When doing your inspection look out for mud leads around the exterior of your home and in sub-floors. Any timbers which have warped, breaks when lightly poked and any saw dust like substances. • If you have found Termites or their workings please do not spray or disturb them as by doing this will only cause the termites to move to a new location making it harder to find. • Check moist, dark places in your home by looking for powder that looks like sawdust, Holes in wood’s surface, Paint bubbles, Holes in wood’s surface, Hollow-sounding wood and visible Termites.
What do I do if I found Termites?
• Do not attempt to get rid of them by spraying, burning or any other method of treatment which is not done by a qualified pest controller as by disturbing the Termites will only make it hard for the technician to find the Termite nest where the Queen is. • Call a professional pest controller, make sure he is fully licensed and that he is qualified to eradicate Termites as there is a lot of people out there that is not licensed or qualified. • Get a few quotes from different pest controllers. Remember going on the cheap side could end up costing you thousands and even your home if the treatment is not done correctly. • Make sure the pest controller provides you with paperwork that he has done the treatment and if a full barrier has been put in to place than a durable notice in the meter box.
Is your home protected from Termites
Here are some pictures below that shows you different termites and the their habitat.