Understand Termites and How to Prevent Them
Termites are a serious problem here in Brisbane, with approximately 1 in 4 houses having termite damage during its lifetime. Termites can cause major structural damage to homes which cost significant dollars to repair. As a responsible home owner, it is recommended to maintain termite control best practices which will protect the value of your home.
Overview of Termites:
Termites are often referred to as ‘white ants’ because of their pale appearance. These tiny and destructive pests come to your property looking for food and they will eat anything made from wood. Even if your home has a steel frame, any timber used in landscaping, roof trusses, architraves, and furniture are all susceptible to termite attack (they have even be known to eat into gyprock and plasterboard!).
Termites have a nest from which they are based, and will travel hundreds of meters in search of food. They build mud galleries which serve as safe tunnels for them to travel through the ground and over walls. They are able to access your house via wall cavities, voids and through cracks as small as a piece of paper.
Termites have been able to access some homes with a termite barrier due to home owners not being familiar with termite control best practices. For example, building untreated extensions such as carports and pergolas right up to the home can create a pathway for termites to bridge the termite barrier. With proper understanding of termite barriers and termite prevention best practices, you can rest assured that your home is well protected.
Termite Prevention Tips:
- Prevent termites from gaining access to your homes in the first place by investing in a barrier under or around the house. There are many types of barriers available for specifically for managing termites (see our Termite Treatments section for more information on chemical and physical termite barriers)
- Next don’t unknowingly attract termites by creating a termite haven. Keep the edges of your home free from clutter and remove unnecessary wood such as stacks of timber, stumps, sleepers and logs (these are food sources for termites). Termites are attracted to water and prefer humid conditions, so fix any leaking taps, pipes and drains and keep air under the house dry by improving sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access.
- If you are doing home improvement or building work, choose timber which has been specifically treated to prevent termites, or timbers which are naturally resistant to termites especially if you are going to use the timber in the ground or close to soil. Termites cannot chew through properly laid concrete, so ensure that your concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, and cured.
Regular termite inspections are an important part of termite control as you can identify and treat termites before they do major damage. It is recommended that inspections be carried out at least every 12 months. In warmer areas such as Brisbane, the CSIRO recommends termite inspections twice a year.