Trying to write an article on termites is like trying to write an article about the human female gender. Just when you think you’ve worked them out they go and do something else to confuse you. And where do I begin with such a cryptic creature! However the basics are as follows:
Termites are often referred to as “white ants”, however they are not even closely related to ants , in fact termites are closer related to cockroaches than ants There are more than 300 termite species in Australia but only 10% of these could be considered to be of concern to the homeowner. The famous magnetic and cathedral termite mounds of Northern Territory belong to a species of termite that specializes in eating grass.
Termites are highly social insects forming a colony. A colony basically consists of a single or multiple queens(laying up to 1000 eggs a day ) ,alates or primary reproductives ( future kings and queens getting ready to form new colonies), soldiers ( to defend the colony), workers ( to feed the colony),eggs and young( to keep the colony multiplying). A colony may consist of up to several million individuals.
A termites diet is based upon cellulose. Timber especially seasoned timber is a perfect source of this cellulose. Termites then forage from their colony or nest in search of this food source to consume and carry back to feed the remaining colony. These termites may travel through the soil for more than 100m radius from the nest. Termites are then able to build shelter tubes or “mud leads” up non timber surfaces to gain access to this timber if necessary. This “mudding” protects the termites from attack and helps them maintain their environment. Because of a termites vulnerability to attack from other animals and requirement to control their immediate environment, evidence of termite activity is often concealed and can be very discreet and not very obvious.
Termites and Us
- Termites cause in excess of $100 million worth of building damage to homes throughout Australia each year!
- One in two “slab on ground” homes will experience a termite infestation!
- One in five homes in Australia is treated for termite damage at some stage of its life- around 130,000 homes each year!
These are scary facts especially considering our home is often our major asset and house insurance does not cover termite attack. The problem with termites is undetected entry , that is termites rarely if ever walk around on the surface for all to see. They enter your home below ground level and start munching on your house frame completely concealed leaving no visible evidence until significant damage is done.
What you can do
First and foremost have your licensed pest manager perform thorough inspections on your home and surrounds at least every 12 months.
Keep all subfloor areas clean, dry and well ventilated where possible.
Fix up leaking plumbing eg; downpipes, gutters and taps, and ensure that there is good drainage around the house.
Do not build up soil, mulch or garden beds against the house.
Do not store timber or wood –based materials under or against the house.
If you find termites in your home please do not disturb them any further. Termites have a habit of retreating if disturbed enough, only to reenter at another point of the house. And the more termites your termite manager can get product on, the quicker and greater chance of getting control of the entire termite colony regardless of where it is. So contact your termite manager as soon as possible.
Do your homework and ask questions before engaging a termite manager. Not all pest controllers are qualified or experienced enough to treat and inspect for termites. Laguna pest control is not only more than qualified and experienced to treat and inspect for termites, we teach other pest controllers to gain their qualifications and experience.
What we can do
Laguna pest control can perform inspections to your home and surrounds in accordance with the Australian Standards 3660.2-2000 and 4349.3-1998.
These inspections not only detect whether or not live termites can be found, but also evidence of previous infestations and treatments, identify high risk areas, areas where termite activity may be concealed, moisture issues, ventilation issues, drainage issues, as well as evidence of other timber pests such as borers and fungal decay (woodrot).The idea behind annual termite inspections is not only to attempt to detect termite activity before any significant damage is caused but also to educate you about termites and identify things you can do to reduce the risk of termite attack. Once this inspection is completed options for a termite management plan may be discussed if required. There are many termite management options, all have positives and negatives. We at Laguna Pest Control can discuss each of these in detail with you and put together a termite management plan that best suits you and your home.
A major component of a termite management plan is a termite barrier. Laguna pest control is accredited to install a range of both physical and chemical barriers. A termite barrier is your best investment against termite attack. A termite monitoring and baiting system can be an alternative where a barrier is not practical. However “baiting” systems do not directly protect your house against termite attack therefore a continuous barrier should always be your first choice especially with the effectiveness and low toxicity of today’s chemicals. Laguna Pest Control can discuss the positives and negatives of both barrier and baiting systems with you.
What to expect after the treatment
Although no termite management system is 100% foolproof, you can rest at ease knowing that if you have engaged Laguna Pest Control you have engaged a termite manager with the skill and experience to back up any work that we do. So much so, that we stake our reputation on it.