Termites in Brisbane
Professional Termite Management Services
- CSIRO statistics state that termites will infest 1 in 3 Queensland homes
- However, termite damage is not covered by standard home insurance policies
- A termite management plan is a must to protect your property from termite attack
The Pest Doctors have extensive termite management experience and are fully licensed and insured to provide termite inspections, termite treatments and advice to keep your home safe from termite attack.
Call now for termite advice
How to protect your home from termites
The termite management plan for your property depends on the construction of the building, conditions around the property and the level of termite pressure. It will always include annual termite inspections, but for most properties we will always recommend the need for a termite management system to prevent concealed termite attack on your property.
There are 5 key elements to a termite management plan:
The building construction – A physical termite barrier
The basic principle of protecting buildings from termite attack, is to prevent concealed termites entry – block potential entry points that would allow termites to enter the building and cause significant damage before being noticed.
Many construction elements of buildings are designed to create a physical barrier to termite entry. However, during construction additional termite protection needs to be incorporated to ensure all potential termite entries points are protected.
For example, a concrete slab without cracks will provide a good physical barrier. However, any joins in the slab and holes where pipework enter need to be protected. Similarly, the perimeter of the slab needs to be protected to prevent termites squeezing in through any gaps in the brickwork below soil level.
Similarly for homes on piers, termite capping at the top the piers is vital to prevent termites travelling up the centre of the pier, out of sight.
If built well, termites can then only get access to the wood elements of the building by building their mud tubes over these physical elements, for example on the outside of brick piers. When this happens their activity can be spotted during a termite inspection and the problem dealt with.
Annual termite inspections
Governments and building authorities recommend professional termite inspections [link to termite inspection page] at least once a year. They are designed to detect termite activity, termite damage, potential construction faults and conditions around the building that could a termite attack more likely. In areas of severe termite pressure, more regular termite inspections may be recommended.
Annual termite inspections are required on new homes to maintain any warranties. Indeed CSIRO estimate that 1 in 5 new homes will suffer termite attack in the first five years.
For older homes which may have a termite management system in place, regular inspections will also be required to maintain any warranty and keep an eye on any changing conditions at the property.
Eliminating termite conducive conditions around your home
Two key elements of a professional termite inspection are to spot conditions around the building that will make the area more attractive to termites and identify construction faults that could make it easier for termites to access the building. Any recommendations to fix these issues should be acted on quickly to reduce the chances of a termite attack – good building maintenance can go a long wait to preventing a termite problem.
Termites love moisture, so poor drainage under or around the perimeter of your home will make your home very attractive to termites. Similarly, leaks from roofs, gutters, showers, taps and pipework and cause local moisture hot spots.
Over time, the building may develop faults or modifications to the building and gardens can create potential termite entry points, which need to be corrected or protected.
Install a termite management system?
Although new homes should have a robust termite protection system in place, these systems don’t last forever and changes in the property may create weaknesses in the protection system. And of course older homes may be lacking any termite protection measures.
As such it is recommended that a termite management system should be installed around most buildings to provide lasting protection for your home.
There are two potential termite management systems:
- Treatment of the soil around and under your home with a liquid a liquid termiticide
- The installation of a termite monitoring and baiting system.
Termite management systems are designed to work in combination with the physical elements of the construction to create a complete termite protection system.
A well designed termite management system will eliminate concealed termite entry points. This means the only way for termites to gain entry would build their mud tubes over any termite protection measures – their activity becomes visible (rather than concealed).As long as regular termite inspections are carried out, such activity will be spotted and dealt with, and the building will be protected.
Building or renovating?
If you’re building or renovating, it’s important to consider termite protection before you start.
Extensions and renovations by both builders and DIYers often create a weakness in the termite protection system – a concealed entry point – which termites can quickly exploit.
Even garden beds, paths, driveways, decks and patios around the perimeter of the home can create a potential termite problem and termite protection is often not considered at all.
If you are building a new home or carrying out any renovation call the Pest Doctors for advice. Remember builders will often only do the minimum to be compliant with regulations rather than providing you with all the options. When you’re trying to protect an investment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, it makes sense to get independent professional advice so you can consider all the options available.
Termites or white ants?
Although many people will call termites, white ants, they aren’t ants at all. In fact, they are more closely related to cockroaches.
Although they may look like ants, when you take a closer look there are five big differences:
- Colour: Termites are white or cream (except for the flying termites which are light brown). Ants are general black or brown in colour.
- Cuticle: Termites have a soft body. Ants have a hard cuticle.
- Body segments: Termites have appear to have 2 body segments (they actually have three). Ants have 3 well defined body segments.
- Antennae: Termites have straight, beaded antennae. Ant antennae have a distinct bend or elbow.
- Eyes: Termites are blind – they have no eyes (except the flying termites). Ants generally have quite obvious eyes.
The main pest termites in Australia are subterranean termites, which means they live underground. This makes their nests hard to spot.
Although some species do produce obvious mounds, and others have arboreal nests, in the branches of trees (although still with access to the ground), the main pest species, Coptotermes and Schedorhinotermes, do not produce obvious mounds, making it very difficult to locate their nests.
The termite nests of Coptotermes, the most damaging termite in Brisbane, can contain a million or more individual when mature.
Schedorhinotermes are a “multi-nester” which can make them more difficult to control. They can develop a number of nests, in a small area, which means you can often have several nests attacking the same building.
Flying termites or alates are the new kings and queens which leave mature nests in large numbers on humid nights in spring and early summer.
The kings and queens pair off, land, drop their wings and move off together to try and find a location to start a new nest.
Often you will see these light brown insects flying around lights in great numbers in the evening. Sometimes you may see piles of wings on the floor or under windows when you get up in the morning.
If you spot flying termites or their dropped wings there must be a nest nearby, potentially even in your home! If you think you have flying termites, you should get a termite inspection immediately.
The termite queen is the most important termite in the nest. As the nest grows the queen is capable of producing thousands of eggs per day. Some species have more than one queen in the colony.
To eliminate a termite nest you have to kill the queen(s). If you only kill the workers (even a lot of them), the queen will just lay more eggs to replace the lost workers.
If you can find the nest, it is relatively easy to destroy the whole nest. However, as they often nest underground, in most cases it is not possible to find the nest. In such cases, using termite baits is often the best way to eliminate the nest.
What do termites eat?
Termites eat wood or other wood based materials such as paper and cardboard. They can chew through other materials, such as wiring and plasterboard, to get to the wood.
Not many animals eat wood, as it’s very difficult to digest. Termites have unique microbes in their gut which helps them to break down the cellulose in wood.
Why are termites attacking my house?
You may thing it’s just “bad luck” if your home gets attacked by termites – “Why me and not the neighbours?”. But the reality is that there is always a reason why termites find your house attractive and have managed to get in.
Firstly, there must be a source of moisture; poor drainage, leaking tap/shower/roof, overwatered garden beds on the external walls, etc. Termite love moisture. If the soil under and around the perimeter of your home is dry, it is very unlikely that you will suffer from a termite attack.
Secondly, there must be a way to them to get into your house to attack the timber elements. Sometimes their activity can be obvious, such as when they climb up the outside of brick piers in the sub-floor, but sometimes they are hard to spot, for example when they come up through a crack in the concrete slab. Either way, regular termite inspections and a termite management plan would either stop the attack or intercept the problem before it became a significant issue.
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Ready to See Termites Gone for Good?
To ensure your Property is always free of Termites, and under Warranty from any recent Termite Protection, it is important to have your Property inspected at least annually by a Termite Specialist. The risk of not having regular Inspections could equate to thousands of dollars of damage to your Property as well as reduce the sale price in the future. By having your property inspected by the Pest Doctors Team and a full Termite Management Plan in place, you can rest assured that the health and investment of your property is protected to the highest standards.