Timing is everything, especially when it comes to termites! As one of Australia’s most destructive wood pests, termites can cause extensive damage to your home in a relatively small window of time. It’s all well and good to ensure that your property’s termite-treated and that termite barriers are in place, but that’s no guarantee of a termite free home. Here are 5 good reasons you should speed dial a pest inspector and organise a termite inspection TODAY!
1. Termites never sleep
Termites generally become more active in spring when temperatures increase. That doesn’t mean you should only get termite inspections done at that time of year. You should be on your guard against termites all year round.
Termites live in colonies. By far, the most destructive termite species in south-east Queensland is the subterranean termite. A secretive species, it builds extensive colonies underground. Colonies are made up of three classes of termite:
- reproductives (queen and king)
- soldiers tasked with protecting the colony, and
- workers responsible for feeding the colony inhabitants.
Worker termites leave the colony to actively forage for cellulose all year round. Your home is constructed from materials rich in readily-accessible cellulose; it’s a 24-7 source of food. Waiting until the colony becomes more active after the winter months just buys them to destroy your structural timbers, architraves, floors and any other wood in your home in the meantime.
2. When you’re buying a home
Buying a home? Put a termite inspection at the top of your MUST DO list! Getting an expert to carry out a thorough termite inspection is a crucial safeguard against buying a property with a termite infestation. In fact, a thorough inspection of the property for all pests, not just termites, is essential.
If you make an offer on a property, make sure your offer is framed in such a way as to make it conditional on receipt of satisfactory professional pre-purchase building and termite inspections. You might think that you can spot a termite infestation a mile off. You’d be sadly mistaken for two reasons:
Termites aren’t a great selling point for a property
A termite infestation is a huge turn-off for most prospective home owners. That’s all the incentive a vendor needs to disguise any defects in the property. Termite damage can be impossible to spot at an open-for-inspection when a vendor’s hell-bent on hiding it from you.
Termites are masters of disguise
Termite damage can go undetected right up to the point when it becomes extensive and irreparable. Termites are a secretive species, burrowing to within the finest margin of paint or varnish so as to leave the surface intact even when there’s a network of tunnels immediately below.
Getting termite inspections done before you commit to buying a property will give you all the information you need to tell the difference between a good investment and a dud in disguise.
3. Be as regular as clockwork
Just because you’ve had a termite inspection done in the past, it’s no guarantee that your property will remain termite free over time. As an invasive pest species, termites set up new colonies. When an existing termite colony becomes overcrowded, the winged alates (‘reproductives’) take flight in swarms in search of a mate. Once mated they establish a new colony. For you, that means that your home’s susceptible to termite damage at any time because termites reproduce relentlessly and colonies expand and seek out new sources of cellulose.
A regular, scheduled termite inspection can help you determine whether there’s an existing infestation in your property. It can also help you to understand whether your property might be susceptible to termite attack in the future. That way, you can take the necessary preventative steps to ensure that day never comes.
4. When your preventative measures go pear-shaped – Ineffective termite treatments and barriers
It’s easy to become complacent about termites if you’ve had termite barriers and traps installed and a termite treatment (termiticide) applied to the soil around your property. However, these anti-termite measures aren’t failsafe.
When termite treatments fail
There are many reasons why your termite treatment mightn’t be as effective as you think.
A termite treatment will fail to do what it’s designed for if applied incorrectly at first instance. Alternatively, it could fail because of an intervening event such as
- heavy rain
- water leaks around your home
- soil disruption or removal through excavation.
Any of these factors can render your termite treatment completely ineffective. That’s a great reason to get a termite inspection done on a regular basis. Even if undisturbed, a termite treatment will only have a maximum lifespan of between 5 and 8 years. Life gets busy. It’s easy to forget to organise an up-to-date treatment.
If you’re in an older established home that’s been subjected to termite treatments in the past, you might notice that the documentation about your termite treatment (often in the meter board) gives an estimate of effectiveness in decades as opposed to years. That’s because older termite treatments weren’t as strictly regulated as they are now and often their effectiveness was exaggerated.
Termite barriers that fail
Again, termite barriers are only as good as the person installing them. Mistakes in installation are relatively common. That’s why termite barriers are normally checked and must comply with the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards.
Termite barriers that have been installed can also become ineffective over time if breached by tree roots, excavation, soil movement or subsidence. These small breaks in the barrier mean that it’s as good as useless when it comes to keeping termites at bay. Termites will make a beeline for the gaps and use them as an access point to your home.
5. If you’ve got even a sneaking suspicion you’ve got termites
Subterranean termites usually access a property from the soil directly underneath and adjacent to it. They’re excellent at constructing mud tunnels known as ‘galleries’ to bridge the distance between the soil and the structures on which the house sits. For that reason, a termite infestation can go undetected for years and result in extensive damage before you discover it. That said, sometimes the signs of an infestation will be right under your nose.
Signs of a termite infestation that require urgent attention include:
- swarming termites inside the house or emerging from interior walls and woodwork
- swarming termites emerging from the exterior of your property, such as from under verandahs or holes in woodwork
- rippled or puckered surfaces in walls or under paintwork
- crumbling woodwork
- noises in the wall cavities.
If you have any of these signs, you should organise a termite inspection immediately.
When’s the best time for a termite inspection? NOW! Book a termite inspection or termite treatment online today or call us at Pegasus Environmental on (07) 5522 0089. Get cracking now and avoid the heartache and expense later down the track.