Termites, or white ants, are the natural enemy of any home of structure and are one of the most destructive pests we have here in Australia. Every year, termites cause millions of dollars of damage to homes, businesses, and other buildings in Melbourne. Often, however, termites will go undetected until they have caused so much damage that households will have to be evacuated, or undergo large-scale renovations.
Spotting A Termite Infestation
It is highly essential to know what to look for around your home so that you can stop termites in their track with a termite treatment as soon as possible. Some signs that you may have a termite infestation are:
- Hollow Timber: Termites will usually eat wood from the inside out so that you may find timber in and around your home is hollow. You will be able to notice this if your vacuum cleaner easily damages the skirting boards around your house while you are cleaning.
- Bubbling Or Wrinkled Timber: If you notice timber in or around your home has a bubbled look on the surface, this could be a sign of termites. Termites will sometimes eat wood and replace the space with mud, which will often create a textured look in the paint that is on your timber or wood.
- Termite Leads, Or Trails: Termites will often leave trails of tiny brown straws when they are traveling from place to place. The leads will usually be made up of mud and cellulose, and the termites will move inside them. If you notice termite leads in or around your home, there is a high chance you may have an infestation.
- Your Flooring Feels Soft: If your flooring feels more delicate than usual, or somewhat bouncy, this could be a sign that termites have begun eating the flooring boards beneath your carpet or other floor covering.
- You Spot Alates: Between October and March is the regular termite breeding season, so you may spot what appears to be a large swarm of flying ants traveling around on a warm evening. This could be a sign that you have a termite problem.
What To Do When You Find Termites
If you find termites, it can be tempting to destruct their nest, start spraying poison, and tackling the problem by yourself. However, it is important to leave everything as it is and call a professional in termite management. If you leave everything as is, there is a higher chance a professional will be able to treat the termites effectively and minimize damage to your home. If you try to treat termites yourself, it is very likely the termites will relocate to a different part of your home, and the cycle will continue. If you do uncover a nest of termites or are informed by a professional that you have a termite infestation, it is integral to notify any neighbors as well as your local council. Termites will usually build colonies with multiple nests within a 50-meter radius, meaning if you have found termites, it is likely that other structures around yours will also have an infestation.
There are a few precautions you can take to minimize your chances of having a termite infestation:
- Find a termite management business who you trust, and have them conduct regular treatments and inspections of your home or business.
- Avoid leaving spare or leftover timber in and around your home, particularly underneath your home, or outside.
- Ensure that ventilation in your home is excellent, by keeping vents clear and clean at all times. This includes making sure your garden beds are not blocking ground-level vents, as this may conceal areas that termites will enter through.
- When building or renovating, consider using termite-resistant timber, or materials that do not contain wood to build. It is recommended that you do not use timber for building retaining walls, and to use brick or other materials instead.
- If you have a timber verandah or deck, keep it clean with regular tidying, and check the wood on all sides, especially where it connects to your home and the ground.
- Be sure to keep an eye on any drainage, as termites can be attracted to damp or moist areas. Be wary of any leaks or spills in and around your home, and clean them up promptly.
By looking after your home well, and keeping an eye out for signs of termites, you may be able to avoid termite infestation, or at least prevent it from doing masses of damage to your home. By staying on top of treatments and inspections, as well as conduction self-examinations in your home often, you will give yourself the best chance of stopping a termite infestation before it escalates to a big, expensive mess.