Timber pests like termites, bores, and decay fungi attack timbers and other wooden parts of your house, feeding off them from within and leaving no surface signs. When left untreated, the attacks can greatly affect the structural soundness of your property.
If you want to keep your property in top shape and highly valuable for resale, it’s important to learn to read the signs of early infestation, and how to prevent it altogether.
Conditions Conducive to Timber Pest Infestation
Timber pests thrive in certain environmental conditions, which include the following:
Concrete Slab Homes
Properties built on concrete slabs are conducive to timber pests, especially when the edges of the slabs are covered by garden beds, patios, and lawns. Termites can penetrate the concealed framing timbers through the concrete slabs entry and cause extensive damage inside your property. If you own a concrete slab home, then it’s important that the slab edges are exposed and not in contact with foliage or garden beds.
Wet and damp areas
Timber pests like places that are warm and moist, like the bathroom and kitchen area. So, you need to ensure that these rooms are dry and well ventilated all the time. Use a moisture tester to help detect unseen problems inside these areas. The presence of moulds on the walls and ceiling are also signs of high moisture.
You should also look for signs of water leaks from the pipes or the roof that can enter the wooden subfloor or external walls. Make sure that water outlets of air conditioning units, water tanks, and hot water services are piped away from your property. Any areas affected by water will surely be prone to timber pests attack. So, check your drainage as well. Blockages will cause water to penetrate the subfloor and increase the possibility of timber pest infestation and wood decay.
Unsheltered timbers, especially those that are not suitable for wet weather, are also likely to be damaged by termites and other timber pests. When left unprotected, they could also affect the inner timber framings of your home. Although these exposed timbers can be protected by waterproof paint, it’s best to just replace them with a more fitting material.
Nearby Large Trees
Trees are also sources of termites that may transfer to your property. When the branches of a tree with termite nests get in contact with your roof or any exposed timber parts, these pests may spread to your home and attack the internal wooden areas. Older trees that have above-ground roots could also infest your property once they reach the garden bed or patio.
Cutting off these roots and branches is the best way to prevent termites from reaching your home. Better yet, remove the tree altogether, especially if it has been totally infested with termites.
Timber Pest Damage
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of timber pests that can attack your property and cause severe damage. These pests are subterranean termites, seasoned timber borers, and timber decay fungi.
Recent studies show that one-third of Australian dwellings has been infested with termites at some point in their lives. These timber pests destruct homes and properties without the knowledge of owners. What is the worst termite species of all? It’s the subterranean termite, which is also the most damaging timber pest in the world.
The subterranean termites usually build large underground colonies that contain millions and millions of these pests. Once they reach maturity, they’ll immediately attach your home, which can provide them with food and shelter. Subterranean termites will penetrate the dwelling through the cracks in the slabs and the mud tubes that they made to reach above ground timbers.
Upon reaching your property, these termites will dig very thin holes on the timbers and feast on them from within. That is why it’s very difficult to know their presence. But when they thrive, the subterranean termites will seriously damage your home.
If you want to prevent them from reaching your home, then you will need to have a keen eye for signs of their existence. They are sensitive to light and humidity, so you can expect termites to be living underground and other sheltered areas near your home. However, detection of subterranean termites is still possible with the use of termite barriers. These will show the mud tunnels built by the termites.
Seasoned Timber Borers
These timber pests are larvae of different beetle species that lay eggs on the timber. When these beetle eggs hatch, they turn into larvae or grubs, which will dig through the timber and stay there for a number of years to become pupas. After the pupal stage, they will turn into adult beetles, which will cut even larger holes on the timber, creating huge structural damage to the property.
A homeowner without prior knowledge of borers will only notice their presence by when these large holes appear, which is already too late. So, you need to pay close attention to the timber structures of your home in order to see them, especially the Anobium borer and the Queensland pine borer.
These two types of beetle larvae are responsible for most of the flooring collapses of properties in Australia. They prefer to attack timbers that are 10-20 years of age, honeycombed, and made out of pine. They can penetrate the sapwood and sometimes, go all the way to the heartwood of the timber.
Another destructive type of borer is the Lyctus borer from powder post beetles. It attacks the sapwood of some hardwood timber species. Adult powder post beetles usually lay eggs on timbers with age of just 6 to 12 months. Most large timbers will not weaken significantly because of Lyctus borer, but they will still be affected significantly. On the other hand, smaller timbers may collapse because of the damage caused by these timber pests.
Timber Decay Fungi
Decaying timbers as a result of poor ventilation, wet areas of the property, and weather exposure are often infested with fungi. These timber pests produce fruiting bodies that differ in colour, size, and shape. Aside from their presence, which is already a sign of significant damage to the timber, they also attract various termite species. So, if you don’t want a double timber pest-attack on your property, then you should remove all the damp and wet areas where they can thrive and reproduce.
Get a Termite Inspection
Now that you know the important information about timber pests, you can do the necessary steps to be aware of any infestation in your property. These include regular maintenance from your end and pest inspections from professional building inspectors like Inspect My Home.
Our standard Pest Control treatment will target Cockroaches, Webbing Spiders, Silverfish and Coastal Brown Ants in residential homes and additional Pests can be treated upon your request. We also offer a range of commercial pest control applications in premises such as offices, restaurants and hotels throughout the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Townsville areas.
Aside from a thorough inspection of your home, we also provide a suitable termite management program that will help lower the risk of timber pests.
For more information about our building and pest inspection services visit our Help Centre