Termite and pest infestations are becoming an increasing problem for Australian home owners. According to the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA) the average cost of termite treatment and damage repair was approximately $10,000 per property in 2012. The average cost to the housing industry the same year amounted to $3.9 billion.
To most people, their home is their most valuable asset. Learning how to reduce the risk of termites should thus be of importance to any homeowner. It’s also crucial to take possible future termite damage into account when building a new home. Termite attacks and termite damage are typically not covered by your home insurance.
The problem of termites exists in most parts of Australia. It is particularly prevalent in coastal locations like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. The warm and humid climate in those areas is a breeding ground for several types of termites, and especially after periods of heavy rain.
Older homes are also at greater risk of an infestation. This is due to the common use of concrete slabs with little clearance from the ground. The use of soft wood timber for framing is also a termite hazard. If you are planning on buying an older property, always allow for a pest inspection prior to your purchase. An inspection should always be carried out by professional inspectors like Inspect My Home.
Once you have treated a termite infected home, it’s time to start working on ways to prevent them from coming back. There are several steps to take to reduce the risk of future termite infestations. You can start by implementing a termite management program. The program will work in conjunction with regular pest inspections by a licensed inspector.
Termite Prevention System
A Termite Prevention System is a two-part process. It consists of chemical termite protection barriers and physical termite protection barriers. The plan is design to prevent termites from both accessing your home and to treat already known termite colonies.
Chemical barriers can be installed to most properties. This is one of the most effective forms of termite prevention. Chemical barriers can only be installed by licensed pest controllers like Inspect My Home.
Physical barriers rely on the physical resistance of the house material. For homes featuring suspended floors, the most common form of physical barrier is ant caps or termite shields. A thin metal shield is placed on top of piers and foundation walls or timber posts. An example of this barrier is stainless steel mesh.
The third component of any successful termite management plan involves the homeowner. The onus is always on the owner to maintain the property and take measures to keep termites out.
Study our checklist below for tips on how to reduce the risk of termites:
Termite Prevention Checklist
Reduce areas of increased moisture in the home
Termites love moisture. Reducing wet areas around the house includes repairing all leaks and damaged downpipes. You also have to keep your shower sealed. If you have a subfloor on your property, ensure it’s well ventilated and dry.
Reduce areas of increased moisture in your yard
To keep termites well away from you house, improve the drainage in boggy areas around the yard. Also drain grey water and extend overflows from air conditioners well away from your home.
Reducing termite food
Termites feast on wood and paper. Mount all timber structures attached to the house on metal stirrups to avoid soil contact. Timer frames and cladding should also avoid soil contact. This is unless the timber is treated to prevent termite attacks. Beware of slab joints where termite can enter and keep slab edges exposed.
Clear all obstacles so termite ‘break-ins’ are visible
Always be on the look-out for signs of a termite infestation. To make this process easier, never store timber, cardboard or paper on soil areas in the subfloor. If applicable, also gain access to concealed voids and remove any ‘risk’ materials.
Building & Pest Inspections
Termites cannot be managed exclusively with DIY measures. If you suspect a termite infestation or need a pest inspection carried out, book your inspection online or call Inspect My Home on 1300 337 447.
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.
Photo by lemonteayk on Flickr