hosted by tracy grimshaw
7:00PM (AEST) weeknights on
Stories
Videos

Termite infestation tips

By ninemsn staff
|
Air date: Wednesday, April 30, 2008
|
termite

Having a termite infestation can not only be dangerous, but also costly. Surprisingly, many Australian families have them in their homes and don't even know it.

Here are our tips on how to avoid a termite infestation.

What exactly are termites?

There are hundreds of species of termites in Australia, but thankfully many of them aren't dangerous to homeowners. Only about 20 species of termites actually pose a threat.

They are small to medium in size and look almost like ants. They have pale bodies, a darker-coloured head and bead-like antennae.

How to detect termites in your home

  • Regularly inspect your home; get to know its vulnerable spots where termites might enter, such as soft wood beams and panelling.
  • Check any wood that might be connecting your house to the soil, such as piles of timber, as well as living and dead trees and stumps. Look for signs of damaged wood, which will be easily pierced with a screwdriver.
  • Check for things such as sagging floors, signs of dampness, cracked paint.
  • Check with your local council on how often and when termite inspections might be needed.
  • If you do find, or strongly suspect you have termites on your property don't panic and run amok with insecticides. The worst thing you can do is disturb the insects - this will only cause them to retreat, hide and possibly re-enter the property somewhere else. Keep the element of surprise on your side.
  • Termites work slowly, so you are much better off to take the time for an inspector to do a thorough inspection, correctly identify the species and produce a detailed assessment of the situation. What you are really after here is reliable, expert advice.
  • Termite extermination

    Chemical soil treatment

    This is probably the most common approach to both eradicating a termite infestation and protecting a house from future attack. It can be applied during construction of a house and after, though at a greater expense.

    The soil is treated with chemicals to provide a continuous barrier in the ground against termite entry.

    Areas treated include the boundary of concrete slabs or the building, as well as areas such as the patio, and the sub-floor area of a house. It's important to remember that barriers keep termites out but can also keep them in, so for these soil treatments to work, a skilled pest controller must be employed to both thoroughly inspect the house and grounds first, and make sure secondary nests aren't inside the house. These will also need treatment.

    Things to consider:

    Ask your pest controller whether the chemical soil treatment is a repellent or not.

    There are a number of products available and they don't all work in the same way. Repellent pesticides will protect your house if the barrier is complete, but any gap will be detected by termites and could allow them entry to your house.

    Non-repellent ones allow the termites to pass through the affected soil, where they will absorb the slow-acting poison, carry it back to the colony, pass it on and thus eradicate the entire colony.

    Duration:

    Once installed, a chemical soil treatment will need to be checked every 3-6 months and should provide protection for up to five years.

    Baiting systems

    How they work:

    Bait boxes or bait station treatments have been developed by the CSIRO and other private manufacturers.

    These boxes, or stations, contain slow-acting, non-repellent bait that is introduced directly into areas of termite activity. Under the CSIRO model, a baiting box (or, more likely, boxes) is installed at key points around and under the house, in garden beds butting up against the house, etc.

    At this stage the box contains no chemicals, only food such as untreated wood, cardboard and paper that will attract the termites and give accurate indicators of termite activity.

    This stage can be carried out by homeowners - if you are extremely sure you know what you're doing and won't just disturb the termites into retreating.

    Once you're sure of your termites, a licensed pest controller has to step in to handle the introduction of the chemical bait into the boxes, and its monitoring.

    Things to consider:

    There are a number of bait station systems available that roughly follow the above procedure.

    All rely on a large enough number of termites eating the bait and taking it back to the colony where it is passed on to other termites, thus killing the entire colony.

    There is uncertainty associated with this treatment: too much disturbance of the termites or the surrounds will give them advance warning and cause them to retreat before they have eaten the bait.

    The treatment will only work if a sufficiently large enough number of termites eat the bait and termites must "find" the bait in the first place. Considerable skill is needed to successfully install the boxes.

    Duration:

    This termite baiting system requires regular - often monthly - reviews and monitoring by a professional, which will add to the cost: successful elimination of the termite colony may take a few months, or even longer.

    For more information on eradicating termites visit Termite Control Australia

    Tell us your story

    Have you got a story you would like to have featured on ACA? Share your story with us here

    Extras Wanted

    We're always on the hunt for confident and fun families to help us with our stories. We often use volunteers to road test everything from shampoo to champagne
    • Real estate
    • Retail deals
    • Tracy interviews
    • Investigations
    • Beauty and health
    • Cooking

    How can we help?

    What kind of stories would you like to see more of?
      submit feedback
      Please select an option
      Thank you for submitting your feedback.
      > Add yours
      Loading comments...
        • You with comment:
          Please login below
          Guest login
          login
          Or Permanent login through third party account
          You are connected via
          Enter a display name and postcode tied to your account
          Please choose a location nearest you
          Guest settings
          Name: StuartMacKenzie
          Location:
          Use your facebook display picture
          Post messages to your facebook wall
          sign out
          update
          Enter your comment
          submit comment
          Please enter a valid postcode
        • Thank you for contributing to the ACA website. Please note contributions on this site will be moderated and there may be a delay before they can be viewed on our site.
        • Your contributions must be on-topic and constructive and not contributed with the intention of disrupting our online community or causing harm to anyone.
        • We reserve the right not to use, or to remove, your contributions on this site at our discretion if they:

        • Defame any person.
        • Breach anyone’s intellectual property rights or confidentiality.
        • Breach privacy laws.
        • Breach anti-discrimination laws.
        • Contain any links, advertising or marketing material or spam.
        • Stalk or harass any person.
        • Encourage or promote or assist the commission of any illegal act.
        • Contain excessively coarse language or content.
        • Exceed the 120 character limit.
        • For further information about the ninemsn Terms of Use click here

        A Current Affair
        hosted by tracy grimshaw
        7:00PM weeknights on
        ACA Loves Twitter
        It's easy to tweet ACA on Twitter.
        You can use your normal Twitter account details to login to the ACA site and start commenting. You can even choose to post your comments from the ACA site simultaneously on your Twitter page.