All you need to know about termites…

Termites in Adelaide

  • In Australia termites are estimated to cause more than $1 billion in damage each year.
  • It is estimated that 80% of all homes in Australia are within 25 m of a termite nest
  • The risk of your home being attacked by termites is greater than suffering damage from fire, flood and natural disaster combined, yet termite damage is not covered by your general home insurance.

A termite management plan to protect your property from termite attack is a must for all homeowners.

Hindmarsh Pest Control have extensive termite management experience and are fully licensed and insured to provide termite inspections, termite treatments and advice to keep your home safe from termite attack.

Call now to protect your home

How to protect your home from termites

If built well, the construction design of your home should provide a degree of protection from termites. However, a termite management system needs to be installed, working in conjunction with the physical elements of the building, to prevent concealed termite entry. However, even with all protection measures in place, annual termite inspections are a must to make sure everything is order and the building is termite free.

With termites able to squeeze through gaps as small as few millimetres, having a well-built home certainly helps prevent a termite attack. With a good building design, construction elements will create a physical barrier to stop termites getting into your home without being noticed. For example, metal “ant” capping prevents termites moving up inside brick piers. They have to move on the outside of the brick pier to get into the building, and when they do so their activity can be spotted.

Most new homes are built on a concrete slab and a good concrete slab (without cracks) also creates a good physical barrier. However, holes in a concrete slab for pipework and any joins in the slab need to be protected. In addition, the perimeter of the slab needs to be protected to prevent termites squeezing through any gaps in the brickwork below soil level. These protection measures are put in place during construction, but some of these protection measures don’t last for ever and changes in the property may create weaknesses in the protection system. As such, the installation of a termite management system after construction, which can be checked and renewed as appropriate, is highly recommended to provide lasting protection for your home.

A termite management system consists of treating the soil around and under your home with a liquid a liquid termiticide or the installation of a termite monitoring and baiting system. These termite treatments provide the long-term protection for your home.

Termite management systems are designed to work in combination with the physical elements of the construction to create a complete termite protection system.

A well designed termite management system will eliminate concealed termite entry points. This still means termites could still theoretically enter the house, but they can’t do so without being noticed.

As long as regular termite inspections are carried out, such activity will be spotted and dealt with, and the building will be protected.

Governments and building authorities recommend professional termite inspections at least once a year. They are designed to detect termite activity, termite damage and conditions that could make the building more likely to come under termite attack.

Even if you have a termite management system in place, regular inspections are still required to maintain any warranty and keep an eye on any changing conditions at the property.

In areas of severe termite pressure, more regular termite inspections may be recommended.

When you’re building or renovating one of the first questions to ask is what termite protection measures do I need to include?

Extensions and renovations by both builders and DIYers often create a weakness in the termite protection system – a concealed entry point – which termites can quickly exploit.

Even garden beds, paths, driveways, decks and patios around the perimeter of the home can create a potential termite problem and termite protection is often not considered at all.

If you are building a new home or carrying out any renovation call Hindmarsh Pest Control for advice (as builders don’t necessarily provide the best information).

Termite information

Termites aren’t ants at all. In fact, they are more closely related to cockroaches.

Some people call them white ants as superficially they look like ants, but when you take a closer look there are five big differences:

  • Colour: Ants have a dark body, typically brown or black in colour. Termites are white or cream (except for the flying termites which are light brown)
  • Cuticle: Ants have a hard body cuticle (they crunch when you squash them!), termites have a soft body
  • Although both ants and termites have 3 body segments, termites look like they only have 2 body segments as they lack and obvious “waist”.
  • Antennae: Termites have straight antennae. Ant antennae have a distinct bend or elbow
  • Eyes: Ants have obvious eyes. Termites have no eyes (except the flying termites).

The main pest termites in Australia are subterranean termites, which means they live underground.

Most nests are built underground or in the root ball of trees, although some have arboreal nests higher up in the trees (but they still have access to the ground).

Some termites products obvious mounds either on the ground or in trees. However, the main pest species, Coptotermes and Schedorhinotermes, do not produce obvious mounds and making it very difficult to locate their nests.

The termite nests of Coptotermes, the most damaging termite in Adelaide, can contain a million or more individual when mature.

Flying termites or alates are the new kings and queens which leave the nest en masse on humid nights in early summer.

The kings and queens pair off, land, drop their wings and move off together to try and find a location to start a new nest.

If you are invaded by flying termites or find a lot of wings on the ground in the morning, it means there is a termite nearby and should get a termite inspection immediately.

The termite queen is the most important termite in the nest. As the nest grows the queen turns into an egg laying machine capable of pumping out thousands of eggs per day.

To eliminate a termite nest you have to kill the queen. If you only kill the workers (even a lot of them), the queen will just lay more eggs to replace the lost workers.

The baby termites are more correctly called nymphs. The nymphs that hatch from the eggs look like miniature versions of the adult termites. However, they live in the centre of the nest (the nursery) and are fed by adult workers. It takes 3 or 4 moults for the nymphs to become adult workers.

The termite soldiers protect the nest. From a pest manager’s point of view they help in identifying the termite species, as the soldiers of the various species have different shaped heads.

Termites eat wood or other materials containing cellulose, including other plant material, paper and cardboard.

Termites have unique microbes in their gut which helps them to break down cellulose.

Termites move out in all directions from the nest, generally in a random pattern. However, they are attracted to cooler, moist areas of soil, which could indicate a fallen tree (or your house!).

Moisture is the essential requirement for termites to exploit a food source as with their thin, soft cuticles, they dry out very easily.

It isn’t bad luck if your house gets attacked by termites – there must be a reason.

Firstly, there must be a source of moisture; poor drainage, a leaking tap/shower/roof, over-watered garden beds, etc. Keeping the areas around and under your home dry are key to preventing a termite attack.

Secondly, there must be a way for them to get into your house to attack the timber elements. Sometimes their activity can be obvious, such as when they climb up brick piers in the sub-floor, but sometimes they are hard to spot, for example when they come up through a crack in the concrete slab.

Either way, regular termite inspections and a termite management plan are a must.

Call now to protect your home