The number one question asked by home owners is "how do I prevent termites". There is no 100% bullet proof cure for termites, as many factors will increase risk. Below we will go through tips and hints as well as some myths and things to avoid.
IF I DON'T USE WOOD, THAT WILL PREVENT TERMITES!
We hear this a lot "My home is made from steel/cement blocks, termites don't eat steel!" We also see companies marketing their businesses talking about steel frames and termite proof structures. We inspect thousands of homes every year, from concrete block and steel frame homes and termites don't discriminate!
What do we mean by that? Let's be clear, it is almost impossible to build an affordable home without using timber! Termites don't just eat wood - they will consume anything containing cellulose. Cellulose is a complex carbohydrate and is found in plants - often described as the 'sugar' of plants.
Pressed wood pulp furniture
Natural fibre carpet (especially the backing)
The fact is that most modern homes will contain items with cellulose. Whether it's the internal structure and components in window frames, door frames and door, kitchen carcasses or vanities - unless you make everything from steel or concrete, your home will contain termite food.
The most expensive repair bills do not come from collapsing roof structures or decimated wall/floor frames - it's rare for the damage to get to that point because it becomes too noticeable. Most damage occurs in the skirting, the architraves, the finishing timbers, plasterboard and even cupboard carcasses. Termites don't want you to notice, they will even leave the skin of the paint to hide their activity. It's not until the vacuum cleaner head goes through the skirting that the invasion is discovered!
George Bell - Trainer and Assessor in the Termite Industry
Gardens and landscaping
When a home is built it usually has some sort of perimeter protection. When the landscaping is then done this protection can be 'bridged' or 'breached' through simple errors such as building gardens or planting trees right next to the house. The problem can be exacerbated by home owners or tenants putting termite food such as wood chip, untreated timber garden borders right next to the house almost daring termites to take up residence.
Looking at the images below - I am sure you are attracted to the image on the right!? If you are a termite looking at this, they see the wood chip in the same way you see the chocolate. YUMM!
Planting trees or plants right next to your home may look nice but eventually those plants grow root systems which will grow right through any chemical protection and even breach the foundations creating a literal highway into your home.
The best course of action when it comes to gardens is the following:
Don't plant gardens within 1 metre of the external walls (a smart landscaper will be able to assist)
Use pebbles as mulch rather than woodchip Remove dead tree stumps as soon as possible
Remove prunings such as branches or palm fronds as soon as possible
Use treated, masonry, rock or brick garden borders. (note on treated timber: the CCA treatment (copper chrome arsenate) only penetrates within a few mm of the timber surface. If you cut the timber, this exposes the timber edge - exposing an area that is not protected)
Ensure the home is well drained and that water does not sit against the structure
Subterranean termites need moisture to survive and thrive. There is moisture naturally in the soil but subterranean termites are drawin to moisture sources like a moth to a flame. Leaking pipes or drains aren't the only source of man made moisture.
Airconditioner drains discharging against the side of the house
Gutters and downpipes discharging againts the structure Dripping external taps
Poor site drainage where water sits after rain
Keeping gutters are kept clean with no debris build up as the debris will eventually break down and turn to soil allowing termites to actually construct nests or part of the nest in the gutter giving them a ready moisture source and food source in the roof itself.
Reducing hidden access zones
A lot of poeple will purchase items for renovations or external work that may be a long term project or even have gutted rooms and want to to keep their home relatively tidy - storing the items against the house. Take pavers for example - the home owner has pulled up pavers and then stacked them neatly against the house. One of the best defences against termite ingress is inspections and a vigilant home owner and if you cannot see the wall of the home, this creates a hidden area that termites can begin to attempt to gain access to your home.
Storing timber on the ground NO MATTER HOW SHORT A PERIOD OF TIME is one of the biggest causes of human created access for termites. Too often we will see timber stacked beside or under a home. Couple this with moisture and you have the perfect environement for termites to assault. Even using a spare room as storage and stacking furniture or unused items against the walls can prevent you or a termite inspector from being able to see termites or the signs of termites.
As stated previously, you can inadvertently create a tunnel by planting trees or gardens too close to the home, likewise you can inadvertently create a bridge over any termite protection.
Fences directly attached to the home using untreated timbers or a mixture of treated and untreated (see CCA note above)
Adding structures such as pergolas and decks without consulting a termite professional or installing additional termite protection
Trees growing hard against the house where branches are permanently contacting the house or structure
Placing items against the house (we have incredibly found termites accessing a house via a shovel handle leaned against a home)Building paths above inspection zones (talk to us today for more detail about this issue)
Climbing plants may look nice but will provide easy access for termites
DO NOT DIY TERMITE PROTECTION
The internet is good for some things, but is NOT a reliable source for protecting your home against termites. Do it yourself products may seem ok in theory, but in practice unless you have the proper skills and knowledge - it's like letting your 8 year old take your car for a drive, endangering the car, themselves and others.
PLEASE NOTE: It is ILLEGAL for you or any other person to use chemicals that you are not licenced or trained to use around your home or anywhere else. In Australia, the label is the law and the label on any termiticide states that 'to be used by a licenced pest control operators only'. Please see our DIY section for more information
Reduce your risk further
There is no better way to reduce the risk than to engage Tactic Pest Control Townsville to complete a minimum of 1 inspection per year on your home. If the risk is high (most homes in Townsville are high to very high) we will recommend installing a Treated Zone via our Liquid Defence System to offer you peace of mind.
Think you have termites?
See our 'signs of termites' page to see if you might have termites. If you are concerned, DON'T HESITATE - Call today