Termite Prevention

Modern chemicals are proving ineffective against termites so there is a need for extra vigilance in protecting your home.

Modern chemical treatments are proving ineffective against termite infestations in homes. Previously used stronger pesticides were banned as health hazards but weaker ones are proving generally not as effective in the long term.

The result is an increase in certain regions of termite infestions in homes. Governments and authorities are debating the problem but home owners should not hold their breath for a decision. It could take decades.

The solution is for property owners to conduct more regular checks for termites, to install termite prevention systems or ensure that existing systems are adequate.

Know Your Enemy

Termites are not ants. They are close relatives of cockroaches and date back 200 million years. They are prolific breeders, well organised societies and hard to kill. Their nests can be as far as 50 metres away from a house, in a tree or underground. Termites attack both soft and hard woods. Home owners do not usually become aware of an attack until it's too late, like when wooden posts or walls suddenly collapse - even roofs. Termites cause billions of dollars of property damage annually. When they pay you a visit they are your worst nightmare.

Prevention Methods

Chemical and physical barriers are put around the property.

1. Chemical barriers are generally installed beneath and around the building.

2. Physical barriers can be a concrete slab; termite shielding in the form of a continuous metal barrier along the walls and on top of the piers of the house; stainless steel mesh installed under an on-ground concrete slab and around perimeter wall cavities; or graded stone used under and around a house to prevent transportation of particles by termites.

The use of termite resistant materials in home construction is also helpful, such as treated timber.

The most common cause of termite infestations is when the perimeter barrier has been breached. For example brick, paving or earth placed

against the building provides a bridge for termites to gain entry to a building.

The addition of a fence, carport or pergola against a building can also breach the barrier and let termites in, as can almost anything leaning against a building, like old timber.

If termites access a building extermination treatment should begin as quickly as possible and the prevention barrier resealed. Termites destroy property very quickly and very thoroughly. In addition to the cost of pest control treatment, home owners have the cost of home repairs.

In many cases the cost of home repairs is colossal because the presence of termites was not detected until late. This is one of the terrors of termite attacks. A wall, for example, may look fine until you tap it and then you find that barely all that is left is the wallpapper. A support beam may look solid from the outside but proper inspection shows its interior is eaten away and it's ready to collapse.

Regular inspections for infestations and checks of perimeter barriers are vital.

© High Speed Ventures 2011