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The Social Structure of a Termite Nest
These taxing little creatures that look like overweight ants may seem harmless enough, and you can squash them easily. Their power is in their numbers. A single, well-established termite nest may have over a million members, and these are tightly organized in a way that would satisfy the most determined dictator.
- At the top of the hierarchy a king and queen reproduce up to 3,000 eggs daily
- A number of flying ants are on standby to replace them as soon as they die
- These same flying ants are also the same pairs that start new colonies
- Sterile soldiers forage for food. Their acid spray can penetrate weak concrete
- Worker ants raise the young, digest the plant matter and maintain the nest
Surface spraying a hundred soldier termites has thus little or no impact on the sustainability of the main nest, although we may feel good about seeing them dying. For effective termite pest control, property owners must implement a longer-term, more agressive termite control strategy. This plan begins with the construction of your buildings. This lays the foundations for a termite control program to prevent a potential invasion by millions of wood eating insects that could ruin your homes and your happiness.
Passive Anti-Termite Measures in Residential Pest Control
Termite Control Strategy # 1 – Make the Property Termite Unattractive
Your new construction site must be clear of roots, stumps of trees, old planks, and even cardboard and paper. If we leave termite food beneath the surface the insects will nest, and send their termite soldiers to sniff around your home. Ensure wooden building materials are at least 50mm off the ground and on concrete or metal foundations is a good start to preventing termite damage, and achieving effective pest control. It is also helpful when doing termite inspection and removal.
No timber is entirely resistant to termites in its natural state. Use steel doorframes and roof trusses where possible. Explore UPVC alternatives for doors and windows. If you decide to use wood, stay clear of particle boards, and sap woods including mountain ash, pine, meranti, karri, and marri. Australian native cypress pines and cedars provide better termite resistance, as do western red cedar, kapur, wandoo, jam, jarrah, and blackbutt, but these are insufficient without termite treatment.
All new buildings must meet the requirements of Australian Standard AS 3660.1 as explained at the link. In summary terms, the structure must have a continuous chemical barrier beneath it, with insecticide-treated soil around foundations.
Termite Control Strategy # 2 – Treat All Timber Correctly
Even the hardest wood eventually rots as it completes its life cycle. Wood softens as it weathers and doing so becoming perfect food for termites. You must apply wood termite protection as the first defence against this happening.
- Softwoods must be factory treated with salts of copper-chrome-arsenic CCA’s. The greenish appearance is a ‘guarantee’ of 20 years effectiveness
- Hardwoods are too dense for copper-chrome-arsenic treatment. The best defence is sealing all surfaces and having regular termite inspections.
- Fence and other standing posts must be soaked in creosote for 24 hours. Try to do all cutting and drilling first. If you forget, creosote the raw edges.
Termite Control Strategy # 3 – Prevent Rising Damp
A damp environment weakens raw concrete and mortar over time, and leads to rotting wood over time. These things make our homes more accessible to termites, with almost inevitable results. Keeping the outside of houses dry is a prerequisite for effective termite protection. Divert rainwater away from buildings, repair leaks in bathrooms and kitchens, and never build raised flowerbeds around your house.
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Preventative Anti-Termite Measures – Keep the Insects Out!
Termite Control Strategy # 4 – Prevent Termite Penetration Through the Floor
Termites can enter through a concrete floor if there are cracks in the concrete foundation, or open joints. Ask your builder to form the foundations and slab in a single pour with adequate steel reinforcing. Use a mechanical vibrator where plumbing, electrical and other service pipes enter the building to ensure an intimate bond. If you are unsure whether your house complies with local standards you may want to consider a termite inspection for peace of mind. Suspended floors must rest on brick, concrete or steel pillars with termite caps, adequate ventilation, and light through airbricks to facilitate termite control measures. Take care when constructing steps so they are separate from the house, and be careful when adding services or doing upgrades.
Modifications can inadvertently bridge these barriers, for example when adding a pergola, patio or veranda. The golden rule is separate these from the main building by five to ten centimeters. It would be sad if all your efforts were undone through a small oversight like this.
Active Anti-Termite Measures: The Case for a Termite Inspection
All the preventative measures discussed can fail if not done properly. Other things such as softwood copper-chrome-arsenic treatments have limited life of effectiveness. The Australian Government and Arizona State recommends annual termite inspections to ensure termites are kept at bay.
Termite Control Strategy # 5 – Termite Inspections
For peace of mind and insurance purposes, you should consider asking a registered pest control professional to do the inspection. The time the inspection takes depends on the size of the building. Natural Pest Solutions will always provide an estimate before beginning work. If purchasing a property then a termite pre-purchase inspection is vital. Insurers often insist on seeing termite free-reports. The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has set this standard.
What Happens if I Find Termites in My House?
Contact an approved termite inspection company right away. We have government registration and approval. Our reports are credible and add weight to insurance claims. It is important that you must act quickly to prevent further damage to your property.
These insects are small and termite damage happens over time. Provided your building meets anti-termite construction standards, and you have an annual termite inspection, the situation should be less severe if you act fast. We have a variety of organic human and pet-safe insecticides we inject or dust depending on the application. After we have serviced your property, your termites are gone. GUARANTEED!
Every house is different and no two termite infestations are the same. After we comprehensively inspect your property, we discuss our recommendations with you. We provide you with the knowledge you need to make the right decisions. We promise you the best service, and effective termite control service you can afford that lasts.