Ant Capping – A Little Metal Plate That Can Save You Thousands
If you are considering buying a home in Brisbane then you should absolutely be aware of the dangers of termite infiltration and the chances are pretty good that you will have seen ant cap termite prevention on at least some of the homes you have viewed. When it comes time to arrange building and pest inspections, you can be sure that a good quality inspector will not only look for termites and their damage, but also whether your ant caps termite prevention system is in good condition.
Termites. Pesky little things that can eat your house from under you. That is why you need ant capping. You also need regular pest inspections on your property. If you don’t, depending on the type of construction of your house, you could be looking at significant costs to rectify white ant destruction.
How do you protect your home from termites?
Termites love a sheltered, moist environment with ready access to their favourite food – wood. Regular pest control inspections are one of the best ways to ensure you are not surprised by a termite infestation. There are other steps you can take to reduce the risk of white ant incursion and your building and pest inspector will be looking for them at the time of inspection, including:
- Records of regular pest control inspections and/or treatments;
- Elimination of wood-to-soil contact around the home. Concrete, metal or treated pine stumps and ant capping between the stump and the main structure of the home.
- Dry foundations, good drainage and diversion of surface water away from the foundations of the home. Termites love moist conditions.
- Well ventilated sub-floor crawl spaces to reduce moisture and humidity.
- The storage of wood and wood based products away from the house – never against the side of the house or in crawl spaces.
- Plants, vines, garden beds and mulch away from the structure and foundations of the home.
What is ant capping?
Ant caps are galvanised sheets of metal that are put in place under and around your house. Ant capping is fixed along your brick walls, on top of timber or concrete piers and around your floor stumps. Does your house have a sub floor? Sub flooring is the structural part of your floors that aren’t seen. Sub floors hold up your decorative floor finish. Sub floors are most likely to need ant caps, so if you don’t have them fitted yet, you need to get onto it.
Do Ant Caps Stop Termites?
In a word, No. Ant Caps do not stop termites. But they do increase the likelihood of detection before the termites cause too much damage. Ant caps that are in good condition will force termites to build their “mud galleries” out in the open and over the Ant Capping, rather than tunneling within the supporting structures of the house. Ant Capping doesn’t last forever. Building and pest inspectors will specifically look to see whether the ant caps are in good condition and whether termite activity is or has previously been present in your prospective home.
Do I really need ant capping?
You might think ant capping is just another unnecessary extra cost that you could do without, but ant caps can save you thousands. Imagine you have termites within your property, but you don’t actually know about it because there is no evidence of the little critters’ work. If you don’t have ant caps fixed to your housing foundations, termite activity could go unnoticed. Did you know it only takes 3-4 months before substantial termite damage is caused? If you can identify when you’ve got a pest problem early on, you can at least treat it before too much damage is done.
What is the most effective termite treatment?
Regular pest control inspections and treatments are the best way to prevent white ant damage. Ant Capping is a good permanent method to assist with the preventative management of termites, however it is only useful if you are making regular inspections of your ant capping. Effective preventative chemical termite treatments will be determined by a pest control expert and will be dependent on factors such as whether the house has a sub-floor, if the property is brick or weatherboard, whether there any waterways in close proximity to the property and more. Baiting stations, liquid termite treatments, in-soil barriers and physical barrier walls are some of the termite treatments used by pest control specialists. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can offer a 100% guarantee that termite activity won’t occur which is why regular inspections are so important. If the property is infested by white ants a full termite treatment of the walls, under foundations and the perimeter soil may be required.
What will I see if my ant capped house has termite activity?
Termites don’t like to be seen, but with ant caps, their evidence is often visible. If you have ant caps, even you may be able to see termite activity with your untrained eye. That is of course, if you know where to look. That said, professional inspections should still be scheduled to conduct a thorough examination of your property.
If you don’t have ant caps, white ants could work their way up to your house on the inside of your timber stumps. This means you won’t see the damage happening within your house structure. When you have ant capping, termites create a muddy path on the outside of your cap, leading from the ground to the floor of your house. You will be able to see that path or mud packing, and know that termites are present.
Do ant caps last forever?
No, ant barrier caps won’t last forever. Yes they are made of metal and pretty hardy, but metal can rust and fixings can come loose. Over time, your house also moves around naturally, and when it does, the points at which your ant caps are fitted, can come loose. When this happens, white ants will once again work their way up via concealed gaps rather than path their way up on the outside of your ant cap.
If you have ant capping in place already, but you’re not entirely sure when they were fixed, then it’s time to organise an inspection. Caps are replaced by jacking up your floor, sliding out the old, and fitting on the new. That sounds like an easy job, but please leave ant capping to the experts.
What happens if there is evidence of white ants on my ant caps?
Whether you’ve noticed termite evidence yourself or it has been identified in your pest inspection, you will need to fix the problem quickly. Damaged timber will need to be repaired or replaced. It is also imperative to ensure white ants are eradicated, to avoid further damage to your home. Effective termite treatment will be determined by your pest control inspector. Some treatments involve baiting, whereby bait stations are set up, then termites consume a substance that infects and kills off the colony. Other treatments involve chemical application.
Are Ant Caps Required?
Termite (white ant) damage is a costly problem in Queensland and consequently all homes are required to have some form of termite management in place to minimize the risk of termite attack. There are a number of termite management systems available and Ant Caps are one of the options commonly used on Brisbane homes. Your Brisbane building and pest inspector will identify whether your prospective purchase meets legal requirements with respect to termite management.
Is ant capping expensive?
Not as much as you might think. Do you have a sub floor? Is your property brick? Weatherboard? First of all, you’ll need to arrange an inspection to determine exactly where you will need your ant caps placed. Galvanised ant caps aren’t that expensive, you can buy them from most hardware stores for just a few dollars. That said, unless you know exactly what you are doing, it isn’t advisable to fit ant caps yourself. Spend the extra money to get your ant capping done correctly and you will save money and your sanity in the long run. Ant caps give you peace of mind knowing that if white ants are present, you will see their activity before they eat your home from under you. Get your ant caps fitted or replaced as soon as possible.
Who should I contact?
Contact Action Property Inspections. The Brisbane based firm conduct thorough building inspections. Action Property Inspections work with highly qualified pest control inspectors to check your termite barriers and ant caps.