Sadly, termite damage is often discovered late after they have moved into your home. However, if you think termites may be in your property, signs of damage are not always disguised behind brick walls. Perished skirting boards, hollow sounding wood, saggy floors, even cracked paint or plaster are signs termites may be wreaking havoc in your home. Termites are even known to munch through furniture, paper and fabric!
The fear of every homeowner in Brisbane is the threat of termites – 1 in every 3 homes in Queensland are affected. Termites can eat their way into your home and cause extensive damage to your property requiring expensive repairs. They can also prevent the sale of a property if termite damage has been identified during a routine pre-purchase inspection. So what does termite damage look like and what can be done to prevent the critters eating your home?
How can I tell if termites are in my property?
Muddy tunnels creeping your walls near drain pipes, brick foundations or in the soil near your house are a definite hint. These shelter tubes are a protected highway between termite nests and your home. Termites can also move up to 80 metres from their nest to find food, so it’s important to check all around your property for signs of infestation. Termites also create nests in trees and gardens, so if you discover a strange brown nest nestling in your trees, it’s usually proof the termites are there to stay.
How often should properties be inspected for termites?
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to termites.
It is recommended by CSIRO that all properties in QLD should have an annual inspection for termites. Some homes require one every 6 months due to live termite activity around their home. The moment termite damage is identified, it’s time to get a treatment done to prevent more manifestations in the home.
How is termite damage found?
A visual inspection with the aid of a tapping stick and moisture meter testing infrared scan of the property are the two main ways termite damage can be found. Thermal imaging cameras have now also become widely used standard practice for termite inspections. The cameras can see through the walls and pick up heat and moisture within walls etc. These indicators, which show up as yellow or red on the camera screen, offer a visual area of where termites like to settle. Termites emit heat and they are attracted to moisture. This is why it’s common to find termite activity around bathrooms and hot water units.
It can be hard for a visual inspection to identify termite activity as often the damage is concealed by plaster or paint. Sometimes a homeowner won’t know if termite activity is present until outward signs of damage present themselves. These can include buckling of timber beams or floors, swollen floorboards or swollen ceilings and buckling wood.
Tapping the damage and looking for a hollow sound is a way to check if termite activity is present.
What happens if Termites are found on my property?
If termite activity is found, it’s time to organise a termite treatment. Don’t DIY this yourself. Insect sprays can kill an area of termite activity, but termites can burrow metres underground. They can travel up to 100 metres away from their colony to find food. So you may kill a few termites one colony, but there could be another whole nest causing damage to another part of your home. Disturbing one colony can cause the termites to find another area of your home to attack.
All damaged beams or timber studs should be replaced to ensure the structural integrity of your home. A new treatment may need to be put in place by a licensed termite technician.