Termite damage is a real problem for Brisbane property owners. Recent industry studies have suggested that 1/3 of unprotected properties are at risk of an attack by termites.
Termites; the silent destroyers
Termites are incredibly destructive. Often described as the “silent destroyer,” the termite can literally eat your home from under you, often without you knowing.
Termite damage is common for Brisbane homes, particularly as Queensland’s climate is ideal for those pesky pests. Unless you want to be left living in a crumbling home and footing the humongous bill for repairs, it’s best you know the signs to look for.
Educate yourselves in the 10 signs your new house has a termite infestation or termite damage.
1. Evidence of shelter tubes
Termites feed on wood. Brisbane houses are primarily constructed with wood because Australian architects love working with timber. Timber has been used to build residential structures for centuries and this is the termite’s favourite food source. Termite damage can be visible to the eye, particularly when termites leave evidence such as large mud tubes over solid matter, i.e. over brick foundations. These mud tunnels are shelters for termites to travel between food sources. If you see shelter tubes, the likelihood is you’re sharing your home with a termite colony.
2. Subterranean tunnels
In the same way termites move between food sources in your home, these pests travel through the soil to search for food. If you see mud tunnels in the top soil of your property leading to your house, this could be evidence of termites. More than likely, termites have moved into your home and are eating away at your property.
3. Damaged floors
Wooden floors are attractive to termites. Although home owners would obviously prefer they didn’t, termites like to eat their way through wooden floors. A sign of termite damage in your home would be the sound of hollowness if you tap on areas of your floorboards. Visible signs include holes, cracks and decomposed timber. Call in the experts quick if you suspect termite damage on your floors.
4. The presence of termite alate
Alate is the term given to winged insects such as termites and ants. Winged termites have one purpose, to mate and start new colonies. They are in the reproductive phase and are much larger than the ordinary termite soldier. Winged termites swarm, usually after a heavy rainfall following a dry period, and often after dusk. While winged termites do not cause you harm and are not aggressive, if you see a swarm, this is unfortunately evidence of an infestation nearby. The presence of termite alate means a healthy colony of termites is on the move to find a new home. Alate is either moving from your home or into your home and that can signal termite damage.
5. The presence of wings
A common sign of a termite infestation is the presence of discarded wings. While termite alate is often mistaken for flying ants, termites shed their wings whereas black ants don’t. Termites lose their wings shortly after they find a mate. If you see discarded wings around window sills, this could be a sign of an infestation and therefore termite damage could be a possibility.
6. Evidence of termite frass in or around your home
The presence of termites frass aka droppings is one of the first signs of an infestation and most certainly evidence that there is some form of termite damage in your home. Termites are wood-eating pests that defecate little piles of balls that match the colour of their food source; wood. Evidence of frass can be found anywhere in the house. If you see evidence of frass, call in the experts immediately.
7. Tree nests
Although difficult to measure termite damage in the trees present in your yard, some termites build visible nests which is evidence of an infestation. Termite tree nests are common in Queensland’s warmer climates and offer protection for Brisbane’s number 1 pests. Termite nests are large mounds, constructed on the branches or trunk of a tree. If the presence of a termite tree nest is seen, it is important to eradicate it immediately. If you don’t, there is a high chance that a new colony could infest your home next, if they haven’t already.
8. Rattling noises
Yes, termites can make a noise, despite being referred to as the “silent destroyers.” When termites are threatened, they bang their heads against the walls of their tunnels which sounds like a rattling noise to the human ear. Although not a loud noise, if you do hear the sound of a disturbed termite colony, this is enough evidence to call in the experts and carry out an inspection immediately. Termite damage is a high possibility here.
9. Ill-fitting doors or windows
If one or more of your property’s doors or windows is not closing properly, this is a sign of a structural problem. The underlying issue is a shift in the foundations of your home. Although not always a direct relation to termite damage, there is a possibility that a pest infestation has caused the structural shift. In any case, ill-fitting doors or windows is never a good sign and must be addressed straight away. Arrange a property inspection sooner rather than later.
10. Damaged garden timber
The inside of your home can fall victim to termite damage but the outside of your property is where termites first gain access. Your garden timber is at risk of a termite infestation, too; verandas, decks, fence posts, trees and excess timber are all food sources for termites. Should any of your yard timber appear damaged by methods mentioned above or you see evidence of termite activity, don’t delay. It is incredibly important to treat termite infestations outside of your property. You wouldn’t want to risk attracting new colonies of termites into your home.