The best protection is to check for termites regularily
The best way to detect termites is to be aware of what to look out for and be constantly vigilant. You know your home more intimately than we do… you are there every day. Who could be better? – Actually us!
Get into the routine of checking your home regularly – at least every month (especially if the house doesn’t have a current chemical treatment in place). It doesn’t take long, and the rewards are significant – you will detect a termite infestation before severe damage may occur.
So what do you look for? How do you check for termites?
Professional inspectors are trained and experienced. They have equipment that measures moisture, sound and thermal variations. Your only tools are your eyes and sense of touch – initially, that can be enough.
Self detection - do this often as you can
Walk around checking under any loose timbers for active termites. Check stumps, trees, retaining walls – any timbers that contact the ground. Even exposed CCA treated timbers will become susceptible to termite damage at some stage. Check under garden-bed plastic, especially if it is next to your home; termites love to travel under it. Remember, they love moist areas.
Walk around the perimeter, checking each weep hole. Check along the entire ant capping. Remember, ant capping is only a point of detection, not a deterrent. If you have a suspended floor, check each stump for “leads” that might be travelling into the structure.
Use a large screwdriver. Hold it by the metal end and lightly tap along all exposed timbers inside, checking for a hollow sound. Any timbers you cannot reach, run a torchlight over the surface, looking for any visible defects.
The Roof Void
For the keen ones, get up into the roof with a torch and check the top plates and trusses for any damage.
Check above the bathroom especially.
Signs of termites
Hollow - papery timber
Termites might be masters at staying concealed, but they leave “tell-tail” signs that you can detect. This is what you have to be constantly vigilant for.
They can enter completely unnoticed. Termites eat timbers from the middle to the outer edge, leaving the paint as a protective layer.
They can build extensive workings, or even a nest, in a wall cavity; you just wouldn’t know. But at some stage, they will make themselves evident in exposed timbers. You will detect this as a defect in the timber, it might appear as a depression in the paintwork, or it might have a “papery” look.
When termites want to leave the ground to enter your home, they build “mud leads” to help them bridge the gap. This is when they are most detectable.
They can build a lead out of the ground into the structure through a weep hole. They can build a lead over the ant capping to gain entry into your home. They can quickly build a tube up a pipe into the floorboards.
Most termite infestations occur in a concealed manner. Operating subterraneanly, termites are constantly seeking a small gap in the brickwork embedded in the soil or a join in the concrete slab. You probably won’t find this evidence – it’s concealed and undetectable!
So if the construction of your home is an external brick wall that is in the ground or the concrete slab edge is not exposed, you are at high risk of concealed termite entry. You need to ensure there is appropriate protection; you cannot rely on a visual inspection zone.
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