29 Oct ARE YOU ATTRACTING TERMITES INTO YOUR HOME?
When we perform a pre-purchase timber pest inspection in your home, we look for certain conditions that we know attract termites. Termites thrive on water-damaged or damp wood that has softened. When termites infest a structure, the infestation usually begins in areas like those that we have listed below. We call these conditions “conducive conditions” since they typically lead to infestations of termites or carpenter ants, or other pests that like moist wood.
When we conduct a termite inspection, whether or not we find termites, we try to identify ‘conducive conditions’ so we can eliminate the issue before it happens.
Identifying ‘conducive conditions’ is the best way to anticipate, prepare and prevent a termite infestation.
Pest inspections – Prevention is always better than cure
Conducive conditions that can lead to termite infestation involve timber-to-ground contact, or conditions where timber is damp or wet.
A building and pest inspection can not only identify the issues caused by termites but can also assist you in preventing any possible future infestations.
Below are some of the conditions that we look for around the outside of your Gold Coast home during a pre-purchase timber pest inspection:
- Roof leaks
- Poor roof drainage
- Damaged eaves
- Clogged gutters
- Faulty downpipes
- Wood rot
- Moist wood
- Wet walls or cladding
- Leaky windows
- Leaky skylights
- Plumbing leaks
- Poor ventilation
- No soil cover in crawlspace
- Wood debris in crawlspace
- Cracks in foundations
- Timber-soil contact
- Firewood stacked against walls
- Wood trellis against walls
- Logs or stump near walls
- Dead tree nearby
- Poor soil grade
- Deep or wet mulch
- Timber decks against the structure
- Air conditioning drainage discharge near or against the structure
- Hot water unit overflow discharge near or against the structure
- Vegetation/garden beds near or against the structure
- Site adjacent to wooded areas
- Poor site drainage
Timber decks against structure. Cannot see if termites have entered the house. There should be at least a 75mm inspection zone between the decks and the walls.
If you have any of the conditions mentioned around your home, be forewarned, it doesn’t mean that you have termites, but it increases the odds that you could get them. Termites don’t like a dry, sound home but they love the conditions in the list above.
In Queensland there are a number of species of termites; the most common termites that can cause millions of dollars of damage to homes are the Subterranean Termites. Without a building and pest inspection you might not even know there is any damage to your Gold Coast home until it’s too late.
The Subterranean Termite got its name from its association with the soil. A Subterranean Termite tends to live in underground nests where they can maintain a high level of humidity; they forage from these nests, through soil, looking for damp or rotting wood that they can feed on. Subterranean Termites are clever, if they find wood that is above ground, they build mud tubes to reach it so that they are protected from predators and the dry outside air.
One of the most common ways termites get in your home is through wood-to-ground contact, including doorframes, deck posts, and porch steps or supports. Subterranean termites also enter homes through cracks in the foundation and cracks in brick mortar.
A building and pest inspection will identify these issues before they eat feast on the very structure of your home.
Pest inspections – Know your homes’ weaknesses
Timber to soil contact is the #1 cause of termite infestation
Because Subterranean Termites require soil and wood to survive, it stands to reason that wood that is in direct contact with the ground is most susceptible to termite attacks. When any kind of a wooden structure is built, the soil around it must be treated first with a pesticide to kill or repel foraging termites, however, that treatment doesn’t last forever. Homeowners may also inadvertently create new conditions that make a termite infestation more likely.
About 90% of termite infestations in structures can be traced to timber that is in contact with the soil. When this happens, termites can move directly from the soil into the timber without the need for protective mud tubes. This also means that they can infest the timber while remaining unseen. Some often-overlooked conducive conditions is when timber touches the ground, or door or basement window frames that are less than 75mm above grade. Deck supports, or wooden porches and steps installed directly into the soil are susceptible to termite attack.
A conducive condition is any condition that makes your home more susceptible to a termite attack. We know that termites like moisture so anytime moisture and wood are combined it is likely to cause a termite infestation.
Tree stumps, stored lumber or firewood, cardboard boxes, untreated fence posts and buried scrap wood are all susceptible to a termite infestation. Inspect your home’s porches and other structural or foundation wood for signs of termites. The most common signs of infestation include:
- Wood damage found below and behind surfaces like walls and floors. This includes cracks in the veneer or maze-like tunnelling in wood. Also, look for small holes in the drywall or plaster walls that suggest termite activity.
- Discarded wings found near closed windows, doors and other entry points.
- Pencil-sized mud tubes found wherever the ground meets your home or near any other possible food sources, like trees or sheds.
Pest inspections can identify the causes
How to help prevent a termite infestation
Whilst houses do not attract termites actively, when termites find them they are quick to come in. Once the termites are in your home you’ll need to take measures to help keep an infestation from happening. Usually, termite infestations are only spotted after they’ve become severe. Measures you can take to help prevent an infestation include replacing damaged wood and taking proper steps to correct the “conducive conditions” listed above.
A more permanent solution to preventing termites involves the use of pesticides, which should be handled by a licensed pest control professional.
A building and pest inspection by BMC Inspections can make you aware of the warning signs to look out for and ensure that you aren’t creating the perfect breeding conditions for termites. In this situation, knowledge is power.
8 ways to prevent the risk of termite attacks on your home/property:
- Regularly clean your gutters.
- Keep mulch, debris, and firewood away from the house.
- Trim all trees, bushes and other dense vegetation against the house.
- Remove dead trees from the yard.
- Prevent moisture build-up by repairing leaky taps and water lines.
- Do not leave timber, cardboard or paper on the ground,
- Do not place garden beds against the house; and
- Do not leave timber lying around the yard.
If you suspect or have found termite activity on your property, ensure you follow the below guidelines to avoid further damage:
- Do not touch or disturb the termites.
- Do not disrupt the area.
- Cover the area from light.
- Do not try to spray or kill the termites.
- Warn others not to disturb the area; and
- Contact a Termite Pest Control company as soon as possible.
Regular (at least annual) termite inspections can ensure infestations are detected early to limit the amount of damage and potentially save you from significant eradication and treatment costs.
Building and pest inspections with a smile
When you want a building and pest inspector on the Gold Coast, Mount Tamborine, Logan and Beenleigh you can trust, call BMC inspections; we are your local building and pest inspection company. Because we are locals we know the conditions to look for where pests can survive and thrive. Don’t settle for less.