12 Aug 2014

Termites in Brisbane – how to defend your home

Tips and Advice

Termites in BrisbaneThere are termites in Brisbane. There are in fact termites in every state bar Tasmania, but the ones that we are concerned about are the termites in Brisbane.

Oh, and there are borers in Brisbane too.

Now mention the word ‘termites’ to many people and they will immediately have cartoon-like visions of swarms of termites devouring an entire home in seconds. And whilst the reality of termites in Brisbane is somewhat different to the cartoon versions, termites and borers are still a very real risk to your Brisbane home.

Hiding termites

You see the biggest challenge with termites in Brisbane is that they can be hard to detect even for professionals. And this is because they seldom leave much in the way of visual evidence of their presence.

You may have heard or read that termites like dark, damp places and this is true and is due to the fact that termites can very quickly dry out and die when exposed to sunlight or heat. For this reason, termites tend to live in nests underground and create tube or tunnels out of mud mixed with their saliva and faeces. And these tunnels are often the only way to visually spot them.

Because termites don’t like sunlight or anything that might dry them out, they seldom eat all the way through the timber that they are eating. They will typically leave a thin layer of timber to protect themselves from exposure, so it can be hard to spot them from visual inspection alone. Oh and it’s not only timber, they can also eat through water pipes as well.

So now that you understand that, imagine you have termites (it’s estimated that as many as 1/3 of Australian homes do) that are eating their way through the timber in your walls or deep in your floor. Picture this and you might begin to see why detection is so difficult, even for professionals.

Now consider that a single termite queen can produce many thousands of eggs in just a single day and it’s not hard to see why termites are such an expensive problem.

Preventing termites in Brisbane

Now having said that termites are hard to detect, it is still worthwhile getting regular pest inspections done as professionals find dozens of cases of termites in Brisbane homes every week and can then treat the infestation and eradicate the threat.

Homeowners that I speak to will typically have a termite inspection done annually, but given the sub-tropical conditions that we live in, I would suggest that every 6 months would be preferable.

But aside from inspections, there are things you can do to minimise the threat of termites attacking your home. Here are a few tips that you should embrace:

  • Termites eat wood so keep pieces of timber away from your home. Don’t leave timber lying up against your home or store it underneath your home. Same goes for firewood. If you have firewood keep it in a dry, well-ventilated area away from the home itself.
  • Termites like moisture so make sure to fix any leaking pipes ASAP. Ensure that your downpipes don’t leak and that air conditioner overflows are captured or directed away from your home.
  • Termites like dark, humid places so good sub-floor ventilation and drainage under your home can act as a deterrent.
  • Keep garden beds and other vegetation away from the edges of your home. Termites cannot chew through concrete slabs that have been correctly laid, so don’t give them an easy way to bypass your slab.
  • During any renovation or building work aim to use treated timber or timber that is naturally less appealing to termites, particularly if that timber is coming into contact with the ground.

Termite barriers

There are two types of termite barriers which are physical barriers and chemical barriers.

Physical barriers are fitted at the time of construction in new homes however they can be retro-fitted to older homes as well.

Physical barriers are made from materials that termites can’t eat through effectively blocking them. But that doesn’t mean your home is automatically safe. Termites can still bypass these barriers, however, in doing so they make themselves easier to see. Ant caps on stumps, whilst not a true barrier in themselves, force termites to create tunnels over them thus making it easier to detect their presence during an inspection.

Chemical barriers are typically insecticides placed under concrete slabs or around the home. These are designed to deter termites. Whilst chemical barriers can only be installed by licensed professionals, they can be fitted to existing homes as well as new homes.

Dealing with termites in Brisbane

Whilst termites are found in most places around Australia, there is no doubt that Brisbane is a prime location for them due to our sub-tropical climate. Having professional inspections carried out on a regular basis is vitally important and pre-purchase termite inspections are a must for anyone looking at buying a home in Brisbane.

But prevention is just as important. You really don’t want to find that termites have taken hold of your property and caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

At dion seminara architecture we can advise you on preventative measures that will help to reduce the risk of termite attacks on your home. So contact us today and find out how we can help.

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