In Sydney, termites are known as one of the most damaging pests due to their intricate life cycle that allows them to inflict serious harm on both buildings and properties. Termites have the potential to compromise the stability of buildings and homes by weakening their foundation. They can also cause extensive damage to wall frames, roof structures, bearers, and joists. Repairing this kind of termite damage can be quite costly, so it’s crucial to take measures to prevent these insects from infesting your property.
Annual Termite Inspections
Termites are a homeowner’s worst nightmare because they are highly destructive insects that can go unnoticed for long periods, causing significant damage. Termite infestation is difficult to detect due to their subterranean nature and use of concealed entry points and mud tubes. They silently eat away at the insides of homes, often becoming noticeable only when substantial damage has already occurred.
There are various methods of termite control available to homeowners and businesses, including mechanical barriers installed around buildings’ exteriors to keep termites out and chemical treatments applied inside structures for protection against infestations.
The three main types of termites
Subterranean termites are the most widespread in Australia and are significantly destructive. These termites forage within the top 100mm of the surface, being drawn by dampness to seek out wood for food. Their potential damage exceeds that of other types of termite colonies; undetected, they can cause a home to collapse within a year as they continuously consume wood around the clock and reproduce rapidly.
Drywood termites favour desiccated wood constructions such as deceased trees. Nonetheless, they will locate access areas into your residence like the upper floor, and there usually exists a banquet awaiting them in that location! They will consume deckings, enclosures, entrance steps to verandas, windowsills and even furnishings.
These termites require moisture and wood to establish their colonies. In their natural habitat, they usually tunnel into damp decaying wood such as fallen trees and rotting stumps. Within a home, they will target moist wooden structures due to leaky pipes or water infiltration from rainfall. Like all termites, damp wood termites feed on the cellulose in wood to construct their nests.
Termites pose a threat to both new and old homes, including those with termite barriers. These barriers are meant to expose termites from hidden entry points, making them visible during inspections. For newly constructed homes, it is important to have annual termite inspections in order to maintain the warranty on termites. Older homes face issues such as damp subfloors, poor ventilation, and undiscovered water leaks that can attract termites. With the knowledge that any home is a potential target for these insects, it’s essential to take all precautions necessary to protect your home from an attack.
An annual termite inspection is essential for every homeowner and can potentially save thousands of dollars in damage. Remember, home insurance does not cover termite attacks or damage. The frequency of termite inspections should be determined based on the climate and location of your residence, especially if you live in a bushy area like the Hills District, where inspections might be needed every six months rather than annually.
Property Inspection Intervals
One of the most effective methods to protect your home from termites is by installing a termite barrier during construction or after. Its purpose is to prevent termites from entering your home, functioning as insurance against termite infestation if regular inspections by a qualified technician are maintained. The technician will determine the frequency of property visits for termite inspections. These inspections are crucial because termites can cause significant structural damage to homes and buildings.
If your household is affected by termites, it’s essential to first eliminate the infestation and then establish a termite barrier for ongoing protection. Without this safeguard, your property remains vulnerable to future termite threats as new colonies may find their way into your home through existing underground tunnels. Once established inside, they can start a new infestation at any time. After experiencing termites once, homes are highly prone to repeated attacks.
To effectively deal with termites, it’s important to consider installing a termite prevention system. Generally, reinfestation may not occur immediately after treatment; it could take up to six months or even years. Cutting costs on termite protection by forgoing a barrier can lead to potential issues in the future. Regular termite inspections are crucial post-eradication and are usually recommended by technicians annually, semi-annually, or even every three months. Additionally, an annual inspection is advisable if neighbouring properties have had confirmed termite cases because termites can travel up to 50 meters from their colonies, posing a risk to nearby homes as well.
Termite Inspection Process
A termite inspection involves visually examining all timber structures, the garage, roof void, sub-floor, every internal room of the house, the exterior of the building and fences within property boundaries. For properties on acres, the boundary inspection zone is around 30 meters around the home.
The termite inspection excludes furniture and stored items. It’s important to note that if an area cannot be accessed by the inspector due to obstacles or safety concerns like in roof void and subfloor areas then it will not be inspected.
During the termite inspection, the inspector may use special equipment like a TermaTrac to detect movement between walls without causing damage. If movement is detected and termites are suspected, a more invasive inspection may be recommended. This could involve cutting through the plasterboard or drilling holes for further investigation. It’s highly encouraged to proceed with this recommendation in order to prevent any potential worsening of the problem over time. If active termites are found, then you will need to treat the termites with a baiting program. Termite baiting can take 4 to 12 months to eradicate a termite colony.
A termite inspection is always necessary. It should be done annually to keep your home safe and potentially save money in the long run. Annual inspections cost between $250 – $450, while treatments can range from $2000 to $4000 for eradication and prevention. Repair costs after a termite infestation can go up to $10,000 for minor repairs or even require rebuilding for major damage. Based on the estimates, it’s clear that opting for annual termite inspections to prevent or catch infestations early will end up costing much less than the potential repair costs and associated stress.
Checklist for a termite inspection
Before your termite inspection:
- Move furniture and items away from walls.
- Ensure roof void access.
- Avoid stored items against the building that blocks visual inspection.
- Trim back hedges or plants covering walls.
- Ensure safe access to the roof void and subfloor for the inspector.
Roof Void Access
To get the most out of your termite inspection, ensure safe access to all areas of the home for the inspector and remove any obstacles in their way. It’s crucial that there is clear access to the roof void without any blockage at the manhole and with sufficient manholes to access the entire cavity. Additional manholes can help combat restricted inspection areas caused by AC units or ducting.
The inspector will use a moisture meter device against the wall to detect any evidence of high moisture. This could be caused by shower leaks or plumbing issues and is important to check as termites are attracted to high moisture. If there’s moisture detected, the inspector will further investigate using a thermal camera or TermaTrac device for signs of termite presence between walls.
To help the termite inspector work efficiently, clear furniture and boxes away from the walls before their arrival. It’s important to move bookcases or movable cupboards in front of a wall, especially behind a bathroom or laundry wall, to allow inspection for termites attracted by moisture. If any walls are blocked by furniture, they won’t be able to inspect them.
Do not forget to clear as many of the obstructions around the home for the termite inspection. It’s surprising how much damage termites can cause, so ensure access inside and outside is available. Subfloor inspections are crucial since termites enter via this route most of the time; make sure there is clear access for visual inspection.
If you find termites on your property, do not touch or disturb them. Contact a reputable termite inspection company to inspect the area of concern and the entire home. The inspector will provide a treatment proposal outlining the process, time frame, and costs for managing the termites. Be patient when scheduling an inspection; waiting for up to a week will not significantly increase damage by termites. Choose your inspection company carefully as they are likely to be responsible for treating the termites – it’s important to select a reputable firm rather than simply choosing based on price.