While we offer environmentally friendly pest control, I am at odds calling the extermination of termites “environmentally friendly” because they are actually beneficial for the environment! If there were no termites at all, that would be disastrous to the environment.
Obviously when termites are not eating dead trees and timbers in the bush but are destroying your home, this is a serious problem and the damage they cause will facilitate more trees to be cut down to create the timber to rectify the damage and in this case, the most environmentally friendly thing you can do is get rid of them as quickly as possible to minimise the damage.
The best option all around, however, would be to prevent them from infesting your home altogether! Installing a Chemical Barrier is a fantastic idea and there are now amazing repellent and non-repellent chemicals like Altriset and Termidor in the market that are completely, or at least partly, non toxic!
Of course removing termite attractants from your home is the first place to start. Any loose timber around or under your home must be removed. Do not keep plants next to your property walls as only are they a source of moisture, which termites love, they also can offer concealed termite access points to your home structure. Fix your guttering and leaking taps. Have regular inspections either by doing it yourself or a professional doing termite inspections for you. Use termite resistant timber when doing a renovation and if you build your home from scratch, you can install a physical barrier, like metal mesh or granules, that is impenetrable to termites.
What if termites are already in your home? You will need to engage a professional but you can also educate yourself around the various Eradication Techniques available by visiting termitetutorials.com.au.
There are some great environmentally friendly pest control products for termites available in the market. As mentioned earlier, products like Altriset and Termidor are some of the safest ones. Baiting is generally very safe too and work by using timber baits laced with a poison which not only clings to the termites but is also ingested and, once the insect returns to its nest, affecting other termites via normal feeding and cleaning activity and eventually the colony exterminated.
There are a few ‘old wives tales’ around termite prevention such as planting certain kinds of plants around the property. But all too often I have witnessed an overreliance on these methods leaving homeowners heartbroken. Don’t be one of them! Have regular professional inspections and educate yourself on techniques you can use that have been proven to assist in the prevention of termites.
Here is some vital termite information every homeowner needs to know.
There are three types of termites:
1) Dampwood Termites
2) Drywood Termites
3) Subterranean Termites
1) Dampwood termites attack timber with high moisture level and live in small colonies. Improving ventilation and drainage is enough to get rid of them. Installing a chemical barrier is unnecessary.
2) Drywood termites live in the tropical area with high moisture content in the air. As the name suggests, they attack dry wood. Like Dampwood termites, dry wood termites live in small independent groups. If the infestation is large, fumigation is generally used to treat them. Companies will encapsulate the whole infested place with plastic marquee and release an insecticide gas into the area.
3) Subterranean termites are the bad, bad guys. They cause the most devastation to homes and live in a sophisticated colony, which is not uncommon to consist of millions. Like ants, they have different casts in charge of different tasks. To reduce the risk of an infestation, you basically aim to turn your home into a desert so no colony can survive there.
The thought of having a termite infestation is enough to wake you up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat! The worst thing you can do is empty a can of normal insecticide in and around the area where you find them as this inhibits the eradication techniques we use and also drives the colony deeper into the home structure. You must seek professional help.
Prevention is always better than cure. As we mentioned above, fix leaking taps, remove timber under and around your home and ensure plants aren’t growing too close to your home.
If you have found termites in your home, do not panic, one in three homes in Australia have got termite problems. Just make contact with a professional termite extermination technician immediately.
A lot of my clients ask me to tell them exactly how much damage termites have done to the timber in their property. Answering this is not easy, as termites prefer to eat inside of the wood and keep the outside clean and untouched. They also tend to stop eating the timber if they sense that it is about to collapse, so while a timber may look perfectly fine on the outside, it can be completely hollow on the inside!
Before you even begin to rectify the damage caused by termites you must remove them entirely.
I repeat, termite prevention is always cheaper and easier than termite treatment. You have heard that before, but are you following it?
My dentist keeps telling me to floss, brush and do a mouth wash two to three times a day. And yet, I am always in trouble when I visit her every six months! Sound familiar? We pest controllers have our own version of prevention advice. You either listen to it, or like me, get into trouble every six months.
I witnessed a domestic fight after I discovered termites in a subfloor. The husband was supposed to clear the subfloor from timber debris but he didn’t and termites were discovered in the subfloor. This situation is common!
Be proactive by:
1) Drying out your home. Termites, like all other animals on earth, need water and food to survive. If you can dry out the environment in and around your property, it’ll help prevent termites from infesting your home. By drying out your home you will also make it more difficult for ants, spiders, cockroaches and other insects to infest your home.
2) Improving your subfloor drainage and ventilation. This is a challenging job but vitally important. Fix guttering, leaking taps, remove plants close by your home and ensure you have adequate ventilation.
3) De-cluttering. Remove timber and other debris from around and under your property. Timber Formwork is used to hold concrete structures or suspended slabs until they are hardened and, while a builder should remove the formwork afterwards, unfortunately more often than not they don’t. Once the slab or concrete is hardened, formworks only function is to attract termites! Remove formwork to reduce the risk of termite infestation. Go around and under your property and collect timber material and complete your termite prevention work.
Most importantly, have a regular annual inspection. Sydney North Shore including St Ives is heaven for termites! Call us on 0428 053 096 and book us for a termite inspection today!