Termites, Termite Inspections and Termite Control

The damage caused to Australian Central Coast homes, apartments and businesses because of the lack of adequate termite control, amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Every year more damage is done to homes by termites than both fires and storms combined.

What’s even scarier than these statistics is the fact that no household, or home-owner’s insurance covers for termite damage.

Termites across the Central Coast and Newcastle create mud tubes to connect their colony to above-ground food sources. They are one sign of a termite problem and are often found along the foundation of homes and buildings. Mudding can also appear in window frames and door surrounds, If You Suspect Termites do not disturb them as they will go to ground. Call Australian Pest Specialists immediately to conduct a full termite inspection and provide the best solution to protect your home.

As an Authorised Operator for the Exterra Colony Elimination System from Ensystex we are confident we possess the necessary tools and expertise to eliminate termites at your location and to ensure that it remains termite-free.

Termite Control: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why worry about termites?

A: Termites are known to cause billions of dollars in property damage every year. Their main food source is wood, but they also damage paper, books, carpets and insulation, Termites can also be found damaging living trees on properties and within garden furniture. Termites are of importance when buying or selling a home since a termite inspection report is normally a condition of sale and is usually recommended by the conveyancer. Apart from the dollar impact that termites will have on a property, it can be an emotionally trying experience as they eat through your largest investment.

Q: Why are infestations often discovered during November & December?

A: Spring is when large numbers of winged termites, known as “Alates,” emerge inside properties as they swarm to start new colonies. Triggered by warmer temperatures and damp conditions, the winged termites emerge from the colony and fly into the air. These Alates drop to the ground, pair off, and begin new colonies in the soil. Few Alates survive outdoors to start new colonies. Alates that are seen indoors are not capable of eating wood and will seldom survive, and we recommend removing these with a vacuum. However, it is a strong sign that your property has an infestation present and recommend a full termite inspection.

Q: How will I know if my home is infested?

A: If you notice flying termites (Alates) inside your home it is a good sign that you have a termite infestation that needs a treatment. People often confuse winged termites with ants, which often swarm at the same time of year. Termites can be differentiated by their straight antennae, uniform waist and wings of equal size. (Ants have elbowed antennae, constricted waists and forewings that are longer than the hind wings.) The Alates are attracted too light and are often seen around windows and doors. Termite Alates will also be seen around infested tree stumps, woodpiles, and other locations outside in the garden areas and this does not mean that the house is infested but it is recommended that you seek an expert to complete a full Termite inspection to the property.

Another sign that termites have infested a property mud tubes / mounds extending over sill plates, floor joists, walls, support piers and foundation slabs. Termites construct these tubes for protection as they travel between their underground nests / colonies and the structure. To help determine if an infestation is active, you need to consult a Termite expert. Do not disturb these trails as you could frighten off the activity and they will return to the colony only to appear somewhere else in the property over the next few months. If a tube seems to be vacant, it does not mean that the infestation is inactive as termites often abandon sections while foraging elsewhere in the structure.

Termite-damaged wood is usually hollowed out along the grain with dried mudding covering the damage. Sometimes, termites will eat tiny holes through plaster or drywall and fill these with mudding. Rippled or damp wall coverings can also be indicative of termite activity underneath. In most cases, there will be no visible indication that the home is infested. Termites are cryptic creatures and infestations can go undetected for months and years, hidden behind obstructions, insulation, walls and floor coverings. Termite activity can even happen undetected in wood that is exposed because the outer surface of the wood is usually left intact.

The experienced eye of a termite inspector will confirm the infestation and recommend a treatment plan. However, even the most experienced inspector can overlook infestation or damage which is hidden without the right tools.

Q: Does the entire house need to be treated… or can they just treat areas where I see termites?

A: Subterranean termite colonies contain hundreds of thousands of individuals, foraging in many different directions. For the property owner, localized or “spot” treatments are generally a gamble except in cases of retreatment. Most reputable pest control firms will not warranty spot treatments, as there is a high risk that termites will find other points of entry into the structure. If you are considering such a treatment, you should inquire whether it will be accompanied by an ongoing service agreement in case termites return. These agreements usually state that if termites return, the company will return and retreat the affected areas at no additional charge as long as the agreement is maintained. It’s a bit of a gamble to pay for any termite treatment without an ongoing service agreement.

Q: Can I treat the house myself?

A: Treatment of a home and eliminating of termites requires special skills and experience. A knowledge of Termite behaviour is needed to identify the key areas where termites are likely to enter the structure. Many of these potential points of entry are hidden and difficult to access. A Termite Specialists will use specialized equipment such as a Moisture Metre and Termatrac Unit together with approved baiting and chemical treatments to eliminate a colony. A typical treatment may involve the application of a liquid pesticide, known as a termiticide, injected into the ground alongside the foundation, beneath concrete slabs, and within foundation walls or a Termite Baiting System with Monitoring Stations to eliminate the risk to the property.

To sum up – termite eradication treatments are best left for professionals to deal with.

Q: How long will the treatment last?

A: Almost all liquid termiticides are supposed to control termites for at least five years when applied according to label directions. The real length of control on a structure will depend on the quality of the application, environmental conditions, and density of termites in the given area. If termites swarm again and continue to be an issue in the following year after the treatment, it will not be due to the degradation of the termiticide — but because termites have found an untreated gap in the chemical barrier or the barrier has been broken due to digging etc. Pets are a key reason for the breaks in barrier treatmentsas well as tenants tending to the garden areas and not being aware of the treatment areas.

Q: Which treatment methods and products are most effective?

A: There are two general categories of termite treatment, liquid chemical treatments and Termite baiting systems. Liquid termiticides programs have been around for decades. Their purpose is to provide a long-lasting chemical barrier that excludes termites in the ground from entering buildings and can lead to termites in the structure dying off as well, as they cannot return to the underground colony.

Termite baiting is the other main program offered. A bait station is placed indoors over active mud tubes and filled with a product that will eliminate the entire colony at the source. Foraging termites consume the bait and share it with other termites in the colony resulting in a gradual decline in termite numbers. On some properties, baits may constitute the only form of treatment; on others, they may be combined with liquid applications. to areas where termites are observed. In ground bait stations can also be installed below ground out in the yard in cylindrical plastic stations around the structure to help eliminate and protect the property in the future. Termite baiting is a complex treatment. For further information, follow the link to the Exterra Web Portal for more information.

Regardless of which system or method you choose to select, it’s important to have an experienced technician, backed by a responsible pest control firm complete the treatment so you can have peace of mind that they have the situation under control.

Q: Have I been “Ripped Off” if termites continue to infest my house after treatment?

A: Not necessarily. The best treatments performed by experienced knowledgeable companies may fail at times, when termites find their way through tiny, untreated areas in the soil or cracks in the slab construction. While the focus is to establish a continuous, impenetrable chemical barrier, this is all but impossible to achieve in actual day to day practice. In the case of Baiting Systems, it may take several months for termites to initially find the below-ground installations and several months more to achieve control.

The focus is to employ a reputable pest control company that has experienced and conscientious technicians and a great reputation in this field. These companies will return and retreat affected termite areas at no additional charge as long as the Termite service agreement is purchased and maintained.

Q: How do I choose a termite control company? Why is there such a difference in price?

A: The company should be licensed by the local Health Department and the EPA or agency responsible for regulating termite control in the state. Licencing in their states Pest Control association and/or National Pest Management Association and approved applicators of the recommended system, will confirm that the company is an established provider that has been trained to a technical standard to provide the service correctly. As with any service company, references are invaluable and we suggest that you ask for references. Cheaper companies maybe buying business and the customer must understand that cheap is not always best in the long run.

If termites happen to return within an agreed time frame, most companies will retreat the affected area(s) at no additional charge. Some companies also will repair structural damage occurring subsequent to their treatment when you accept certain plans. This is usually when certain terms and conditions are met. The overall quality of the job depends on the individual specialist who will complete the work and should be the same one for every service visit until your infestation is eradicated. An effective elimination treatment program requires an experienced technician, not someone who has qualified a few weeks ago.

Q: Will the chemicals harm my family or pets?

A: Before a product can be used, numerous studies are conducted by the manufacturer and independently evaluated by the Australian Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that they are safe to apply around family and pets. However, it is important that the Specialist follows the product label and supplies you with a detailed report on what has been done and what chemicals have been applied on each service visit. Currently there are no registered termiticides that pose a significant hazard to humans, pets or the environment when applied according to label directions. Customers who are still concerned about chemicals being administered on their property may want to consider having their home treated with a Termite Baiting System.

If you have a termite problem, contact Australian Pest Specialists on 1300 42 42 66 for a pest inspection.

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