The mere mention of termites is enough to make many homeowners shudder. The problem isn’t just that they eat wood. They generally do it unnoticed for an extended period of time and, when you realize they are there, a significant amount of damage can already have been caused.
Naturally, you’ll want to get the specialists to administer termite treatment immediately and hope that the damage is minimal. After all, repairing the damage can be expensive.
However, while you can’t completely prevent termites from getting to your home, knowing which types there are and which are active in your area will help. You will know what to look for and when to take action.
The Types Of Termites
There are more than 2,000 different types of termites! However, only 360 of these are found in Australia! That’s a significant number but, luckily, there is only a handful that you need to be aware of:
Subterranean termites nest in the soil, as their name suggests. This is because they need to stay damp to survive. They will travel through the soil and into your foundations to eat the wood that they find there. These are the most common types of termites in houses and they can cause a lot of damage in a surprisingly short space of time.
You’ll be able to see if you have subterranean termites because there will be holes in the mud surrounding your home. If you close a couple of the holes they will reopen the next day. If they don’t then there is likely to be fresh holes next to them. This shows the termite nest is active.
You’ll want to get expert help as quickly as possible. It is worth noting that they prefer wood that already has some rot in it.
Drywood termites differ from subterranean ones because they actually nest in the wood, as well as eating it. This means they have the capability to do more damage.
However, in reality, dry wood termites tend to do less damage as they live in smaller colonies. They don’t need to be moist all the time, hence the ability to live in your wood. The average size of a subterranean termite colony can be 20,000 plus termites, a dry wood colony tends to consist of just 1,000 termites.
It is worth noting that the dry wood termite feeds across annual rings. That means the entry and exit to their tunnels do not need to follow the grain of the wood. Knowing this is a good way of telling whether you have dry wood or subterranean termites.
Interestingly, the dry wood termite needs high humidity to survive although they don’t need to stay moist. Providing there is humidity in your home and plenty of wood they can spend their entire lives in the wood. That makes them one of the hardest termites to detect.
In fact, one of the biggest clues you have a dry wood termite issue is when you find wings discarded on the floor. This tells you that they have left their colony and are ready- to start a new one. Like all termites, dry wood termites are happy to set up colonies near each other.
There are three main types of dry wood termite:
This one is often referred to as the desert dry wood as you are most likely to find it in desert climates.
- West Indian
As their name suggests damp wood termites prefer damp wood. Their favorite is wood that is already rotting. In theory, you won’t have any of this in your house. However, it is possible that you have a water leak that you don’t know about. This can cause the structural wood in your home to become wet and inviting to damp wood termites.
However, in general, this type of termite is found outside the home, they prefer wood that is already rotten such as tree stumps and logs that are in the soil. But, they could enter your home, it is important to be aware of this.
Dealing With Termites
Knowing what termites are likely to be in your area and the signs of their presence will help you to spot them early. It can also be very beneficial to have an annual inspection by your local specialist. This minimizes the time between finding an issue and helps to reduce the damage that can be caused.
Of course, the best approach to eliminating a termite infestation is to let the professionals handle it. They have the experience and equipment to eradicate the issue effectively.
If you prefer to tackle the problem yourself you’ll need to put bait traps on the ground, as close to where you think the nests are as possible. These have food in that the termites enjoy. They will take the food and mark the spot as safe. Then, after a few days, you can switch it for poison and the scout termites will take this back to the colony.
In theory, this can kill the entire colony but it can be difficult to know how effective it has been. That’s why most people turn to the professionals.
It can also be beneficial to concrete at least six inches of your house wall. This will make it difficult for subterranean termites to enter and cause an issue for you.
Alongside this, always pay attention to the furniture you bring home and inspect it for termite holes. If you have any doubts then treat it before you bring it into your home. You should pay particular attention if the furniture is secondhand.
It is also a good idea to inspect the outside of your house. You should be looking to seal any gaps, this will reduce the ability for termites and other pests to enter. In addition, tidy your yard and remove all rotting wood, or place it as far away from the house as possible. This will make your home less attractive to termites.