If you are a homeowner or looking to buy a home, termites can be a nightmare. These tiny insects need only a small crack in your foundation to pass through or a dark, damp subfloor to begin eating the wooden structure of your home.
Damage caused by termites can be expensive and time-consuming to repair too, so it’s best to keep them out, and as the old saying goes – “prevention is better than a cure!”
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to prevent termites from attacking your house & home.
What Damage Do Termites Do?
Termites cause damage to structural timbers, fence posts, and poles. They will hollow the interiors of the timber and leave a thin layer.
The termites build galleries outwards from the nest. The galleries are in-network with underground passages which can extend up to 50m.
Subterranean termites emit a pheromone as they forage underground, increasing the chance of further infestation as future colonies will track the scent of previous colonies.
Consequently, the best way to prevent termites from entering your home is to have your home protected by a barrier and inspected annually.
Regular inspections are especially important in neighbourhoods where there is a history of damage by termites, or in humid and/or wet areas.
Over time, the efficiency of chemical-based termite prevention barriers reduces, and changes in your home such as damaged brickwork, cracks caused by subsidence or settling, or even general repairs or renovations should be addressed with periodic inspections.
These changes provide an easy pathway for termites to get into your home, so make sure you know the danger for termites in your area, and if you are buying an established home, make sure you have an inspection prior to purchase.
Termite Prevention Treatments
There are two main treatments for termites.
One is a reticulated Termite system. This works by installing a pipe system under the soils of the slab foundation with several fill points around of your home. The chemical is then pumped into the system to provide a prevention barrier under the ground.
The other is a liquid system applied to the soil and exposed foundation that seeps into the ground. The termites cannot pass through the treated soil and so are redirected away for your home. This method is especially effective if the infestation is below the home
Termites & Insurance
Because of the available prevention methods, don’t expect much help from your insurance company if you get an infestation and damage.
In Australia, no insurance covers damage caused by termite infestations. Some policies will call it wood-destroying insect damage. The reason is simple, insurance companies deem termites as preventable, which means your insurer considers it a maintenance issue for property owners.
Most policies, as a rule, don’t cover things that are considered maintenance issues and are more likely to cover damage that is considered accidental.
Annual Inspections & Reporting
An annual termite inspection makes it easier for property owners to understand current conditions around their property that are conducive for termites to gain entry.
Early detection greatly limits the timber destroying insects chance to eat the timbers whilst substantially reducing the potential of damages. Damages caused are direct out of pocket repair expense for owners or body corporate.
It is very important to install a prevention barrier, carry out annual termite inspections and undertake maintenance to keep the property in good condition. This will not only make for a healthier and safer environment to live in but also makes a difference when selling in the future
ABPOM’s Termite Prevention Checklist
- Know the area your home is in. Does it have a history of termite infestation? Could it be susceptible?
- Install a termite prevention solution – either a reticulated system or a soil treatment
- Ensure your termite prevention is current – ALWAYS.
- Stay aware: inspect your home for cracks or damage while doing regular maintenance. If you’re not sure about something you find, call an expert.
- Set a calendar reminder on your phone to get your house professionally inspected annually