Why Termites Pose Such A Threat

Surveys have established that almost 40% of our homes in Australia are attacked by termites at some stage. Other studies have shown that the risk of a house becoming infested by termites is five times greater than that of fire.  Generally speaking termite damage is not covered by standard household insurance.

While most local government authorities now require termite barriers to be incorporated into the construction of all new buildings, most existing houses are still vulnerable to termite infestation.

Understanding Termites

Termites play a vital role in nature by recycling dead and decaying wood. Unfortunately, they can’t tell the difference between dead trees and the structural timbers in your home.

Worker termites tunnel 50 metres or more from the nest in search of food. If they come across your home’s foundations while they are foraging, they’ll follow any cracks or crevices to gain access to a food source such as floorboards or any other susceptible timber. They may even enter through wood in direct contact with soil or build mud tunnels from the ground to the lowest accessible timber. From there they can access the rest of your house, including the structural timbers in the walls and the roof. For an extreme example of the mud-building technique, just think of the huge termite mounds in the Northern Territory.

You are unlikely to ever see a termite, only the signs of their presence. Their mud tunnels are the most obvious, but in spring and summer you may also come acrossthe piles of wings left behind by swarming termites as your local nests send out prospective new kings and queens to start new colonies.

There are some simple steps you can take to make termite infestation less likely:

  • Do not build up soil or garden beds against the house.
  • Do not install watering systems around the perimeter of your house.
  • Do not stack timber or firewood against the house.
  • Do not store wooden materials under the house.
  • Fix leaking downpipes and gutters and hot water systems to retain good drainage all around the house.