Termites live in colonies of approximately 200,000. In Australia, about 20 species of termites cause extensive destruction to homes and other structures by eating through solid wood.
The pests hide in concealed locations where they can go undetected for years. They can destroy timber from inside leaving a thin outer covering.
You cannot predict the scale or pattern of their destruction. In most cases, termites reside several meters below the ground yet they can reach the roofs of high-rise buildings.
Therefore, property owners must take management measures to protect their buildings from termite attacks.
Do you know whether there are termites in your home or not? Let’s find out how you can inspect and get rid of these pests.
Inspection for Termite Infestation
You cannot determine the presence of termites if you don’t know how they look. Most people cannot differentiate termites from other similar insects like ants.
If you examine a termite, you’ll discover that its antennae are straight. Their bodies are somewhat tubular, exhibiting minimal thinning at the waist. All their wings are equal-sized.
Ants, on the other hand, have constricted waists and prodded antennae. They also appear to be darker than termites. They have longer forewings than hind wings.
Below are some signs that hint the infiltration of termites into your house.
- Dropped Wings
Termites produce swarmers (flying termites) at some point which fly away to begin new colonies. They lose their wings after finding a mate.
The sight of dropped wings could mean the presence of a mature colony or the beginning of a new one.
2. Rattling Noises
Termites produce a clicking sound when chewing dry wood. Soldiers make a rattling noise with their mandibles which warns the colony when threatened.
During the spring mating season, you might hear swarms of flying termites buzzing. Noises like these in the walls of your house point to an infestation.
3. Mud Tubes
Another sign of infestation is earthen tubes on the walls, floor joists, sill plates, and other visible areas of the building. Termites make these mud tubes to provide cover as they travel from their nests to various sections of the structure. You can confirm the presence of the pests by breaking the tubes.
4. Hollow Sounding Walls and Cracks
As the termites continue to eat through wooden structures, they create void spaces inside the wood. You can hear a characteristic hollow sound if you tap the wall. The internal destruction of the wood weakens its surface causing cracks.
Other red flags include hanging doors and windows and visible tunnels on trees and stumps surrounding the house.
Termiticides are useful compounds for terminating termites. They come in two broad categories:
These chemicals provide a long term boundary that prevents termites from accessing a building from below.
When applied, the termites that remain on the surface die due to since they can’t get back to the nest for shelter. The best varieties of termiticides are lethal to termites rather than repellant.
The other method of overcoming termites is baiting. Baits are cellulose-based foods blended with slow-acting poison for termites.
To lure termites, place the baits in plastic containers and set them under the ground in the compound. You can position others strategically over mud tubes.
Termites will ingest the lethal substance and take some to the rest of the colony. The termite numbers will decline with time.
Termites continue to pose a threat to construction work. Taking defensive measures can go a long way into averting these destructive pests.
If your building gets infested, termiticides can help to halt the attack. You can apply chemical and physical barriers or destroy the nest if reachable.
Consult a pest expert for professional aid that will see the entire colony terminated.