Termites are recognized as the silent destroyer of your biggest investment: your home. They secretly hide and thrive in your home, yard, and structures built from wood without any obvious signs of damage. They rely highly on cellulose-based materials that are found in most homes, regardless of their construction type. Most ‘brick’ homes in South East Queensland actually have timber frames. We call them brick veneer homes when they have brick external walls and plaster ( Gyprock ) internal walls, with timber framing and a timber framed roof.
A termite’s mouth can tear pieces of woody material of dead plants and dead parts of living trees, causing a concern in human dwellings. Despite their tiny size of approximately 2 to 4 millimetres in length, termite workers possess the capability of causing extensive damage to property. They live inside the walls of houses and track under carpets and sometimes venture out to feed on furniture such as cupboards against walls. When a colony has matured, swarming termites can be seen around light fittings, windows and doors. This is only a concern when you see large numbers inside your home. These winged termites are highly attracted to sources of light and can often be seen in their thousands as they leave their nests searching for a mate and a suitable place to nest. Don’t worry they won’t start a nest in your home, but if you find hundreds in your home, it may be too late. They may already have infested your home.
Termites can be gnawing away inside your home for years, and by the time you notice any signs of infestation, unfortunately by that time they may have already caused costly damage.
Read on to know more on the glaring warning signs of possible termite activity.
Flimsy Wood, Strange Hollows, Degraded Timber, mud or spotted material in the wood.
Fact: a solid piece of wood carries a solid sound. Termite inspectors use a tapping tool to test timbers to see that they are solid. Just an easy knock on wood that has been damaged by termites, a good thunk-thunk, can sometimes uncover a termite problem. Timber or wood that appears hollow or soft may already have been attacked by termites. Try it yourself by tapping on the skirting boards, architraves and door jambs around your home looking for damage. Most of us have at some time in our lives seen termite damaged timber. If the timbers are hollow or have been filled with ‘mud’ then it’s a clear hint of infestation as termites consume fibers from the inside. They sometimes leave feacal spotting inside the hollowed timber. Cracks and splits in the timbers around windows and skirting boards are hot spots for undetected termite activity. Be extremely thorough while you go around checking for these little critters. Here are some examples of typical termite damage found inside houses:
Soil and Dirt Piles in your home???
Firstly if you are commonly finding a buildup of material that looks like pepper or saw dust, it probably isn’t termites. This is typically caused from ants. Look closely in the area around the build up material and you’ll probably see some ants. If you’re not sure, you can always submit some photos through our web site for a quick diagnosis.
Generally termites leave damaged and hollowed timber as previously mentioned, but most commonly there is ‘mudding’ associated inside or beside the wood. Here are some examples:
There are types of termites that dispose of their personal waste and inedible material from wooden structures. They are called Drywood Termites and are most commonly associated with ‘Queenslander’ style homes with pine walls and flooring. Next time if you notice small dirt piles along your wood work, this may be a sign of Drywood Termite activity inside the walls. Here’s what you might see when Drywood Termites are in the walls:
Voices in the Walls
To be more specific, we are talking about alarm signals that termites use to warn the rest of the colony of impending disturbance in your home. When you disturb termites by tapping beside where they are working, you can usually hear a clicking sound as if you click finger nails together, but when there are thousands of termites in the area, the sound is multiplied considerably. You’ll find examples if you search the web.
Discarded Little Wings Everywhere
When termite Alates, the flying termites, have made their reproductive flight and landed looking for a mate, you’ll commonly see their scattered discarded wings. Typically it’s a sign that they are looking for a mate. You’ll often see the unlucky ones who didn’t make it safely in spider webs or being carried away by Geckos.
Mud Tubes on Exterior Walls
Termites use cellulose fibres, soil, their own waste matter and moisture to create their protective highways or mud tunnels along the walls of your home. The intention is to grasp moisture while they are searching for food to thrive and survive. Although most of these mud leads are seen outside, some may make it into the structural members of homes such as the walls and the roof.
If you suspect even one of these warning signs, we encourage you to get in touch with us for an inspection. If live termites are found we’ll organize treatment and repair of the damage if requested. It is estimated that termites destroy more homes in Australia and are often more of a threat than all natural disasters combined. It is common knowledge that even a building slab can crack allow termites to enter your property undetected from beneath.
Our knowledgeable staff can organize a Termite Inspection including Thermal Imaging and install a Termite Barrier underneath or around the perimeter of the slab and pipe penetrations to keep your home subterranean termites free and offer long term protection for your property.