Termites pose a significant challenge in Melbourne, often resulting in extensive damage to homes and furnishings. The cost of repairs can be staggeringly high, and to make matters worse, insurance policies typically do not cover damage caused by these diminutive insects.
In this discussion, we'll explore the nature of termites, their propensity to invade homes, and strategies for safeguarding your property.
White Ants versus Termites in Melbourne
Australia is home to around 350 species of termites, both native and introduced. Remarkably, only about 10% of these species are recognized as highly destructive and invasive. Most do not pose a substantial threat to properties in the Melbourne region.
Despite this, it's estimated that termites damage about a quarter of homes in the area annually, and the repair costs can run into thousands of dollars.
A common misconception complicates the issue further. Many residents mistake white ants for termites, leading to misdirected efforts at eradication. It's crucial to understand that white ants don't exist; ants are typically brown or black. Termites, in contrast, are white. Thus, sightings of white ants are a clear indicator of a termite infestation in your home.
Signs of Termites in Melbourne
There are several clear signs of termites in your home. Look out for some of these signs to detect them early and start treatment.
1. Head Banging
When a termite soldier feels threatened, they will make a clicking sound in the walls. This warning sound is telling other termites that there is a potential predator or threat nearby and they should be wary. It is often the first sound that people hear when they find termites.
Another sound that you might hear is the munching noise of the worker termites.
To hear either sound, you can place your ear against the wall.
2. Flying Termites in Melbourne
During parts of the year, the next generation of termites are going to be searching for their new home. These swarmers or alates can be either male or female and have left their previous nest to create a new colony.
There are different species of termites and each has their preference of when they swarm. Some prefer to swarm at night, while others will come out after the rain. There is a small risk that some flying termites might be there because there is already a colony established in your property and the next generation is looking for a new home.
And it might be that you only see wings, which are discarded from the flying termites when they’ve mated and found a new home. Often close to the new home.
3. White Ants
As previously mentioned, numerous people confuse ants and termites. Ants are never white, they’re mostly black or brown with a few species that are considered red or green. So be sure that you’re detecting the right species when you’re seeing small insects crawling in your home.
However, whatever species you’ve found, you will need to take steps to eradicate them from your home.
4. Papery or Hollow Sounding Timber
Termites eat wood, but instead of eating it from the outside, they prefer to consume it from the inside out. Therefore, they can leave the appearance of untouched wood. But what you are left with is a thin veneer such as wallpaper or the paint used to decorate the walls.
If you hear a hollow sound when knocking on timber, that is a clear sign that you’ve had some termites in the home.
5. Tight Fitting Doors/Windows
Termites love the damp, but they also cause damp conditions as they eat the wood. Therefore, when they are eating close to windows and doors, they can make the wooden frames swell with the additional moisture. This can result in doors and windows being hard to open or close.
Frass is another name for the pest’s droppings. They are usually large piles of black droppings, they will leave these near to the nest entrances. In some ways, this can be a good sign, because it allows you to find the nest and use treatments that are more effective and quicker to take effect.
Tips for Best Termite Pest Control in Melbourne
Termites are a big problem. As previously mentioned, insurance companies do not cover the treatment or repairs of termite damage. So learning about termite solutions in Melbourne and cure termite problems is something that you need to learn.
So here are some options for prevention and cure.
1. Store Wood Away from the Home
You mustn’t store wood around the property’s walls. Those that have log piles or garden compost bins that might contain any type of wood should ensure these are kept some distance from the home. Planters should also be kept away from the walls.
If there is no way of removing the wood from the ground, like you have a decking area in your home, then you need to encase the wood with concrete.
Most termites will infest wood through the soil, but they don’t seem to like concrete as much, so it puts up a barrier to them.
2. Use Termite Traps
Termite traps are a simple poison that is collected by worker termites and taken back to the nest. The poison then kills the queen, which can reduce the nest size for a considerable time. Unlike ants, it does not automatically result in the death of the nest, many species can breed a new queen quickly enough.
However, repeating this treatment several times can cause significant damage to a nest and kill it off completely.
Termite traps are also a good preventative measure as they allow the queen to be killed off because the nest is established. Therefore, it can’t grow to become a problem.
3. Keep the House Dry
Termites love moisture. Therefore, keeping your home dry can be a great preventative measure to prevent termites from considering your home a good nesting site. In the summer, open your windows and allow free-flowing air (good airflow also prevents termites).
You can also use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity in your home.
You might need to add screens to your windows too as an open window does allow swarmers to access the home.
4. Avoid Landscaping Close to the Home
As mentioned in a previous point, termites don’t seem to like concrete. Therefore, you can use a concrete moat around your home. The barrier prevents termites from accessing your home, which can be good if termites are nesting outside of the home.
5. Regularly Checks
Termites are small, and initial infestations can be hard for you to spot. However, spotting the termites early can be one of the best ways that you can prevent large, devastating infestations.
Therefore, conduct regular surveys of your home and ensure there are none of the signs that have been mentioned above. It is critical to check about one or two weeks after you’ve spotted flying termites as it can take this long to spot the initial nest inhabitants moving around.
If you’re struggling to spot the signs, you can always call in an expert.
Final Word: Termites in Melbourne
Termites in Melbourne can be a significant problem for you, your family, your home, and finances. You need to be sure that you are vigilant and protect your home from termites in Melbourne. You can do this with some preventative measures or quick action when you spot the initial signs of an infestation. And if in doubt, you can always call an expert to help you clear the termites out.