Are Termites A Problem In Adelaide?
Prospective homeowners have a lot to think about when purchasing a new home, and even after. This is understandable, seeing as buying a house is among the biggest and most fulfilling investments an individual can make.
As such, one needs to take a couple of precautions when purchasing a house to ensure they make a sound decision. Similarly, once someone becomes a homeowner, they need to take all necessary actions to preserve the value of their home and maintain its structural and aesthetic value.
Among the things to keep an eye on are termites.
What Are Termites?
Termites are small, pale-coloured, soft-bodied insects that live in large colonies, albeit with several different castes. These include the king, queen, the winged reproductive (consisting of young kings and queens), soldiers and workers. Being insects, they bear six legs and segmented bodies.
Termites are also known as white ants. Subterranean termites feed on timber and wood. This means they are also pests to buildings where they can get very destructive, often causing major structural damage to residential and commercial buildings.
While often confused to be ants or to be from the ant family, termites are more closely related to cockroaches and share a similar two hundred million year history.
Their small body size shouldn’t fool you either. Termites cause more damage to homes in Adelaide than floods and house fires combined!
How Termites Affect Your Home
In South Australia, one-third of all unprotected homes are at risk of attack by subterranean termites. Even more at risk are houses located in built-up urban zones with well-established gum trees within a 100-meter radius.
The queen is an egg-laying machine, living up to 25 years, and can produce over 2,000 eggs a day. The worker termites are the largest cast in a termite colony and are also responsible for causing damage to a houses’ structure. The workers carry out all the work in the nest to ensure a colony’s survival. This includes bringing food to the colony. This food includes timber and other cellulose matter. They are also responsible for building tunnels to act as passageways.
So how do termites affect your house?
Damage To Wood On The Inside Of Your House
Termites can start eating away at the wood under your house. If not dealt with, they will move to the wood inside your house. Some types of termites will even begin eating at wooden furniture inside the home.
This type of termite is called the dry wood termite and does not require contact moisture as subterranean termites do.
Damage To The Structural Wood On Your House
Certain termite species need to be close to water to survive. Subterranean termites are a good example of these. They stay in moisture-rich soil and build their colonies there.
This often means that a termite problem usually starts with the foundational wood. This is likely to be in the crawl space or along foundational walls.
Any damage to the wood under your house or inside the house ultimately causes structural damage to a house’s frame. This damage is unsightly, expensive to repair, and negatively affects the value of your home.
Damage To The Wood Around Your Doors And Windows
Builders usually use wooden frames for doors and windows. These are places you might not often inspect but can be termite-infested.
When termites eat the wood in these areas, you will notice a weakening of the wooden frames, a wavy look, or voids throughout the wooden panels or planks.
Things You Can Do To Prevent Termites
Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent termites and the damage they can cause to your home.
Ensure No Wood Is In Contact With The Ground
The construction of pergolas, steps, decks, and any other timber-based structures outside a home should be done with termite control in mind. If you have these features, ensure to get metal stirrups from the hardware.
These are designed to ensure that wood does not contact the soil.
Similarly, allow a 75mm clearance between decking and the ground.
Keep Weep Holes Clear
Vegetation-covered weep holes are another cause of termites. Others include mulch and soil piled along the outer perimeter of a property.
Essentially, there should be adequate distance between the bottom of any weep hole and the ground to allow you to see any signs of termites.
A common mistake homeowners make is to place dirt, grass clippings, garden beds, and even mulch cover the edge of a wall and, essentially, cover-up weep holes. This makes it easier for termites to travel through the vegetation or the soil and the houses’ framework.
Have Garden Beds Away From The Home's Foundation
Though they might look like a good idea, gardens and vegetation should not be placed against the outer wall of a property.
This is because the vegetation will require constant watering, which wet the soil underneath and creates ideal conditions for termites.
As such, keep your vegetation as far away from your home’s foundation as possible.
Be Cautious About Storing Unused Timber And Wood
A nice fire from firewood is indeed a luxury most people enjoy. However, this can be the cause of a serious termite problem.
Avoid storing new timber and firewood within your property, and when you have to, keep it as far away from the house’s foundation as possible.
Start Off Right
Another thing you can do is to ensure you are not buying a termite-infested house from the very start. A sure way to do this is to have a house inspector come in to carry out a thorough inspection pre-purchase. A simple ‘termite inspection Adelaide’ search on a browser can give you a list of suitable inspecting companies.
While this will be at a cost, the termite inspection Adelaide cost will almost always be significantly lower than what it would cost you to fix a termite-infested house later.
If you see any signs of a termite infestation, the best thing you can do for yourself is to bring in professionals for termite treatment in Adelaide.
Are you looking to buy a new home? Do not buy a termite-infested house: call us now to book a pre-purchase building inspection