What do I do if I find Termites?
If you’ve discovered termites in your home or it’s surroundings, it is important not to disturb them as doing so can make colony elimination much more difficult. What you should do depends on where you found them, further down I’ll list a few scenarios and a suggested course of action. Here I would also like to refute a statement I hear clients say all the time, “oh they are in the tree, I don’t care about them, it’s the ones that get into my house I worry about.” Termites are always hungry, they are always looking for new sources of food and no matter what they have they always want more. The risk to your house is very real if you see a termite mound or nest in a tree within 70m of your property.
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In all cases I recommend calling a termite specialist to assess the site and recommend whether any action is required.
- Termites found in skirting or architrave – Try to seal up workings that were broken open, tape works well.
- Behind a wall during renovations – Stop all further work in that area and get a termite specialist to examine the area.
- Under carpet – Lay the carpet back carefully, a quick photo of the termites in all cases wouldn’t hurt.
- You find termites building up the outside wall – try not to disturb them, if you opened the mud lead(tunnel) try to put some tape or something over it to seal it up as best you can.
- There are termites found under timber around the house – Put the timber back where it was, once again we don’t want to disturb the termites, baiting works well in this situation and we need them to stay and eat.
- You find termites in a tree – Arboreal termites are not always a threat but it is best to identify them properly to assess the potential for an attack on your house.
How do we get rid of our Termites
Baiting is the process where a termite technician will use either an above ground bait station or an in ground bait station filled with a bait to attract enough termites to this free food source so that they can then introduce a termiticide mixed with a tasty food matrix to kill off the colony. Many manufacturers now make these types of baits and bait stations and it is more the experience and knowledge of the technician that will determine success or failure of baiting which is true of all 3 methods I am discussing. Baiting termites almost always takes longer but is the most reliable way of dealing with termite colonies as both yourself and the technician will be able to determine colony elimination. The technician can show you the different stages the colony will exhibit as the colony collapses, this will give reassurance to you that the colony is indeed eliminated.
A Termiticide Foam can be used by a trained technician once either the colony has been located or enough termite workings have been found so the foam will contact enough termites to eliminate the colony. Foam is injected into the colony or workings and expands through the termites galleries and workings then adheres to all the surfaces where termites will walk through picking up the termiticide and transferring it to the rest of the colony. Foam works well when injected directly into the termite colony, termite foam also works well when there are a number of termite workings found as there is nothing to attract the termites like baiting we need to have many termites walk through the foamed area.
The third and final method I’ll discuss is termite dusting, this involves opening a small hole into termite workings and slowly introducing the termiticide dust into the workings. This is the hardest method and requires patience and skill, it also requires the technician to take a lot of time to do properly. Termite dust works in the same way as foam, it requires the termites to walk through the dusted workings and as they come in contact each other they transfer the termiticide through the colony killing all the termites. Dusting works well when there are a number of workings that can be accessed and is very fast when done properly.
Why did my termites come back
There are 2 reasons why you might see termites again after a termite treatment and we will discuss this possibility with you at the end of every treatment we do. I discuss these possibilities not because I have experienced these things but because they are acknowledged in the industry as possibilities during and after treatment, as a consumer is important for you to have your eyes wide open.
Termites are very common and you are in fact surrounded by colonies, a trained and observant technician can at times point out colonies of several different species on a single property although this is rare and usually on a large block. So how is it that you have found termites again after a seemingly successful treatment? As mentioned above you are likely to have other colonies nearby and as termites tunnel looking for food they will occasionally bump into each others workings, so we know they are aware of their immediate neighbours. What this means to you as a homeowner who has had a termite treatment is that the neighbouring colony of Coptotermes will be aware that the Schedorhinotermes colony has just been eliminated and move into their workings and re infesting your house and looking like the treatment has failed. This is more common than you would think as we cannot destroy all the underground workings and sometimes(rarely) are not able to locate the entry point of the termites meaning it is possible that termites may re enter. This is why at the end of colony elimination your termite technician will recommend some form of termite protection to reduce or eliminate re infestation.
The second reason termites may reappear is that a treatment may have not gone as expected and colony elimination has not been successful. This is more likely when dusts or foams have been used and is why after 21 days a technician will reinspect the property looking for any activity in areas that were treated and looking for any new areas of activity. If any activity is found a further treatment will be carried out.
After having termites and a treatment to remove them from your house we would recommend more regular termite inspections, Australian Standard AS3660 recommends annual termite inspections annually and more frequently if a home has been attacked in the past.