The chances of your home coming under termite attack during its lifetime are as high as 1 in 3 in some areas of Australia. You may think it’s bad luck if your home comes under termite attack... it’s not!
Although termites are everywhere, always looking for more food, there are reasons why they attack one home and not another. If you know what these reasons are, it becomes a lot easier to take actions that will reduce the chances of a termite attack.
For termites to attack your home, firstly they must find it, secondly they must find it attractive and thirdly, they need to find a way in.
Termites generally move underground in foraging tunnels, exploring the area around a nest until they find a suitable, large food source. A large food source, such as a fallen tree will create a shaded area on the ground, which means the soil will be cooler. The foundations of a house creates a big shaded area of cooler soil, indicating to the termites there’s a large potential food source above.
Moisture. Termites have a soft body and dry out quickly, which is one of the reasons why they build their mud tubes to protect themselves when they move above ground. In almost every case of a termite attack there will be a moisture issue with the building – either a leak or drainage issue.
So moisture brings termites into the area, but to remain there, they need a food source. Garden beds around the perimeter of the home and wood mulch provide an ample food source. If these garden beds are watered, chemicals from the wood are leached into the soil. Termites can detect these chemicals telling them there’s a food source nearby. The same thing happens with a leak in the roof or walls of a home – the water runs over the structural timber on its way to the ground leaching some of these attractive chemicals into the soil, indicating to termites there’s a food source nearby.
Termites can squeeze through gaps as small as 1.6 mm, so any crack or opening provides a way in. When constructed correctly, buildings include a range of physical barriers (such as metal ‘ant’ capping) that protect all the concealed entry points for termites. Which means to get in the termites have to build their mud tubes over these physical barriers in order to get to the wood elements of the home.
Even with a well-constructed property and termite protection measures in place, it doesn’t mean termites can’t get in, it means they can’t get in without being noticed. This of course relies on the homeowner keeping an eye out for termite activity, which is why you should get a professional termite inspection at least once a year.
Make sure the soil under and around the perimeter of your home is dry:
Avoid placing potential food sources around the perimeter of the home:
Ensure potential termite entry points are protected and visible:
Get a professional termite inspection at least once a year!