There are more than three hundred and fifty species of termites in Australia but only about twenty or so cause economic damage to houses. These species are mainly subterranean termites. They set up nests underground and in the trunks of trees, and prefer damp dark habitats. They tunnel through the soil then build mud shelter tubes up the side of structures to gain access to the building.
Termites will travel a considerable distance underground to attack buildings in search of food. Up to 50m is realistic – some species in the north of Australia are known to travel further. Termites can therefore attack from beyond the property boundaries, so when assessing the risk of attack, bear this in mind.
Termites don’t just attack timber houses.
The overall risk of major damage to houses is low, but all types of houses are at risk. A recent CSIRO study (Cookson 1999) found that steel and masonry houses had virtually the same chances of attack as timber houses.
Termites don’t just infest structural timbers.
Termites can also damage plasterboard, carpets, plastics, books, artwork, clothes, electrical insulation and fi tout timbers.
Not all termites have the same feeding habits.
Some species are more aggressive than others. Those in the far north of Australia are particularly voracious feeders. Older and larger colonies will also have a greater impact than newly established colonies.
The risk of termite attack varies according to where you are in Australia.
The risk varies from being negligible in Tasmania, to high in far northern Australia.
Termites usually swarm in summer in an attempt to start new nests.
New nests created by this means are rarely established in buildings unless there is a permanent source of moisture – the main threat is therefore from underground. In any event, it usually takes at least 3 years for a new nest to grow to a size large enough to be capable of causing economic damage.
Book a timber pest inspection today – call David on 0410 358 703.