Article by Bruce Gow
A timber pest inspection entails a fully licensed & insured timber pest inspector completing a visual inspection of all accessible and available areas of a property for the presence of active termites, termite damage, wood decay, borers and borer damage.
The results in the report include amount of activity and/or damage, conductive conditions to termite attack, risks & recommendations for timber pest management programs.
“Knowing the ‘ins and outs’ of a termite inspection give you a bit more control over your termite problem. Have a read to learn more about the area of termite control. Getting a handle on termite treatments can also help you with organizing a treatment. Give me a ring if you wanted to organize an inspection.” – Bruce Gow, 0417 251 911
What does a Termite Inspection Entail?
A termite inspection is a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of a home for evidence of wood-destroying insects and wood-destroying organisms.
The inspector will visually inspect the entire interior of a home (including accessing and entering any sub-space such as basements and crawlspaces) and exterior of the property. In areas where subterranean termites are prevalent, and in houses where there are no sub-areas, the roof space may also be accessed and inspected.
After the inspection has been performed, the findings are reported within the report.
How long does an inspection take?
The average termite or pest inspection takes approximately up to 60 minutes for a thorough inspection, depending on the size and conditions (e.g. clutter; storage of personal items, etc.) of the home and property.
What do termites look like?
Subterranean termite colonies consist of three different castes (reproductive’s, workers and soldiers). All of the subterranean termites are generally creamy white in appearance and are translucent, looking very much in size, shape and color as a grain of rice.
The reproductives, or “swarmers,” have a pair of even-sized wings and are often mistaken for flying ants. The workers look similar to the “swarmers,” only they are a little smaller and do not have wings. The soldiers are also similar except for their oversized heads and large, crushing mandibles.
What is the difference between ants and termites?
There are a number of differences between ants and termites. The body shape of an ant is like an hourglass–it narrows between the abdomen in the rear and the thorax in the front. The body of a termite is more cigar-shaped without the narrowing between the front and back halves of the body.
When wings are present, ants have larger wings in the front and smaller wings in the back, whereas termite “swarmers” have relatively equal-sized wings. Ant wings are less “veiny” than termite wings. Also, ant wings have a stigma (dark spot) on the leading edge of the front wing, and termite wings do not.
Ant antennae are bent or curved, while termite antennae are relatively straight. Also, termites eat the wood they tunnel through and ants do not.
How do you treat termites?
There are several methods available to treat subterranean termites. A chemical treatment is the most common treatment type available for subterranean termites. The goal of a subterranean termite chemical treatment is to establish a continuous termiticide barrier between the termite colony (usually in the soil) and timber in a building.
This is done by placing termiticide in the soil around the foundation elements to provide a barrier preventing termites from entering the structure. Technicians trench the soil and inject termiticide beneath it. This creates a protective barrier around the property.
In-ground baiting systems are also becoming a popular method for treatment of subterranean termites. A subterranean termite baiting system involves placement of cellulose (wood material) bait stations at strategic locations around the perimeter of the home.
Worker termites, which constantly forage for wood to feed their colony, locate the cellulose bait stations and leave special scent trails to summon their mates to the food source.
The cellulose material in the bait station is then replaced with a chemical inhibitor, retarding the molting process in termites and preventing them from growing. The carrier termites then bring the chemical back to the colony and–if everything goes well–spread the inhibitor throughout the remainder of the colony.
Because of the growth inhibitor, the carrier and the rest of the colony will die.
Could there be hidden termite damage?
Absolutely! One of the main characteristics of termites and termite colonies is their tendency to avoid open air and bright lights, meaning they will stay underground or within wood products.
It is almost impossible for an inspector to visually identify or locate an active termite infestation just by looking at the finished surface of a wall or the accompanying trim.
What can I do to Prevent Termite Infestation?
The current standard method of preventing termite infestation on homes is to have a pest control contactor visit the home and inject a liquid termiticide to the foundation areas. The building sciences are continually coming up with new methods of infestation prevention.
A homeowner could also make post-construction adjustments to the home that are less conducive to an infestation of wood-destroying insects.
Common conditions that are conducive to an infestation are: earth to wood contact at support posts; cellulose debris and form boards left in the crawlspace; improper drainage away from the structure; and inadequate ventilation in the crawlspace.
Correction of these conditions will greatly reduce the likelihood of an infestation.
Why do I have to treat if there are no live Termites?
If there is evidence of a termite infestation and no evidence of a termite treatment having been done, the inspector must report that the infestation is active, which means in need of treatment, even though no live insects were discovered.