Mr PEST - Pest Control & Termite Services Sydney - Termite Systems & Flooding
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As you would be aware, the south east of Queensland, Northern New South Wales, areas of Victoria and even South Australia have been affected by storms and flooding. As a consequence, many liquid termite management treatments and termite monitoring and baiting systems may have been either washed away completely or at the very least, severely compromised.

Can termites survive a flood?

Yes. This is based on the experience and observations in New Orleans after the dramatic floods there. They found termites infested structures and debris just one month after the flood. They concluded that foraging termites in their tunnels that were flooded didn’t survive, but nests that were located in trees and stumps were able to regenerate and start to forage immediately after the waters subsided. These were a different type of subterranean termite, but the effects may be the same here. For more information about the United States Department of Agriculture report on this topic, please click here.

Subterranean termites have trouble getting around when their tunnels are full of water,  so they may remain in the nest or possibly move to higher, less waterlogged locations. Termites are also able to enter an immobile state to conserve oxygen which may help them survive flooding. When the water drains away they may either repair or abandon some of their tunnels and workings.  They will work quickly to patch up access to their best food resources.  All that moisture in the soil makes their foraging much easier as they no longer need to carry in water for tunneling. Once their food supplies and basic network is re-established, subterranean termites will go exploring and your barriers will be tested.  After a flood or after drought breaking rains, you should schedule an inspection within 3 months.

How do I know if my system is compromised?

The threat of termite infestation will increase as the soils around structures are very moist and conducive to foraging termites. Chemical treatments around existing structures might have been compromised if the treated zone has been covered by a layer of soil/silt from the flooding, allowing termites to bridge over the existing treatment. In the worst case situation, the treated soil might have been moved by the flood waters. We strongly recommend that you have your home assessed by a termite professional to determine if your termite installation has been compromised.

If your home is in a flood affected area and you have had work performed in the past or, if in the future you are confronted with a similar situation, we recommend the following action;

  1. Contact the company which installed your system to have them check on the integrity of the work at your property.
  2. Check with your Home/Property Insurer to determine if the restoration of the termite management program is covered under their insurance.
  3. Get a recommendation in writing that the termite management system be re-installed when the ground has dried out and in some cases when soil levels have been restored to the previous levels.
  4. Keep a record of all properties that you believe have been affected by the weather.
  5. If you do a re-treatment or re-installation of a termite management system you need to ensure the work is completed in accordance with the Australian Standards and you are issued with all the appropriate paperwork. The paperwork which should be issued to you includes: a completed Termite Inspection Report, Treatment Proposal and a Certificate of Termite Treatment.
    Queensland Floods 2011

Should you have any further questions concerning the action to take regarding this matter you can contact the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Assocation: for advice and contact details of registered pest management companies in your locality.

What can home owners do in the meantime?

Clean up after flooding is a mammoth task and there are many many things to think about when clearing and rebuilding. Some things to keep in mind regarding termites, termite systems and termite damage may include:

Queensland Floods 2011
  • Try to avoid further damage to installed systems eg. bait stations, chemical barriers, granite barriers etc. You can do this by being aware of where the system is installed and try to disturb the area/installation as little as possible (although this may be very difficult) until it has been assessed for damage.
  • Clear debris (especially timber) and excess vegatation away from the house. Moist debris and humid conditions will attract termites.
  • Be aware of the signs of termite activity (eg. mud tubes/leads, damaged timber) and should you find anything you may be concerned about have it looked at before you dismantle/remove it.
  • If you do find live termites DO NOT DISTURB THEM FURTHER. Leave them as you found them and call your local inspector as soon as possible.
  • For more tips on what to do if you find termites you can read our blog article "I Found Termites! What Do I Do?"

If you have any queries we can help you with or you are interested in making a booking for your property please Email or call us on 02 8783 8833

If you would like a quote for treatment at your property please complete our Free Quote Form


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