Preventing Termites - Mr PEST - Pest Control & Termite Services Sydney
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PREVENTING TERMITES

Termites are sometimes called 'white ants', but they're not ants at all - in fact, they're not even closely related to ants.

Entomologists have worked out that termites are really a type of specialised cockroach! But you won't find them scuttling under your fridge looking for food scraps. They diverged from cockroaches on the evolutionary tree many millions of years ago, and have successfully pursued their own plant-eating life ever since.

Termites are small (their size can range from about 3 to 10 mm long), pale or transparent, and have thin skins. Unlike ants they don't have a thin waist, they are usually blind (there isn't much need for vision in the dark tunnels they inhabit) and they cannot tolerate dry conditions. But they are similar to ants in that they occur in large numbers and look busy! Ants and termites also both have castes that include sterile workers and soldiers, and a single large queen. Both insects can live in large, complex colonies and both have produced fungus-cultivating specie

Regular inspections are the most important part of controlling termites before they do any damage.  Therefore:

    * arrange regular inspections – at least once a year in cooler areas and twice a year in warmer areas
    * inspect during periods of high termite activity - early spring to late summer is generally the best
    * keep the edges of the house (slabs, foundation, piers and stumps) clear of clutter, including garden beds and vegetation
    * professional pest controllers are trained in inspecting houses for termite activity - use their services
    * home owners can inspect houses themselves more frequently than a professional, if they can identify termite activity.

Do you have termites in or around your home? Many insects are confused with termites, especially ants. Termites are sometimes referred to as ‘white ants’ because of their pale appearance.

The home owner can discourage termites by remembering these facts:
- Termites are attracted to wood, so remove potential termite food away from buildings. Their food can include timber stacks, old stumps, building refuse, garden decoration such as sleepers and logs, waste timber from construction activities left in place or stored under the house
- Timber can be treated to prevent termite attack, and some timbers are naturally resistant. Use treated or naturally resistant timber when it is in contact with, or close to, soil
- Termites are attracted to water, so fix leaking water pipes, drains, showers, sinks etc, plus capture water from air conditioning units
- Termites prefer humid conditions, so keep air under the house dry by improving sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access
- Termites cannot chew through properly laid concrete, so ensure concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, and cured
- Keep the edges of the house (slabs, foundation, piers and stumps) clear of clutter, including garden beds and vegetation

Termite colonies can sometimes be located - it is possible to eliminate colonies by killing the reproductives (the queen and the king). Regular inspections are the most important part of controlling termites before they do any damage. Therefore: arrange regular inspections – at least once a year in cooler areas and twice a year in warmer areas.

Termite tidbits

    * termites are major pests in Africa, Asia and the Americas as well as Australia
    * there are about 12 000 trillion termites on Earth
    * the mass of termites is about 10 times greater than that of all the people in the world
    * termites are thought to be responsible for about 40 per cent of the global release of methane, a greenhouse gas
    * termites chomp their way through about 7 billion tonnes of plant material each year

(Statistics from RMIT Openline.)

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