There are several hundred termite species in Australia. Only a few species have the potential to cause major damage to homes and timber structures. The three most economically significant species are Coptotermes spp., Schedorhinotermes spp. and Mastotermes spp. Species that sometimes infest buildings and structures but generally cause low levels of structural damage include Nasutitermes spp., Heterotermes spp. and Microcerotermes spp.
Control techniques for termites can essentially be divided into two broad groups: Pre and Post Construction.
Pre construction techniques usually involve preventative measures which are easily applied during the construction of the home or building. Post contruction techniques can also involve preventative meansures, and usually utilise a number of options including baiting, monitoring stations and/or chemical barriers to detect or prevent termite entry into your home. Treatments are different for every home, determined by construction and environmental factors, and we can tailor a termite treatment program specifially for you and your property.
Pre Construction Treatments
Pre construction treatments can also be divided into two broad groups: Chemical and physical barriers. Prevention is always wiser no matter what pest you have to deal with, but this is especially true with termites. Pre-treating the property before the structure is built or before an addition is added is required by Australian Standards and Building Codes.
With pre-construction treatments, the goal is to create a chemical barrier in the soil that will stop termites from reaching and attacking the wood in your home. To properly treat the soil, the treatment needs to be applied several times while your home is being constructed. Once you have your chemical barrier in place, it will protect your home for years to come
Although slab and piered foundation constructions are different, some of the same treatment methods are used. The following steps for pre-construction treatment can vary because building codes vary in different states. Your soil type and home design are other factors that can lead to a variation of how and when your chemical barrier is applied.
For a slab, the land is graded and footings and foundations are prepared. A plumber lays the pipes, and then backfill is added if needed. At this point the slab area is treated with the termiticide. A plastic vapor barrier is installed over the soil to keep water from reaching the slab. Then your slab is poured. Termites do not eat concrete or bore through it; however, concrete slabs can crack. If your soil is untreated, the cracks in the slab can become avenues for termites to enter your home.
For a subfloor, footings and pillars are dug and the concrete is poured. Once the concrete is ready, trenches are dug around the footings and pillars and the termiticide is applied to the trench and to the soil as it is added back into the trench.
Another treatment is required, before the landscaping is complete. For this treatment, termiticide is applied to create a chemical barrier around the perimeter of the home. There are a number of ways a perimeter barrier can be installed. The simplest is to apply termiticide to a trench. More complex installations involve the laying of pipes or tubes called reticulation and replenishment systems. There are a number of different types and these systems then provide access points so they may be re-filled with termiticide in the future.
After your home is built, you should be careful not to damage the chemical barrier. You can do this by not disturbing the soil in the barrier area when adding or replacing landscaping plants around your home.
If you build an addition to your home or add porches, decks, or any other structure, a barrier should be installed beneath these areas. If not, termites can access your home through the new addition.
There is a very diverse range of physical barriers available which may be applied at various stages during the construction process.
The simplest physical barrier is the concrete slab. However this alone does not satisfy Australian Standards as a termite barrier. Although termites do not eat concrete or bore through it, concrete slabs can crack and termites can then gain access to your home through these cracks. Termites can also gain access through service penetrations (pipes) in the slab. These penetrations must have a physical barrier applied to satisy Australian Standards. The simplest of these is a plastic collar.
Other physical barriers include sheet metals, stainless steel mesh, graded stone, plastic membranes and recently even specially developed mortar and renders.
Sheet metal barriers are generally manufactured from steel, aluminium or alloys of copper or zinc. Sheet metals may be installed at various stages of construction depending on the building design. They are generally used for what is known as termite capping or strip shielding, which is where the sheet metal is installed in a specific manner on the top of piers and foundation walls. They may also be used in joints, slab edges and around service penetrations.
Stainless steel mesh barriers are made of a fine mesh that termites can not penetrate. They are generally used as a barrier between slab surfaces and masonary (brick work). They may also be installed as a physical barrier beneath a slab and used in other situations such as suspended slabs, infill slabs,multi level floors, slab edges, joints, service penetrations and around poles and posts.
Graded stone is specific types os stone (generally granite) that is graded and shaped in a manner so that termites can not gain access through it. Graded stone may be used beneath a slab, in cavities, as a perimeter barrier, around service penetrations, ploes and posts.
Plastic membranes are manufactured from special plastics that may or may not be impregnated with termiticides. Generally these are used as an alternative to standard vapour barriers and are designed to repel and even kill termites, depending on the type used. They may also be used at slab edges and joints.
Newer products in the market include fine grade mortar and specially designed renders and laquer type products through which termites can not penetrate. These products may be applied during the construction process or to the external walls after the property has been completed.
There are a number of different brands of each of these products. Physical barriers can provide good protection from termites provided they are treated with due care. Often these type of barriers may be damaged during the building process, leaving a gap in the barrier through which termites can gain entry to the property.
Post Construction Treatments
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