With 1 in 5 homes in Melbourne likely to suffer a termite attack and termite damage not covered by home insurance, it makes sense to do everything you can to protect your home. And don’t think just because your house is new that you’re safe… CSIRO reports that 1 in 5 homes will be attacked within the first 5 years after construction! In fact, termites cause more damage to Australian homes than fire, floods and storms combined!
That’s why it’s important to be well informed on how to prevent termite attacks, also commonly known as white ant attacks.
Having regular white ant inspections by a qualified pest professional and installing a termite management system around the perimeter of the building (liquid soil treatment or termite baiting system) are the first two components of a termite management plan and are designed to prevent a concealed termite attack.
However, homeowners have a big role to play in reducing the chance of a termite attack on their property. The third component of any successful termite management plan involves the homeowner maintaining the property and making their home “termite unfriendly”. READ ON FOR MORE!
How To Prevent A Termite Attack
So, what are these maintenance actions and potential issues homeowners need to keep an eye on? Read on for 10 top tips that will reduce the accessibility and attractiveness of your home to termites.
Our 10 steps to prevent termites are:
- Ensure ground water drainage flows away from your home
- Ensure you don’t have a watering system adjacent to the house
- Ensure roof guttering and downpipes do not leak
- Make sure any external taps are not dripping
- Check for leaks
- Ensure you do not use wood mulch immediately adjacent to the house
- Make sure any timber waste or cardboard are thrown out
- Make sure any firewood is stored away from the building
- Keep perimeters clear of plants/ stored items
- Avoid storing excess items in a sub-floor
1. Ensure ground water drainage flows away from / around your home.
Ground level should slope away from house and / or soil drainage systems should be installed. If you have a moist sub-floor, installing fans may also be beneficial. Damp sub-floors are highly attractive to termites.
2. Ensure you don’t have a watering system or regularly water plants adjacent to the house.
This really means you need to avoid substantial garden beds adjacent to the house. Watering systems and mulch can make the perimeter of your home very attractive to termites.
3. Ensure roof guttering and downpipes do not leak.
Make sure they correctly discharge to the storm water drains.
4. Make sure any external taps are not dripping.
Ideally, to prevent leaks, have a drain underneath.
5. Check for leaks.
In particular, check in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. You may need a plumber or pest inspector to help here.
6. Ensure you do not use wood mulch immediately adjacent to the house.
This will reduce the termite food around the home. If you must use wood mulch, make sure it has been treated with an appropriate insecticide or it is classed as termite resistant timber. Keep in mind, termite resistant does not mean termite proof! Using pebbles as mulch and plants in pots are a termite smart option.
7. Make sure any waste timber or cardboard boxes are thrown out.
Both of these are great sources of timber food. If not thrown out, ensure they are stored above ground level, ideally away from the building.
8. Make sure any firewood is stored off the ground away from the building.
Firewood needs to be stored off the ground (on a metal framework).
9. Keep the perimeter of your home clear of plants and stored items.
If you can’t see the edge of the building you won’t be able to see any termite ‘break-ins’!
10. Avoid storing excess items in a sub-floor, if you have one.
If you have a sub-floor, avoid the temptation to store your excess / unwanted items in this inviting area. Stored goods prevent your ability to see any termite activity and also reduce ventilation. If the stored goods include wood or cardboard boxes, you are also providing some nice termite food! Always remove stored timber and cardboard boxes from the sub-floor.
The Final Word
In summary, the above actions revolve around 3 primary factors. Reducing areas of increased moisture around the home (termites love moisture), reducing termite food (wood and paper) and making sure perimeters are cleared of obstacles so termite break ins can be detected early.
When you do your annual Spring clean, work through this list on how to prevent these white ants… it could save you from a very expensive termite attack! If you get your annual termite inspection at the same time – it will reinforce these general termite prevention tips and provide some more specific actions for your property. That way, your house will have a better chance of getting the termite “all clear”.
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