This blog post will discuss a successful termite inspection in Wheelers Hill, details of the termites we found in the inspection and termite treatment in Wheelers Hill.
I came across some Dampwood termites during a termite inspection in Wheelers Hill last week. They were in a rotting sleeper in the garden which I pulled out of the ground. I almost felt guilt destroying these (almost) harmless termite families.
Have a look at the superb photo of them. They are totally distinctive. You can see the scary looking 10mm long soldiers with their heavy jaws. The workers come in different sizes as they grow to maturity. You can also see the nymphs (babies) along – side the mature individuals. A nice family group- so different from subterranean termites where we only see mature workers and soldiers in their feeding areas- the reproductive, eggs and nymphs being confined to their nest that could be 50 meters away.
The family structure of the Dampwood termites creates an issue for us though, and for our client in Wheelers Hill. These termites live the entire life cycle within a piece of damp and decaying timber. They keep their family group structure along – side other family groups often in the same piece of rotting wood. In other words- these termites do not have to travel from a remote nest and create ingress into a building for a meal. This is because they actually may be living their full life cycle within the building. This means that the traditional method of managing the risk from termites with ‘barrier’ methods, (ie ant caps, chemical barriers or plastic membranes) are not effective against Dampwood termites.
Well, the risk from these termites in the garden to my client in Wheelers Hill is low. Provided she keeps her building timbers dry and ventilated by ensuring good building practice, there is very little risk for her. I did not propose any treatment for her home. Unfortunately, many homes were not built to current ‘good practice’. I visit terrace homes in the inner city which have zero air ventilation under their floors and where the floor frames are chronically damp.
This often ends very badly, with not only severe fungal decay, but also with Dampwood termites in very large numbers. I have to explain to my clients there that I can assist them with management advice and on-going inspections, but that there are no registered treatments that will be effective against these termites. Unfortunately their management is excluded from our Standard (As 3660.1 and 2).
So what do we do for these clients when we cant ‘touch’ these termites with any registered termiticide? We have to recommend a re-detailing of the building, such as by replacing timbers with CCA treated pine. This goes hand in hand with introducing good sub-floor ventilation, followed by on-going inspections. It can be pretty tough and expensive for clients so I was pleased that my client in Wheelers Hill only had these termites in her landscaping.
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