When building a new home, it’s important to take measures to prevent termite infestations.
Termites, also known as white ants, are small white insects that live in large colonies and eat plant materials to survive. In Australia, there are three termite species that eat timber and cause damage to buildings: subterranean, drywood and dampwood.
The most common species of invasive termite is subterranean termites (Rhinotermitidae) which require warm, moist conditions to survive. They travel underground in search of cellulose, a natural nutrient found in wood. Once fallen trees were enough, but now they find their way into homes for an endless supply.
To put the threat of termites into economical terms, the cost of treatment and repair for termite damage can range from $10,000 to $50,000. Compared to the cost of preventative measures, the price to take action before and after you build your house is significantly less.
Another thing to note is insurance companies do not include termite damage in their policies. As the homeowner, it’s your responsibility to take steps to prevent termite infestations.
Discuss Treatment Options With Your Builder
A good starting point for termite treatment options is to discuss the topic with your builder.
Competent builders in Australia will have an understanding of termite risk depending on your region and can suggest treatment options that are most suitable for your home. Termites need warm, moist conditions to survive and are more prevalent in central and northern parts of Australia like QLD, NSW, WA and NT.
The three most common types of termite prevention methods are soil treatment, wood treatment and bait stations.
Since termites move underground, one method for termite control is saturating the soil under the home’s foundation with toxic termiticide. This “trench and treat” method lasts up to eight years but is easily disturbed by everything from landscaping to remodelling. This has caused it to fall out of favour as more effective, environment and inhabitant-friendly methods have been developed. It can also be difficult to coordinate contractors, causing disruption to construction.
Rather than pumping the ground full of chemicals, many home builders have switched to treated timber or spraying the homes’ wooden framing during the dried-in phase (before drywall and insulation) with borate. This natural inorganic mineral salt is highly toxic to termites but no more dangerous to humans than saltwater. Whilst this method doesn’t keep termites out, it will kill them once they feed on the treated wood and take it back to their colony.
If you want to detect termite activity before it reaches your home, bait stations are your best choice. Compared to physical barrier treatments, bait stations are extremely effective at keeping termites out.
Bait stations consist of cardboard and timber, which are both rich in cellulose to attract termites. They are simple to install and should be placed every 3 metres around the perimeter of your home.
The primary difference is the monitoring aspect. Bait stations need to be inspected monthly and if termite activity appears, bait is added. Termites will take this back into their colony, killing it within three to four weeks.
Whilst this might sound like more effort, many users say they enjoy the benefit of being able to monitor the success of the termite treatment themselves. Unlike chemical systems where you are blind to the effectiveness, inground bait stations show you where and when termite activity happens, as well as seeing the colony be eliminated.
Once the termite bait has been used up, you can refill the station by ordering more bait and continue the cycle for up to 20 years.
A Final Word On Termite Treatment
The best termite prevention method is different for every person and depends on many factors. Key points to consider are how your home is constructed, the type of soil, the incline of your block and your region.
Often we see people opt for a combination of two or three to ensure there are no gaps in the termite barrier. You can speak to your builder about conducting these termite prevention measures during the construction process. Managing the risk of termites is in their best interest to avoid construction defect litigation as it pertains to termite infestations.
Protect Your Home With TermiGold
If you are still wondering how to prevent termites when building a house, feel free to get in touch with TermiGold. As one of the leading termite control experts, we can offer an expert opinion with no obligations.
Ready to go? All of our in-ground termite bait stations are available to shop online with Australia wide delivery.