Pro­tect from ter­mites

Pilbara News - - Property - Dianne Gil­le­land

Since mov­ing into our home just af­ter it was built, we have not had a pest in­spec­tion or re-treat­ment done. We have lived here for about five years and are happy to co-ex­ist with a few spi­ders and in­sects rather than have chem­i­cals sprayed around be­cause we have chil­dren with al­ler­gies. We know it is im­por­tant to con­trol pests, but we’re re­luc­tant to do so. What is the min­i­mum we should do? A ter­mite man­age­ment sys­tem in­stalled at the time of con­struc­tion of your home could be a chem­i­cal or phys­i­cal bar­rier.

Chem­i­cal bar­ri­ers are in­stalled be­fore the con­crete slab is poured, and then a sec­ond ap­pli­ca­tion when the home is com­plete around the perime­ter.

You may have a retic­u­lated sys­tem or, de­pend­ing on the type of con­struc­tion of your home, there are a num­ber of phys­i­cal bar­ri­ers.

Some of these in­clud­ing ant caps to tim­ber posts or brick piers of framed homes, stain­less-steel mesh, graded stone par­ti­cles and sheet ma­te­ri­als used in the wall cav­ity, at pen­e­tra­tion points and/or un­der the floor slab — or a com­bi­na­tion of these sys­tems that best suit the site or con­struc­tion of the build­ing.

If you are not sure which sys­tem you have, a durable no­tice is fixed inside your me­ter box that lists the type of sys­tem, who in­stalled it, and when it should be in­spected.

If you can­not find it, con­tact your builder, as this is a re­quire­ment of the Build­ing Code of Aus­tralia and Aus­tralian Stan­dard.

No in­stal­la­tion is 100 per cent. They need to be checked reg­u­larly to en­sure there are no breaches by ter­mites.

It is im­por­tant to note that home in­surance poli­cies may ex­clude dam­age by ter­mites.

Gen­er­ally, you should have an an­nual in­spec­tion of your home, and the pest con­trol com­pany that in­stalled the sys­tem, is prob­a­bly the best one to con­tact for a re­view.

Even though ac­tiv­ity may not be de­tected, it does not mean you are ter­mite free. He said this, ma­jor struc­tural dam­age is rare.

The Perth metropoli­tan area has a mod­er­ate risk com­pared with higher risks in north­ern and more hu­mid parts of the State.

You still need to con­sider the man­age­ment sys­tem in­stalled is only for the struc­tural el­e­ments of your home, and not other el­e­ments — ter­mites are happy to chew through skirt­ings, car­pets, plaster­board, not to men­tion fur­ni­ture and books.

Sum­mer is the time they are look­ing for a new place to start a nest. The treat­ment of space around the perime­ter of your home is a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in breach­ing the bar­rier in­stalled.

Phys­i­cal bar­ri­ers can be bridged, and chem­i­cal bar­ri­ers dis­turbed.

Where chem­i­cal bar­ri­ers are in­stalled the sec­ond ap­pli­ca­tion around the perime­ter must be re-ap­plied to main­tain the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ter­mite man­age­ment sys­tem.

There are no nat­u­ral or chem­i­cal-free ways of pre­vent­ing ter­mite ac­tiv­ity that I am aware of. The re-ap­pli­ca­tion of your chem­i­cal ter­mite bar­rier does not mean that you need to have other treat­ments from the con­trac­tor.

Dis­cuss your con­cerns with them and your de­sire to min­imise the use of chem­i­cals.

There are things you can do to lower the risk of at­tack:

Keep land­scap­ing away from the im­me­di­ate perime­ter of the home.

Stack tim­ber or other cel­lu­lous ma­te­rial away from the homes, and check for any ac­tiv­ity. reg­u­larly, about ev­ery six months.

When adding pa­tios and decks to the home, these must also have a suit­able ter­mite bar­rier.

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