Subterranian Termites are one thing we don't have a problem with in the UK but termites are a must to watch over here in Perth and the rest of Australia.
In fact the Australian Standards stipulate that buildings be inspected for termites every 12 months. And there is a very good reason for that.
DESTRUCTIVE TIMBER PESTS
Termites are known through out WA as highly destructive timber pest, and can cause major structural timber damage to your home if left untreated. In fact termites cause more damage to homes in Australia than fire, floods, storms and tempest, combined.
Only a few of the more than 300 species found in Australia are responsible for causing extensive damage to sound timber.These species of subterranian termite are known as the Coptotermes frenchi (most important) and Nasutitermes exitiosus.
OK, OK I can hear you asking what do subterranian termites look like? Well they are often (although incorrectly) referred to as white ants and are similar in size to ordinary black ants.
However, the reproductive stage is winged with compound eyes and can fly and make their nests in favourable places.
Places such as old railway sleepers or thick layers of wood chips (at least 15 cm deep).
Subterranian termites can even establish new nests in a damp area in the house, such as a shower recess or where the hot water system has leaked.
This is because they survive where water is readily available
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A TERMITE PROBLEM?
Termites are prone to desiccation and they construct a system of sealed leads made out of excretions from the anus. This allows them to move from the nest to the food sources and back in an environment that protects them from atmospheric conditions. You are likely, to see the mud tracks they leave or timber damage made by the termite first.
Now the reason you have an annual inspection of your home is because they are known to destroy the wall and roofing timbers of homes if left untreated for long enough.
In the Northern Territory termites have been known to destroy the wall and roofing timbers of a home within 3 months of construction.
The recommended annual inspection should be sufficient to keep your termites at bay. Of course it makes sense to be sensible and your termite inspector will highlight in his report to you any changes you may need to make to keep the termites at bay. It would be unwise for example to stack large timber next to the house or to a fence if it is likely to contain termites. Only chopped firewood should be stacked so that termites, if present, will soon dry out.
Oh and a Word of Warning, it: requires expert skill and judgement to identify and treat a termite invasion. Do NOT attempt do-it-yourself termite control..... leave it to the experts They have professional training and extensive field-work experience in termite control in a wide variety of circumstances.
TERMITES IN THE WILD
On my first trip to the Northern part of Western Australia I saw my first termite mound. Out in the wild termites live in underground nests, easily spotted becasue of the huge termite mounds that can be seen on top of the nest.
Termite mounds can look very different in size and shape depending on the species or termite that built the mound. Termite mounds will also vary in colour depending on the soil used for the construction of the termite mound.
OTHER HOUSEHOLD PESTS FOUND IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Cockroaches - Unfortunately cockroaches can be found in the cleanest of homes as they are attracted to food deposits and grease that are in difficult to get to places. They will eat almist anything organis no matter how rancid even eating their own faeces. Resting during the day you normally will spot a cockroach at night. To see one in your home during the day may mean you have a huge problem.
Rats & Mice
Silverfish - known as fabric destroyers a silverfish prefers to eat items with a high starch content such as cotton, silk, paper etc.... They prefer dark environments abd are mostly active at night and can sometimes be found in the bath having fallen in there during the night time roaming.