A large percentage of termites are mainly subterranean, which means they dwell in the ground. These insects create tunnel systems in the soil which may extend to a maximum depth of three feet. Here they make mud tubes that will connect their colonies located underground to food sources above such as wood material in your homes.
There are also some termites who live in water sources such a leaky tap or any damp areas produced by rain. They look for a place where there is moisture, so they will be able to survive and populate.
Lastly, termites prefer to invade wood or any types of material that have cellulose.
Do not bury scrap wood or waste lumber in your yard. If it is in the soil termites will be attracted to it.
Clear downed branches or decaying twigs and plants before they submerge into the soil.
Mulch provides a useful purpose but is best placed in areas of your garden that aren’t directly adjacent to the walls of your home. It can provide a food source and water source in the form of moisture and irrigation.
Termites will consume any material that contains cellulose. Some of the more obvious signs could be small holes in wood, crumbling drywall, sagging doors or floors, insect winds and small shelter tubes
Minimize excess building materials and scrap wood touching the ground. Concrete slabs or stands can be used to raise the wood off the ground.
Limit stockpiled timber or firewood near external walls or raise above the ground.
Limit wood to ground contact. Home improvement centers now offer concrete supports that raise the wooden support beams for decks and patios off the ground.
Termites cannot survive without a source of water present.
Identify and fix all water leaks in and around your home. Do not give termites a free water source that is close to your home.
Any standing or pooling water should be dealt with as well as leaking gutters.
The most common example of leaks around I see on a daily basis is the hot water service relief valve and air conditioning unit condenser overflow points not being connected. This can easily be remedied by connecting them to the storm water system.
- Avoid gardens alongside your home especially if you have a chemical barrier at the perimeter. Normal gardening or use of topsoil may ruin the barrier and void your warrantee.
- If you must have gardens alongside your home do not raise the beds above the existing ground level especially with slab-on-ground construction. The ground level or finished paving level must be at least 75mm below the damp-proof course line or the bottom of the weepholes. Never cover up the weepholes.
- Don’t plant flower or shrubs that will hide weepholes, vents in the walls with timber floors or the exposed edge of concrete floor slabs.
- Areas under suspended floor should be well ventilated and dry. Don’t close off sources of ventilation.
- Be aware that the later construction of unprotected additions such as carports, pergolas, porches, access ramps and steps to your home may allow termites to bridge an existing termite barrier. Even installing something like a new water heater on the outside of your home could damage the termite barrier or make it difficult to detect any future termite activity.
- Take care when selecting trees to plants. If you plant the wrong tree too close to your home, its roots may damage the termite barrier under or beside the concrete slab or cause the slab itself to crack.
- Don’t affix wooden trellises to exterior walls
- Keep all shrubs, bushes and other dense greenery away from the foundation of your home.
- Remove infested trees and stumps
- Don’t allow leaves to accumulate in gutters and drains.
- Inspection of all potential entry points to timber structures
- Inspection of all termite barriers for any bridging or breaching by termites, building trails of mud or galleries across those barriers.
- Inspection around perimeter weepholes in brick walls just above concrete slabs or just below suspended floors
- Inspection for wood and other possible food for termites around the perimeter of the concrete slab or under timber floors.
I generally recommend an annual inspection, whether it is done by a Licensed Inspector qualified in the area of Timber and Pest Inspection, or by yourself (but you need to know what to look for).