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The Rising $10,000 Problem for Queensland Homeowners

  • Written by Keith Jacobs

When it comes to termites, sharing a home with thousands of invasive creepy crawlies isn’t a Queensland homeowner’s only worry. A recent report released by the University of Technology Sydney has highlighted that these silent destroyers are wreaking havoc across Australia, causing more than $1.5 billion worth of damage to homes each year. Alarmingly, a single colony can have more than 10 million termites devouring a home with minimal warning signs until it is too late.

Termites are a major hidden threat to Queensland homes

Termites are indeed a problem in most parts of Australia. However, they are particularly active in hot, wet areas such as coastal Queensland. With the consistent rain over the last two years, termites are back with a vengeance.

Queensland homeowners need to understand that damp spots on a property can attract termites. Garden beds, shrubs, trees, or loose piles of timber near the home provide the perfect nesting conditions. Moreover, once termites have moved in, they spread quickly. A termite queen will produce one egg every three seconds, averaging about 30,000 eggs a day. Therefore, if a homeowner suspects termites, they need to act swiftly to mitigate the damage.

Signs a home may have termites

There are around 10 native subterranean termite species that cause damage to timber in Queensland. The most widespread species is the Coptotermes acinaciformis and the most destructive is the giant northern termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis). 

Infestation usually starts from a nest in the ground from which the termites build galleries over piers or walls to infest a home from below. Usually, the nest is outside the home’s perimeter, but occasionally it is buried beneath the home in soil or fill. Termite entry may occur at the slab edge, through cracks, joints, and imperfections in the concrete or around service pipes.

Damage in timber may be detected by the presence of mud ‘plastering’ along joints and cracks in the surface. Where termites are working between timber walls or in timber that has been painted, there may be noticeable bulging, staining, or rippling of the surface.

Places to look for termite mud galleries or damage include building foundations, piers or stumps, sub-floor areas, skirting boards, architraves, cornices, mouldings, and roof timbers, particularly those made of softwood. 

Always seek professional advice for termite treatment

When an active infestation is located, it is important not to disturb the termites further until a professional has had an opportunity to assess the area. There are many species of subterranean termites in Queensland and correct identification requires skill and experience. The size and physical structure of the nest, the distribution of the termites, their habits and the extent of the damage can all assist in identifying a species.

Premature attempts to repair or replace infested timber may cause the termites to withdraw temporarily from the area and hinder effective treatment. The choice of treatment should consider the soil type, topography, building design and relationship to neighbouring structures. Queensland homeowners are encouraged to seek professional advice to determine the appropriate approach.

If a homeowner suspects termites, they should not disturb any nests, mud tunnels, paths, or trails. Instead, it is recommended that they contact a professional pest control Brisbane operator. 

About the author

Keith Jacobs is fully licensed pest management services professional with over a decade’s experience protecting homeowners and commercial operators from pest incursions. An expert in diagnosing risk, planning and executing pest management strategies for property investors and owners, Keith is always happy to share his insights and knowledge of current pest challenges and best control methods. Find out more about Keith here.


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