Termites on the move in Canberra

A tennant’s photo of a termite swarm that had burst through an internal wall and had damaged the structure of a house in Canberra.

A tennant’s photo of a termite swarm that had burst through an internal wall and had damaged the structure of a house in Canberra.

THE ACT has a growing termite problem and in recent weeks a major termite flight took place inside a Canberra home, with the termites determined to find a place to build a nest.

The CSIRO recommends that houses be inspected for termites at a minimum annually.

“Termites are increasingly active here,’’ says local pest inspector Bruce Cohen.

“We see them most weeks when inspecting Canberra homes, with many owners distressed to learn their house, fences or landscaping timbers are affected.

“The change in weather patterns over time in the ACT has contributed to a rise in termite activity every year since we started working here in 2005.”

In the recent incident, Bruce says a property manager called Surety Pest Control after being alerted by a tenant who thought they had a bunch of bugs flying in their house. It ended up being a huge flight of termites that had burst through an internal wall and had damaged the structure.

So how do you get on top of a potential termite problem?

“Termites are very hard to see and can be difficult to find, but in as little as three months they can severely damage almost all the timber in your property,” says Bruce.

“You need ongoing annual checks to keep on top of matters.”

Here are some signs of termite infestation:

• Mud leads, which are tunnels made of mud. They usually appear on the outside of a house, subfloor, or roof void, including on brickwork or concrete. Termites travel through these tunnels.

• Timber with gaps and holes that crumbles when touched.

• Damaged wood, especially when the wood makes a dull thud when you strike it with something hard, such as a hammer or your vacuum cleaner.

• Swarms of what look like ants flying in and around your house.

“With a professional inspection, make sure you ask how the inspection will be performed and remember that it should take any quality inspector a minimum 1.5 hours to work carefully through a three-bedroom home,” says Bruce.

“This is not a process that should be rushed.”

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