We discovered that finding a qualified, experienced pest manager isn’t as easy as you’d think. Our special report brings you up to date with the current issues and practice in termite treatment and helps you protect yourself from ineffective, expensive or harmful treatment. Here’s a summary of the full report.
What are termites?
Often called ‘white ants’, the subterranean termites that can damage your home usually nest in soil or trees and can travel up to 100m to find food in the bush – or in our homes. They generally eat cellulose-containing materials, especially timber.
Termites can chomp through the structural timbers of a house – the frames, walls, roof and floors – making it unsafe and costly to repair. They can do a lot of damage before you even notice them.
Please note: this information was current as of October 2005 but is still a useful guide to today’s market.
Who’s at risk?
It’s estimated one in five homes in Australia has been treated for termite damage at some stage of its life. Brick and steel-framed houses, as well as timber, are at risk.
Do not disturb
Found a nest? Get a pest manager onto the job straight away. If you disturb the nest, the termites may move on and find a hidden place from which to attack your home.
Finding a pest manager
With newer, less toxic termite treatments and protection now available it’s important to find a pest manager with up to date knowledge and experience. As treatment costs an estimated average $1500 it’s certainly worth getting familiar with the subject before committing yourself to a management plan.
- Ring around – there are several different termite management strategies, so make sure you are comparing like with like. A cheaper option may work now, but leave you vulnerable to future termite attacks.
- Be sure to ask the right questions about their treatment methods, company, previous experience, qualifications and skills.
- You’ll get the best value for money if you’re present at the inspection. Check they have the right tools to do a thorough job.
- Licensing requirements vary from state to state, and the professional accreditation scheme aimed at raising standards in the industry has not been endorsed by all pest managers.
- Membership of an industry association gives you some protection if things go wrong, but make sure there’s a good complaints handling procedure.
- Insist on professional indemnity and public liability insurance and ask to see proof. Up to half of the industry is likely to be uninsured.
An integrated approach to termite management
There are a number of strategies – often used together – that can reduce the risk of termite infestation.
- Termites love moisture so it is important to improve the environment around your house.
- If you’re building a new home or extension you can use certain construction methods and materials that considerably reduce termite risk. A physical barrier will stop termites from gaining concealed access to your home – it’s also non-toxic, permanent and requires little maintenance.
- Chemical barrier and dusting treatments have been used in a variety of ways over the years to repel and destroy termites. Recent developments in insecticides – like insect growth regulators – are very effective and not as toxic as older treatments like carcinogenic arsenic trioxide dust.
- The latest trend in termite treatment is monitoring and baiting stations – which is a far less toxic but more costly long-term management strategy.