The unfortunate truth about termites is that it is often too late when you find them.
There are a number of real situations of locations you may not often visit or explore in your home and garden, only to find out later that termites are silently doing damage.
One elderly woman who doesn’t frequent a downstairs area was left surprised to find her bookcases had been infested with active termites and termite mud. Of course, termites love wood, and of course, that means paper.
These termites had made themselves at home and ate the pages out of over 70 per cent of the books in this bookcase. Now while the termites haven’t eaten the home, some of these books had sentimental value and have been lost.
The second part of this hidden surprise is that behind the bookcase the termites are eating out the skirting. Lucky for this property it is double brick, and limited damage has occurred apart from the sentimental value of the books.
The second hidden hotspot, and probably the most common hidden area is the subfloor. Who frequents a subfloor other than someone who needs to do work there? This problem was found in one case while conducting a building and termite inspection for a buyer.
This subfloor had pooling water, which created a perfect environment for termites. These termites were already into the wall and floor frames and starting on the floor itself.
This is a significant case of termite tunnels and mud; we have them going up the piers and across floor frames. This is an extremely active environment, and the owner never knew what was going on.
This is not the only pier in the property which termites are tracking up and down.
This problem requires improvement of the ventilation, drainage and treat the termites.
Sneaky little termites are also causing damage to floorboards under your feet. Good inspectors will lift carpet, especially in areas of concern or if a wall adjoins a bathroom and especially if that wall is displaying moisture.
The photo below shows the termite mud on the underside of the carpet; you really do need to know what you are looking for in order to notice this, as it could be confused with dirt.
Another hidden spot is garden beds built up against the house. If the soil is covering the weep holes, the termites have a hidden entry point and can enter the subfloor and go up the piers and track into the floorboards.
Regular inspections - yearly at a minimum - will keep on top of termites causing damage. The Australian Standards recommends annual inspections in all areas across Australia except the very lowest point of Victoria and Tasmania.
The concern is that termites are out of mind and out of sight. If a clients sees spiders, they want them gone, but they don’t feel the same about termites until the damage is done and then they want them gone! You don’t see termites until it is too late. Unfortunately, we as humans put our head in the sand and think that if we can’t see anything, everything is fine.
As the above examples show, that just isn’t the case. Don’t worry about the spiders; worry about the termites.