Changes in weather patterns on the Gold Coast have had unexpected consequences, say pest control experts. Suburbs across the region are experiencing higher levels of humidity due to more substantial rainfall than usual.
Increased rain can drive termite activity, which means more termite damage to properties they invade. One reason for this is that termites swarm when there are downpours. The pests know that rainfall will make conditions conducive to establish new colonies, so they swarm to find mates. With new colonies looking for sources of food, the neighboring properties on the Gold Coast become at risk of a termite invasion.
Puddles and other dampness left after rainfall set up perfect conditions for subterranean and damp wood termites to thrive. Rotting wood in crawl spaces, attics or basements caused by damp are prime territory for these pests.
Another concern for pest control technicians is that higher rainfall could reduce the efficacy of certain termite eradication products.
So, how do you know if wet weather has turned your property into a haven for termites? Let’s look at three common signs they are causing damage to your home.
You see mud trails
If you spot trails of mud on the outside walls of your home, it’s a clear sign that termites have invaded your house and are eating timber somewhere within. Mud trails provide tube-like shelters for the pests, protecting them from the elements and other ants in areas that are exposed. They tend to make them in weep holes that are unprotected or cracks in the wall. Check the edges of the walls or the area where brickwork meets the ground. These are common spots that termites use to infiltrate houses.
Mud chutes are also found inside houses if there are termites about. If you come across one, do not break it to see if there are live termites inside. Instead, call a pest control team immediately. They will inspect the chutes. If you disturb the termites, they will relocate and will be more challenging to find.
There are dark stains on your walls
Look at the internal walls of your home for signs of patches or stains. The mud stains are caused when termites build a sub-nest in the walls. They use mud to build the structure, causing liquid stains to form. If you press the spot, you may even find it gives way because it has been softened and damaged by the sub-nest.
Bathrooms commonly have termite mud stains because the pests are attracted to the moisture in these wet rooms. The plumbing penetrations also allow them easy access through gaps and cracks. If you’re concerned you have a termite infestation in your home, also check your kitchen and laundry for signs of activity.
Timber is breaking down
Skirting boards are popular with termites, it seems. You’d think it would be evident that they were hosting termites, but because they are painted sometimes they become hollowed out, and the damage behind cannot be seen. From the outside, all looks good. By knocking the skirting boards, you will be able to tell if the wood is breaking down or softening. You may also see the paint is bubbling.
With experts predicting that climate change will increase rainfall on the Gold Coast going forward, this problem is not going to go away. You should recruit a qualified pest control technician to inspect your property once a year. The investment in annual termite inspection or termite maintenance program is small compared to the costs you could be up against if termites invade your home.
A termite repair bill can be as high as $100,000. If you’re planning on selling your property and a pest inspection picks up signs of termites, you could also risk losing the sale, or have to lower the asking price.
You can also have an impact and reduce the risk of a termite infestation by repairing all leaks in your home. Remove potential food sources for these timber-munching pests such as logs in your garden or stored timber. Woodchip and bark are excellent materials for mulch, but they also offer a regular meal for termites and create a moist and humid environment for the critters. When they are foraging for new territory, the heat and moisture of mulch will attract them. If you do use mulch, avoid placing it against your foundations. Another option is to use a woodchip that contains insect repellent, such as tea tree. Also, avoid using wooden borders on the beds in your garden too.
Plants or shrubs that are planted near a home will also attract termites. If they come into contact with your house, they can also act as a bridge that gives them easy access to your house. Similarly, vines or climbing plants should be avoided.
Author Bio: Phil Edwards is an outreach specialist for Pest-Ex. Pest Ex is a pest control company that is serving the Gold Cost area. Their motto is to provide quality pest control services using safe products and applying them in a professional manner.