QBCC urges North Queensland home owners to check for termites after wet weather

QBCC urges North Queensland home owners to check for termites after wet weather

They chew through wood, have a devastating impact on your home and North Queensland offers the perfect combination of ingredients for the pests to thrive.

Key points: A pest controller says homeowners should check for termites regularly. The QBCC says cleaning areas where water pools and fixing leaks can help keep termites away.

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is warning homeowners to check for termite infestations before it’s too late.

Commissioner Anissa Levy said the insects are capable of causing major structural damage in a short period of time.

“It’s really important that homeowners exercise extra vigilance after heavy rainfall and flooding,” she said.

“If flooding has surrounded or covered the internal floors, they should check for signs of damage to their termite management system.”

Termites can be extremely destructive. (Provided: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Mackay pest controller Campbell Eldridge said it was “critical” to carry out regular checks.

“It’s not just that termites become more active when the heat and humidity come in the rain,” he said.

“That’s what creates the external environmental conditions for them to release their wing reproductives, that’s when the termites fly out of the nest and create their new nest.

“This is what makes them appear more active.

“Typically, as we build houses, the termites will first consume the wood moldings, which are your baseboards, your door jambs and window frames.”

When building or renovating, treated timber, masonry, steel, concrete and fibre-reinforced cement are recommended. (ABC Tropical North: Melissa Maddison) How to check for ‘creep’ pests

Ms Levy said termites seek moisture.

“It is important to clear water that pools in gutters, empty cans and other objects around the property, and fix leaking items such as pipes and taps,” she said.

“When renovating, you can help protect your property by using termite-resistant materials, including treated wood, masonry, steel, concrete and fiber-reinforced cement.”

Signs of infestation: Mud shelter tubes Sagging floors, doors or ceilings Damaged baseboards, door jambs or architraves Cracked or blistered paint or plaster Power outages Discarded termite wings found near windows or light fixtures Wood that makes a hollow sound when tapped

Mr Eldridge said termites are “very sneaky.”

“You might see a defect in the paint, like a wavy look, and when you poke it, there’s nothing left behind,” he said.

“The termites consume the wood behind the paint and leave the paint intact.

“Sometimes you don’t realize until the whole thing is eaten.”

Mr Eldridge said the best way to check is with a screwdriver.

“Tap your moldings and baseboards … it will make a hollow sound when you tap it, like a drum,” he said.

“Don’t have downspouts draining against the house, air conditioners that drain against the wall, definitely don’t have gardens bumping against your wall, railroad sleepers, tree stumps.”

He said it is possible to hear the termites themselves.

“What the termites do is they all tap their head on the timbre at the same time, and that’s what makes the sound — you’ve actually disturbed them,” he said.

“It’s a very distinctive sound … if you ever hear it, you’ll never forget it.”

Commissioner Anissa Levy says if homeowners suspect they have termites, they should immediately seek the advice of a QBCC licensed contractor.

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