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understanding termite inspection

Understanding Visual Timber Pest Inspection

To avoid any misunderstanding, we undertake all inspections in accord with Australian Standard 3660.2-2000 or in the case of pre-purchase inspection, the Australian Standard’s 4349.3-.1998. If you wish, you can obtain copies of these standards by calling Defence Pest Management.

All inspections are non-invasive and are limited to areas of the property where access is readily available and permitted. Any areas where access was limited or restricted is noted in the report with advice for further inspections.

The Inspector will be using a tapper to determine the sound in some timbers or may use a sharp knife to carry out splinter testing on structural timbers, either in the roof or the subfloor. Splinter testing will only be carried out where the person who has ordered the report is also the owner of the property. It will not be done for a pre-purchase inspection without the written permission of the owner.

The inspection is a visual inspection only. Restrictions to this visual inspection will not be moved. There will be no invasive cutting, breaking or dismantling to gain access. A more invasive inspection is possible and may be done on the same day and time, but only with permission of the owner.

By its nature, a building has many concealed areas. There may be roof areas with no access or the area between floors. Floor coverings can be restricted by stored goods. Sometimes there is inability to gain full access to areas like the eaves because they are simply too low.

A termite inspection does not have a warranty that there will not be any future infestation of termites. Or in some cases, the infestation is in its infancy and not able to be found at the time of the inspection.

Our reports will indicate the degree of damage ranging from moderate to extensive and are only in the opinion of the inspector’s. A more invasive inspection would need to be undertaken to determine all the damage and its degree. This is done by a builder in conjunction with the pest inspector. These invasive inspections are also necessary to evaluate the cost of repairs.

If termites or even evidence of termites are located within the boundary of the property, then you must assume that damage may exist in areas that are not visible. Evidence will only be located when these restrictions are removed.

In the report, you will find a list of definitions. The report needs to be read in conjunction with these definitions. It is very critical to note that in any inspection for termites, if there is evidence but no active termites located (regardless of whether a treatment has been undertaken), it may be possible that termites are active or may not be active in that area or nearby. It may only be determined by future inspections, that is why the Australian Standards recommends a yearly inspection on properties without any evidence of termites and less frequently (six months or even three monthly) on properties where there has been previous evidence of termites.

With Defence Pest Management, we go beyond the Australian Standard with the equipment that we use. An essential part of our equipment will include Termatrac. This is a microwave device that picks up movement inside walls. It is used in conjunction with the moisture meter. Moisture meter picks up a variation of moisture within surfaces that are outside the normal range. When there is a variation, normally higher moisture content or where the test tapping indicates some degrading of the timber especially excavation by insects sometimes, decay is the first indications.

In conjunction with the test tapping, moisture meter and Termatrac, we also use a thermal image camera. This camera is broadly used to determine areas of moisture especially around bathrooms, kitchens, laundry and between floors in two-story houses. Moisture in these areas would indicate water leaks that encourage termites into the vicinity. On a  micro basis, moisture in a skirting board or behind a wet area (like shower cubicle) may be caused by a variety of reasons. It could be active termites, a water leak or it may be something simple like a change in the waterproofing material in this area. So, a technician trained in the use of thermography will be able to determine if there is the need for a more invasive inspection. Keep in mind that monitoring of these areas is advised.

The moisture meter should be run around all available timbers especially skirting boards, architrave and window sills. The test tapping of the timbers is again required in all these areas. While you are doing this, it is essential that the inspector visually inspects any gaps between the skirting, architrave, the main wall material (gyprock), et cetera. It is because if termites have been in the vicinity or are in the vicinity, they would mud up the small gaps to preserve humidity. Equally important is when you are test tapping, you need to listen very carefully to the sound of the tapper on the material. This determines if there is any cavity within which is indicated by a change in the tone of the tapping – a little bit more drummy to at the extreme where it is like hitting a piece of paper with a screwdriver. This may indicate active termites or a previous infestation.

Here at Defence Pest Management, our inspectors are fully trained and licensed. We regularly conduct updates and share experiences about termites. Termite inspections are the putting together of training and experience to determine the risk of termites, as well as manage the treatment of termites, to a property.

rat control

3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER IGNORE PEST CONTROL

Pest inspection is one of the most important parts of buying a property. Knowing that Your new home is free of pests, would mean that it has the potential to be as comfortable as possible. Homeowners have so many Jobs to keep up to make sure that everything in their household runs smoothly.

Ignoring pest control especially in your own household can cause a substantial amount of damage in the future. Prevention is always better than regrets. With pest control, a property owner can feel more confident about their home being safe from pests like termites, rat, cockroaches etc., running around their property. Written below are three out of a million reasons why you should never ignore having a pest control.

PESTS CAUSE CONTAMINATION TO FOOD

Food is always present in a household. Contaminations caused by pests such as mice, flies and cockroaches result in health problems. Some conditions like Salmonella, Hepatitis and E. Coli are caused by pests that have contacted the food. These foodborne illnesses can be fatal if not treated or prevented. The hazards that correlate with pests enter food in one of two ways:  direct contact of the filth into food or food-contact surfaces by the metabolic products released by those pests and the bacterium that they carry.

DANGERS OF RATS

When you talk about pests, people mostly refer to bugs, but rat infestation also exists. Rats are attracted to many kinds of food, even the garbage in our home or neighbourhood. If you ask yourself, would you let rats become your housemate? Rats have a fast rate of reproduction, and also, houses have small access points that rats use to create a breeding environment. Once they explode in population, rats will start to damage your furniture, leave dirt on the corners of your home; go through your food that could cause contamination and chew the electric wiring that can also result to accidental fire. Once tolerated, rats make the most of your household that could harm you in many ways possible.

TERMITE INFESTATION

Your house will most probably become sawdust. It would take a long time for anything serious to happen, in all seriousness. Thus, it does not mean than you should take it for granted. Termites live from the cellulose of wood, and your house has vast amounts of this material, they will go for it and chew it. If you plan on selling your property in the future and termites were found after an inspection, it worth will lessen a lot. Having your property free from termites by having it controlled will make a very big difference.

Most home or property owners tend to ignore having pest inspections and pest controls in the belief that the pests will move out on their own, which is false. Some make DIY ways to lessen them but with no professional help.

Seeking help from a pest control company is the best way to controlling an infestation of pests. Unfortunately, pests don’t move out of their own free will. They have a warm shelter that can protect them from the harsh weather outside and with access to food and water. Why would they want to leave? They’ll stay no matter how often you clean up. Ignoring pest infestations will give you a hard time. And as time goes by, you will eventually see the effects of pests in your household. If you want to see the end of pests, you might want to stop ignoring them and give them an eviction notice — Defence Pest Management

The Various Sorts of Damage to Timber

damage to timberThere is damage caused by Borers, Termites (both subterranean Drywood and Dampwood), decay and insects that feed on decayed timber such as carpenter ants and decay moth. And in some cases, Defibration where a chemical reaction takes place breaking down Lignin which is the material that binds fibres in timber together, basically it’s glue. Also, there are fungi which destroy timber.

Throughout Australia, various types of borers do damage to timbers in use in dwellings and commercial buildings in Australia. Borers are also found in furniture stored in homes and offices. As pest controllers in Queensland, we are called upon to identify a number of these annually. Powderpost Beetle, Furniture Beetle, Pinhole Beetle and in Queensland a beetle called Calymmaderus incisus or the Queensland Pine beetle. And to a lesser degree in the southern parts of Australia The European House Borer.

In Queensland, Defence Pest Management is most often called upon to treat a number of termite species. The most damaging species of termites in Australia, mainly because they are found throughout the Australian mainland and interior is Coptotermes spp.

In south-east Queensland, this species was the most commonly treated when I first started pest control.  Now 30 years later the species Schedorhinotermes spp appear to be the most commonly located and treated by Defence Pest Management.

As well as the above we do see Heterotermes spp. and another species Microcerotermes spp. Though these species sometimes are located inside homes, they are more generally found in retaining walls sleepers and fencing. Lastly but not least the nest builder Nasutitermes spp.

In the dryer more, tropical parts of Queensland there is a species of termites called Mastotermes sp.

A little harder to locate are drywood species of termites this species of termites attack both furniture and timber in use. Commonly called the West Indian Drywood Termite when I started in pest control I was told they were initially imported into Australia from Southeast Asia in furniture. Treatment is by fumigation. Some of the older residents of Brisbane may remember the old museum being fumigated. It has been suggested that the West Indian Drywood termite is the most damaging termite in the world. There is a local species Cryptotermes primus they are a true Drywood species and do cause damage to Timber in use.

Dampwood termites are of no significance

Decay moth and carpenter ant damage are sometimes confused with termite damage. This is why the importance of a trained Timber Pest Specialist is invaluable as these pests do not typically require treatment. The carpenter ant remove the decaying wood, and this sometimes may appear as termite damage. Similarly, with the Decay Moth.

Treatments

Treatment of pinhole borer is considered unnecessary as they do not reinfest. The Powder Post Beetle may require treatment. The type of treatment will depend entirely upon the circumstances of the timber, and where it is used, the age of the wood as these beetles normally attack timber in use within the first 12 months. Again, an experienced pest controller will be able to guide the homeowner in the best manner of control. Lastly, the Furniture Beetle will require treatment, this could range from injecting insecticide into the borer holes right through to fumigation, again depended upon the size and location of the infestation in the timber.

Subterranean Termite Treatments

If damage is located in timber caused by subterranean termites, treatment will need to be undertaken. The extent of the treatment and type of treatment will depend entirely upon the species of termites the location of the activity and the degree of infestation.

When a termite nest is located treatment of the nest will destroy the entire colony, you may need to monitor areas where infestation was located to ensure all termite activity has ceased. Where a termite nest has not been located all areas of activity are treated remotely to destroy the colony. This may involve baiting, foaming (with an approved insecticide), introducing insecticidal dust directly into the termite workings. Lastly where the species are termites, and the degree in their station dictate a significant and permanent termite treated zone. Treated Zones are employed around homes and commercial buildings and have a life of up to 10 years.

Drywood Termite Treatments

The West Indian Drywood Termite will require fumigation to ensure complete control. Ongoing inspections will be required to ensure no surviving colonies. In the case of Cryptotermes primus, localized treatments are usually sufficient.

It would be my advice that you call a company like Defence Pest Management who have had the training and the expertise to identify the type of damage, determine the insects causing the problem and make recommendations for treatments if required.

All my technicians are fully trained and licensed, and the company is registered with the QBCC: with professional indemnity insurance. Defence Pest Management uses the most modern equipment, for example, Termatrac, briefly Termatrac is a microwave device that picks up movement inside walls combine this movement with high moisture and damage, and you have an elevated chance of having active termites. We also use moisture meters which are very useful in the location of termites and moisture problems that may lead to termites. Also, these moisture meters will indicate areas at high risk of decay. Lastly, we have thermal cameras – these are exciting tools that pick up subtle variations in temperature inside walls that can be caused by many different reasons. But when you look at them from the viewpoint of results, from test tapping timbers, using a moisture meter, indications from a Termatrac, it is possible to locate bivouac areas (small sub colonies) or even main colonies inside walls. The thermal camera is excellent at detecting water leaks. The inspector test taps available timbers the resonance of the tapped timbers are a good indication of termite infestation though not necessarily one that is active at the time of the inspection.

Our advice is that you undertake an annual termite inspection or if you find unexplained damage to Timber get professional advice from a qualified and experienced Timber pest specialist.

 

A Guide to Balcony and Deck Maintenance

To those of you living in homes or apartments with balcony or deck, I’m sure you understand how big of an advantage it is. It provides an extra living space that will serve as your haven for relaxation and entertainment. Be that as it may, there are certain rules that you have to follow when it comes to its use and maintenance. Read more

Importance of Hygienic Practices in the Kitchen

Proper hygiene must always be observed most especially when handling and preparing food. This is not only important in the food industry but should also be observed strictly even in domestic settings. Read more

Qualities of a Good Pest Control Company

Having a termite infestation in your home is a serious problem needing quick and efficient remedy. If you suspect that your home is being infested, it would be best if you ask for urgent professional help. This is something you dare not overlook because if you do, you might be taken aback by the amount of damage it has caused and even more horrified at the repair costs it could entail. Read more

Spray and Pray Pest Control Method

Decades ago, when you call exterminators to get rid of pest problems, pest control companies would just come to your home spraying toxic pesticides. At that time, it was considered as the most effective way of managing pests. This does not include the treatment of the outdoor areas though. Question is, does spraying alone do the trick? Read more

Considering Termite Control During House Planning

Sometimes called ‘white ants’, termites are considered beneficial in nature as they feed off dead trees and convert them into organic matter. However, for these crawlers, the wood in buildings and other structures are just as appetising to them.

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Out of hundreds of termite species all throughout Australia, about 20 of those can cause serious damages and insurmountable expenses as they are capable of eating through solid wood in buildings and homes. There is an ideal temperature and humidity that these particular species of termites require and most of the time, the timbers used in your home and garden provide just a fitting environment for them to thrive and survive.

Strategically Designing Your Home to Minimise Termite Damage

  • Designing the concrete slab with edges exposed for easy inspection.
  • Using less timber in building the structure.
  • Laying timber floor with access points for under-floor inspection.
  • Installing an interwinding system under the concrete slab to allow easy application of chemical barriers.

As you can tell, these measures are mostly barriers to hinder termites from entering your premises. As a matter of fact, there are 2 types of barriers that you can use: the physical and the chemical.

Physical Barriers

  • Metal Shields or Stainless Steel Mesh – during construction, sheets of fine stainless steel mesh can be installed under metal slabs and in external walls.
  • Granite Chip Barriers – these stone barriers are graded to a size and shape which cannot be transported by termites. The spaces between its particles are too small for termites to pass through. Stone barriers can be installed underneath the concrete slabs or surrounding it. It can also be installed beneath a suspended floor.

Chemical Barriers

During construction, termicide is applied to the soil under the slab and around the pipes, footings, conduits and other structures for a vertical barrier. For a horizontal barrier, loosened soil around the perimeter, including around pipes and service facilities, is treated during construction.

Many new buildings, homes and other structures use a termicide-treated layer of soil underneath or surrounding them. When used together with the physical barriers, it will form an unified barrier.

Other times, people consider using treated timbers to construct houses, fences and garden structures.
Then again, you must be aware of the effects of these chemicals to both the environment and your family’s health. It is recommended that only licensed pest controllers carry out the soil and timber treatment to ensure the work is done safely and effectively. Rid your home of these nasty creatures. Call us on 1300 304 725 today.

Importance of Pest Inspection in Buying or Renting a Property

Put yourself in this scenario: you are in search for a new house, and after months and months of being on the lookout, you finally find what you are looking for – your dream home. Read more

Six Reasons Why Carpet Cleaning Is a Must

Carpets are an elegant addition to your home. With different artistic designs and patterns, they can give your interiors a unique touch that could perfectly match your furniture and decor. Carpets also provide comfort and safety for the entire family, helping avoid falls on slippery and hard surfaces.

However, in a lot of property inspections our team from Defence Pest Management have conducted, soiled carpets are a common sight as homeowners often neglect the necessity of having their carpets cleaned. Most owners think that unless the carpet actually looks dirty and stained, cleaning can wait.

This is not true though. Carpets should be regularly cleaned, and here are the reasons why:

Maintain the quality of the material

Just like any type of textile, the material quality of carpets can degrade over time due to wear and tear. If the carpet is not cleaned as needed, it can even become less durable more quickly, making its lifespan shorter.

Keep indoor air clean

Carpet fibres do a pretty good job in trapping common household particles, dust and airborne pollutants, preventing them from circulating in the air. This can be beneficial to property occupants, but carpets should also be cleaned to avoid the build-up of these particles.

Avoid allergies and other health hazards

If carpets have not been maintained for a long time, there are chances that the build-up of pollutants, dust, bacteria and even allergens will become harmful to your family. Because the carpet is filled with particles that it can no longer hold them in, these particles can end up being released in the air, triggering allergic reactions, among others.

Prevent damage on the surface underneath

Imagine your living room looking all clean and elegant, with eye-catching furniture, wall paintings and a nice centrepiece, but your untidy and soiled carpet is spoiling the effect. If you are using carpets to enhance the beauty of your home, then you should also not forget about the maintenance of your carpeting.

Avoid pest infestations

Carpets are a favourite nesting spot of ticks and fleas. If you own pets and are having problems with these pests, getting rid of ticks and fleas requires more than just treating your dog or cat. It could likewise mean clearing your carpet of lingering pests and their eggs. Although it may be difficult to determine if there are pests hiding in carpets, our technicians from Defence Pest Management can help you with pest inspections.

How Often Should You Have Your Carpet Cleaned

If you are living alone or have a small household, you can have your carpet cleaned every 12 to 18 months. On the other hand, if you have a large household, which leads to high traffic or you have children and pets at home, or you smoke, it is ideal to have your carpets maintained every 6 to 9 months.