Defence Pest Management blogs for Pest Control Management in Brisbane. Read more to learn tips and guides for Pest control.

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

Understanding Termites: Defend your Home or Building from Termite Damage

queen termite

Here at Defence Pest Management, we think that it is important that we understand the habits of termites and their biology. Termites are similar in behaviour to ants and bees. Within the colony, there are several different levels of social structure. These castes are all very important for the maintenance, defence is species dependent and may vary from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand and sometimes into the millions.

Within the colony, the individual groups or castes has a specific duty, i.e. the workers work is to build the nest while soldiers defend the nest. The reproductive’s, king and queen, ensure the survival by producing more workers and more soldiers. They even produce young reproductive’s that take to flight once or twice a year to create new colonies. The soldier castes are important for us as pest managers, for it is the soldier caste that allows us to identify the termite species. We can then evaluate the risk of termite infestation and possible economic loss. Then just to complicate matters a little bit further, the pest controller needs to understand whether they are dealing with species of termites that only have one nest or a species that has many nests.

The life cycle of the termite is, king/queen who produced the eggs that hatch to form nymphs these developing nymphs than in turn may form supplementary reproductive’s, the worker-soldier or developing alate. Alates are wing termites that we see most commonly in Brisbane in the early summer when the storms are developing, and there is high humidity. It is not uncommon for our telephone to start ringing early in the morning with concerned homeowners about the termites they have found walking around the bath or floor. These alates are very poor flyers and are attracted by light. As I said earlier is very difficult for a termite colony to develop and survive and normally inside a well-constructed home it would be impossible, but it does serve as a good reminder to homeowners to have an inspection.

A new colony can be established from young reproductive’s that have taken the flight. These winged reproductive’s look to establish a colony in a suitable location with a very specific set of circumstances required not only for the establishment of a nest, but it’s long-term survival. These circumstances will include a good water source decayed timber and then an abundant source of timber. Very few of the tens of thousands of termites that are released from colonies successfully establish a colony and then only one or two percent of these go on to survive long-term.

The original king and queen can have a lifespan of more than 20 years. As the vitality of their egg laying declines, they may be replaced by supplementary reproductive is thus ensuring the survival of the colony. Workers are blind, and the most numerous. Their role in the nest is the collection of food, construction, maintenance of the nest, work in the nursery and look after the king and queen. For pest controllers, the workers are very important for treatment. When termiticide dust or foam is used, it is most important that the largest number of workers are treated because these workers will take the toxic ant back to the nest destroying the King and the Queen, and hence the nest.

termite-life-cycle

As mentioned earlier soldiers defend the colony, they are unable to feed themselves, and this is very important when it comes to some treatments. The number of soldiers present, relative to the number of workers, changes when termite colonies are treated and this is an indication of the progress of any termite elimination.

At Defence Pest Management, part of the training of our technicians is that we instill in them a good understanding of the biology of the termite and the termite nest. This transfers into good inspection processes being undertaken for you, the homeowner, because we understand how termites work and live, and how they can gain entry into your home or building.

This knowledge of their biology allows us to recommend the most suitable treatments to protect your most valuable asset. With this knowledge and understanding of termites and thus using the most suitable treatment, not only are we protecting your valuable asset, we are also protecting your well-being by no unnecessary treatments. When you combine this with a well-trained technician who understands how houses are constructed, how termites can enter a building, and bypass physical or chemical barriers – you are sure to get the most efficient recommendations for termite treatment.

When the technician understands the species of termite, he will successfully and with authority, make recommendations for treatment. This is important. We have found other companies only treating one nest in a species of termites that are multi-nesting. Yes, the nest has been destroyed, but the risk to the property has not been reduced. Conversely, we have seen unnecessary and expensive treatments around properties where the destruction of a single colony is all that was necessary.

As part of our training at Defence Pest Management, all our technicians regularly attend various seminars and training courses in the latest procedures and products. We keep up-to-date with the latest building processes and construction methods as we have an understanding how termites may enter a dwelling or building, and once inside, how it is likely to cause damage. Again, this knowledge and training are vitally important in the treatment process where unnecessary treatments can be kept to a minimum. It is vitally important to understand the weak points in a home over the edge of the slab, entry via plumbing protrusions through the slab or via control joints in brickwork or slabs. Split-level houses have their treatment issues that need to be dealt with.

This article is not designed as a treatment blueprint. If you suspect you have termites, it is essential that you call a 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.

 

5 DIY Remedies to Keep Fruit Flies Away

Fruit flies are a nuisance. Imagine yourself enjoying a meal and then suddenly, you are being swarmed by tiny insects trying to have a taste of your food.

Not only are they an annoyance, they also pose threats to you and your family as they carry diseases by contaminating food with E. Coli and Coliform bacteria that are both very harmful to the health. Read more

Stingless Bees: Tetragonula and Austroplebeia

Australia is home to over 1500 species of bees. 10 of these are stingless, honey-producing bees such as Tetragonula (formerly known as Trigona) and Austroplebeia.

There are a variety of names given to these bees such as native bees, native honey bees and a peculiar one called sweat bees which was named such because it tends to land on sweaty person just to quench its thirst. These bees are generally hairy, small and dark in colour. They carry nectar and pollen through their hind legs which are purposely hairy to be able to hold pollen and nectar. These bees, especially Tetragonula and Austroplebeia, are both very common in the Brisbane area. Read more

Myths and Facts About Pests [Infographic]

Let us get up close and personal with our unwanted house guests. If you think you know everything there is to know about cockroaches, spiders, rats and other creepy crawlies you are sharing your house with, you’d be amazed to know there’s a lot more you are yet to find out. 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

four lined silverfish

What You Need to Know About Silverfish

Perhaps when asked which is the oldest pest to ever roam the earth, many of you would say, “cockroach”. Old? Yes, that’s true. After all, they’ve been in existence since around 320 million years ago, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

But the oldest? Nah… It’s the silverfish.

This is not a well-known fact because, quite understandably, the silverfish is an underrated group of pests. It’s probably because they are not in any way harmful to humans and they do not carry any diseases. Read more

3 Must Dos in the Garden in Spring

Deciding on what to plant and what not to plant in Spring is not much of an issue anymore since we all know the weather allows us to plant ‘almost’ anything we want.

Here are some things you ought to try this Spring. Read more