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White Ant Treatment

No property is safe from White Ants (Termites)!  White ants are the cause of the greatest economic losses of timber in service in Australia.  Independent data compiled by State Forests shows 1 in every 5 homes is attacked by White ants a some stage in its life.  Australia’s subterranean White ant species (white ants) are the most destructive timber pests in the world.

In fact it can take “as little as 3 months for a White ant colony to severely damage almost all the timber in a home”.

How White Ants Attack Your Home? The most destructive species live in large underground nests containing several million timber destroying insects.  The problem arises when a nest matures near your home.  Your home provides natural shelter and a food source for the White ants.  They’ll travel up to 100 metres to enter your home where there is a smorgasbord of timber to feast upon.  Even concrete slabs do not act as a barrier; they can penetrate through cracks in the slab to gain access to your home.  They even build mud tubes to gain access to above ground timbers.  In rare cases White ants may create their nest in the cavity wall of the property without making ground contact.  In these cases it may be impossible to determine their presence until extensive timber damage occurs.

White Ant Damage.  Once in contact with the timber they excavate it often leaving only a thin veneer on the outside.  If left undiscovered the economic species can cause many thousands of dollars damage and cost two to five thousand dollars (or more) to treat.

Subterranean White Ant Ecology. These White ants are social insects living in underground nests.  They tunnel underground to enter the building and then remain hidden within the timber making it very difficult to locate them.  Where timbers are concealed, as in most modern homes, it makes it even more difficult to locate their presence.  Especially if gardens have been built up around the home and White ant barriers are either not in place or poorly maintained.

White ants form nests in all sorts of locations and they are usually not visible.  There may be more than one nest on a property.  The diet of White ants in the natural environment is the various hardwood and softwood species growing throughout Australia.  These same timbers are used in buildings.

Worker White ants move out from their underground nest into surrounding areas where they obtain food and return to nurture the other casts of White ants within the nest.  White ants are extremely sensitive to temperature, humidity and light and hence cannot move over ground like most insects.  They travel in mud encrusted tunnels to the source of food.  Detection of White ants is usually by locating these mud tunnels rising from the ground into the affected structure.  This takes an expert eye.

White ant barriers protect a building by forcing White ants to show themselves.  A White ant may build a mud tunnel up a subfloor wall or brick pier and upon reaching the White ant barrier build the tunnel around the barrier to reach the timber above.  The presence of a White ant track or lead does not necessarily mean that White ants have entered the timber.

A clear view of walls and piers and easy access to the subfloor means that detection should be fairly easy.  However many styles of construction do not lead themselves to ready detection of White ants.  The design of some properties is such that they make the detection by a pest inspector difficult, if not impossible.

The tapping and probing of walls and internal timbers is an adjunct or additional means of detection of White ants but is not as reliable as locating tracks.  The use of a moisture meter is a useful aid for determining the presence of White ants concealed behind thin wall panels, but it only detects high levels of activity.  Older damage that has dried out will not be recorded.  It may also provide false readings.

White ant tracks may be present in the ceiling space however some roofs of a low pitch and with the presence of sisalation, insulation, air conditioning ductwork and hot water services may prevent a full inspection of the timbers in these areas.  Therefore since foolproof and absolute certain detection is not possible the use of protective barriers and regular inspections is a necessary step in protecting timbers from White ant attack.

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