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There are around 300 species of termite in Australia, but only a handful cause issues. Subterranean termites (also called white ants) cause the majority of the damage around the country. They feed off cellulose-containing materials such as wood.

Termites can cause significant structural and economic damage to houses and industrial buildings by eating the inside of the structure and leaving only a thin shell for protection from the exterior environment.

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Mud shield tubes they construct for protection (pictured). These can occasionally be seen in brick foundations or in architraves.

Easily damaged skirting boards, door jams or architraves (because termites remove the structural integrity of wood, a little knock to those regions can cause damage).

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Cracked paint or plaster (termites eat away at timber they affect the structural integrity causing fractures in paint or plaster).

Temperature and rainfall appear to have the most significant impact on termite activity, followed by the home's age. If you stumble upon a termite nest on your house, don't disturb it until you've determined an proper termite management plan with a skilled pest manager. Once disturbed, termites may abandon the region, move elsewhere and remain undetected. .

Termites don't just eat away at structural timbers, they can also chomp their way through furniture, paper products, fabrics, clothing, footwear and even non-cellulose materials like soft plastics, building sealants and rigid foam insulation.

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Check your home's surrounds shrubs or garden beds should be well clear of the building border and not pay weep holes (the tiny gaps left between bricks to let water drain out).

Keep places under your house clear don't store items that can reduce the ventilation area under the house.

If you're building a new house, certain construction procedures and materials can lessen the termite risk considerably.

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The Building Code of Australia requires that new homes and extensions have a termite management program in place in all regions (except Tasmania, where the termite risk is negligible). Homes built after July 1995 should have a'durable notice' of treatment fixed to a prominent position in the building (near the meter box or the entrance to a crawl space), listing the:.

If you are building a new house or doing a substantial renovation, be sure to put in appropriate physical or chemical barriers. A few can be his comment is here retrofitted but it's simpler to install them during construction.

Termite shields (also called ant caps) don't prevent termite activity but bring it into the open, since it's easier to discover their mud shelter tubes on the metal caps.

Woven stainless steel mesh or finely graded stone particles can be installed in a concrete slab and pit walls around pipe openings and so on, so termites can't get through these concealed entry points.

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Composite systems such as chemically treated plastic or cloth sheets contain chemicals that will degrade over time, unlike true physical barriers.

Reticulation systems involve piping fitted under slabs and around the edges of a building with access points for injection of insecticide.

Chemical barriers are applied under and around a concrete slab or around the building piers or footings.

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Synthetic pyrethroids such as permethrin or bifenthrin are generally less toxic than many of the prior insecticides that were banned in most areas of Australia in the mid 1990s.

Fipronil and imidacloprid are especially effective against termites since they are non-repellant. This means the termites will travel throughout the zone without detecting the compound and return to the colony, therefore contaminating other termites.

Arsenic trioxide dust is a very toxic substance and a confirmed carcinogen for humans. It had been commonly used in the past in termite dusting processes but has been replaced with less toxic insect growth regulators (IGRs) such as triflumuron. This distinctive blue powder is very effective, but may take a little longer than arsenic dust to wipe out a colony.

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