10 Things You Should Know About Termites

  1. Australia has over 300 native species of termites.
  2. In Australia we have three types of termites; damp wood, dry wood and subterranean. Subterranean termites are the ones that do most of the damage to Australian homes.
  3. Each year termites cause more damage to Australian homes than fires, floods and storms combined. Home insurance policies cover damage caused by fires, floods and storms but do not cover termite damage.
  4. Termites can eat half a kilo of timber from your house a day, each and every day. In one year that’s 178 kilos of timber gone.
  5. Termites nest, breed and travel underground entering buildings through cracks the thickness of a piece of paper.
  6. Termites and white ants are the same thing. Termites are more closely related to cockroaches than to ants.
  7. Termites can travel several hundred metres underground. A single termite colony can have millions of termites spread across half an acre.
  8. Termites don’t just eat solid timber; they will eat gyprock and plasterboard walls, furniture, wardrobes, cupboard frames and doors, skirting and window trims, support beams, insulation, even the glue from the back of wallpaper.
  9. Termites have been on the planet for millions of years. There are more termites than people on Earth. The combined mass of all the termites on the planet exceeds the weight of the world’s more than 7 billion humans.
  10. The Sunshine Coast is categorised by the CSIRO as being a very high termite risk area.

Termite Control Sunshine Coast

 

Hidden Guests: Are you sharing your home with unfriendly housemates

Owning your own home is the great Australian dream. Buying your first home is a dream come true. Once you get a house you can turn it into your dream home, do anything to that you want – paint, wallpaper, knock out walls…. really put your own stamp on it.

So now you’re thinking 24/7 about renovating.  Putting in a new bathroom, colour schemes, furniture, rugs and cushions! You’re having a ball! You are totally caught up in decorating your home so it’s easy to forget, or decide not to think about, the boring stuff; maintenance, insurance, structural issues.

Time for a reality check! Making your home look and feel great is important, but so are the ‘not so fun’ aspects of owning your own home. The best looking home isn’t going to be so great if there are issues with the structures holding up the walls and the roof.

The ‘not-so attractive’ stuff is really important. Something many home owners don’t think about is termites. Hidden housemates! Worse than any housemate that eats all of your food out of the fridge and leaves the kitchen in a mess! These tiny insects can destroy your dream home. Worse, your home building and contents insurance policies don’t cover termite damage.

Termites Sunshine Coast

Nobody wants to spend money on pest management, you don’t get anything nice to take home and enjoy for the money you spend. Often you can’t even see what you’ve spent your money on, so it’s not surprising that even the most home conscious barely give a thought to termites or pest control.

Often there is a huge eye-opener when friends or family discover extensive termite damage and you see the financial hardship of thousands of dollars in repair bills and the reality of the emotional pain that massive damage to your home causes. You suddenly realise this could happen to you. Once that realisation dawns, what do you do? Where do you start?

Start with a thorough termite inspection performed by an experienced professional pest inspector. Your pest inspector should examine all of the timbers inside & outside your home, including the structural ones holding up the roof. They should use a technique call sounding and a moisture meter, and perhaps, some other technological device to examine areas of particular concern (if areas of concern are located). A thorough inspection should take around an hour and a half for one technician to complete- half the time if two technicians are working together.

Once you receive the report from your termite inspection avoid the trap so many home owners fall into- complacency. A ‘clean’ report- no termites found- doesn’t mean that you can forget all about termites for good. Australian building codes specify that every building should have at least one termite inspection every twelve months. This is so that if termites do get into your home the amount of time they will have to damage it is limited to one year. Those homes you see on TV that have been so extensively damaged by termites that they have to be demolished have generally been infested by termites for several years before they have been discovered.

Between annual termite inspections it’s essential to minimise conditions around your home that are favourable to termites. Termites need just three things- food, water and warmth. Our hot, humid climate here on the Sunshine Coast ensures that termites always have plenty of warmth and moisture so, as long as you have no plumbing leaks that need repairing, focus on minimising food sources.

Termites live on cellulose which is found in all plants- so keep gardens at least 30cm away from your home. Never stack firewood or build compost mounds against your home. Remove fallen palm fronds and choose inorganic mulches- like stones or gravel rather than plant mulches.

Long term termite protection can take many forms. Sometimes termite management is installed during a home’s construction. Other homes will have termite barriers or reticulated systems that need replenishing every five or so years. There are termite baiting systems and systems that use stainless steel and even glass. When you have your annual termite inspection your inspector will tell you what sort of termite management is in place (if in fact there is any at all) and what maintenance your system needs.

Should your worst fears be realised and the termite inspection finds termites already in your home, there are many treatment options. Finding the best solution will involve taking into account many factors including the termite species, size and extent of the infestation, the construction of your home and slope of your land… that’s before you even start considering how you feel about the various chemicals on offer versus a chemical free solution.

If termites have invaded your home anticipate several months of treatment and building repair work costing several tens of thousands of dollars. Which, of course, is why it pays to be termite smart and vigilant in the beginning… so that you can really focus on the things that you enjoy doing around your home, like decorating.

Declare War on Fleas

Declare War on Fleas and have a Flea Free Pet and Home this Summer

The balmy days of summer on the Sunshine Coast can unfortunately lead to much suffering among our best mates. Cats and dogs suffer relentless itching when they have fleas. Flea saliva can trigger skin infections, inflammation and allergies, resulting in expensive trips to the vet and possible doses of antibiotics, steroids and antihistamines.

Cat fleas and dog fleas are slightly different and while fleas have a preferred host; cats fleas preferring cats, dog fleas preferring dogs, if flea numbers are large, or in the absence of their preferred host, fleas will feed on whatever is available; cat fleas on dogs, dog fleas on cats and both types of fleas will feed on people.

Cat with fleasNo doubt you are already feeling itchy just reading this, so what can you do to protect your pet, your home and your family from the discomfort fleas cause?

Firstly acknowledge that the weather we enjoy on the Sunshine Coast is perfect for fleas all year round and accept that flea treatments, in whatever form you choose, need to be applied all year round, even if you aren’t seeing fleas on your pet.

Maintain the outdoor areas in your yard by regularly cleaning and removing shed pet hair, leaves and debris that otherwise accumulate. Activities like sweeping and raking create environmental disturbance that will deter fleas.

Indoors, frequent vacuuming creates the same environmental disturbance; vacuum often and empty the contents of the vacuum cleaner into a plastic bag, tie a knot in the bag and take it directly outside to your wheelie bin. (Never spray “fly spray” into your vacuum cleaner). Remember to vacuum the laundry and garage and other rooms your pet uses.

Wash your pets bedding and the surrounding areas weekly in hot water and remember to clean other things used by your pet- including your car, pet carriers and toys.

Cat fleaIf, despite being vigilant and proactive you see a flea on your pet it is crucial that you don’t ignore it and act without delay. Though you may see just one flea there will be many more. Fleas hatch as adults, mate straight away and reproduce exponentially.

Apply a registered veterinary product for fleas to your pet and get a professional in to treat your home. At PestCare we combine a larvicide with an adulticide to kill fleas at all stages of development. Application is via a “blanket” treatment to all floor surfaces, both sides of rugs or mats, pet bedding and effected furniture.  If your pet goes outside, it is critical that outdoor areas are also treated.

Keeping Ants Out Of Your Home or Workplace

Keeping Ants Out Of Your Home or Workplace

Although just a tiny insect, ants are a huge problem, and if you’ve got an ant infestation you want it gone. You’re sick of having food spoiled, they’re in the kitchen and the bath room, all over the pet food bowls, and if you’re unlucky they’ve destroyed your air conditioner, TV or computer.

The spate of hot dry weather we are experiencing on the Sunshine Coast has billions of ants making a beeline for homes and other buildings. Dry conditions are causing ants that normally nest underground to look for areas to re-establish their colonies. Inside the walls and ceiling voids of houses, offices, and even cars and caravans, make perfect nesting sites. The small spaces within electronic equipment are also ideal.  Fortunately there are some simple environmental modifications you can make that will deter ants.

Ant infestation in the homePrevent ants from entering your home or business premises by sealing cracks and crevices using a silicone sealant product. Trim foliage close to buildings that is creating the bridges ants are using to get to the exterior walls and roofing. Overhanging palms are particularly problematic because the fruit they produce is a food source for ants and the bases of fallen palm fronds hold water.

Whilst in the current drought conditions ants are looking for moisture, they are also looking for food, so the second step you should take towards combating ants is to put food into well sealed containers or into the refrigerator, remove garbage from your home immediately and keep pet bowls very clean. In work places never put food scraps into desk side bins, have everybody use a lunch room and roster someone to empty that bin after breaks.

Finally, remove the pheromone trails that ants leave for their buddies to follow; these trails say “food this way”. Remove this roadmap by using vinegar or lemon juice mixed with water to scrub down areas where ants have been tracking.

If you find that reducing access and minimising food sources isn’t enough to manage ants it’s time to call PestCare for professional help. Our comprehensive ant treatment includes treating inside your home, outside your home & within your ceiling void

Ants at work and in the homeThe ceiling void treatment is extremely important; at PestCare we use a device that produces a very fine mist and uses a blower to push that mist out to the extremities of your ceiling void where the mist will then fall down into the wall cavities. Getting the treatment inside the wall cavities, where ants nest, is vitally important. You see, if you only treat for ants inside the building and outside the building you are missing the area where ants nest, effectively locking the nests inside the walls where ants will continue to thrive and multiply.

By combining the ceiling void treatment with lots of work getting your ant treatment into all those cracks and crevices, nooks and crannies, and the weep holes in brickwork PestCare ensure you’ll get both immediate and long term relief from ants.

Like all of our work, your PestCare ant treatment is backed by our free service period; if ants come back, so do we!

Termites Love Moisture

Termites Love Moisture

If termites love moisture and we are in the middle of a drought, does it stand to reason that your home is safe from termites at the moment?

Unfortunately the dry conditions we are currently experiencing in south east Queensland will not provide protection to your home from termites. In fact the lack of water in bush and parkland is driving termites into suburbia and into our homes.

Keeping the areas around your home dry and well ventilated will minimise the risk of termites attacking and damaging your home. In an ideal situation all the external walls of your home would have at least 30cm between them and any other item. In the real world most home owners have little control over how close to external walls hot water systems, air conditioning units, water tanks, fences and garden sheds are situated.

Termites eating wood in Sunshine Coast homeOn the other hand, you can control foliage and dense vegetation, keep it trimmed away from walls to improve ventilation. Lower garden soil levels that have built up against exterior walls, remove garden debris from against and underneath your home and never build mulch up against your home.

If your home is on a concrete slab ensure that the slab edge is exposed all the way around the house. Clear blocked weep holes, ensuring that soil levels are well below both weep holes, damp course and, preferably, footings.

Homes constructed with a crawl space beneath the floor are at particular risk to termite attack if the subfloor space is moist or not well ventilated. Moisture in this area often comes from leaking plumbing, which should be repaired as a matter of urgency. Avoid using the subfloor area as storage space because this will decrease ventilation. Never store timber or firewood beneath your home.

Repair leaking gutters and down pipes, dripping taps and leaky pool filtration equipment. Ensure that water from down pipes goes down a drain and that overflow pipes from hot water systems and air conditioning units are not discharging water against the exterior of your home.

House stumps eaten out by termitesTermite colonies will grow to meet the food supply available; more food = more termites. The amount of timber around the outside of your home can be reduced by constructing new additions such as fencing, retaining walls, decking, pergolas, gates and garden edging out of termite resistant materials which include metal, stone and brick.

Reducing termite food supply and keeping construction materials that are susceptible to termite attack as dry as possible will decrease the risk of termites attacking your home. It’s also vital to have a professional termite inspection carried out at least once every 12 months. Frequent, regular inspections ensure that if termites do get into your home they will be detected before they have had time to cause catastrophic amounts of damage.

CONTACT PESTCARE TODAYand find out how we can help you 5445 8437