QBCC urges North Queensland house homeowners to test for termites after moist climate

QBCC urges North Queensland house homeowners to test for termites after moist climate

They eat through wood, wreak havoc on your home and North Queensland offers the perfect combination of ingredients to help the pests thrive.

Core items:

  • A pest controller says homeowners should regularly check for termites
  • According to the QBCC, areas where there are pools of water can be cleared and leaks repaired to keep termites out
  • He says tapping baseboards and moldings with a screwdriver is an easy way to spot the pests

The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is warning homeowners to check for termite infestations before it’s too late.

Commissioner Anissa Levy said the insects are capable of causing major structural damage in a short period of time.

“It’s really important for homeowners to be extra vigilant after heavy rains and flooding,” she said.

“If flooding has surrounded or covered indoor floors, they need to check their termite management system for signs of damage.”

Termites can be enormously destructive.(Delivered: Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Mackay Pest Controller Campbell Eldridge said it was “critical” to conduct frequent checks.

“It’s not just that termites become more active when heat and humidity accompany the rain,” he said.

“That creates the external environmental conditions for them to release their replica wings, which is when the termites fly out of the nest and build their new nest.

“It makes them seem more active.

“Usually the way we build houses, the termites eat the wooden strips first, which are your baseboards, your door jambs and window frames.”

A house under construction with a timber frame and brick exterior wall. When building or renovating, treated wood, masonry, steel, concrete, and fiber cement are recommended.(ABC Tropical North: Melissa Maddison)

How to look for “insidious” pests

Ms Levy said termites look for moisture.

“It’s important to clean up water build-up in gutters, empty jerry cans, and other items around the property, and to fix leaking items like pipes and faucets,” she said.

“When renovating, you can help protect your property by using termite-resistant materials, including treated wood, masonry, steel, concrete and fiber-reinforced cement.”

Signs of an infestation:

  • mud protection pipes
  • Sagging floors, doors or ceilings
  • Damaged baseboards, jambs or architraves
  • Cracks or blisters in paint or plaster
  • power outages
  • Discarded termite wings found near windows or lamps
  • Wood that makes a hollow sound when knocked

Mr Eldridge said termites are “very sneaky”.

“You might notice a defect in the paintwork, like a rippled appearance, and if you bump it, nothing will be left behind,” he said.

“The termites eat the wood behind the paint and leave the paint intact.

“Sometimes you don’t realize it until the whole thing is eaten.”

Mr Eldridge said the best way to check this was with a screwdriver.

“Tap your moldings and baseboards … it will make a hollow sound when you tap it, like a drum,” he said.

“No downspouts that flow against the house, air conditioners that flow against the wall, definitely no gardens that butt up against your wall, railroad ties, tree stumps.”

He said it’s possible to hear the termites themselves.

“What the termites do is they all tap their heads on the timbre at the same time, and that’s what makes the sound — you actually disturbed them,” he said.

“It’s a very distinctive sound… if you ever hear it, you’ll never forget it.”

Commissioner Anissa Levy says if homeowners suspect they have termites, they should seek advice from a QBCC-licensed contractor immediately.

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