Last year, a warning was issued to Melbournians that a team of termites was marching on and wreaking havoc in numerous homes across the city thanks to favourable weather conditions. Good weather conditions create ideal conditions for the quick breeding and colonisation of the surroundings by termites. For homeowners, that means a higher termite control bill and possibly thousands of dollars in repairs for the structural damage caused.

What are ideal conditions for termites?

Termites thrive in conditions that are both warm and moist. The Melbourne summers are particularly ripe for a destructive termite infestation. In Melbournian summers, the soil moisture remains high and that makes for a great deal of difference for termite colonies. Termites like tunnelling through the soil so when the soils are moist, the work of tunnelling underground and into homes becomes a lot easier for them. They can easily find various attack points through which they can bore their way into your premises. The worst part is that a termite attack can go on unnoticed out of your prying eyes until it is very late. It can take weeks or even months before you notice you are under a serious termite attack.

What particularly attracts termites are moisture and damp conditions. If they can easily access water, they won’t have to carry water with them and that means they are able to explore more and cause significant damage.

What do termites eat?

Termites only need wood (cellulose) and water to stay alive. So you can effectively control the spread of the termite colonies by limiting access to these. The termites have a digestive system with special microorganisms that digest the cellulose from plant fibres.

Australia is a country that is ripe for termite attacks thanks to the favourable weather. There are more than 350 termite species in the country. Out of these, only 20 species are responsible for the extensive damage witnessed in various houses and structures. In the state of Victoria, there are five termite species that are responsible for the damage to structures and buildings.

The Risk Factors for Termite Attacks in Melbourne

While termite attacks are fairly common in some Melbourne neighbourhoods, there are certain risk factors that are likely to make your building more susceptible to an attack. These include the following:

  • Where there are well-established gum trees close to your premises. These trees should be at least 100m from the house or structure that you wish to protect from termite infestation.
  • If you are using softwood along with various other landscaping timbers like sleepers or mulching, you are more likely to attract a termite infestation.
  • Do you have timber landscaping and automatic watering systems on your premises? These are likely to attract termite colonies.
  • Certain building designs can also allow for a hidden termite entry into the premises.
  • Some built-up areas can also increase the risk of termite infestation as it makes it easier for the termite infestation to spread quickly from one house to another leading to extensive structural damage over a large area.

If you discover a termite infestation in your home, make sure you alert your immediate neighbours so that they can begin dealing with the issue as early as possible. You should also avoid going the DIY route. You might disturb the termite colony without necessarily getting rid of them and they will simply shift to another location in the house. The best thing is to hire a termite control professional who can carry out a comprehensive building and termite inspection and determine the areas of infestation.

You can also take measures to prevent termite infestations such as carrying out regular termite inspections, getting rid of the moisture problems, ensuring that you have probably ventilated all the possible subfloor areas and vents, fixing plumbing leaks and inspecting the down sprouts and gutters to ensure the water drains far from the walls. It is not advisable to have a garden close to the walls.