Termites are one of the most destructive pests in Australia. These small, ant-like creatures eat through timber and affect the structural integrity of homes, potentially causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.
If you’re buying a property, it’s essential to carry out a pre-purchase termite inspection as part of your building and pest inspection.
Unless you’re a professional, like our inspectors here at Building and Pest Inspection Melbourne, termite damage can be hard to spot, especially if it’s hidden out of sight in the roof or under the floor.
What types of termites live in Australia?
There are over 300 species of termites that live in Australia, however there are only a handful that cause destruction to property.
There are 3 main types of termites in Australia, Subterranean, Dampwood and Drywood.
These are the most common type of termites in Australia. They are found in buildings and in any wood that is in contact with soil including stumps, fallen trees, fences and out buildings like sheds or carports.
Subterranean termites need to be close to moisture to survive, so you’ll find their nests in or near the ground. They build shelter tubes made of saliva, faeces, wood and soil. They use these tubes for shelter, to travel to and from a food source and as nests.
You’ll find these termites in decaying or rotting wood that is in contact with the soil. They also need moisture to survive and are mostly found in tree stumps or wood located near a water source such as a leaking pipe. They live inside the timber and the colony can remain there for years.
As the name suggests, drywood termites don’t need a significant water source, they can live in hardwood and softwood timber. They obtain moisture from the timber, but still need high humidity to survive.
4 signs you have a termite issue
The appearance of mud tubes is a telltale sign of a termite problem.
Termites build these tubes for nesting and to travel to and from a food source and they can be found on brick foundations, in architraves or on other wood structures.
Damaged floors, ceilings, doors, skirting boards or window frames.
As termites eat through wood they damage the structural integrity of a property. A home with termite damage may have sagging floors, hollow timber or door jams and skirting boards that collapse when bumped. You may also notice cracked paint on the walls.
Sounds in the wall
You may notice a hollow sound when you tap on the wall, or you may even hear clicking sounds as the termites noisily tunnel through the interior of the timber.
Swarms of insects
If you see swarms of white, winged insects flying around the property, it could be a sign of termite activity. Flying termites, or Alates, signify that there could be a colony nearby.
Why are building and pest inspections important?
To ensure you’re not missing any potential termite activity, it’s important to engage a trusted and experienced building and pest inspector.
At Building and Pest Inspection Melbourne, we have years of experience conducting termite inspections for prospective buyers using state of the art termite detection technology.
We conduct a visual inspection of the property and surrounding structures including the interior, the roof void, sub-floor and exterior.
What if termites are found during a building and pest inspection – what next?
If termites are present, the next step is up to you. Depending on the severity of the termite activity, you may be able to negotiate with the owner before settlement.
The owner may agree to pay for termite treatment, or they may lower the price so you can pay for the termite treatment yourself once the purchase is finalised. If there is severe structural damage you may want to reconsider the purchase.
Either way, it’s vital to take action if termite activity is identified, as it will only get worse and end up costing you more money in the long run.
If you’re purchasing a property in Melbourne and would like to book a building and pest inspection, call Building and Pest Inspection Melbourne on 0408 666 539 or book now online. We’ll have a building and pest inspection report to you within 3 business days!