Crawling With Concerns – The Damaging Effects Termites Can Have on Your Home


Any type of pests can be disruptive, but termites are extremely destructive; potentially causing more damage to Australian homes than fire or flood when left untreated, due to their ability to cause major structural damage. Therefore, when it comes to termite treatment, there is no time to lose.

This article will discuss ways to spot termites early and act as a source of education on the effects termites can have on your home.

What are the signs

If you think your property has termites, you are doing the right thing by seeking advice because, ultimately, you’ll need to act fast! The size of the colony of termites will indicate the length of time you have before long term damage affects your property. Therefore early detection will be paramount.

Early signs of termites

Although most people know termites destroy wood, not everyone is aware of the early indicators such as loose tiles or slightly bowed walls or ceilings, which can sometimes be mistaken for slight water damage. Termite-infested wood, on occasion, has visible cracks near the bottom of the piece of wood. There can also be soil or dirt around the base, which indicates that termites may be present.

Some types of termites are known to attack the home once their natural sources of wood have depleted. Therefore, a sign to look out for is termite tunnels. These tunnels would appear through the soil to the base of a building, as these are their passageways to gain access to the property. One way to reduce the likelihood of termites accessing your home is to install preventative materials like non-corroding termite shields to stop termites gaining access.  

Wood damage

Another misconception is that termites generate large visible holes in wood. This is, however, generally not the case, and there is usually little indication of damage. With that said, on occasions, you may be able to see termite damage start off as cracks. Over time, wood can start to show visible caving spots and sound hollow due to the termite galleries. Discarded termite wings and termite faeces are also tell tell signs of a home which has termites, as well as bowed ceilings and floors, buckled wood, and the smell of mildew.

Remember that different species of termite have different behaviours. Therefore, the damage will be dependent on the species, so don’t forget to research all if you haven’t contacted an expert yet.

Structural threats

Homes made mostly of wood can be severely damaged if the infestation is not caught quick enough, and can subsequently become unlivable. At its most severe, the damage caused by termites feeding on the structural parts of the property like beams, walls, and ceiling joists can make the home itself unstable and unsafe. This is due to the joists no longer being able to take the weight of the house.

If you suspect you have termites, the first thing you should do is contact a professional and ask them to inspect the property as soon as possible. This will allow an expert to attend and analyse whether what you have found is actually termites, and if so, the severity of the infestation.

This inspection will then allow the pest professional to write up and quote a treatment plan specifically for your property. Once you’ve received this plan, there are a few questions you should ask your chosen contractor before commencing work:

  • Check and confirm that the company is licensed and accredited, and confirm what termite systems they’re accredited to install.
  • Check and confirm the type of insurance the company holds, i.e. public liability, professional indemnity etc.
  • Confirm they are members of the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association.

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