Termite Control

How Long Does It Take For Termites To Cause Extensive Damage?

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Termites are very small, but they are very destructive for an insect so tiny. That’s because they work as a team. Your house could slowly be being eaten away by hundreds and thousands of termites from a single colony at a time.

However, even a large amount of termites in a colony will only eat about half a kilogram of wood a day. The issue is that they could be at work for months or years without you even being aware they are there. In fact, many homes in Brisbane have been bulldozed due to severe and irreparable termite damage. Termites will very slowly destroy your home from the inside out. You are most likely to find them in the crawl spaces in a home, damp areas, and places where wood comes into contact with the ground or soil.

Termites cause damage over time, so the best option is to prevent them from entering your house in the first place. If you do discover them in your home, get rid of them as quickly as you can. Ideally, have your home inspected annually if you live in an area at risk of termite infestation. You want a professional to keep tabs on your home and provide solutions to protect it using liquid treatments and baits. Still, you can also be on the lookout for signs of a termite infestation before your home is hit with structural damage.

Why do termites cause damage to the wood in homes? Their diet is mostly made up of cellulose, which is a fiber that exists in plants. It is broken down by an enzyme called cellulase. The termite cannot produce cellulase. However, inside their digestive systems, they co-exist with bacteria that assist them by breaking down cellulose into a digestible substance. They can then access the nutrients they need to live.

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This means they are constantly on the hunt for materials that contain cellulose. It could be a tree, log, or wooden waste in your garden, or it could be your furniture or structure of your roof in your home. Again, one termite wouldn’t put much of a dent in your home – in fact, it would take thousands of years for a single termite to damage your home. But they work in teams of thousands, that are hard to detect.

If you are concerned about materials on your property that are vulnerable to termites, here is the information you need to know:

  1. Concrete. Termites will not eat through this material by they will crawl through the cracks in concrete in search of wood. This is why people sometimes think they cause cracks by eating concrete.
  2. Plastic. Termites will not eat plastic, but they are known to chew through plastic barriers to get to the wood source beyond it.
  3. Cedarwood and redwood, although they contain cellulose, are more resistant to termites than other types of wood. However, as the wood ages, it will become more attractive to termites.
  4. Bamboo. This material is vulnerable to types of beetles, but termites do not feed on it.
  5. Pressure Treated Lumber. This is wood that Is treated with chemicals to stop decay and also blockades against termites.
  6. Plywood. This type of wood is made of different cuts of wood that have been glued together. Termites will find the cellulose in the plywood and eat it. If it is pressure treated, however, they won’t be able to detect the cellulose and leave it alone.
  7. Sheetrock. The paper used to line sheetrock is attractive to termites as they eat it. So the sheetrock beyond it may become damaged in the process.
  8. Particleboard. It is made up of different kinds of wood and termites love to consume it all.
  9. Live trees. They prefer to feed on dead and decaying cellulose, so live trees are not at risk. As long as a tree is healthy and not dying, it should be fine.
  10. Painted wood. Termites won’t eat through paint, but if they can gain access to the wood behind it they will begin to consume it until the structure is completely hollowed out. You may only be left with the paint!
  11. Poplar wood. If the poplar is made from a tree type that offers some resistance to termites (such as cypress or redwood), it may provide more resistance to termites too.
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Look around your property and assess it by asking the following questions:

  1. Do I have any decaying wood in my yard (either stored or as part of landscaping)?
  2. Do I have any tree stumps?
  3. Do I have fencing that hasn’t been treated against termites?
  4. Do I have mulching or vegetation close to my walls?
  5. Is my home a heritage home that may have hidden termite damage?
  6. Are there any leaks or moist areas on my property that could make it more attractive to termites?

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