Why Do I Need A Termite Inspection & How Do I Find Someone Suitably Qualified To Do One?
Updated: Nov 23
As a homeowner, a Termite Inspection should form an important part of your home or business' property maintenance.
At All Things Pest Control, we're often asked 'Do I really need a Termite Inspection?'
The short answer, yes!
Termites are incredibly secretive creatures and can go unnoticed to an untrained eye. They'll eat away at timbers behind layers of paint, tiles, floorboards, wall framing and cladding until significant damage is done in a short period of time.
In Mackay, it is recommended a termite inspection be completed at least once-a-year and properties considered high risk even more often.
1. A Termite Inspection helps protect your home from the damage caused by termites by identifying potential problems before they become too serious.
Serious problems are costly.
A Termite technician's job is not just searching for Termites and their damage.
The technician identifies problematic areas that attract termites into your home. When armed with this information you'll always be one step ahead of your property's maintenance and repairs thus, saving you money in the long-term.
2. A Termite Inspection maintains your existing Termite Management Systems warranty or free-service-period, so if something goes wrong you've got something to fall back on at no cost to you.
Termites can bridge and breach physical & chemical termite barriers if allowed to do so. Your Termite Technician will identify these issues and advise you of the actions you need to take to maintain these warranties or Free-Service-Periods.
3. A Termite Inspection Report IS your insurance policy against termites.
Termites cause thousands of dollars of damage to Queensland homes every year.
Home insurance does NOT cover damage caused by Termites.
When you consider the cost of Queensland property insurance premiums and the fact they do NOT cover damages caused or contributed to by termites, an annual Termite inspection is small expense.
Every homeowner should be factoring an annual termite inspection into their properties annual expenses. Much like they do with rates, electricity and insurance.
An annual Timber Pest Inspection costs between $240 - $350 Inclusive of GST.
Newer homes constructed on concrete slabs are at a much higher risk of infestation due to their little clearance from the ground and use of soft wood timber for framing.
Termite damage repair costs fall into 2 categories:
1. Termite treatment cost—how much it costs to eradicate the termites and install a Termite Management System for future prevention. This cost will typically vary according to the scale of the infestation and the type of treatment required.
2. Building repair cost—how much it costs to remove and repair damaged parts of the building. Generally speaking, the longer the termites have been in the building, the more extensive the damage will be, and the greater the chance that expensive, structural damage has occurred.
According to a 2012 industry study commissioned by the Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association, the average termite damage repair cost starts at $10,000 per house.
What Is A Termite Inspection And What Does It Involve?
A Timber Pest Inspection to Australia Standards (4349.3-2010) in Queensland, must be performed by a suitably licensed and insured inspector who also holds a QBCC licence.
A Timber Pest Inspection is a visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of a home for evidence of timber pests, workings and damage.
Along with Termites, the technician also inspects for other timber pests that are equally destructive. Pests such as Wood Decay, Fungi, Borers and Mould can cause similar damages and go hand in hand with areas that are conducive with termite attack.
Areas that are often inspected include:
The buildings interior,
Accessible roof cavities,
Accessible sub-floor areas,
Fences and timber elements,
Garden surrounds up to 30 meters (as a standard).
During the inspection process, the termite technician will assess the overall risk of the property to a termite infestation and make the necessary recommendations.
Things that affect the overall risk of a termite infestation include:
The property's construction type
Existing Termite Management Systems and their compliance
Slab edges, Termite Shields, Weep holes etc.
Renovations/additions that have compromised existing termite protection.
Throughout the inspection, the technician can draw on a variety of standard tools to assist in inspecting areas of suspicion without the need for invasive procedures (ie removing wall sheets, drilling hole etc).
1. Timber Donger or Tapper
A timber inspection tool that produces a change in tone when damage or timber anomalies are present.
It may seem like basic technology, but using a donger during visual inspections is a valuable, if not essential piece of a termite inspectors toolkit.
2. Moisture Meter
This indispensable tool is used to detect high levels of moisture in timbers around wet areas which will attract termites.
It also assists with locating the presence of large termite colonies within voids, due to the high moisture content of termite nests.
Repairing leaks before they attract termites is the one of the most effective ways to deter termites.
3. Thermal Imaging Camera
Used to detect temperature differences on the surface of a wall that is caused by something on the other side.
A thermal camera won’t pick up termites moving through walls, but could detect an well established nest that has been present for a long period of time and caused the inner wall to cool due to the termite mudding acting as an insulation.
Understanding what patterns to look for requires training and practice and thermal imaging should never be wholly relied on as an inspection tool.
4. Termatrac Radar
Predominantly used to prove or disprove an infestation in difficult to access areas once evidence is found. The radar sensor releases high frequency low microwave emissions to penetrate the building material. It then detects any difference in the reflected waveform. These differences come about from interference caused by movement ie. Termites tracking inside walls. This tool allows the technician to locate and track termite activity and provide targeted treatment recommendations. These tool's often come with Thermal & Moisture metering all-in-one.
How Do I Know My Termite Inspector Is Suitable For The Job?
Licencing varies in Australia from State-to-State, with Queensland requiring the highest level of licencing and Insurances to be a Timber Pest Inspector.
It's not just about the tools. Local experience and knowledge of building construction types, termite protection and specific termite species matter.
Unfortunately, it is far too easy to obtain a State Government Pest Control Licence. There are many 'seasonal cowboys' offering cheap deals who do not have the training or skills to provide a knowledgeable, safe and effective service within Australian Standards.
When looking for a company to carry out termite inspections or termite work, always check their:
Pest Management Technician Licence (PMTO) is inclusive of Timber Pests.
Public and Professional Indemnity insurance is in date
QBCC Licence is valid
Workcover Pest Control licence certificate is in date.
Other things that can help assist with choosing are:
Do they have a solid reputation in town? - How long have they been in Mackay's local pest control industry? Will they still be around in the future if something goes wrong?
Are their prices reasonable? BEWARE of very low unrealistic price cutting - this may indicate unskilled or inexperienced technicians that also use cheaper, older-style more toxic pesticides. A hazard to themselves and the public.
Does the company use employees or sub-contractors? Be wary of companies with sub-contractors. Problems often occur as the sub-contractors are obliged to pay for the supply of chemical and other costs but do not assume responsibility if the service proves to be inadequate at a later date.
You should avoid anyone who cannot produce licences and insurances on request and don't display a valid QBCC licence. Without these, your inspection report, termite treatments and Termite Management Systems will not be to Australian standards.