While insurance companies will readily cover damages caused by earthquakes, storms and fires, they will rarely cover damages caused by termite infestation.
When termites intrude into human dwellings, they can become an extremely destructive pest. They feed on dry products such as wood, books, paper, cardboard boxes and a whole variety of other wood related items.
Due to the fact that they feed on wood and wood related items, they are able to cause immense damage to buildings, especially buildings with wooden foundations. However, buildings with masonry walls and steel frames are also in danger if the termites attack the wooden doors, window frames and other wooden items installed into the building.
Termite colonies are often sizable and consist of worker termites, soldier termites, winged reproductive swarmer termites and the queen termite. A termite colony consists mainly of worker termites, and it is these termites that cause damage to wood and other wood related items.
There are two main types of termites found in South Africa, namely:
Drywood termites derive their name from the fact that they prefer to colonise wood that is predominantly dry, not decayed, and not in close proximity to ground moisture. These termites are larger than subterranean termites and can flourish in wood that has as little as 3% retained moisture. They are most commonly found in building attics, as far away from soil as possible
Subterranean termites are extremely destructive, more so than any other species of termites. These termites are dependent on a water source and need to maintain contact with soil at all times in order to have access to enough water to survive. For this reason, they always establish their nests underground, from where they can easily attack building foundations, causing great damage. When wood has enough moisture content, these termites can survive without soil contact.
Subterranean termites build their colonies underground in a series of chambers and galleries, with mud tubes running to the wood they feed on. They can also build their nests above the ground when there is a constant water supply, for example from an air-conditioner, or leaking pipe.
Termites are almost never noticed until they have done significant and costly damage. If you suspect a termite infestation, the best way to be sure is to ask a professional’s advice, and if needed have the professional treat the problem.
The termiticides needed to treat a termite infestation can be handled exclusively by a licensed pest control operator. It is therefore essential that you contact a professional for help with a termite infestation.
The two main forms of termite control are as follows:
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