Termites – they are widely known as some of the most damaging pests in the world. The little insects are capable of bringing down entire buildings and destroying the quality of your wood products. In Australia alone there are 20 different species of termites, so what do we do about them to ensure that they don’t wreak havoc on our beautiful timber?
The truth is that there is no guaranteed way to termite-proof your wood, but there are several steps you can take to effectively keep them at bay. Here are some points to consider when choosing your wood.
Choose the Right Wood
One of the best decisions that you can make when it comes to building anything with timber is to choose a hearty wood that is naturally termite-resistant. You also have the option of choosing human-treated timber in conjunction with physical barriers to deter termites.
Different types of timber have differing levels of resistance to termites. There are many naturally grown woods around the world that are downright unappealing to the pests. Some of the best you can find are:
- Ironbark, or Ironwood
- Yellow Stringybark
- Black Butt
- Spotted Gum
**Full disclosure: As we said before, there is no guaranteed solution. In fact, many books and journals make note that termites will consume and negate the best efforts. Nothing is bullet-proof.
Pressure Treated Wood
The pressure treatment process involves a cycle of extreme pressure and vacuum cycles, during which a preservative is forced into the empty cell structure of the wood. This type of chemical preservative extends the life of your timber while creating a protective barrier against termites. Some of the chemicals used in this process are CCA (Copper Chromium Arsenate) and ACQ (Alkaline Copper Quaternary).
Chemically Coated Wood
By purchasing treated timber like T2 or H2F, makes this method considered not as effective as pressure treatment by some in the industry, but it can work as a preventative measure or temporary fix. In principal you can find similar active chemicals in products like Mortein and Baygon.
How to Check for Signs of Infestation
Termites create colonies within wood. They eat their way through the wood, creating tunnels and chambers within. Dry wood termites are most common in damp tropical climates, for example, north of Rockhampton. In comparison, subterranean termites are more common from Northern New South Wales north.
Some signs of damage from wood termites are:
- Sagging walls, floors and ceilings
- Areas that look to be water damaged
- Small piles of the faeces that look like pellets
In general, you may have termites if:
- You have papery or hollow-sounding timber
- You can hear them; it is usually an audible chewing noise heard at night
- You have difficulty opening doors or windows
- There are cracks in your walls and your doors are jamming