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get rid of termites

How to Detect Termites - Termite Inspection Canberra

How to Detect Termites – Termite Inspection Canberra

The CSIRO recommends the inspection as a bare minimum; an annual termite inspection is essential to every property owner to determine how to detect termites in the early stages. However, it must be done by experienced, licensed and reliable pest control professionals, such as A1 Pest Control Canberra. This article will guide you on what you can ask and what you must look for in a pest control service provider.

This article covered topics:

  • How to detect termites
  • How to lessen the risk of termites
  • The different approaches to inspection and management
  • Getting Quotations
  • Pest inspections
  • Requirements in licensing for pest controllers
  • Insurances
  • Warranties

In Australia, there are over 300 species of termites but only a few cause problems. The termite that causes the most damage is the white ants (subterranean termites). Any materials that have cellulose-containing materials such as timber are their main source of food.

Termites eat homes and commercial buildings’ timbers from the inside and leave only a thin layer as the guard from the outside environment, which causes major structural and economic damages.

how to detect termites

How to detect termites?

Termite infestation leaves some indication such as follows:

  • Termites build mud shelter tubes, which can be seen in architraves or brick foundations. This serves as their protection.
  • Timber with a hollow sound
  • Doors and floors that sag
  • Weak door jams, architraves or skirting boards. Termites weaken the structural integrity of timber; hence a slight pressure causes damage to these areas.
  • Cracked plaster or paint.
  • Power failures. The warmth of electrical fittings attracts termites.

Several factors affect termite inspection and activity. The factors that greatly impact their activity are temperature, rainfall, and the house’s age. If you find termite activity in your home, do not disturb the termites as the termites will go deeper underground and move to another location which will be more difficult to detect.

Termites don’t only eat the structural timbers of your house, but they also eat your furniture, fabrics, paper products, clothing, and non-cellulose materials such as building sealants, rigid foam insulation, and soft plastics.

How to lessen the risk of termites?

  • Fix leaking pipes, poor drainage, and inadequate ventilation. 
  • Check the house’s environment. For example, garden beds or shrubs should not cover the weep holes or the small gaps between the bricks.
  • The areas under your house should also be clear. Do not stock items that reduce the ventilation space under the house.
  • Eliminate any wood that touches the ground and near or under the house. 
  • Consider construction methods and materials that reduce the risk of termites if you are building a new house.
  • Obtain annual pest control inspections and consider their advice to lessen your risk of termites inspection by installing chemical or physical termite barriers. 

The different approaches to termite inspection and management

The Building Code of Australia mandates all new homes and extensions to have a readily available termite inspection and management system in all areas except for Tasmania as the termite risk is inconsequential. If your home is built after July 1995, you must have a ‘durable notice’ of treatment attached to a noticeable position in the building (near the meter box or the entrance to a crawl space). Furthermore, the following information should be listed on the said notice: 

Whenever you build a new home or do a substantial renovation, you must ensure you install the appropriate physical or chemical barriers. The barriers are easier to install at the time of construction.

Physical termite barriers are permanent and non-toxic. Therefore, it does not require maintenance or renewal. Although physical barriers won’t kill termites, they will prevent termites from accessing your home. Moreover, several physical barriers include termite shields, woven stainless steel mesh, composite systems, and reticulation systems. 

Types of Physical Termite Barriers

  • Termite shields or also known as ant caps, easily detect the termite’s mud shelter tubes on its metal caps. Even if termite shields do not prevent termite activity, they expose them to the open.
  • Woven stainless steel mesh or finely graded stone particles conceal the entry points of termites. This can be installed around pipe openings and other similar openings in a concrete slab and cavity wall.
  • Composite systems are unlike genuine physical barriers as they will degrade over time. Examples of this type include chemically treated plastic or fabric sheets.
  • Reticulation systems involve fitted piping under the slabs and around the edges of a building with access points for insecticide injection.

Chemical termite barriers can be applied under, around a concrete slab or the building piers or footings during the inspection.

  • It creates a zone of treated soil that is good for many years.
  • If it is applied after construction, it will require trenching and concrete drilling; the treatment we use is a product by BASF Termidor, an 8 year $2M warranty against termites coming back, which is a warranty no other company will give.

Here are the chemicals used in inspection and management:

  • There is nothing that even comes close to Termidor; read more about it HERE

Monitoring and bait stations

Monitoring and bait stations are a more expensive option because they don’t stop termites; they merely monitor them. Therefore, they work out to be more expensive in the long run, and we recommend either chemical or physical barriers to be installed instead.

How termite baiting stations work:

  • The pest technician will place the baiting stations immersed at various dug around the perimeter of the property grounds.
  • These stations will be checked regularly, and if needed, they will be repositioned. When termites are found, the bait station is replenished.
  • The termites take the bait with them back to their colony, and spread the bait until the whole colony is eradicated.

It is not good to use the monitoring and bait station as the only termite management method because there is no guarantee that the termites will reach the bait.

Obtaining Quotations

Termite treatment varies in cost depending on linear metre requirements for chemical barrier or physical barrier measurements and the product selected to do the job, price range of $1,300 – $5,000. This price range is for preventative treatment, not taking another several thousand dollars for any damage repairs.

If there is a need for a termite treatment:

  • Call more than one pest control service provider before hiring one. Examine their company, their services and prices.
  • Differentiate the options available, quotations and professionalism of those pest control service providers. Then, choose the one you are most comfortable with.
  • Study the type of solutions they offer. The cheapest solution may eradicate the termites in the short term, while the more expensive approach may provide longer and better protection.
  • Look for testimonials and reviews from previous clients or word of mouth advertisements. It is a great basis if you are about to hire a reliable pest control service provider.

Questions to ask pest control companies:

  • How many years has the company been established?
  • Are they a member of any industry association?
  • Do they have the latest license?
  • Do they have the latest professional indemnity and public liability insurance certificates?
  • What are the skills and experiences of their pest control technicians?
  • Do their pest control technicians undergo regular training?
  • Do they follow the requirements of the Australian Standard? (AS4349.3 provides guidelines for inspecting buildings for timber pests; AS3660.2 deals with termite management in and around existing buildings and structures).
  • How long will the inspection take? (It should only take 1.5 hours)
  • Will the inspection also cover borers and wood-decay fungi?
  • Will they provide a written report?
  • If termites are found, what treatment methods do they usually recommend?
  • Will they explain the products they’re likely to use?

Pest and Termite Inspection

The inspection usually costs around $250 – $350, depending on the size, style and ease of access. An annual termite inspection is recommended, even more so if your house is located in an area with high termite risk.

Ensure you are present during the inspection to be free to ask questions as you go around the property.
The following are checked by the termite technician.

  • All accessible timbers under the house and the roof
  • Inside and outside the building and its surrounding
  • Fences, gardens, trees and stumps
  • Any other timber structures and trees within the property (up to 50 meters from the main building)
  • The presence and effectiveness of visible and accessible termite barriers
  • The vulnerability of the property to termite infestation (subfloor ventilation and drainage, obvious damp areas, etc.)

The pest inspection report should include the following:

  • Areas inspected
  • Areas not inspected due to inaccessibility
  • Termite activity
  • An inspection and the management plan if termite activity is found. The detailing methods, costs, assessment of all options and the expected outcomes and limitations should also either be written in the report or discussed at length with the property owner.

Requirements in licensing for inspectors and pest controllers

Do you know that licensing requirements for timber pest inspectors vary from state to state, and they do have different requirements for this? Asking the pest inspector about their experiences in managing timber pests is more important than just checking their license.

The Australian standards require a pest inspector to possess a certain amount of technical knowledge and experience. Second, they should know local building practices and the habits of termites, such as where they’re likely to be found and different indications of manifestation.

For a timber pest inspector to gain that level of proficiency, they should possess these various elements:

  • They should have done a minimum of 40 timber pest reports under direct and appropriate supervision.
  • They should have completed a timber inspection course.
  • They should have capabilities in units 8 and 10 (that tackles specifically in inspecting, reporting, and controlling timber pests) from the National Pest Management Competency Standards (or similar experience).

Accreditation programs and industry associations

The Australian Environmental Pest Managers Association (AEPMA) is the major industry association that sets standards for the pest management industry. It represents pest managers and administrators PestCert to know that a specific pest management company meets the accreditation standards.

For a pest company to gain a PestCert accreditation, a pest manager should first show exploratory learnings, skills, and experience with the up-to-date pest management technologies, practices, and tools. Secondly, they stick to the code of conduct. Lastly, one should be committed to maintaining ongoing professional development.


Upon getting quotes, request for their professional indemnity and public insurance. It would be best if you also asked to see their certificates of currency.

  • Professional indemnity safeguards the pest control technicians against negligence claims resulting from quotations, inspections and treatments conducted.
  • Public liability insurance safeguards pest control technicians against injuries and property damages arising from work performed. 


Learn about the various warranties behind each of the products that have been recommended to you. For example, in the case of BASF Termidor chemical termite barriers, you should rest easy at night knowing that you have 8 years of $2M protection against termites ever returning. Ask the technician about the different termite warranties and if it requires you to have annual termite inspections to keep the warranty valid.

Call our team of termite professionals for all domestic and commercial inspection and management strategies and termite treatments on 0407 065 413.

Hoping you now know the importance of knowing how to detect termites and what you need to do to prevent the termite infestation. 

Need help identifying termites?

Call A1 Pest Control Canberra today for a consultation and to schedule an inspection of your property.

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