Subterranean termites are hard to find, they are small and elusive. Because of their subterranean habit they are impossible to detect until they track up out of the ground and attack something. Even when a full infestation is taking place within a structure they can be very difficult to detect, even to the trained eye. How do you know what your home needs?
New tools are often touted as silver bullets for detection of termites but in reality all tools currently available have limitations, and that is why at Pestforce a combination of tests are applied.
The most common inspection we undertake is the 'visual inspection'. This is the starting point for any termite search. The name 'visual inspection' is somewhat misleading because we do much more than look:
The technician will begin where the termites begin, outside the building. The trees and fence lines around the house are inspected and suspect workings are probed to reveal termite galleries or live termites. The exterior of the building is then inspected for evidence of termites or previous treatments. The external levels abutting the house are checked and any extensions are noted along with any highly conducive areas, such as timber sleepers abutting the house.
The search will then extend to the subfloor of the building if access is available. Accessible timbers are sounded and probed for termites and visual evidence of mud tracks extending up into the house. Particular attention must be paid to any areas where extensions abut the original house.
The interior is then inspected. Visual inspection is made of the internal walls and fittings, however they are also impacted to reveal mudding within the wall cavities. The internal wall linings are moisture tested, as excessive moisture is a common indicator of termite activity. Moisture meters are standard inspection equipment along with a powerful torch and termite probe.
Any accessible roof voids are then searched and timbers are probed and sounded for defects. A visual search is carried out for mudding, including the periodic lifting of insulation to check the top plates of walls.
Once a visual inspection is complete, further tests can then be applied. While a visual inspection will detect the great majority of infestations, sometimes termites can be present and not detected. Often a property will have a very high risk of concealed termite activity due to its construction. Sometimes nothing is known of the history of the property such as when carrying out a prior-to-purchase inspection (Link to prior to purchase inspection page) and occasionally there are restrictions on the amount of intrusive probing that can be carried out, as when inspecting one of our historical buildings such as Government House. On these buildings a number of non-destructive tests are available.