As a home owner, it's your absolute worst nightmare. Total devastation hits you & your family hard when the discovery of termites uncovers an even greater dilemma- the total destruction of your home from the inside out.
This was the unfortunate reality for river cottage owners Neil & Lesley who at first thought they only had a mild white ant problem. When the flooring in their bedroom upstairs seemed to be going saggy underneath the carpet, we were very quickly appointed to take care of the apparent termite infestation they had in the building.
"We thought we could hear mice burrowing in the roof, so we weren't too worried about it." Says property owner Lesley.
"We put out some rat bait thinking it would do the trick, but then a few months later the floor started giving way, so we realised then it must have been the sound of termites boring into the wooden floorboards that we could hear at night."
During this early stage everything was pretty straightforward- a well established termite colony was identified & exterminated, the source of their destruction coming from a pair of nearby River Red Gum trees. Once the termites were removed from the building & trees, bait stations were placed around the property to prevent any further attacks from re-occurring. The building seemd to be intact and the damage to the floor was considerable, though it didn't need immediate replacement as it was still safe to walk on & the house was only a holiday home & not used every day of the year.
Some 12 months later Neil & Lesley began renovations on the downstairs area of their cottage. While they expected to uncover some traces of termite activity when removing wall panels, they never dreamt of the discovery that was to follow. As you can see in the pictures, termites had all but completely destroyed a major percentage of the building and had in fact been busy boring out all of the wood for many years. A heartbreaking moment for the pair- what was part of their retirement plans quickly turned into a much heavier financial burden.
Further investigation uncovered more and more damage throughout the cottage and before long came the realization that not only was there zero chance of continuing with their renovation plans, the building required a full demolition.
As you may know, there isn't an insurance policy in Australia that covers for termite damage. This means the property owners bear the full cost of demolition & clean up, along with the obvious considerable cost of rebuilding.
In this particular case, there is a good chance that the termites were already active when Neil & Lesley purchased the property. Had the building been inspected prior to purchase they could have acted accordingly a lot sooner and perhaps prevented so much damage from occurring, or at least had the matter considered as far as agreeing on a purchase price for the property.
This illustrates how critical a pest or termite inspection is when buying a property.
However, had there been no active termites during the period they purchased the property, there wasn't anything from stopping them invading shortly afterwards. Bait stations should have been in place much sooner and regular termite inspections should have taken place.
Don't let this happen to you. Arrange a termite inspection NOW.
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Well as the first few days of Autumn hit us with a big wet we wonder where sunny summer went. Usually the summer months are the active days of Termites and the feeding frenzy they perform on our most prized possession- our house and garden. Termites have an active season which usually runs during the warmer months, but over the last few seasons termites have had the most consistent weather of sun and water over a longer period of time with only the cooler months of June, July and August slowing down the activity of termites, now this does not mean NO termite activity only a slowing down of their movements as termites now prefer the warmth of the nest and termite colony, in some sense they are bit like the human race- when it's cold we are more likely to stay indoors around the heater with a cup of coffee than mowing the lawns and keeping the garden maintained.