Termites are insects that eat wood. They harvest the cellulose so will also eat any other product that contains cellulose, such as paper and cardboard. They look a bit like an ant and many people call them white ants but they are actually more closely related to cockroaches. They are generally white to light brown in colour and live in very large subterranean social colonies.
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Termites feed on cellulose so all timber is potentially vulnerable. Jarrah is termite resistant but not termite proof. If Jarrah has been used in contact with the ground and has been attacked by decay then it will become more attractive to termites. Other timbers such as karri and untreated pine are far more appealing to termites and should never be used or stored in contact with the ground.
When termites come out of the ground they often leave signs that trained Technicians will notice. Some signs that we look for are mudding in cracks and gaps between materials, mud shelter tubes on the surfaces of materials, pin holes in plaster, bubbling paint or hollow sounds when we tap timber products. We also look for conditions that are conducive to termites such as water pooling by the perimeter of buildings and timber in contact with the ground. Upon inspection we will provide recommendations to help reduce the risk of termites in and around your home.
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Houses with steel frame roofs are less vulnerable to structural damage from termites but there are many other components within houses that termites will attack; timber floors, doors and door frames, cupboards and even the paper backing on plasterboard ceilings.
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Individual termites might hitch a ride in timber products and be brought temporarily to your property but they won’t threaten your home. As termite live in very structured social groups it is not possible for individuals to survive for long if they are separated from the colony.
However there is a risk of bringing European House Borer to your home in this manner. Don’t collect any pine from pine plantations and don’t collect untreated pine from council verge pick - ups etc.
Perth and South West WA is one of the highest termite risk areas in Australia. The risk to specific areas within our South West varies depending on a variety of factors such as soil type, proximity to bush land and the general age of buildings. Because of the high risk, we have building codes in place that require termite management systems to be installed into new houses. However, once construction is complete its up to home owners to maintain termite barriers and inspections to keep the property safe.
Usually it will be the cacoons of Indian Meal Moth. There are a variety of insects that will feed on any grain based foods; biscuits, breakfast cereal, flour, rice, pasta, dry dog food etc. In the long term they’re virtually impossible to eliminate as your pantry can be re infested from food and cardboard packaging bought from shops. It’s best to throw out cardboard and keep food in air tight sealed containers. If you are continually seeing cacoons, it’s worthwhile keeping pheromone traps in your pantry.
There are different groups of pesticides including insecticides, rodenticides and herbicides. Herbicides such as glyphosate are designed to kill plants whereas insecticides are designed to kill (or repel) insects and other arthropods such as spiders. Most of the insecticides that we use around houses are very similar to pesticides sold as horticultural pest sprays. So while we don’t deliberately spray your plants, any accidental contact will likely help rather than harm plants. If you have edible plants in your garden, we will avoid spraying in that area.
Most likely it will be Portuguese millipedes, an introduced species that has become widely established around Perth. Pesticides can be applied as a surface spray but are only temporarily effective as the millipedes live in mulch and other decaying vegetation and will keep re infesting after the treatment has worn off. They seem to be attracted to light at night so turning off outside lights and keeping curtains closed should help.
They’re not considered to be dangerous although they do exude a substance that makes them unpalatable to birds and that substance may irritate people’s eyes if accidently rubbed. They might damage the shoots and leaves of young plants but are not a significant horticultural pest either, more of a nuisance as they sometimes invade homes en masse.
Ants are one of the most difficult pests to treat. They live in very large social groups and most species spend most of their time underground. Usually there will only be about 5% of the colony above ground at any one time so even if you apply a very thorough treatment you will only be affecting a small percentage of the colony. The insecticides that the general public have access to will kill ants but they tend to act more as a repellent. So the ants will hide underground until the insecticide has broken down and then re -emerge a few weeks later to annoy you again. In that time the queen will have laid more eggs to replace the lost individuals. Pest Management companies have access to non- repellent insecticides that have a greater chance of success but ants remain a difficult pest to eradicate.
Find out more information on ants here.