Termites pre-date history and for the most part they play an important ecological role for mankind. They form hidden colonies that number into the millions where within exists an intricate social structure. Usually located in the depths of the soil, one of their primary functions is to assist in the breakdown and recycling of fallen trees, branches and other organic matter, returning important nutrients to the forest floor assisting with soil regeneration and new growth.
But the very fact that termites are so incredibly efficient at performing this process has unwittingly earnt them the title of the most destructive insect pest known to man. Termites never deliberately set out to destroy our homes but they are in constant search of their principal food source – cellulose, which they derive from the consumption of wood. Melbourne is home to very large populations of termites and unfortunately for us, your home resembles one tasty giant dead tree.
There are more than 350 known species of termites in Australia alone, and thankfully, only about 30 of these species are considered to be a danger to our homes and commercial buildings.
95% of homes in Melbourne are constructed with a structural timber frame and it is this timber frame, *(not the bricks), that carry the loads supporting the roof and provides the entire structure with its integrity and strength. Termites secretly tunnel into our homes and offices and feed on the building’s internal timber structure remaining mostly hidden until there is no timber left to eat. If left un-treated an established colony will eat through around 1 meter of timber framing a week.
*Bricks are not considered in any way to assist with the transfer of loads of the building to the footings, and they are there to protect the timber frame from the elements, to provide a thermal barrier and for decoration purposes only.