A part from water and heat damage, termites will the most likely culprits your furniture has its longevity shortened. They crawl up the woodwork and destroy it from the inside; not to mention the annoying sound they generate. Although these tiny pests are present in nearly every region of Australia, there are at least 5 pieces of advice to keep termites away from your furniture.
Getting to know your enemy
Although they are sometimes referred to as “white ants,” termites are not ants! In fact, you should learn to distinguish between the two species of insects, as termites have more in common with cockroaches than with ants. As far as Australia is concerned, there are around 360 species of termites on the continent.
The two most common kinds of termites that are your furniture’s enemies are subterranean and dry wood termites. As their name suggests, the latter live only inside the wood, while subterranean termites can dwell in the soil as well. Although subterranean termites don’t sound like a real threat, they can undermine the foundations of the house, this posing a greater danger to your household.
How to spot a termite infestation
If you wish to get rid of termites, you first have to confirm their presence and more importantly, know the extent of the problem. Firstly, look for holes inside your furniture. They will initially resemble pinholes but will widen over time. This is because the termites are eating the wood from the inside so the slightest push will cave in the surrounding rood.
Secondly, actively look for sawdust that is the direct consequence of the presence of termites. Additionally, you might spot termite droppings in the colour of the wood or tiny wings around cracks appear on furniture. As far as subterranean termites are concerned, the biggest telltale is the presence of mud tube formations on the exterior walls of the house.
Making a cardboard trap
Once you are 100% certain you are dealing with termites (and not ants), it is time to fight their infestation! One of the simplest methods you can use is a cardboard trap. Since cardboard is made from celluloses, it has a smell of wood that termites find irresistible.
You can make the odour more intense by dipping the cardboard into the water and leaving it overnight next to the problem area. The termites will be lured into transferring onto the cardboard, leaving your furniture alone.
Repeat this procedure several times so you are certain all of the termites have left the crevices inside your furniture. Discarding the soaked pieces of cardboard is the best option but you can also burn it to be certain no termite makes it out alive.
Let the sunshine in
The region of the country with arguably the largest number of termite species (including the Giant northern termite or Darwin termite) is the northeast of Australia. That’s why typical pest control in Cairns includes exposure to sunlight as a viable method of getting rid of local termite species.
In fact, you should seek to expose your furniture to sunlight as often as possible. Termites thrive in darkness and moisture so the light from the Sun is the last thing they want. Leaving your furniture in direct sunlight (windows open) for 2 to 3 days will hopefully kill all of the termites. Those who manage to survive will have instinct enough to get away from the scorching heat.
Treating your furniture with oil
Apart from the intensive heat, sunlight removes moisture from furniture that drew the termites in the first place. In order to be certain that your furniture is not exposed to any moisture, use oils and gels to cover the surface of the furniture. You can pour or spray orange or neem oil over the affected areas several times over for better results. As far as gels are concerned, you can try using an aloe vera gel that will act as a protective covering, much like wood polish.
Once you are positive that your furniture had been infested by termites, it is time to act! Whether you hire professional pest control or use sunlight, it is entirely up to you.