Termites, Simple prevention.

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I am a licensed Pest Control contractor, of many years experience, and I am writing this because I want to help people avoid the expenses sometimes imposed on unwary people, who may be persuaded to buy expensive treatments, or devices, they don't need. I have encountered many elderly people who have been taken advantage of in this way, often by flashy pest control companies,  and I think it is wrong that older, and vulnerable people are targeted.
So here are some commonsense ideas about termite control to think about: Firstly, understand that these creatures are just insects, and therefore generally behave predictably. In other words, they are NOT particularly complicated once you consider what they want.  Their function in nature,  after all, is to recycle timber, and it we might just consider if its OUR mistake to build houses in THEIR part of the environment!  Naturally, they then go about recycling the organic material. In a way, the house is the real problem, not the termite! Secondly, The cheapest form of pest control is a trip to the library:  Find out about termites and other insect pests. Because they have such a simple and predictable nature, it is not complicated to learn what aspects of the environment attract them, and either use that to an advantage to make traps, or to avoid making your property so attractive to them. Usually they need Moisture, Warmth, Food and Dark. Thirdly, If you want to know whether there are termites near your property, then why not put out the IDEAL meal for them in a location where you can inspect it easily and treat them before they get to your house?  What is the ideal meal for a termite? Termites like soft wood, like oregon or pine (that hasn't been treated) and corrugated cardboard. All the better if it is affected by "Dry Rot" and cellulose decay, so timber in damp areas generates fungus that converts cellulose. Thats why a leaking shower is often a place where termites are attracted into a building structure.  Alternatively, use the sort of timber that you may see that has already been attacked on the ground. Pack thin strips of the timber and cardboard tightly upright in an old plastic flower pot with holes in the base, and bury it up to the rim in a place where the soil is moist, preferably away from the house. Put a lid of solid material over the top to keep out light and heat. Such  traps might only cost you a couple of dollars to make  several.  Termites don't insist on fancy lids or traps. Its important to check them frequently and keep them moist. Place them fairly close, maybe about 1.5 m apart, or extend their effectiveness by connecting them to perforated plastic tubes in trenches extending out sideways as a barrier. Fill the tubes with slivers of wood or cardboard as an enticement for the termite to follow along the tube to where they can be inspected.  Inspect it regularly, every month or so, and if termite activity is found, don't disturb it. Now is the time to make enquiries about powder termiticides, that can be obtained for you by a Licenced Pest controller, who will be able to advise how to dust the termites with the powder.  If you are not sure that they are giving honest advice, find a Pest Control Chemical Supplies firm and ask them to recommend someone else.  There are safer chemicals than arsenic,  available to do this with these days, but they do take some months to wipe out the whole colony. It is obviously cheaper to have several traps like this around your house, then to have to pay thousands of dollars when it is too late. Finally, if you're building a house, buy a copy of the Australian Standard on Termites and building ( AS3660), and consider building with materials that termites don't eat. eg Glass, Steel, Earth. Stone.etc.
I am pleased that so many people have benefited from this advice. I have had enquiries from across the world!  However, please understand, I cannot guarantee that this information will work infallibly. People might have a property that is free of termites, until someone delivers a load of wood to an area inside the protected zone. It happens!   Sometimes, it is necessary  that the ground is saturated with liquid termiticides, and this can be more expensive. Its a professional job, not something to try yourself. Get advice from the Supply companies about who can be recommended to give fair value, and don't just pick the company with the most expensive looking truck. Above all, check internet for information about the toxicity of chemicals!!! In Australia, we still have people using chemicals associated with learning difficulties in other countries, but you don't have to accept whatever is convenient for the Pest Control company  just because its already mixed in the tank on the truck. Sensible use of chemicals can be safe and most effective. Just think about the options first.

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