Drywood Termites Management

The West Indian drywood termites are especially abundant in Brisbane, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Townsville and Rockhampton where they are considered as serious pests. They are deemed as the world’s most destructive drywood termite.

Homeowners and construction companies are now being asked by Biosecurity Queensland for suggestions on how to manage the termite problem in the state. In fact, the State Government has paid for building treatments and any infestations found in timber products since the 1960s.

A treatment for an average 3-bedroom home costs about $42,000, and taxpayers pay about $750,000 a year for the annual program.

However, since the new Biosecurity Act 2014 was implemented in July, the Government has made a move to reassess how it  manages the pests.

The following are the options that are being considered:

  • Government organises treatment, with a phase-in of property owner contributions.

  • Property owners organise and pay for treatments.

  • Government organises treatment, with owner co-contribution of set costs.

  • Government continues to organise and pay for all surveillance and treatment.

A consultation process is being undertaken around how to manage the pest under the new act. This is due to the core principle contained in the Biosecurity Act 2014 around shared responsibility for biosecurity.

The main purpose of the the act is to determine where to find the West Indian drywood termite infestations and identify who pays the cost of treatment.

Perhaps the primary reason why it’s very hard to identify the presence of drywood termites is because these creatures live out their entire lives inside the timber, unlike the common subterranean termites, which are found in structures. By the time that they are detected, they have already made a significant amount of damage.

It is imperative that the government does some surveillance activities as it cannot be done by just private individuals. There should be a right balance between the resources used for the treatment and the resources used for the surveillance.

The surveillance and treatment has so far controlled the pest down to a much lesser number of sites in Queensland. However, these pests could still cause damage depending on when and where they were found.

Living and Breeding Places of Household Pests

Cockroaches, termites, ants, fleas, mosquitoes, rodents and bed bugs are just a few of many house pests that can create health problems and cause damages to your house and belongings.

So, how do we get rid of them? If you prefer a less-invasive, environment-friendly approach, then you can opt for some DIY pest control solutions using natural ingredients. On the other hand, there are also household chemicals and pesticides that you can use especially if your pest problem has gone way out of hand. However, you must be mindful of its damaging side effects to the environment.

There are a bunch of ways to de-bug a home but how can you be sure you are doing the job correctly? Perhaps, the best way to attack a problem is to cut it down right from its source, and to do so, you must know where these pests can be found.

Here are the living and breeding places of common household pests:

Flies

Flies are commonly found in rubbish, open septic tanks, food scraps, dirty benches and tables, open leach drains, lawn clippings and animal faeces.

Fleas

Fleas like sandy areas. In order to reproduce, they need blood, which they mostly get from animals. They are usually transported by humans as they are likely to jump into people’s clothing. They can also be brought into houses through beddings.

As these pests are usually found on dogs, cats and other furry animals, it is best to keep the pets outside the house if they are suspected to have fleas. This is to minimise the likelihood of fleas infesting the house.

Bed Bugs

Like fleas, bed bugs also need blood in order to develop. They are transported by humans through their luggages and beddings. These bugs usually hide in places where people sleep, keeping themselves hidden from view during the day. During the night, they will start feeding by biting a person in their bed. Their bites can be very itchy and can easily become infected when scratched.

Mosquitoes

These insects like cold and dark places, so they are mostly found in areas where there is rain water accumulation like car tyres and tins, water storage tanks, discarded refrigerators and in septic tanks. They can also be found around ponds and natural bodies of water.

Rats and Mice

Rodents love rubbish. Where there is litter or exposed food, it would not be surprising if you see rats and mice lurking around. They can also be found in pipes, insulation, under buildings, in ceilings and in trees and gardens.

Mites

Mites live and breed on furry animals and can also be found on human hair.

Managing a pest problem is never easy. It requires a lot of time and effort to meticulously device ways and means of detection and treatment, not to mention that different pests require different solutions.

The first thing you need to worry about is how to detect these pests. Sometimes, people are not aware that they are having a serious pest situation until the signs become obvious and the problem is already too severe to be fixed by DIY solutions alone. If you want to ensure a thorough and accurate inspection, enlist the help of a professional. The best way to enjoy peace of mind concerning the condition of your home is by having the professionals atTwinspectors look it over. Call us on 1300 304 145 or book online for an inspection today.

Managing Your Trash to Keep Pests Away

Perhaps, one of the biggest keys to having a house that is free from pests is trash management. When you have trash just lying around, pests would think you are inviting them to an “All You Can Eat” buffet.

The first step in denying these pests the chance of feasting on your rubbish is to simply keep your home as spick and span as possible. This begins with which sort of stuff you buy at the store. We suggest you choose items and products with minimal packaging.

Most houses have both garbage bins and waste baskets that are used everyday. Here are a few care management tips to help you handle your waste bins:

  • Use lidded waste bins (lids tightly fitted). Insects and other pests cannot get inside if the lids are shut tight.
  • Line the trash cans with bags. It would be much better if you reuse plastic grocery bags.
  • Try using natural repellants. Before putting trash in, spray the inside of the trash bags with vinegar, add a sprinkle of ground cloves and a bay leaf. If you have a particular problem with cockroaches, make some little balls made of boric acid and powdered milk and put one in each of your trash bags.

If the natural repellants are just not doing it, spray the inside of the bag with a bug killer. You may want to buy the less-toxic natural products first and try to wait it out for a while. However, if it doesn’t totally take care of the problem, you might as well bring out the nasty sprays to get rid of the insects before they become an infestation and you wouldn’t have much of a choice but to call an exterminator.

Be sure to wash the inside of trash cans after emptying them out, especially when there is liquid inside it. Wash it well and let it dry before using again.

Any other place where you store recyclable materials should also be treated in the same way.

For food scraps and plastic wrappers:

  • Keep food scraps in separate sealed containers.
  • Meat wrappers should be rinsed thoroughly and put in old Ziplocs before being put away.
  • Any used cans and bottles should be rinsed thoroughly and dried before putting in the trash.
  • Put caps back in bottles and corks in wine bottles.
  • Put candy wrappers, cereal bags, microwave popcorn bags in a tightly sealed bag.

If you are planning on saving something for recycling, make sure you wash it and let it dry before storing. Food and beverage containers often contain sugar that attracts pests so it’s best you get rid of any remaining residue.

A great way to keep on top of the big picture when it comes to the condition of your home is by having a Twinspectors annual building AND pest inspection done. Enjoy peace of mind concerning the condition of your home by having the professionals at Twinspectors look it over. Call us today on 1300 304 145 or book online!

Clear Signs You Have a Termite Problem

Oftentimes, finding termites with the naked eye can be quite a bit of a challenge. Generally, professional equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras, need to be used, so people often miss the initial stages of a termite infestation in a house. If spotted early, termite problems can often be eliminated and any damage to the house repaired at a lesser expense to the owner.

In saying that, every once in awhile we come across very clear signs that a home has been infested or is at a great risk of being infested by termites. Without taking steps to get rid of them, these pests can potentially cause serious damage to your home. Often living underground, termites don’t always come to the surface. By the time you notice the signs of a termite infestation, it might be a little too late.

However, there are telltale signs that you can keep an eye out to let you know there are termites in your home.

Mud Tunnels

Approximately 30 species of termites found in Australia are notorious property destroyers, most particularly, the subterranean termites. They construct a vast network of tunnels leading to your home as they live underground. Sometimes, these tunnels are built close to the ground surface that’s why they are easy to spot. Usually referred to as mud tubes, these tunnels may pass through your yard up along the exterior walls of your dwelling.

Scattered Piles of Discarded Wings

This, perhaps, is the most obvious sign of a termite infestation. At some point in a year, young winged termites (also known as swarmers) reproduce. In the process of doing so, they take flight and set off to create new colonies of their own. Catching these swarms in action is a rarity, but they discard their wings as they go, leaving heaps of it around your property.

Sagging or Hollow-Sounding Wood

Wood may look as pristine and stunning as if it is spanking new, but you may want to look beneath the surface. It may not show outward signs of damage, so try tapping the wood with a hammer and see if it produces a dull, hollow sound. If yes, it means damage is present. Depending on the size of the damage, sometimes you could see visual signs already such as when the wood looks warped or is sagging.

“Frass” and Small Exit Holes

One sure sign of termite infestation is the presence of frass. Termites leave piles of waste droppings called frass as they ingest wood, creating small exit holes in the process. This mound of fecal matter looks like wood-coloured pellets, resembling sawdust. When you happen to see frass around your property, there is no doubt that a termite infestation is underway.

Garden and Yard Damage

Termites often start their devastation outside before going after the primary structure of your dwelling. Most of the time, they come from your very own yard. So it would be best practice if you keep being on the lookout for signs outside of your home as well. Check whether your fences are weakened or dilapidated. Check for damp wood piles and if there are broken branches. These signs indicate the presence of termites in your backyard. Have your fencing and wooden garden structures pre-treated or better yet, use non-wood materials instead.

What people often say about prevention being better than cure is indeed true. Stopping termites in their tracks before they cause major damage to your home is the best way to control them. The only challenge is that termites are pretty hard to spot. You may want to consider having annual inspections done to have your home and ensure it is free from all kinds of pests, not just termites.

Termite infestations are certainly both distressing and financially draining. In order to minimise damage, it is important to take action as quickly as possible. This is why it is best to have an expert inspect your property if you are aiming for an effective and long-term solution rather than just relying on DIY inspections and treatments. To set up an inspection,contact us today at Twinspectors. We offer a comprehensive and intensive annual pest inspection that will keep you abreast of the pest situation in your home.

The Troubles With Do-It-Yourself Pest Control Solutions

Perhaps, one of the primary problems faced by every homeowner is pest infestation. Ideally, it is advised that an exterminator be contacted for pest inspections and pest control, either when moving into a new home or for recently discovered issue with pests. Read more

How to Keep Snakes Away

Due to the rise in temperature, snakes are driven out of their natural habitats seeking refuge and most likely ending up in someone’s house. Thus, the chance of an encounter is higher, posing a greater threat to everyone.

Just recently, nine people have been reportedly bitten by snakes across Queensland in just a 36-hour period. With over 140 species of land snakes in Australia alone, it is likely for you to suddenly come in contact with one. For those people living in warmer, rural and highly vegetated areas like Queensland, the chances are even higher.

Let’s face it. Snakes will always be around, and there is nothing much that we can do about it. After all, like all living things, they play a significant role in our ecosystem. The best we can do is devise some strategies to help keep snakes away from our homes.

How do we keep them away from us? Here are a few tips that work:

Learn About Snakes in Your Area

The first thing you need to do to keep snakes away is be aware of what you may be up against. There are certain snakes that are native to certain areas. It is important that you find out whether these snakes are dangerous or not so you could take the necessary precautions. You can contact your local wildlife ranger to learn more about the snakes in your area.

Clear Your Yard

Snakes love places where they can hide. Make sure your yard is clutter-free by removing fallen leaves and branches and keeping the grass trimmed. Shear overgrown shrubs and plants. Remove spare logs and twigs or old furniture in the area. Not only do they make potentially good dwellings for these creepy crawlies, they also attract termites. The cleaner your yard is, the harder it is for snakes to find a hiding place.

Keep Your House Closed

Snakes have an incredible ability to make themselves fit into the tightest, narrowest areas. Make sure that there are no holes in the walls, windows, roofs or floors. They can easily squeeze their way in through tiny holes in windows, under the door frames, and in between the floorboards.

Snake Repellers

Snake repellers are little devices designed to help people get rid of snakes. These repellers work by emitting sound vibrations into the ground that imitate the noises made by large animals, thus driving the snakes away. We recommend that you use the solar-powered ones as they recharge on their own and do not require constant maintenance.

Being a local, we often see yards that are cluttered with junk, branches and even items such as pool equipment and so on. Old logs can attracts termites and other insects, whilst general junk can attract rodents. These of course in turn attract snakes. Whilst we are not snake catchers, not claim to ever be experts on snakes, we do however highly recommend checking your house and yards particularly in the hot summer months for any items that can draw snakes to your family home.

For more information on pest and rodent management, contact our office (1300 304 145) today.

It’s Not Always The Termites: A Look At Other Wood Pests

Whenever property owners come to Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections for help on pest infestations, most would attribute any wood damage they see to termites. However, upon inspection, our technicians find that many of these structural damages are not caused by termites or not only by termites alone but also other wood-boring pests.

Common Types of Wood Pests

Due to the widespread infestation of termites around Australia though, it is easy to mistake them for all kinds of wood damages, whether in residential properties or commercial buildings. In addition, not everyone is aware of several other types of wood pests that may be lingering in their property. So here’s a closer look at the other kinds of wood pests:

Furniture Beetle

The common furniture beetle is brown in appearance, measuring no more than 5 millimetres in length. The adults have a stripe-like pattern on their bodies. It is not the adult furniture beetle that damages wood materials, however, but the larvae. The larval phase takes three to four years, and during this period, the larvae feed on seasoned timber.

Dampwood Borer

Unlike most wood borers, the damp wood borer does not initiate the damage on wood structure. This large beetle with a hairy-like appearance feeds on both softwood and hardwood that is already decayed, or wood materials that are damp and prone to damage.

Powderpost Beetle

Another type of wood borer that only feeds on wood during larval stage is the powderpost beetle. They attack wood structures similarly as furniture beetles do, leaving small holes behind and a powdery form of the ingested wood. These beetles are noticeable for their heads and club-shaped antennae.

Longhorned Beetle

The longhorned beetle is named as such because of its long antennae, often longer than the size of their bodies. The adult longhorned beetles are between 15mm and 30mm in length, but some species can grow as long as 60mm. Outdoors, the larvae feed mostly on barks of trees. Indoors, they can eat through untreated timber, furniture and wood structure, usually made of hardwood and sapwood.

Identifying the Wood Pests

Wood damage can be a clear sign of pest infestation, and when neglected, can lead to significant damage to your property. While there are do-it-yourself solutions, being able to identify the type of wood pests that are attacking your property is the first step to effectively eliminating the infestation.

Our two-man team from Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections can help you, not only with identifying the types of wood-boring pests in your property, but also in determining the location and the severity of the infestation. After which, we will help you decide on the most effective method of treatment.

The Drawbacks of Do-It-Yourself Pest Inspections

Wherever you live, pests are a common problem and, one way or another, every household has to deal with them. With the number of pests showing up in your home every year, during different seasons, you probably just want an easy and safe way to immediately get rid of them. In fact, for certain types of pests, you might instantly grab a canister of spray to kill off pests that you see.

Although there are do-it-yourself over-the-counter pest treatment solutions, we recommend at Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections to have your property inspected for pests by trained experts who will help you carry out long-term pest management solutions.

Reasons Why It’s Best to Avoid Handling Pest Inspections by Yourself

 

You May Miss Some Spots

Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections technicians are licensed inspectors who are well-trained in handling pest management, allowing us to help you uncover all possible locations of infestations in your property. If you are to do pest inspections on your own, however, there could be a difficulty in locating nests and colonies, making it harder for you to completely get rid of the problem.

Even after you have eliminated pests that you have seen on the surface and even those hidden in crevices, cracks and every nook and cranny, you might find that the pests will begin showing up again in no time, sometimes even in bigger numbers – and probably because you haven’t really found the root of the problem.

There might also be other hidden pests that do not easily show traces of infestation unless they are detected with the use of the right equipment. Worse, if you do not conduct a regular inspection with the help of professionals, you might only find out about these pests when they have already caused significant damage to your property.

You May Be Spreading the Infestation More than Treating It

Various types of pests require specific methods of elimination. Even handling the treatment can require safety measures to ensure that the infestation is controlled and not moved to another location. Although managing pests yourself is cheaper, its effect may sometimes be contrary to what you expect.

There are instances where, instead of clearing up the pests, property owners who are doing pest control on their own actually end up spreading the infestation to other areas of their home.

Increased Health and Safety Risks

Pest management, in most cases, require the use of chemicals and other solutions for eliminating pests. Although do-it-yourself solutions make it look easy for anyone to conduct pest control, choosing the most effective method and a long-term solution require an expert’s help. Handling chemicals and ensuring your personal safety is also another matter, because there could be an increased safety risk for people who are not trained in pest treatment.

The Use Of Borescope For Inspections

When it comes to helping our clients protect their investments, Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections uses the latest technology to ensure that no signs of infestations are missed during property inspections. One of the most effective methods used by our technicians when checking for infestations is the use of borescopes.

What Is a Borescope?

A borescope is a device that can be inserted into a wall cavity to allow our team to detect any moisture, mudding and termite activities within the wall, which are not easily seen from the surface. Although this will require us to bore a hole, it is small enough just to fit the thin optical fibre.

Through the lens and eyepiece, any activity within the surface can then be seen in real time, making it quicker for pest problems to be identified and treated. This method is commonly recommended for crevices and hard-to-reach sections.

Three Advantages of Using the Borescope

Quick and convenient

Detecting pest activities inside a wall can be both challenging and time-consuming especially because the signs are not readily seen by the naked eye. With other methods, it may take several techniques and attempts to verify the infestation. Using the borescope, on the other hand, will get you to the bottom of the problem much faster. And because you have a way to discover the hidden infestations without wasting a lot of time, you also leave no time for the termites to cause significant damage to your property.

Covers nearby areas

With a high-powered light source and high-capacity lens, termite activities near the wall cavity can also be detected. Traces of termite mudding and moisture in surrounding areas raise a red flag that termites are possibly in close proximity. Even without having to bore holes and specifically check the suspected areas, termite activities can still be tracked.

Makes pest management easier and faster

If infestations inside a wall are not identified immediately, there is a possibility that it will result in irreversible damage to your property. By then, it could already end up in expensive costs of repair and renovation. In most cases, the problem is neglected simply because the damage is unseen.

The use of a borescope will allow you to manage termite problems much easier. Once the inspection has been completed, our team from Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections will immediately give recommendations and treatment options to keep the pests in your home under control.

Keeping Redback Spiders Away From Your Home

One of the easiest ways to scare people is with the use of spiders, perhaps mainly because the thought of having the eight-legged creature walk on your skin is creepy enough. But with redback spiders, it’s a completely different story. It’s more than just how it looks; it is also the risk of being bitten by this venomous spider that makes it scary.

Redback spiders are native to Australia and females are easily identified by the red stripe found on their abdomen. Their bodies are black and spherical, and about one centimetre in length, while males are significantly smaller.

In the past, bites from redback spiders have led to deaths, until an antivenom was introduced in 1956. Although the number of redback spider bites still reaches about 2,000 incidents per year and the bite may still cause pain, the health risks are now controlled and no deaths have been reported.

The Redback Spider’s Way of Life

Redback spiders can be found in warm sheltered areas, mostly near or even inside homes. They can build their webs in roof voids, storage areas, sometimes even under your bed, and other locations that are not commonly frequented and touched. The hunting for smaller insects and other prey, including small lizards, are mostly done by the female who builds the nest, and the males steal the leftovers for survival. When the redback spider bites, its fangs inject venom, killing its prey.

The Possibility of Infestations

The redback spider can multiply in large numbers, with the females laying an average of 250 eggs. This allows the spiders to be widespread in one area, increasing the chances of contact with humans and humans being bitten. Redback spiders can continue living in residential areas if they are not controlled and the web and egg sacs are not removed.

At Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections, we’ve had many encounters with redback spiders when conducting building inspections. The weather in Brisbane makes residential areas the perfect nest for redback spiders, especially inside the homes; there is usually the abundance of smaller spiders and insects that are the ideal prey to the redback spider.

Getting Rid of and Avoiding Redback Spiders

You’d think it is almost inevitable to avoid redback spiders from claiming your territory, especially if their only need is a warm place where they can lurk and wait for their prey. However, preventing redback spiders from continuously living in your home is possible by regularly cleaning up your house and implementing a maintenance routine.

For instance, a regular building inspection from Twinspectors Building and Pest Inspections can help you identify any presence of venomous arachnids in your residence and will get rid of them before they begin to multiply. Areas that are hardly visible to you can also be checked not only for redback spiders, but all other pests that can possibly cause infestation in your property.