Termites are a recognised problem for home owners and therefore it is important gardeners are aware of methods to that may increase termite activity.
Ideally good gardening practices will reduce or eliminate termite population or damage to building structures.
Key points about Termites:-
1/. Termites will travel through ALL types of mulch to gain access to a food source.
2/. Composted or semi composted materials are generally regarded as less likely to attract termites. They will look for easier food sources first.
3/. Forest mulch with a woody component is very attractive to termites.
4/. Gardens should be kept away from weep holes (breather holes) in brick homes.
5/. Timber structures such as trellis or lattice should not be placed or fixed to other building structures, especially if the trellis/lattice is in contact with the ground.
6/. Have a licensed Pest Controller to do a yearly inspection.
7/. High set homes or buildings not on a concrete slab should not have any termite treated areas disturbed.
8/. Consider a perimeter barrier spray – this treatment provides a chemical barrier to the building perimeter – talk to a licensed Pest Controller.
Termite Resistant Timbers and Mulches
There are differing reports from the landscape industry that some timbers are recognised by the Australian Standards (AS AS3660.1 - Appendix C page 64-66) as termite resistant materials.
It is reasonable to say that timbers that are listed to be resistant in the Australian Standards are more likely to exhibit resistant traits when the heartwood is used as a mulch. It is important to note that the Australian Standards differentiate heartwood from sapwood in terms on termite resistance. Listed timbers in the Australian Standards are only of heartwood resistant species - untreated sapwood is generally regarded as susceptible to attack. Inner heartwood (nearer the pith) is considered less resistant to attack than is the outer heartwood.
However care and caution is still needed to ensure potential sites for nests and access to home structures is minimised.
Uncertainty will occur if botanical names of tree by-products are not listed when being sold.
Other sites to look at:
Note: Termites live in soil under the ground as they do not like sunlight. Therefore it is extremely unlikely that you will get termites in your mulch if you buy it. If you do they will most likely die in a day or so as they have been removed from the queen and the nest. No termite can survive heat and therefore all processed materials that have been stockpiled for more than 3 days with a temperature exceeding 60 degrees will be free of any termite activity.
For further information contact:
Timber Research and Development Advisory Council (TRADAC): (07) 3358 1400 www.tradac.org.auQld Building Services Authority (QBSA): www.bsa.qld.gov.au