Termite or 'white ant' treatment and prevention

  • 23 November 2005 | Updated 14 October 2011

Publishing History

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Termite or 'white ant' infestations treatment and prevention in homes. Do you have termites in or around your home?

Many insects are confused with termites, especially ants. Termites are sometimes referred to as ‘white ants’ because of their pale appearance.

The home owner can discourage termites by remembering these facts:

  • termites are attracted to wood, so remove potential termite food away from buildings - their food can include timber stacks, old stumps, building refuse, garden decoration such as sleepers and logs
  • waste timber from construction activities is often left in place or stored under the house – remove all timber formwork
  • timber can be treated to prevent termite attack, and some timbers are naturally resistant - use treated or naturally resistant timber when it is in contact with, or close to, soil
  • termites are attracted to water, so fix leaking water pipes, drains, showers, sinks etc, plus capture water from air conditioning units
  • termites prefer humid conditions, so keep air under the house dry by improving sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access
  • termites cannot chew through properly laid concrete, so ensure concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, and cured
  • termite colonies can sometimes be located - it is possible to eliminate colonies by killing the reproductives (the queen and the king). 

Regular inspections are the most important part of controlling termites before they do any damage.  Therefore:

  • arrange regular inspections – at least once a year in cooler areas and twice a year in warmer areas
  • inspect during periods of high termite activity - early spring to late summer is generally the best
  • keep the edges of the house (slabs, foundation, piers and stumps) clear of clutter, including garden beds and vegetation
  • professional pest controllers are trained in inspecting houses for termite activity - use their services 
  • home owners can inspect houses themselves more frequently than a professional, if they can identify termite activity.