Termites have been found to inhabit Australian homes; the terrible little critters are particularly prevalent in houses in proximity to gum trees. And considering the eye-watering repair bill a full-blown termite infestation entails, it’s in your best interest as a homeowner to keep them well away from your property at all costs.

Here’s how to maintain a termite-free home.

1. Keep water away from wood in your home

Termites thrive in moist environments, so you must keep the wood in your home dry at all times. Leaky taps and busted pipes are the number one culprit, seeping water into the wooden structure of your home and inviting termites to move in. If you detect a leak anywhere in your house, call a plumber to fix the problem immediately—you’ll avoid potential structural damage, too.

Rainwater can also find its way into your roof through cracked or broken tiles, so it’s prudent to assess them every year or so. Search for any other areas where wood is directly exposed to water and rectify the situation straight away.

2. Avoid buying used wooden furniture

Antique wooden furniture may be adorable, but it’s a well-known breeding ground for termites that could eventually overrun your entire home. And don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll spot them because termites burrow deep inside to create their nests.

The simple solution is to avoid wood and opt for other materials like metals and plastics. If you insist on wooden furniture, periodically tap the surface to listen for a hollow sound inside—a tell-tale sign of a termite infestation. Keep an ear out for an unusual creaking sound as well because this can indicate the piece is partially hollow inside.

3. Termite proof your garden

Termites will take up residence in your garden long before they find their way into your home. And by making an effort to eradicate the pests from your yard, you’ll be more likely to avoid an interior infestation.

Don’t allow shrubbery to become overgrown and overwhelm your home; it’s best to keep your bushes well-manicured and out of reach of the edifice. Termites adore woodpiles, especially ones soaked by the rain, so keep your firewood well away from the house and carefully examine each piece you bring in to burn. Mulch is another common breeding ground for termites; opt for a non-wooden alternative to be on the safe side.

4. Keep your home clean

“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” and it can also prevent termites from taking up residence in your home. Much like other pests, termites are attracted to dark and dirty environments, so doing a periodic clean-up will encourage them to look elsewhere.

Another key advantage of keeping your house clean is you’ll be able to identify when an infestation arises and act accordingly.

Home Termite-Free

5. Treat suspect furniture with boric acid

If you do suspect a piece of furniture is infested, you must take immediate action. Remove the offending article from your home and spray on a generous portion of boric acid, a chemical agent that’s highly effective at killing pests and weeds.

Apply an even coat over the entire surface area of the furnishing and let it sit for several days. The compound is mildly toxic to humans, so treat it with care and work in a well-ventilated space. If you suspect the termites may have migrated elsewhere in the home, call a pest control professional immediately.

6. Get a regular inspection done

Termites are notoriously tricky to spot, especially to the untrained eye. The only way to know for sure you’re living in a termite-free home is by getting a professional to provide an in-depth assessment. Termite inspections should be undertaken once per year to improve the chance of finding the critters before they wreak havoc on your home.

It may cost a few hundred dollars per annum, but that pales in comparison to the monumental repair bill a termite infestation entails (remember: most insurance policies don’t cover termites). Numerous reputable operators offer termite control in Melbourne.

7. Store cardboard boxes in a faraway place

Unbeknownst to many, termites are attracted to cardboard and love nesting in your old disused boxes. Instead of leaving them lying around inside, move your cardboard boxes out into the garage or another secluded place. And when moving cardboard boxes back into the home, always give them a quick shakedown to ensure there are no termites huddled up inside.

A full-blown termite infestation is a nightmare scenario for any Aussie homeowner, potentially resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in uninsurable property damage. If you keep these seven tips at hand, you can mitigate the risk by preventing termites from taking up residence in your home.

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