Insect experts have been closely monitoring insect activity after our exceptionally wet warmer months throughout the 2016 Springtime. First we saw an increase in mosquitoes, then flies, and now the most destructive insect of all, termites. Unfortunately for Sydney home owners, they're headed your way.
Linked with a series of ideal weather events, termites are currently "having a ball" said Dr Don Ewart, an entomologist teacher Melbourne Polytechnic.
According to Dr Ewart, the same weather conditions that have made the environment right for the recent mozzie and fly explosion are also perfect conditions for termite breeding and exploring.
"They have had a good, wet spring and we are getting this moisture, and they are still quite actively exploring," he said.
"The pest managers who do specialist termite work are all run off their feet."
Dr Ewart says it is shaping up to be a particularly bad summer. The sad fact is, termite infestations are already occurring, it's just unfortuante that the unsuspecting property owners are yet to uncover any damage.
"Generally the soil moisture is high, that makes a big difference to termites. Termites are really just organised cockroaches," he said.
"They like to go tunnelling and so it is much easier for them to find a place to attack … their attacks [often] go for several weeks or several months before anybody notices."
Additional moisture around walls and flooring is what attracts the termites. Anything from the kitchen sink can be hazardous for home owners.
"Termites always need a drink" Dr Ewart says, "and if the food is close to the water source then life is really good. Otherwise they have to keep carrying water with them and that means they explore less."
Suburbs including Pentrith, Sydney and the outer suburbs are getting lots of attacks at this time of year. Newer properties are no safer than older ones.
"New suburbs will have a few attacks and then they get about 10 years old and tend to have a whole lot more," he said.
A good indication that termites have invaded your home is discovering thousands of tiny wings. While this doesn't necessarily mean a colony has been established in your home, it is without doubt a necessary time to arrange a professional pest inspection.
Those with the most experience in Australian subterranean termites are most likely to discover any termite activity in its early stages. We have heard stories from our customers stating that within hours of certain pest inspectors "giving the all-clear", live termites have appeared inside their homes!
Some even say that finding a termite infestation is similar to finding you have an STD in that, "you have to go round and tell all your neighbours".
Copping a house full of termites can happen to anyone. Even homes far inland and away from waterways are susceptible to these incredibly efficient pests.
Homeowners are being cautioned to take extra care this summer and ensure proper checks are made. Be on the lookout for piles of wings anywhere inside & out.
Dr Ewart believes there is no silver bullet with termite control and it can sometimes "get ugly". Keeping termites out, he says, can be "really complicated".
"The only thing you can really do is get the place inspected by someone who knows what they are doing and get their advice," he said.
Warning signs of a termite infestation include:
How to prevent termite infestation:
What to do if you have termites: