(WDO) Wood-destroying organisms are dangerous!
The chief of these is termites. The timber-destroying subterranean termite pest, also known as “white ants”, are any homeowner’s worst nightmare!
Termites form an important part of our local ecosystem by breaking down dead cellulose material. This, however, becomes a serious liability in residential areas. Timber is used in buildings and homes. When termites attack they weaken the timber, which can lead to the collapse of the roof and other timber structural elements of the building.
You may not notice termites for years without any immediate signs. You might only discover them when the damage is severe. These termites, however, are not the only ones causing the damage.
Various unregistered pest control officers and building contractors add to the problem by using inadequate and incorrectly applied treatment methods.
The type of termite found at the site determines the type of termite treatment used. Therefore, a trained technician should classify the type of termite present on the premises. Furthermore, the type of termite present can vary according to the geographical location of your home.
Two main categories of termites are found in South Africa; the Subterranean Termite and the Drywood Termite.
However, in the Western Cape, the Harvester termites are the most common species.
Ridding a building of these destructive insects requires special skills. There is, however, a few essential tips that homeowners can use to lessen the risk of termite infestations.
- Eliminate moisture problems, by repairing leaky taps and water pipes.
- Remove potential food sources such as firewood and wood stumps around the perimeter of the house.
The South African Pest Control Association (SAPCA) regularly receives complaints from homeowners that the grounds or the structure have not been treated properly. Often this is the result of building contractors appointing unregistered pest control officers. They act illegally by either using banned chemicals or applying chemicals incorrectly.
Modern termiticides, which are more ‘environmentally friendly’, only offer a protection and efficiency guarantee for a maximum of 5 years.
Any pest control company charging a low price with a 10-year guarantee is either using banned substances like Chlordane or they are not using the termiticides at the prescribed dosages. There is currently no chemical on the market that can offer the kind of protection that Chlordane did.
Chlordane has a hazardous effect on humans and the environment. The chemical contaminates the air of homes by diffusion through concrete flooring or outgassing from previously treated indoor areas. Furthermore, documented health problems can include child cancers, leukaemia, chronic infections, bronchitis, asthma, infertility, neurological disorders and aggression.
Therefore, a pest control officer or company that offers to termite-proof your buildings at a very low rate and a 10-year guarantee should be regarded with suspicion.
Registered pest control operators
SAPCA motivates consumers and the industry to only make use of registered pest control operators. SAPCA members adhere to a strict code of conduct prohibiting them from undercutting. The code also bars them from using unregistered and misappropriating chemicals.
The Department of Agriculture registers all SAPCA members. In addition, if the customers have a complaint about a SAPCA member, they have better recourse. Also, you must receive a certificate of proof that the termite proofing was done in accordance with the National Building Regulations.
When selecting pest control officers to treat a new or current infestation ensure that they comply with the following:
- employed by a licensed pest control company.
- in possession of advanced knowledge of construction and homebuilding.
- expert knowledge of termite identification and biology.
- understanding of the local and state ordinances regarding pest control.
- knowledge of the various treatment methods and resources to customise a treatment plan suitable for your development.
- awareness of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved materials and environmental standards.
- ability to provide detailed written notes of the preliminary inspection.
- confidence in a guarantee of service from a stable company providing effective termite prevention, treatment and control.
- lastly, be suspicious of ‘cheap pricing’ and extended guarantees that exceed 5 years.
For more information contact The South African Pest Control Association on 086 111 4556 or visit their website.
As part of a comprehensive buyer’s, seller’s or maintenance inspection I will bring to your attention the existence of wood-destroying organisms like termites, wood borer, carpenter ants bees etc. that I find on the property! I will also do a WDO inspection if you request it. However, it is a separate inspection from a normal home inspection.
Inspected Once, Inspected Right!®