Australia is known for being home to many of the most dangerous animals in the world. From some of the most venomous snakes and spiders on the planet to crocodiles and sharks, they make them tough on this sun-scorched land. And the same is true for the pests that would like to make a new home in your new home. White ants and wood borers aside, Australian termites are considered some of the most voracious and persistent pests in the world. They are also notoriously difficult to identify until it is too late. As such, it is essential not only to get a pre-purchase pest inspection before you buy property but to also get regular checks to ensure that your home remains pest-free.
Fortunately, technology and treatments continue to advance and are becoming more accurate and effective all the time. We take a look at three pieces of tech that any self-respecting pest inspector should have in his arsenal.
1. Thermal Imaging Cameras
From termites to rodents, to ants and hornets, thermal imaging is a quick and non-intrusive way to check behind walls and many (but not all) spaces to see if there is evidence of activity. How? Whilst thermal cameras will not detect a rodent hiding behind your piano - they will detect variations of surface temperature which often occur if there is a nest or hive near the surface which over time will heat up the area. A thermal 'hot spot' will indicate to the inspector to further investigate this particular area. This means less damage to your property and prevents spending hours inspecting every knock and cranny. Is it foolproof? No. Thermal cameras are just one tool, and can and will miss areas that are too far from walls, inaccessible or if there is effective insulation. However, they are an essential part of the pest inspectors tool kit.
2. Moisture Meters
Despite its reputation for being a dry continent, Australia is actually a very hot and humid place. Moisture meters work by detecting areas of high moisture content behind walls, floors and roofing. Areas of high moisture can indicate an increased likelihood of pest locations. So, apart from the obvious concerns around mould and rising dampness, many pests produce their own moisture through various biological processes such as breathing, urination, and evaporation through the skin, especially rodents.
Further to this, many subterranean pests such as termites will be attracted to areas that are moist and will set up home there before spreading to the rest of your home. This is why it is not uncommon to find termite infestations and nests near showers and in shower cubicles. Again, like detecting variations in surface temperature, areas of high moisture indicate areas that the pest inspector will take a closer look at.
So what happens when an area of interest is discovered? Your pest inspector may use a borescope in order to actually see behind the wall. A borescope is a tiny camera on the end fibre optic cable that can be threaded through a hole drilled into the wall, beam or flooring. Whilst this does necessitate a tiny hole being drilled, it is definitely a better option compared to the devastating damage that untreated termites and other pests can cause to your health and home.
Any home, new or old, can develop pest problems. The key is to remain vigilant and to ensure that you get regular pest and building inspections to ensure that you catch them early. In the case of termites, they are most active from October to April (in the hotter, wetter months) and so this could be the time to get your inspector in.
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