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Termites can nest almost anywhere in Newcastle.
They are mostly single site nesters, however they can build secondary nests within buildings that may survive for years isolated from the ground. Termites commonly establish nests within the root crown of a tree, in old sleepers used for garden bed edges, in timber garden posts and in timber piers under houses and sheds.
There is often no visible external evidence of nests, I find termite nests mainly in the bases of trees and timber house piers, but nests can also be located high up in tree trunks many metres off the ground. Old timber railway sleepers are also very vulnerable.
Termites put their nests under the bottom of the sleeper, in the ground. If they are used for retaining walls they will nest behind the sleepers in the soil. The drilling of these sleepers usually does not reveal termites and the only way to cheek them is to remove each sleeper and look for a nest. From their nests in trees, the termites make subterranean tunnels extending over 50m to reach limber in buildings.
Often such infestations are not detected until extensive damage has been done, when there is an infestation in a house or shed firstly look for any trees or timber fence posts and then inspect them for any mudding or flight holes that indicate termite activity. I also check tree stumps that are situated within about 50-60m of the affected building, then commence a drilling program to test drill any trees, stumps or posts.
Proven Pest Control in Newcastle use a machine called an Atom borer that affixes to a chainsaw motor and then use 16rnm or 18mm drill bits to drill. I have two bits, one 40cm long and another about 60-80cm long. Depending on the size of the tree, I drill one to three holes at a 45-degree angle down past the centre. If I feel a hollow in the tree I leave it for about 5-10 minutes and then check for active termites using either a temperature probe, or a piece of grass which the soldier termites will cling to.
If there is no activity, the holes are left open for 1-3 days and then checked. I often find the termites have totally mudded up the hole giving me an indication that there is a nest somewhere in the tree. Often the nest will be either below the drilled holes or well above, and the early plugging of the holes will allow the termites to continue undetected.
Termites do not like air entering the tree and will usually travel either down or up from the nest and mud the hole out. This indicates that there is a nest somewhere in the tree, post or stump- After this time the hole can be sealed using gap filler or commercially available plastic plugs. I often recommend that the tree and stump be fully removed if the nest is large and a lot of the centre of the tree trunk has been eaten out to accommodate the termite nest.
If the owner wants the tree preserved then I obtain a signed authority to pump termiticide into the tree trunk advising the owner that the tree may collapse after the nest is treated, or that the tree may also die due to the termite damage.
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