Early detection is the key to preventing extensive damage from timber pests. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot these bugs in the early stages of an infestation. The importance of catching the signs earlier on and the help of a yearly inspection from a termite professional can be the difference to saving your home. These are the most common mistakes homeowners make when identifying evidence of termites.

1. Thinking all wood-damaging pests are termites.

While termites are the primary cause of wood damage in Australia, termites are not the only insect that could damage your wood. The three main types of wood-damaging bugs are carpenter bees, carpenter ants and termites.

2. Thinking termites are no big deal.

Termites cause billions in property damage in Australia each year. In fact, about 1 in 3 homes in Australia will be infested with termites each year.

3. Assuming you would know if you had timber pests.

Timber pests hide in the wood that they damage and may not reveal themselves until they have done extensive damage.

4. Assuming all timber pests eat wood.

All timber pests destroy your wood, but they do it for different reasons. For example, carpenter bees nest in wood but do not eat it.

5. Mistaking carpenter bee entry points for termite tunnels.

Carpenter bees create nesting tunnels in wood, but their tunnels are unlike termite tunnels. If the tunnel has an entry-hole about the size of your fingertip, it is probably a carpenter bee tunnel. However, do not be fooled by the relatively shallow entry points. Carpenter bees tunnel sideways and can create extensive damage under the surface.

6. Thinking timber pests cannot infest treated wood.

While bees, ants, and termites all prefer bare and unpainted wood, they can get to painted or treated wood, as well. Do not ignore potential signs of an infestation because of your belief that your wood is safe from them.

7. Mistaking carpenter ants for termites.

To some people, ants and termites look alike. However, they have significant differences on close inspection. From a distance, if you see a line of insects moving on trails, they are probably carpenter ants. The good news is that, unlike termites, if you find carpenter ants in your home, they may not signal an infestation. Because ants are foragers, you could have a foraging party in your home rather than an infestation.

8. Not knowing the difference between ants and termite anatomy.

Ants have defined waists, their front and hind wings are different sizes, and their antennae are joined. Termites lack defined waists, have front and hind wings of the same size (when they have wings) and their antennae are not joined.

9. Not understanding that termites eat wood.

Because wood is their food source, termites have a much greater potential for destruction than other types of timber pests. They will keep eating until a wooden structure is destroyed. That is why it is essential to catch them early.

Flick offers a variety of home protection plans aimed at helping you detect termites and other timber pests before they cause too much damage. We’ll help you pick the one that is right for you.