Termites that cause most damage to homes nest underground where they remain except at certain times of the year, when the conditions are right, young males and females break out looking to make a new nest.
It takes five years or more for a nest to become big enough and for its numbers to grow to the stage that their search for food becomes widespread. By this stage, their numbers will be counted in millions.
So while there may be no termites near a home when it is built , they may well be there in the future.
Termite food is cellulose in its many forms. In natural conditions that means trees. Termites search underground for food - old wood or old trees or get into the roots of new or dead standing trees and into their core.
It is during this search for food that termites find your home and the danger is always from underground.
To a termite your home is a simple source of food and millions of them hunt for an entry to get at the wooden framework, wall cladding, the wooden fixtures and any source of cellulose in the construction or contents of the house. Steel framing or treated timber framing does not offer full termite protection. Termites can still attack fixtures and fittings in your home.
Termites eat the internal structure of timber leaving a thin shell, which provides protection against predators and stops them being desiccated.
Termite damage often goes unnoticed until it is quite extensive.
The warmth given out by electrical fittings also attracts termites and their activity can cause electrical failures and fires.
If termites are present and searching for food, any tiny hole will allow them in. Termites can get into the house through a hole as small as 1/2 inch.
For more information on termite protection read about our Termimesh Termite Control System , a physical termite barrier that will prevent termites damaging your new home.