- Three Common Types of Termites in Singapore
- Life Cycle & Termite Caste System
- What a Termite Infestation Looks Like
- Why Early Detection of Termites is a Must
- Types of Homes that are at More Risks of Termite Infestation
- Where to Look for Termites in Your Home
- How to Get Rid of Termites in Your Home
- What are the Challenges in Termite Control?
- The Average Cost of Termite Treatment in Singapore
- Final Thoughts: Finding the Right Termite Treatment in Singapore for You
Almost every article about termites starts with a sentiment that they are every homeowner’s worst nightmare. With their ability to work their way eating through wood, causing massive damages, these articles may just well be stating the obvious.
Termites may be small in size. However, they are very much capable of tearing wood in a short span of time. While they may not seem like a cause of concern, just imagine having a colony of thousands—if not millions—of termites with a constant appetite for wood in your home.
More than the termite infestation itself, this pest can also cause serious structural damage to buildings. They include damaging foundations of homes, furniture, and even books. It can also cause health and safety hazards to your household while decreasing your home’s property value all at the same time.
Unfortunately, a termite infestation is a massive problem in Singapore. Due to the warm and humid weather in the city, termites are relatively active throughout the year. The chances of an infestation can be triggered further by factors such as poor ventilation and water leaks, both of which can create moisture that attracts termites.
What is worse is that this pest can silently do the work, eating their way from the inside and out. It is possible they have already caused some serious damage to your home before you even realise our home is infested. These further illustrate the seriousness of a termite infestation and why you should call for termite pest control specialists in Singapore immediately. Otherwise, you could be looking at thousands of dollars in damage and repair.
How Much Does Termite Damage Cost?
Termites cause more than USD 5 billion in property damage and repair every year. An average homeowner would spend approximately USD 3,000 to repair the damage. As much as USD 1 billion is spent on termite control annually.
Sadly, much of this cost is usually not covered under insurance policies. Hence, it makes a termite infestation more devastating than a fire. To make matters worse, more than 72, 000 landed homes, 210,000 condominium and apartment units, and 1.2 million HDB units are at risk of such destruction.
These figures are a great way to remind homeowners to take the necessary steps to protect their investment from potentially costly damages. Termites are often detected when it is already too late. Therefore, we always advise our customers in Singapore to opt for a regular termite inspection.
Part I: Pest Profile: Termites in Singapore
The first step in termite control is recognising the problem.
There are more than 2,700 types of termites in the world and at least three of them thrive in Singapore: subterranean termites, drywood termites, and dampwood termites.
Three Common Types of Termites in Singapore
These types of termites live underground, in moist and secluded areas above ground and in a colony of as many as 2 million. Each measure up to an inch in length and they travel along mud tubes that typically run anywhere wood meets the ground to reach food sources, which are anything that contains cellulose: wood, paper, drywall, etc.
Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites do not require contact with the soil for moisture. Instead, they excavate their nest and live inside the wood. They are often found in dry wood such as walls, sidings, door frames, kitchen cabinets and eaves as well as in furniture and other interior woodwork.
Dampwood termites get their name from the damp timber, often decaying and on the ground, where they nest in. Aside from that, they may also eat other cellulose materials such as furniture and utility poles with high moisture content.
Like most termites, these species are organised in a caste system, with each creature programmed to perform a specific job. In a colony, you would find them categorised into three castes: the reproductives (king, queen, alates/swarmers), soldiers, and workers.
Life Cycle & Termite Caste System
Firstly, the workers are termites that mostly keep the colony going by fetching food, caring for the brood, feeding the colony, and building the nest. Termite’s activities that cause destruction affects many Singapore homes. Secondly, they can evolve into soldiers whose primary purpose is to guard their nest with the use of powerful jaws and/or by secreting a white sticky repellent. Both workers and soldiers can live from 1-2 years.
Thirdly, there are also a few that are reproductive termites called alates or swarmers—winged termites that leave a nest to start a new colony. From these alates, there becomes a king and queen, with the latter being responsible for laying all the eggs for a new colony. She can produce up to 2,000 eggs daily and both can live up to 50 years. Finally, the rest of the alates become backup breeders who will be next in line for the throne.
You can read more about termite caste system in the complete guide for termite control in Singapore.
What a Termite Infestation Looks Like
As termites are concealed well in the wood that they are feeding on, it will be hard to spot them. However, that does not mean that they leave no traces behind. Here are some signs of termite infestation you should keep an eye out on.
Flying Ants vs. Termites
A swarm of termites can also indicate their presence in your home. However, did you know that not all swarming insects are termites? Some could be flying ants.
Certified termite and pest control specialists in Singapore are trained to distinguish between the two. While they look similar to the untrained eye, they have at least three key differences in their appearance:
- Antennae: Termite antennae are almost straight, whereas ants’s antennae are bent or elbowed.
- Wings: Although both have two pairs of wings, termite wings are uniform in size and in winged ants, the front wings are longer than the pair in the back.
- Body: Ants appear distinctly segmented with their pinched waist. On the other hand, termites have a broad waist and a body that is mostly uniform in width.
Why Do Ants and Termites Fly
These flying ants and termites are called swarmers and they fly from their nests to mate and start new colonies. Among ants, the males usually die after mating with the females, whereas in termites, both males and females continue to live on and expand their nests. Nevertheless, both species lose their wings after mating.
Part II: The Problem with Termites
As pest control service provider in Singapore, we have observed termites qualify as one of the most destructive pests in existence.
While a single termite may not look as much, the problem with this pest is that they thrive as a colony and they work 24/7. Estimated that a group of around 60,000 termites can eat the equivalent of a foot of a 2×4 beam in as little as five months.
What is worse is that a new colony can easily have about 100,000 workers. As it gets older, it can have as much as 2 million termites ready to wreck a home in a year or two, given that they are working in favourable conditions.
In addition to these, there is more to why detecting a termite infestation in its early stage is crucial.
Why Early Detection of Termites is a Must
The most obvious problem with termites is structural damage. Given their ability to tear through the structure of your home—its beams, foundation, ceiling, etc.—they can easily cause extensive damage to it, even to the point that it is unfit for living.
Aside from wood, termites can also use their jaws to gnaw through electrical wirings and cables in their search for more cellulose. When these wires and cables are damaged, it can increase the risks of short circuits, causing fires among other electrical accidents.
Not only can a termite infestation compromise the structural integrity and safety of your home, but it can also cause cosmetic damage that can be costly to repair—peeling paint, wood rot, hollowed-out grooves, mud tubes grown on the wall etc.
Costs in Damage & Repairs
As small as they are, the damage termites can cause is immense and costly. The cost to replace a termite-damaged door frame could fetch as much as $950 and that’s just the tip of an iceberg—you are likely to find yourself replacing more items in your home after a termite infestation.
Moulds can cause different health issues including allergies, asthma, fungal infections, etc. What does that have to do with termites? Mould grows in dark, moist environments, where some termites like to live in. Mould is dispersed when termites eat and crawl through the wood. This can become airborne, putting everyone at risk of inhaling.
Termites can travel up and down the tube, even sideways as they source for food from the ground. Therefore, it would not be surprising if the termites travel from your living room to the bedrooms and eventually the entire home.
If you are living in a clustered landed home, the risk of your neighbours getting a termite infestation may be higher or the other way around.
Types of Homes that are at More Risks of Termite Infestation
We mentioned earlier that the rate at which termites can damage a home depends on the size of the colony as well as the susceptibility of the environment to termite infestation. So, which types of homes are at more risks of a termite infestation?
- Houses constructed without applying termiticide chemical barriers within the ground soil.
- Those that use lumber that has not been chemically or pressure-treated to repel termites.
- Not assessed by trusted pest management professionals for their susceptibility to termites.
- Not treated for pest prevention or which treatment has already expired.
- Houses that are 70 years or older compared to houses aged 30 years or less.
- Older houses that have poor structural integrity, poor ventilation, and compromised plumbing making them susceptible to moisture that attracts pests.
- Properties with fences and landscaping with wooden features
- Houses with history of termite infestations.
- Any home with wood furnishings and other wooden structures.
Certain features of your home and the property in which it is located can make it unusually vulnerable to permanent termite infestations. Is there too much wood found in your home design? Find out if you are inviting pest problems with your home and décor choices.
Part III: How to Get Rid of Termites in Singapore
Another challenge for homeowners in termite treatment is detecting the potential termite nesting places in your home.
The signs of termite infestations are not always obvious and the termites themselves are not easily seen. They hide inside the walls or other wooden structures and are difficult to identify without the help of detection tools.
Where to Look for Termites in Your Home
Exterior Walls: You may find thin mud shelter tubes that crawl towards the wood frames of your home.
Wooden Window & Door Frames: Look for small holes in the wood or other signs of a termite infestation: faecal pellets, discarded wings, or hollow-sounding wood.
Ceiling: Zero in on the corner where your ceiling and walls meet, check for mud tubes, even holes that can be a sign of a termite infestation.
Flooring: Check flooring for a raised or split portion, dried mud, or maze-like tunnels that may indicate an infested wooden flooring.
Pipes & Other Humid Areas: Look for signs of termites around leaky pipes and areas that are usually moist and humid: bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry area.
Garage: Check your basement, garage, or other areas where you store cardboard and household items that may be in cardboard boxes, too.
Outdoor Area: Scrap wood, foliage, trees and dead leaves, mulch, and clogged gutters in your outdoor area can all attract termites in your home.
Other Wooden Structures: Baseboard, cabinets, drawers, and furniture—make sure to check out these items too.
How to Get Rid of Termites in Your Home
You have many options in terms of termite treatment in Singapore. The most obvious of which is via self-help measures (DIY) and engaging pest control services in Singapore.
But, First Prevention
You should be prepared even before discovering evidence of termites in your home. The first step is to make your property as termite-proof as possible. You can do so by removing any potential food sources: excess wood, decaying wood, water leaks, etc.
You should consider removing any old wooden structures in your home that are not in use and for any wood that you are taking into your home, treat them for added termite protection. For firewood, make sure to keep them dry, stacked off the ground, and covered.
Rentokil Singapore offers annual termite inspections to assess your home for its presence or risks of termites. In addition to this, we will also give you advice on how to keep termites away from your home.
DIY Termite Control
There are at least three methods in termite control: You can use liquid termiticides for barrier and soil treatment, termite baits, or natural home remedies such as orange oil to repel termites.
But, while effective in managing the symptoms, these self-help measures do so little in resolving the termite problem—and until the infestation is treated, you are putting your family at more risk. In short, insect pest treatment is a job for professionals and we strongly discourage treating termites by yourself.
Professional Termite Treatment in Singapore
Knowledge in building construction, termite hotspots and behaviour, and the use of pest control chemicals and equipment is crucial to the success of termite treatment in Singapore.
Our termite control specialists at Rentokil Singapore have years of professional experience and training in using specialised equipment and active ingredient to eradicate an existing termite problem. In addition, they resolve the challenges you would have to encounter in termite treatment and control.
What are the Challenges in Termite Control?
Lack of Equipment
Termites are unlike ants or cockroaches where self-help measures such as baits, traps, and sprays can do some eradication to some extent. Getting rid of a termite infestation requires special tools and solutions. They include microwave technology equipment to scan for termite activity and pumping gadgets to inject active ingredients into the ground.
Mishandling of Equipment & Chemicals
In the same manner, treating termites requires the proper use of chemicals and without training, you may not know the techniques to cover, where to inject into or treat, let alone identify the pests correctly. All these get more complicated as termites live within structures or underground.
All these challenges in termite treatment can result in the further spread of termites in your home. Unless the infestation is treated effectively and in a timely manner, the size of the infestation and the damage they can cause are significant. In addition, termites will continue feeding on your structure, causing regular and ongoing home damage.
Part IV: Are You Engaging the Right Termite Treatment?
With any pest problem, it is essential to get ahead of it as soon as possible. At Rentokil Singapore, we offer a wide range of pest control solutions to keep the bugs out.
This quick-fix solution designed to target local points of infestation by applying chemicals into infested wood or high-risk areas. Being a localised treatment, this may be inadequate in treating the root source and easily miss other infested areas.
Enhanced Termite Protection Treatment
This termite control solution involves the drilling of termiticide around the perimeters of your home to control a termite colony underneath. It also uses Green Label-certified termiticide to ensure the health and safety of your household.
Being low in toxic, our termite treatment is applicable to both indoors and subfloors. To further give you peace of mind, we have extended our warranty for up to 7 years. Read more to find out about our 7-Year Warranty Rentokil Termite Protection Programme.
The Average Cost of Termite Treatment in Singapore
How much is termite control in Singapore is a typical concern for many home and business owners who are looking to enlist professional help to remove the pest from their properties.
There are various factors influencing the cost of pest control. For instance, no reliable pest control company will provide an exact quote without prior inspection and proper site assessment.
At Rentokil Singapore, we base our prices on several factors. They include the size of your home, level and spread of termite infestation, type of termites, even your budget preference. For instance, a one-time-off treatment is usually cheaper. However, if you can afford, we would always suggest our long-term termite protection for superior efficacy and 7-year warranty. It may be costly at first but it would save you in repairs and potential re-infestation, which can be more costly in the long-term.
Final Thoughts: Finding the Right Termite Treatment in Singapore for You
While a termite infestation is a problem that requires immediate action, choosing the right pest control company in Singapore is something that you should not rush.
Take the time to look for a reputable company that meets your standards. Although references are very helpful, do not forego research by calling at least a few companies to request for inspections and estimates.
Pest management service providers in Singapore offer different types of treatment methods and warranties. It is necessary to consider these as well. Make sure to evaluate them on the following key areas as well:
Successful termite control in Singapore requires communication and cooperation between you and the pest control specialist. At Rentokil Singapore, we take pride in our commitment to helping you understand the treatment and your responsibilities in the success of the treatment.
Get in touch with us for more information or any pest-related topic. Visit our website or call us at (65) 6347 8138.