A lot of homeowners don’t know this, but believe it or not, leaks in your plumbing can lead to pest and termite infestation.
There are many instances where they actually go hand in hand. They’re also a lot more common than you think.
Rodents and bugs
Leaks under your house or office, valve leak under the sink or water collecting under the fridge can attract pests like rodents and cockroaches. They go where there is water because just like humans, they need water to survive.
German cockroaches for example, will die in a few days without water but can survive without food for weeks. Leaks in houses and buildings offer them the best source of water because such locations offer them shelter at the same time.
In some cases, it isn’t plumbing leaks that attract pests but the other way around: pests like rats from city sewers chew on lead bends which causes leaks.
Any damp, dark area will likely attract bugs and rodents in a few weeks, so make sure to check if the pipes entering your walls are tightly sealed. Replacing defective metal plates, worn washers and gaskets should also help in keeping these nasty pests out.
What are subterranean termites?
Because of how termites look similar to ants, they are often called “white ants.” However, they are really more related to cockroaches than ants.
You can find many species of termites in Australia. But one of the most destructive is the subterranean termite. Subterranean termites mostly live underground where it is constantly moist.
In homes, they are often found under floors, crawl spaces without ventilation and around the foundations. These are the perfect location for termites to nest because it’s where hidden leaks often occur and where pools of water due to poor drainage are often located.
Because there are approximately 14 subterranean termite colonies per acre, one home can have as many as four colonies living under it or near the vicinity.
And imagine this: a single colony can have as many as one million termites!
In Australia, subterranean termites cause an estimated damage of $1.5 billion per year. Unfortunately, termite damage is not covered by most home insurance policies. No wonder, property owners fear termite infestation—it could be such an expensive thing to get rid of.
What you don’t know CAN hurt you
In this case, what you don’t know CAN hurt you. Take note:
- Subterranean termites, wood lice and ants are attracted to moisture.
- Aging and faulty plumbing are considered two of the main reasons for subterranean termite infestation.
- If there are unrepaired leaks in your house, subterranean termites don’t need to have contact with the soil—they will have enough water source for their colony to survive. They will also have food source in your house: wood furniture, studs, beams and fixtures.
Prevention is better than cure
But why wait for termites to attack?
To avoid termite infestation, it’s better to check for leaks below your floor or behind your tub, shower (especially shower pans) and walls and have them repaired without delay.
However, these can be hard to difficult to detect on your own though so you might need a professional plumber to do it—they have the right tools to get the job done.
Don’t let vegetation grow and cover your vents. Make sure crawl spaces have maximum cross ventilation.
Water damage doesn’t always mean gushing water from burst pipes—they are sometimes hidden yet so invasive structures and floors must be gutted, entire floor systems cut and rebuilt.
Aside from regular termite inspections, it pays to have a professional plumber in Melbourne come out once a year to check if you have leaks that can invite infestations. These preventive measures will save you thousands of dollars in repairs.