Termite problems: A day in the life of a home owner


If you’re not a fan of surprises, you definitely won’t enjoy unexpectedly finding termites living rent-free in your home. To top the nasty surprise of knowing they’ve been around for some time, you’ll be especially shocked with their extravagant eating habits.

Did you know that termites are the most expensive pests around? These sneaky buggers slowly eat away at your home without your knowledge. Once termite damage is discovered, it can cost homeowners tens of thousands of rands in repair and maintenance costs.

Chris Townend – a Johannesburg home owner – has been battling with a termite problem for years. We interviewed him, and he shared his termite treatment experience, and photos with us.*

Rentokil servicing - termite treatment

“Getting my house sorted – thanks Rentokil” ~ Chris Townend

When did you first notice a termite problem and what were the signs that alerted you to a possible infestation?

I’ve known I had a termite problem for 5 years. I treated them with a no name brand company and boom! they are back and the other company is not?! They started making little sandy homes between the bricks.

How did you hear about Rentokil, and how did it come about that you chose us as your service provider?  

Termite drilling before the poison is pumped in

“The drilling before the termiticide is pumped in.”
~ Chris Townend

I heard about you guys while doing a photoshoot and met Lemay Rogers [Rentokil Initial Marketing Manager]. Rentokil is big so I was easily persuaded.

You had a termite treatment done by one of our pest control technicians yesterday. Can you tell us what you thought of the experience?

Your guys are very good and professional and thorough! I was having a stressful day so I wasn’t pleasant, but they were! I was glad for that. ;)

Did you learn anything new about termites you didn’t know before?

I learnt a lot from them. They told me a couple of things I really didn’t know. And I know a lot. ;)

termite treatment in progress

“Cheeky bugger trying to repair the drilled hole before chemical flooding”
~ Chris Townend

Based on your experience yesterday, how likely would you be to recommend Rentokil as a pest control provider?

After all you guys have done for me I would definitely recommend Rentokil. Remember, I’ve been hurt before by the small guys!

How do you know if you have a termite problem?

Except for discovering sandy bricks as Chris mentioned, be on the look out for the following signs of a termite infestation:

  • Timber that is papery or sounds hollow. Termites feast on timber from the inside out, leaving a thin veneer which gives it a hollow sound when tapping on it.
  • Brittle skirting boards or door frames, or cracks in any wooden finishes. As termites have eaten away the structural integrity of the timber, any force or knocks against them will easily cause damage.
  • A window that is hard to open or a tight fitting door. As timber is consumed timber by termites, their droppings or ‘mud’ locks in heat and moisture. The moisture they produce when eating and tunneling through door and window frames causes the wood to warp, making it to open doors and windows.
  • Termites build ‘mud’ tunnels that provide a protective traveling environment or protect their food sources. Sometimes this mudding isn’t visibly noticeable, as it will be behind walls or underground, but can often be seen in your home’s brick foundations or in wooden beams.

Find out more signs of a termite problem>

Steps to prevent termites in your home

Often – as was the case with Chris – termites are discovered when it’s too late. You can however take the following precautions to keep them at bay:

  • Remove dead tree stumps, wooden debris or timber in and around your property, as this is an attractive food source for termites.
  • Mend any leaking taps or pipes as termites are attracted to moisture.
  • When installing fencing or decking, be sure to use treated wood or keep wood out of the ground, such as by using metal post holders for fence posts.
  • Since termites thrive in high-moisture conditions, sufficient subflooring ventilation will circumvent high humidity levels.
  • If you are building a new structure, be sure to have your soil pre-treated with termiticide to prevent any future termite infestations.

If you realise you already have a termite problem, Rentokil applies chemical termite barriers to the soil, under concrete flooring and/or around the entire perimeter of your building’s foundations to get rid of termites.

Need the professionals to take care of your termite problem? Call us on 0800 117 852 or email us to arrange a termite inspection.

*Interview answers and photos supplied by Chris Townend

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