Make borer walk the plank

Private Property South Africa
The Roosting Venus

As far as nature lovers go, as a nation, I think we South Africans are pretty much up there. And one thing I’m very proud that we don’t do is throw ourselves into wrestling matches with unsuspecting crocodiles, bush pigs and the like. Besides the distress it causes the animals and the lunacy it confers on the wrestlers, in my opinion our rangers have far more real-man appeal than any natty French scout or swashbuckling Aussie stuntman. In fact I’d go so far as to say that when it comes to bush manners, we have culture that we can be proud to call our own.

But turn matters to a house full of ruminating insects, and it’s understandable that we view things in a different light. There’s generally only one solution that homeowners, and the law, will tolerate when faced with borer beetle, their friends and relations. And that, in short, is a wrestle to the death.

In some areas more than others, borer beetle make it their business to munch morning, night and lunch, and can live and breed – sometimes undetected - for years in floorboards, doorframes and ceiling beams, causing widespread damage. And while a pest certificate is generally necessary when properties exchange hands, there are ways and means of managing the problem before, during and after. A little knowledge and some action, in fact, can bridle the beetle’s efforts to chew through house and heirloom.

Tents = camping

While tenting is a preferred method for eradicating all resident borer it can have rather far-reaching effects on neighbours too. Further-reaching indeed than a number of companies will let on. In blocks of flats, for example, and houses with garden cottages, it is highly recommended that all people living below the tented establishment move out. That can mean almost an entire block of flats in some cases. (For those faced with moving a whole block it’s also useful to know that ceilings fall under the body corporate, so too the costs of addressing beetles up there.)

But before displacing all neighbours and relatives, there are a number of in-situ treatments that work. Injecting and spraying individual problem areas for example will help keep the issue to a minimum. And when wooden floors are being sanded, they can easily (and quickly) be sprayed after the sanding and before the sealing with a solution that puts an instant stop to any beetle dreams of sampling newly-sealed boards.

Suck it up

The common vacuum cleaner is a great tool in live borer combat. Live borer can only be detected if they are actually seen, or if fresh droppings are found. Once fumigated, a thorough vacuum of all ceiling rafters and cellar spaces will mean that any new spoor thereafter is in fact fresh spoor.

And as it’s documented that borer beetles fly every year from spring to autumn, and so are able to move back into a newly-sprayed property almost as soon as it’s aired, (hence the certificate is only valid for three months) it’s also wise to hold back on any exterminations until you have a signed sale agreement.

For those still wavering at the thought of managing their borer, there are a few national authorities too, with fittingly rigorous rules and regulations.

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