People are under the impression that termites are the only insects that are harmful to wood, when in actual fact they don’t deserve all the credit. Wood Borers, which are a variety of beetles with the larvae causing the damage, as their name suggests also bore themselves into wood. A serious misconception is that the Woodborer beetle is more likely to be found in coastal areas, although coastal areas do provide the damp and humid conditions these beetles prefer, these same conditions can be recreated in flooring where the sub-floor ventilation is insufficient. For this reason SAPCA has set out to raise the level of awareness in the Gauteng region. According to SAPCA board member, Sue Alcock, people relocating from coastal areas to Gauteng should have their furniture fumigated, especially if they have been living in an older area of their city. “There has been a noticable increase in imported furniture or timber having woodborer in them, despite the fact that it should be fumigated before leaving the country or area of origin,” says Alcock. Just like termites, woodborer beetles are small insects that can fly as adults and lay their eggs in untreated timber, chewing wood as their primary food source. Both these insects can cause serious structural damage in buildings and houses where wood is used. According to Mark Enslin, President of the South African Pest Control Assosciation (SAPCA), they are bombarded with complaints from consumers who recently purchased a new house only to discover they have an Anobium Punctatum (Common Furniture Beetle) infestation beneath their beautiful hard wood floors. For this reason it is of the utmost importance that home owners ensure that they receive an actual Entomological certificate when purchasing a new home. This is a certificate issued by a registered Wood Destroying Organisms Inspector (WDO) declaring a property to be free from all wood destroying insects and in some cases, dry rot. Home owners need to insist on a comprehensive beetle clause from SAPCA to be added into the deed of sale as an addendum, as it is their legal right. This clause not only covers all wood-destroying organisms of economic significance, but also ensures that the inspection is carried out by a suitably qualified inspectors registered with the Association. In addition to the above The South African Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA) is appealing to government to regulate the treatment of timber against such insects as the woodborer beetle and termites. Durable timber is a scarce and expensive commodity, therefore the treatment of timber will ensure that all timber used as building material will be safe and provide a long term life, eliminating the harsh costs due to termite or wood borer beetle damage. The treatment of timber is nothing more than the application of sufficient suitable preservation to the timber so that it will be able to be used on the long term. Proper treatment will enable builders and home owners to design and build their dream homes with confidence without the added fear of being attacked by insects or fungi. CCA treated timber can be recognised by it’s slight green hue, which is due to the preservative that is imbedded in the timber. This preservative is an indolent material, which means that it doesn’t actively kill insects, but rather offers resistance when attacked by these pests, it is used in a defensive capacity. Although the solutions to the problem of termites or wood borer beetles may seem like a difficult task for home owners SAPCA offers the public great asistance on this matter for more information please visit www.sapca.co.za.
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