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Often known by the locals as "white ants" or “anai-anai” in Malaysia for their capability to cause exorbitant damages to your biggest investment. But besides causing structural damages, did you know that termites infestation can also lead to injuries and potentially death?
In 2012, the New Straits Times reported that a school in Kuala Lumpur had to temporarily suspend its co-curricular lessons in its activity room because the termites infested roof was close to collapsing. Besides that, the canteen also suffered similar condition but students had to continue using it as there was no other place for them to take their meals. This is an extremely dangerous condition for the students as a collapsed roof could mean serious harm or even death.
Additionally, a 7-year-old student from Miri also injured her leg when it got stuck in the infested floorboard at her school. These are just some example of termite issues that have plagued our country. It is estimated that termite infestations have cost Malaysians RM40 million in property damages every year. Moreover, it is disconcerting is that most home insurance plans do not cover the cost to repair the damages caused by termites.
Termites thrive in tropical climates and moist conditions, therefore, are very commonly found in Malaysia, especially among the property development in coastal, and former plantation areas. Based on a survey done by Rentokil Initial Malaysia, 83% of Malaysians have personally or knew someone who have experienced termite infestation at home.
What Makes Your Home A Termite Magnet?
As termites are attracted to a very specific condition; warm and moist with supply of cellulose, some of the things that homeowners do could be attracting termites to their home. Having a garden in the house sounds like a joy but some gardening practices can make it look like you have a red carpet rolled out for termites. For example, having cardboard boxes, plants or garden beds up against your house make it easier for termites to get in from the ground. Besides that, dead trees in the garden are also desirable to termites, almost as enticing as your house. Consequently, tree stumps in the garden can serve as a launch pad before continuing their feast on the house.
Treating Termite Infestations Effectively
Termite infestations can also dramatically reduce the value of a property. Most of the time, homeowners do not discover termite infestations until it’s too late and this often results in thousands of ringgit being spent on repair costs. Based on a survey done by Rentokil Pest Control, 32% of homeowners spent between RM3,000 and RM5,000 on treating termite infestation alone and it does not include other expenses such as furniture replacements and other repair costs.
Eventhough there are many precautions that homeowners can take to prevent termite infestations, however, the best way to minimise termite infestation, is to get your property regularly inspected by an expert. While termite infestations are prevalent in Malaysia, a local survey by Rentokil further revealed that only 29% of the people checked their homes for termite infestations on a regular basis. This is because, many Malaysians are unaware that having periodic termite inspections are imperative, as it provides early detection of termite activity, saving homeowners from serious damages.
“Termites are ghastly pests that can go as far as tearing our house down and posing a threat to our safety. More often than not, termite infestation can go unnoticed until extensive damages are already done, therefore proactive measures like periodic inspection is extremely important to minimise the damages.” said Ms Carol Lam, Managing Director of Rentokil Initial Malaysia.