Termites trace back over a hundred million years to the prehistoric period. Owing to its ability to chew through wood, flooring, and even wallpaper unnoticed, they have been popularly known as “silent destroyers”. Termites inflict billions of dollars in property damage per year, which are, sadly, not protected by the insurance plans of homeowners.
Termite populations grow as the ground warms across the world. They send their colonists, also known as swarmers, to look for hospitable environments, such as homes that may have suffered damage due to rain during the cold months. Since swarmers have such a strong resemblance to that of a winged or flying ant, when they are found inside homes, many homeowners reject their presence, which is considered a major mistake. It’s a safe bet that the remainder of their colony will follow if swarmers consider your home to be their new home.
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Common Termites in KL
While there thousands of recognized termite species in the world, with over a hundred species found in Malaysia, the greatest danger to homeowners primarily in KL are the following:
- Coptotermes Curvignathus
- Coptotermes Gestroi
- Coptotermes Havilandi
- Coptotermes Kalshoveni
- Coptotermes Sepangensis
- Globitermes Sulphureus
- Macrotermes Gilvus
- Macrotermes Pakistanicus
- Microcerotermes sp.
- Schedorhinotermes sp.
In fact, approximately ninety percent of damages in properties across Malaysia is caused by these species known as Coptotermes, making it the public’s number one enemy.
About Coptotermes spp.
As they are very reliant on moisture, Coptotermes, a subterranean termite, build their home in the soil. Subterranean termites build mud tubes in their quest for food because they are vulnerable to decomposition when exposed to the air. These termites feed on wood and other sources of cellulose and to make their way with what’s above the ground. These species have protozoans in their stomach that help break down the cellulose into a simple starch.
Termite Infestation in Kuala Lumpur
Could it be that termite infestation is the next big pest problem in KL?
Subterranean termite control is highlighted to be responsible for half of the total market turnover of the Malaysian pest control business in the year 2000, of which 8 to 10 million dollars were spent. On residential properties, about 70 percent of termite treatments were conducted, 20 percent on industrial properties, and 10 percent on commercial properties.
Termite infestation is a serious concern for many homeowners, if not businessmen, in Kuala Lumpur. This is clearly supported by the fact that most termite control services were conducted in residential buildings, compared with industrial sectors, commercial properties, and other locations.
The use of former oil palm and rubber plantations for residential housing developments may be one of the key reasons for this. Several of these plantations were destroyed during the time when rubber and oil-palm prices dropped. The branches and trunks of the trees have been cut down most of the time, but the roots have remained in the soil. The Coptotermes species love rubber plants and must have fed on it through the roots, maintaining their population, until the houses were built.
Related Post: Types of Termites in Kuala Lumpur
Challenges to Termite Control in Kuala Lumpur
Despite the threat of termites being the next big pest problem in KL, plenty of major challenges regarding termite management awaits most property developers in Kuala Lumpur.
First, despite being in the country’s legislation to do prior to construction treatment, it is not considered mandatory. They are also not expected to employ professional services from pest control companies to administer the procedure. Consequently, many housing developers resort to poorly trained staff to perform the treatment in order to minimize costs.
Secondly, there is a critical need for skilled and trained operators for pest control. Pest control operators are currently not expected to be certified for the output of their services. Due to this, many instances of mishandling and mistreatment of pest issues have occurred primarily because of pest control operators who lack expertise in the field.
Termites, especially subterranean species, are undeniably one of the worst nightmares one can have, more so in a tropical country like Malaysia. Property owners have to spend millions on damage and maintenance, not to mention the resulting annoyance and hassle. It is without a doubt that termites could be the next big pest problem in KL.
Unquestionably, an inspection by pest control experts is the best way to eradicate termites and avoid severe and costly harm to your properties. Even if these inspections are not performed annually, you can make it a point to conduct your own inspections during regular maintenance chores. A good check requires not only searching for termites, but also for signs of their activity.