Recently Stewarts was informed by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Works that the European House Borer (EHB) has been found in some hills areas.
Sixteen properties between Darlington and Chidlow from mahogany creek to Parkerville and trees in Ellenbrook and Gnangara have been reported to have been infested with the wood borer.
The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Housing and Works have done over 1000 door knocks and started a campaign in local papers and will continue a local awareness campaign over summer when the beetles are most likely to emerge and fly from wood.
It is estimated that the EHB has been in WA for 10-15 years but were only discovered in January 2004 when they started to emerge out of a decorative beam that has been installed in a house in Parkerville.
Surveillance teams have checked about 50 other suburbs outside of those areas and no evidence of EHB holes were found. They are continuing to track the pest by dead pine trees and dying or dead branches on living trees. The pest is also known to lay its eggs in pine timber, pine furniture and other pine goods.
The Department of Housing and Works has produced a building note on EHB to advise building surveyors and local authorities about presence of the pest in Mundaring Shire. This has been updated to include the Ellenbrook area in the Swan Shire.
Building Note includes advice not to use untreated pine for structural purposes. To date it has not been reported in any roofing or structural timbers in WA but in other countries EHB affect houses and structurally weaken susceptible timber structures. In South Africa it is compulsory to use pre-treated pine timber or non-susceptible hardwoods for structural purposes.
People who have removed dead pine or firewood from these areas are advised to burn it immediately as a precaution and not to store it for next winter.
Significant infestations were detected in two dead pine trees on a property in Mahogany Creek. Other trees dead has been removed for fire wood and were later found to be infested. Pine is one of the most susceptible soft wood timbers, but these borers are known to infest other softwoods.
In the 1950’s the Borers were discovered in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. They were detected in imported houses and were eradicated over the next 20 years. Almost 3000 houses in Queensland were fumigated. It was the largest job type in the world and it to date appears to have been successful.
Houses in New South Wales and Victoria that were found to have been infested were also fumigated. If the borer became established in Australia the future utilization of pine would be threatened and the mandatory pre-treatment of building timber of pine would be a likely result.
The borer usually stays in the timber for between two and ten years before emerging as an adult usually in the summer months. Then they mate and repeat the cycle. Because they may stay in the wood for a number of years it can make detection difficult.
The public is being urged to inspect pine trees and any untreated softwood timber or furniture they have in their homes.
Things to look for are oval shaped holes measuring about 5mm to 10mm. Sometimes the dust and droppings can be seen on the floor below affected timber where the adult has emerged. If you are suspicious or would like to know more information contact the Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 or go to www.ehb.wa.gov.au. Otherwise contact Stewarts Pest Control to make an appointment for a Full Visual Timber Pest inspection.
Stewarts would also like to advise people that are looking at buying a property in any of the above mentioned areas should be having a Visual Pre-Purchase Full Timber Pest inspection not just a common Visual Pre-Purchase Termite inspection.