What You Need to Know About Termites
What Are Termites?
There are over 2200 species of termites, including damp wood, dry wood and subterranean termites. The most destructive termites – and the ones most likely to be found in your home – are subterranean, meaning they live underground. Termites feed on timber or cellulose the fibre in timber, paper and cardboard, so they can have devastating effects on your home if left untreated.
How Do You Know if You Have Termites?
Termites are referred to as the ‘silent destroyer,’ because they can cause thousands of dollars of damage before being spotted by homeowners. Termites could be secretly hiding and in your home or yard, without any obvious signs of damage.
1 in 3 homes will be attacked by termites – it’s Russian Roulette!
If you notice any of the following signs, you could have termites:
- Papery or hollow timber
- Tight-fitting doors or hard to open windows
- Dark, blistered or cracked wood structures
- The presence of mud tubes or nests around the exterior or interior of your house, most likely near the foundations (termites create these to protect themselves from the elements)
- Tunnels in wood
- A clicking sound from the walls
- The presence of flying termites on your property (these closely resemble flying ants)
- Ant infestations – ants love eating termites, so they can be a sign of a termite problem!
Have you spotted something that could indicate termites? Contacct us and we will do our best to confirm it!
Termite colonies have a queen as well as a king, soldiers and workers. The queen, who can live for up to 50 years, produces between 1000-3000 larvae per day (you do the maths for what this could mean for your home!).
The number of termites in each caste is closely regulated. Normally, there are one pair of reproductives and a set ratio of soldiers to workers and nymphs. If members of any caste are lost, additional members of that caste develop from nymphs to restore the balance. Conversely, if overproduction of one caste occurs, selective cannibalism restores the balance.
To establish new colonies, flying king and queen termites (called ‘alates’) take flight normally up to 2/3 times per year. The alates mate in the air, drop their wings and then the queen starts to reproduce immediately if the conditions suit. Alates are not very good flyers – so if you spot one near your home, it’s very likely that they will set up a colony on your property!
The 5 Most Common Species of Termites in Australia – In Order of Destructiveness!
- Causes the most structural damage throughout Australia
- Will cause structural damage to property as well as damage to wall linings, skirtings, door frames, electrical wiring and personal possessions. Can cause up to $1000 worth of damage to a dwelling in peak season
- Mostly form nests in trees, stumps, and buried timber in/around houses and buildings. Can also build nests in wall cavities, especially where there is a reliable food source like damp wood, broken guttering or downpipes
- Can build an underground tunnel up to 180 meters from the nest
- Do not require soil to create a colony
- Characterised by a pear-shaped head
- Approx moulting cycle once baited: 1 – 3 months
- Highly destructive to buildings and other timber structures
- Commonly build their nest in the root crown of living, dead and debilitated trees, under houses or within enclosed patios or other areas where timber has been buried or stored in contact with the soil
- Builds multiple subterranean nests which can have several thousand termites. Because of this multi-nesting, it is difficult to survey the extent of an infestation
- Will retreat from a location immediately (for the time being) if disturbed
- Approx moulting cycle once baited: 2 – 5 months
- Nests in trees with tunnels connecting to the ground. Subterranean tunnels radiate out from the tree through the ground
- Prefer weathered wood, such as decking boards and posts
- Approx moulting cycle once baited: 2 – 6 months
- Often found attacking posts, fences, decking and internal and external flooring of properties wherever weathering and decay are present. They also attack sound timber
- A multi-nester with very small colonies in the soil, adjacent to stumps, logs on the ground, rotting wood, or even beside the mounds or nests of other species
- Can leave the surface of affected timber with a mottled appearance
- Have long rectangular heads with no obvious teeth on their prominent and dark mandibles.
- Workers and soldiers have slender bodies. Soldiers are not courageous – they will shuffle backwards when confronted
- Approx moulting cycle once baited: 3 – 6 months