|Termite.com.au | Destructive Termites | Australia|
|Expert Advice on Destructive Termites & Termite Control options|
| Subterranean termites or "white-ants" are a highly destructive timber
pest, causing major structural timber damage to domestic / commercial buildings
Recent industry surveys suggest that about one third of all unprotected properties are subject to attack by termites. Most homes are at risk ... especially if well established gum trees are nearby the building - within a 100 metre radius.
Severe termite damage to Australian homes is on the increase since the removal in 1995 of the long lasting soil barrier chemicals; the more common use of softwood building and other landscaping timbers that termites find irresistible. Other important factors include building designs, automatic watering systems, landscaping and maintenance that encourage termite activity and allow hidden termite entry and infestation into a building.
Termites live in the Ground & can eat Your house down
Termites are known to destroy the wall and roofing timbers of a home within
3 months of construction.
| Termites are small in size (about half the size of match-head) and soft
bodied insects. They build a central colony nest from which they construct
underground tunnels that radiate in a 100 metre radius from a central colony
nest in search of a timber (cellulose) food source.
Termites often build such nests if moisture is allowed to regularly collects inside the wall cavity, say from leaking pipes, shower recess, faulty plumbing, guttering, broken roof tiles, etc.
The picture on the left shows a mud shelter tube that termites have constructed over a solid object, in this case, a brick foundation wall in the sub-floor of a cottage.
Termites travel in these mud shelter tubes as protection from predators, sun-burn, dehydration and to maintain a high humidity environment which is essential for their survival.
Termites are highly secretive, preferring to enter a building through areas inaccessible to inspection, such as, through in-fill patios, fire heaths, expansion joints and cracks in concrete slab (on-ground) flooring.
Termites can pass through a 2 mm crack or an expansion joint (eating through the rubber compound) between adjoining concrete on ground flooring. They can also travel under parquetry and floor tiles to get to the wall framing timbers.
|Termites have a symbiotic digestive system|
| Only the worker termite caste can digest timber by the use of symbiotic protozoa
in their gut. Worker termites feed their partly digested semi-liquid food,
regurgitated from their mouth or passing from their anus, to the other termites,
a process known as trophallaxis.
Certain hi-tech termite baits recently introduced on the Australian market from the USA have a delayed lethal effect on termites which readily pass on the bait to other termites in the central colony nest during the mutual grooming and feeding.
|The biology and behaviour of subterranean termites|
| Subterranean termites or "white ants" are not ants at all. Termites
are in fact super specialised cockroaches with a similar 200 to 300 million
year evolutionary history.
Within a termite nest there are members of different castes, each with a different role to perform and all interdependent upon each other for survival of the colony. These include the queen, king, the winged reproductive (young kings and queens), soldier and worker termites.
|The life-cycle of subterranean termites|
The termite baits are designed to be non-repellant to the termites and has a unique delayed effect. Time enough to be passed onto the other termites in the colony including the queen, with a sufficient dosage leading to the elimination of the entire colony. This process is explained in detail in the Termite Control section of this website.
|The Main Destructive Species of Termites in Australia|
It is essential for the termite controller to properly identify the species of termite found in a property. Some species of termites prefer living and will not attack dry seasoned timbers in a building, whilst others can be are highly destructive to such buildings in a short amount of time.
Commonly found throughout Australia - particularly in urban areas or where eucalypt gum trees are highly prevalent.
Nest Location - Coptotermes acinaciformis are a very secretive termite species; they build their nest out of sight, often within the base of eucalyptus or other susceptible trees, or completely under the ground; often within an enclosed patio or under concrete on ground flooring which is ideal for moisture retention, temperature and humidity control within the termite colony's central nest. Coptotermes acinaciformis can also construct subsidiary nests away from the main colony nest. A subsidiary nest can be contained in a wall cavity of a building where there is a reliable moisture source, for example, from a leaking shower recess or faulty guttering or rusted down pipes.
Destructive Nature - Coptotermes acinaciformis are highly destructive to buildings and other timber structures. They are the most widely distributed and destructive timber pest in Australia, accounting for more than 70% of the serious damage to buildings in Australia. A single colony may consist of more than one million termites. A most voracious timber pest ... one to be taken seriously.
Commonly found in tropical Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia - generally north of the tropic of Capricorn.
Nest location - they build their nest (secretively) totally below the soil surface; or in the trunks and root crowns of trees and stumps. Once a nest is mature (over 100,000 or much higher) they can 'split off' to form other nests over a wide ranging area. These sub nests are formed constantly and can sustain life for along period of time without contact to the original nest.
Destructive nature - Mastotermes darwiniensis is one of the world's most destructive termite species, often causing severe damage to houses, buildings, bridges, posts, poles, and many other plant and animal products. It is also an agricultural pest, responsible for ring barking and killing living trees, shrubs, fruit, vegetable crops, sugarcane and rubber trees. It is reported to attack rubber tyres on tractors and cause damage to leather, hide, plastic or lead-sheathed cables, bitumen, bagged salt, flour, glass and various metals. Mastotermes darwiniensis is the most ancient of all the termites in the world - they occur only in Australia - a termite to be feared.
Commonly found in eastern NSW and south eastern Queensland, - particularly along the entire coast-line, the Great Dividing Range and adjoining slopes.
Nest Location - Schedorhinotermes intermedius commonly build their nest in tree stumps, in the root crown of the 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.
Identification - this species tends to "gouge" the affected timber and has a fetish around nails used in construction. When you first find them, you will often see a major soldier (6mm in body length) and a minor soldier (4mm in body length).
Destructive Nature - Schedorhinotermes intermedius are highly destructive to buildings and other timber structures. If mostly major (larger) soldiers are sighted, then they will most likely be a large colony with the potential to cause severe and rapid damage to structural timbers of a building or other timber structures.
Commonly found throughout NSW, ACT, Victoria and south eastern South Australia; particularly in urban areas, where buildings are constructed of softwood or oregon timber framing. This species is responsible for most of the timber pest damage to buildings in the ACT region.
Nest Location - Coptotermes frenchi most often build their nest in the root crown or lower trunk area of living trees, particularly eucalypts. They may also build their nest as a mound in the dryer areas.
Destructive Nature - Coptotermes frenchi can cause severe damage to buildings and other wooden structures. It is common for this species to devour timber framing leaving only a thin veneer. This species is the most shy of the destructive species; they will retreat from a location immediately (for the time being) if disturbed.
Commonly found throughout NSW, ACT, Victoria and the southern areas of Queensland and Western Australia - particularly in urban areas or where eucalypt gum trees are highly prevalent.
Nest Location - Nasutitermes exitiosus build a mound nest which protrudes 30cm to 75cm above the ground. Control can be as easy as knocking the top off the nest and a follow up insecticide treatment inside the nest.
Destructive Nature - Nasutitermes exitiosus are destructive to buildings and other timber structures. Sometimes severe damage may occur, but not so commonly as the other species listed above.
Commonly found in eastern NSW, the ACT, and the south eastern areas of Queensland including Brisbane and coastal region to Rockhampton - particularly prevalent along the entire coast-line, along the Great Dividing Range and western slopes.
Nest Location - this termite species, most often builds it's nest as a mound up to 2m above ground level, with hard clay walls, so control is easily effected once located by knocking the top off and insecticide treatment of the nest.
Destructive Nature - Coptotermes lacteus attacks stumps, dead trees, timber fences, poles and other timber structures that are in contact with the soil, being softened by weathering or decay. These termites are also known to attack such timber in damp sub-floor areas.
Commonly found in eastern NSW and south eastern Queensland - particularly prevalent in the coastal and mountain regions along the entire eastern side of NSW.
Nest Location - Nasutitermes walkeri build their nest in trees on the main trunk or in the fork of a large branch.
Destructive Nature - Nasutitermes walkeri can be destructive to damp timbers often a serious problem where the sub-floor of a building is damp and ventilation is poor with resulting wood decay or fungal growth.
Commonly found throughout NSW, the ACT, Victoria, and southern parts of South Australia and Western Australia - particularly in urban areas or where eucalypt gum trees are highly prevalent.
Nest Location - Heterotermes ferox often build their colony nest next to stumps, logs, or other timber in direct contact with the soil where some wood decay or rotting is prevalent.
Destructive Nature - Heterotermes ferox are be destructive to damp timbers and are usually found attacking fences, poles and other timber structures subject to wood decay from weathering or from being in contact with the soil. This species is often confused with the more aggressive and destructive Coptotermes acinaciformis species. Correct identification is essential.
Dampwood termites - form small independent nests which often attack sick or dead trees, decaying stumps or mouldy timber in the ground; they are seldom found in dry timbers in buildings.
Drywood termites - occur mostly in tropical areas, where the atmospheric humidity is constantly above 75 percent. The introduced and highly destructive West Indian drywood termite, Cryptotermes brevis, is rarely located in NSW, once in Sydney in the early 1980's. Specialist eradication procedures involve wrapping the entire building in plastic and using methyl bromide fumigation.
|If You find termites do NOT disturb them|
| CONSUMER NOTE: certain termite species if left uncontrolled can cause
a severe amount of damage to a building in a short amount of time. If
you find termites in or around your property, it is essential that you
do NOT disturb them and promptly contact your local termite specialist
for and inspection of the property and advice on the protective measures
|Learn about other common household pests|
|Rats & Mice||Wasps|
|Find out how to protect Your Home from termites|
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