Pest Control Specialist

Pest Profiles


Termites


  • Termites

    PROFILE

    They're not really white and they're not really ants but these insects are often referred to as "white-ants". Termites play an important role in nature, unfortunately man-made structures are not easily distinguishable to them and often bare the brunt of costly damage. It is estimated termites will attack 1 in 3 homes during their economic life, cause more damage then all natural disasters combined, and most insurance policies don't cover the damage bill.

BIOLOGY

Subterranean termites usually have to maintain contact with the soil to obtain sufficient moisture to survive. They live in large colonies and are divided into various castes, each with a specific role.


Worker termites are by far the most numerous of the termite castes. They forage for food, care for the young and build the nest. The workers are responsible for damage to timber caused in their search for food which consists mainly of cellulose, sugars, and starches present in the timber.


Protection of the colony is the duty of a relatively small number of soldier termites. Nature has equipped these soldiers with physical and chemical weaponry to help repel colony invaders. The reproductive caste is responsible for the propagation of the species. These reproductive termites grow wings and are known as alates.


During warm and humid evenings, usually during early summer, the alates swarm from the nest. After a short flight, these males and females shed their wings prior to mating and attempting to form a new colony. Most of the potential "king and queen" termites will never successfully start a new nest. They will either be killed by other animals or simply die of exposure to the elements before they can find a suitable nesting location. But, if two termites are one of the rare one's that survive, find a nesting location, and mate, a new colony will develop which after many years may contain over one million termites.


Whenever termites leave the soil in their search for food, they construct mud tunnels to protect them from predators and also to ensure that a high level of life-sustaining moisture is maintained within the workings.


SPECIES

There are many different species of termite in Australia but only a few actually attack homes.


Signs Of Termites

If you discover termites, it is very important you do not disturb them. Doing so may ruin any chance of successfully eradicate them from your property.


If you do uncover them, try to put things back as they were. Removing floor boards, architraves etc may kill the few termites in those timbers but the colony will always regroup and find another food source nearby (which may still be within the home) and begin to attack it.


Resist the temptation to disturb any infestation - in particular - never spray the few you see with any household insecticide spray. Waiting before a consultant can inspect the area will make little difference to the extent of damage to the property.


What To Look Out For

Subterranean termites move through mud tubes which are made by the Worker caste of termite using dirt and other materials. These tubes provide the only climate that termites can survive in for any length of time. They build these tubes over any object that gets in their way while foraging for food sources. Be on the look out for the thin mud tubes (anywhere from approximately 1 - 5cm wide) around your home.


Also, look for other signs such as rippled paint work, soft or missing floorboards, and noises - some species can make a "clicking" noise, often heard during quite times in a household (eg. at night).


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