Termites also called “white-ants” are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to domestic and commercial buildings in Australia. Left untreated, termites can literally eat up the equity in your building.
Recent industry surveys suggest that about one third of all unprotected properties are subject to attack by termites. Severe termite damage to Australian homes is on the increase due to recent changes in the type of chemicals allowed to be used, building construction materials and designs that encourage hidden termite entry and infestation.
If you find Termites do NOT disturb them!
Termites have acute survival instincts. If severely shaken up or disturbed, the termites will abandon that area and move on to a secret location, causing damage in other areas in the building. If you find termites in or around your property, it is essential that you do NOT disturb them and promptly arrange for a professional inspection and treatment of the live termite infestation.
Termites or “white ants” as they are often called are not ants at all. Termites are in fact related to cockroaches with a similar two hundred million year history.
Within a termite nest there are members of different castes, each with a different role to perform. These include the queen, king, the winged reproductive (young kings and queens), soldiers and workers.
The queen following her hazardous flight and after mating becomes an egg laying machine; her body becomes hugely enlarged; she can live more than 25 years producing more than 2,000 eggs a day.
The king and queen live in a central chamber and are tended by the workers.
The workers are by far the largest cast in the termite colony and the one that does the damage; they are a creamy translucent colour, soft bodied and carry out all work in the nest, including gathering food (timber and other cellulose); constructing tunnels; repairing and enlarging the termites colony nest; grooming each other and feeding the soldiers, the king, the queen are also caring for the young nymphs until mature.
Worker termites are 3mm to 4mm long, have no wings, are sterile and blind; work 24hours a day for several years life span in some species.
The soldiers commonly have an orange coloured armoured head with mandibulate pinchers which they use to crush an attacker, such as ants; some have hard pointed snout which eject white sticky latex to ensnare their enemies.
The soldier termites are usually the first to be seen in large numbers by the home owner when the termite workings (shelter tubes or damaged timber) are opened and the soldiers rush out to guard the opening whilst the worker termites repair the damage.
The swarmers (reproductive’s) are called “alates” and are commonly seen when they swarm on a hot humid summer evening around dusk; they have eyes; are poor fliers but swept along by the wind; they land, drop their wings, find a mate to become king and queen of a new termite colony.
The swarmers are emitted in their thousands when a mature termite’s nest is large and well established. They land shed their wings and attract a mate by pheromone chemical signal. If you find swarming termites, it is a sure DANGER sign that a large termite colony nest is close by and a thorough inspection of the property by a termite control expert is essential.