Wood is to termites whatever your favourite food is to you. They're quite fascinating creatures, but very destructive. They can cause thousands of dollars of damage before you even see a warning sign. If you suspect that you have termites or if you've seen 'white ants' — get in touch with us right away.
There Are Three Stages for Termite Control:
We perform separate termite inspections as needed, and they are part of our Supreme Pest Control package as well. Every home in Queensland should have an inspection carried out at least annually.
If active termites are found, we schedule a treatment as soon as possible.
After we have performed a termite control treatment, we focus on prevention. We can install physical and/or subterranean chemical soil treatments to make conditions unsuitable for termites.
How We Treat for Termites
When we discover termites on or within a property, we perform a treatment to eradicate the termites immediately and stop the progression of damage to the home and any other structures on the property. As we do this, we also survey the extent of damage already done by the termite problem.
It requires a special set of skills to inspect and treat for termites. Identifying a colony and understanding their pattern to ensure they will all be eliminated requires a great deal of experience — our technicians treat this part of their jobs with great care and attention to the tiniest of details. After a treatment for active termites, we generally wait 14-21 days and then come check to be sure the treatment successfully eradicated the active termites.
After we have performed the eradication treatment, we focus on prevention. We identify at-risk areas and recommend an action plan that includes a barrier to minimise the likelihood of an infestation. The purpose of these barriers is to prevent termites from entering the building by adding termiticide to the soil that surrounds a home.
Termite Advice for You
Schedule an annual inspection, even if you are taking other preventative measures (in the form of barriers). Annual inspections are far more economical than a costly termite infestation treatment and rectification!
Don't trust your instincts on this one — termites are subterranean, so they tunnel underground to get to their food source (the timber in and on your home). You will not know you have them until they have caused significant damage.
Fact: 1 in 4 homes in Queensland will be impacted by a termite infestation and termite damage is not covered by building and contents insurance.
Things You Can Do To Prevent Termites
Don't build gardens up against your home.
Avoid planting trees close to your home.
Don't cover weep holes in your brick work. Termites can tunnel into your home through these points if they can gain access.
Don't build retaining walls, garden beds, outdoor furniture, or structures with untreated wood.
Be vigilant in ensuring excess moisture is not building in areas around your home. Common trouble spots outside your home to check are:
leaking hot water systems
damaged down pipes
dripping taps and hoses.
Inside your home look for:
broken exhaust fans in bathrooms, laundries and kitchens
damaged sealant around baths and showers
damaged internal plumbing
swelling or blistering of internal walls, ceilings and skirting boards
Remember, if you find active termites on your premises, get them treated by a professional pest control technician as soon as practical. In the time between identifying termites and getting them treated, it is important that you do not disturb them as this will change their pattern of behaviour. A professional treatment ensures the necessary termiticides are transferred from termite to termite and taken back to the nest and transferred to the entire colony. These products are only available to licensed technicians and are not available to the general public.
Please keep in mind: prevention barriers and regular inspections provide the best security against termite problems.
What Do Termites Do
Termite worker and soldier ants leave their mounds in search of food in hot, humid conditions because their soft outer layer is susceptible to disintegration in cold, dry climates. Most termite species are subterranean; meaning they live and travel mostly underground, or within an enclosed tunnel or structure.
This subterranean "lifestyle" is what makes them undetectable for the average home owner. They tunnel underground from the nest into their home, and slowly start eating wooden structures from the inside out. Termites live most of their lives in complete darkness and most are actually blind as they have no need for sight anyways.
Termites Live in Five Main Types of Nests:
Normally seen in the Northern Territory, they are built to create a constant temperature of 30-36 degrees and a humidity of 100%. This is because the soft outer shell of a termite will disintegrate in dry conditions.
Arboreal Mounds (Tree Nests)
Tree mounds are created inside the hollow casing of a tree. This creates an abundant supply of food and is well drained from moisture.
Often found in the central coast of NSW, these nests are found above fence posts and telephone poles.
Can be located at the base of a tree, which can weaken the structures and cause the tree to collapse. These nests can also be established within the home itself. Either way, if your home is the Termites' food source, the structural integrity of your home will be compromised over time.
Tree Wood Nests
Located in the softer rings of trees. Termites who live in tree wood are often referred to as 'ring ants'. They can also be found in dead tree stumps.
A well established queen termite may lay up to 1000 eggs per day, and some tropical species with a large colony can easily exceed this number. These queens can live over 20 years!
Termites display grooming behaviours within their colony which transfer bacteria to their young, which assists in the digestion of cellulose (which they obtain from wood). This behaviour is very important in the transference of the products we use when treating a termite infestation.
Bottom line, termites are awful and you need to book regular inspections to protect your home and property.
What Are the Different Species of Termites?
There are over 300 species of termites in Australia, which is too many to list here! So here we’ve picked out some of the more common ones encountered by homeowners:
Mastotermes (or Giant Termite)
This species is found north of the Tropic of Capricorn, but avoids areas of high rainfall. It is the most destructive of all termites in Australia. It will attack any wood in contact with the ground, including shrubs and trees. This termite often creates subterranean nests in the bases of trees. Female termites can leave the original colony and create her own sub colony in nearby areas. This can be a problem if the original larger colony was treated, but smaller sub colonies were not.
Cryptotermes (or West Indian Dry-Wood Termite)
This termite is the most common wide-spread termite. They survive off small pieces of timber and have low water requirements. Damage by these termites is difficult to detect, as no outward signs are present until the structure collapses.
Neotermes (or Ring-Ant Termite)
This termite is often found in trees and rarely in structural buildings. However, they can be found in homes around woodwork that has been soaked in water (e.g. below a leaking tap).
Porotermes (or Dampwood Termite)
These termite will attack wooden structures that are in contact with soil (e.g. fence posts, weatherboards, and telephone poles). They require damp and decaying wood to initiate an attack, therefore older homes which are damaged by poor plumping are at risk.
Weathered flooring such as timer decking and fencing is the favoured food source of this termite. Although this termite is widely distributed across Australia, damage is not severe due to small colony sizes.
This termite is found all across Australia and has destructive eating patterns. They are often found inside buildings eating the wooden foundational structures. This termite will use tree stumps, walls, and patios as mounds to house their colony. These termite colony numbers are extensive (over a million), and they will hunt for food up to 50 metres from their nest using underground tunnelling systems.
This termite is subterranean; nesting in trees, patios and tree stumps. It has also commonly been found nesting in the ground below fireplace foundations to keep warm. Extensive damage to housing can occur if this termite finds food sources within your home.
This termite is located in coastal Queensland. It builds arboreal nests on posts and can create mounds both under and above ground.
Amitetermes (or Compass Termite)
This termite is well known in Darwin as they create the characteristic nests reaching heights of 3-4 metres above ground. These nests have sophisticated temperature control.
Although this termite feeds mainly on decaying wood, some of its close relatives only eat grass and debris and are therefore not a risk to the family home. They will however enter homes that have extensive decay of wooden structures due to poor ventilation and plumping. They will further erode the structure making replacement necessary.