Getting to Know Termites
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
Termites can be a nightmare to homeowners who are unaware of their presence.
Most termite species live in the ground. They have a complex living structure. The queen termite is responsible for all the egg production and is fertilised by a male known as the king. The rest of the colony comprises workers and soldier termites, who protect the workers from other insect predators. There are also alates, winged termites, that are released when conditions are right. These are future kings and queens, and all they need is a water supply and a food source to build a colony.
They live on any cellulose material and are a few creatures that can use this process to decompose this material and increase moisture to the soil content. Thus, they play a vital role in tropical forests in times of drought. However, they do not care if this food source comes in the shape of a house, cupboard, or fence. They will continue to turn it into soil regardless.
Termites have no pigment and are very susceptible to sunlight and draughts, which dry them out, leading to death. In addition, they must live in 90 to 100% humidity. To protect themselves from these elements, they build a mud lead or tunnel to their food source. This gives us the advantage of detecting their stealthy presence.
When you find one of these mud leads, don’t break it. Leave it intact for a pest technician to examine. If you break the lead, and it is an active tunnel, there will be a good chance it will be abandoned, and you will have to wait for them to find another entry point.
A good example of a termite lead coming out the ground, and moving through an unprotected spot
This mud chamber in a roof void. This is used by the termites when the conditions are to hot as a refuge place.
Termite damage to timber structure in a roof void.
Termite damage to karri timber framework in a roof void. Termites love karri.
This shed concrete floor, was not clearly treated with an insecticide. Termites have found a food source and doing their job to convert it to soil.
When untreated timber is in contact with the ground and moisture is present, it starts to rot. It then gives off carbon dioxide which permeates through the soil. Termites smell this and head for the food source and moisture.
This is a section of bamboo flooring with Termite damage. The termites found their way in as the chemical barrier that was protecting the house was out of warranty.
A termite lead in a subfloor going into a timber food source.
Another termite entry point in a subfloor timber beam.
This picture shows termite mudding at the top of a timber stump holding up a joist. Note that there is no ant cap on top of this post preventing termites from going into the above timber.
An ant cap doing its job, stopping termites from going any further without detection.
Stalagmites! No termite leads reaching up from a subfloor trying to access the timber floor.
A timber clad house with an unusual example of termite activity.
Damaged roof timbers
Termite activity in a roof void. Termites are feeding on the cardboard covering plasterboard.
Termite damage to spa bath outside sitting on pavers. Before installation, the paved area should have been treated for termites.
Timber in contact with the ground.
Stalactites, termite leads dropping down from timber they had eaten, down to a new food source under a pizza oven.
Termites can do some severe and costly damage. They have no preference to what they attack. It could be your most costly asset, your home. We can advise you how to protect your home from these destructive little creatures and install a chemical or non-chemical system that is suitable to your needs.