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Termites
 

Identification

Termites are small insects ranging from 3-20 millimetres in body length.  Termites have a pale, elongated body and are commonly known as "white ants".  They have chewing mouthparts and their antennas are about as long as their heads.

In Australia there are over 300 different species of termites, of these only 6 species are largely responsible for attacking timber in service, such as our homes and commercial premises.

 


Habits/Biology

Termites are social insects and live in colonies which can number 100's of thousands.  Each colony has a King and Queen.  The Queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day.  The workers and soldiers are castes most commonly encountered when termite activity is discovered which can be up to 100 metres from the nest.

They work 24 hours a day.  They travel thru mud shelter tubes to keep them hidden from predators such as spiders and ants but also enable them to avoid drying out and dying.

Termite colonies release winged reproductions called Alates.  These Alates can become Kings or Queens.  They have a darker body than normal termites.  Termites in general have a typical whitish often almost clear body.

In spring on warm humid evenings, these Alates swarm from their nesting sites out of trees, stumps, telegraph poles and even within houses to find their own locations to provide their own colony.

The workers are the sterile males and females that feed the colony, rear the young and they enlarge the nest.  They are the only castes that can chew and digest cellulose in wood.

The soldiers are sterile males and females.  Their main function is to protect the colony.  Soldiers cannot feed themselves and are dependant on the workers for their nutrition.



Pre-Construction (New Buildings)

All new buildings should be constructed with embedded physical Termite Barriers.  There are a few different systems available for the consumer, see links below for a few that are on the market today.

Most are backed by a 10 year warranty and are produced and installed at the highest standards.  Physical Barriers are long life, environmentally friendly termite systems dedicated in protecting your new home or extension.  Each system is priced differently.  Research each product on the market and see which system is best suited for you.

Check our Pest Proffessionals in your area with our  Location Link and make sure they are an accredited installer of the product you have chosen.


 


Post Construction (Existing Buildings)

Active Termites can be treated in a few ways:

  • Dusting
  • Soil Barrier Treatments
  • Monitoring & Baiting Systems

A Pest Inspector will give you options and recommendations depending on the situation, then its up to you to make the final decision.

Dusting:

Dusting processes are carried out by Licensed Pest Professional after a full termite inspection has been carried out. In the termite inspection the pest professional uses  specified instruments like moisture meters, screwdrivers and dongers to locate termite activity.Pest inspectors can also use additional tools like thermal imaging cameras, boroscopes and K9's  to find the maximum amount of termite activity.

The pest professional then dusts the tunnels in the affected timbers coating termites in a fine layer of dust.  Termites return to the nest and pass the dust around through actual grooming and feeding. The activity is then left alone for at least 14 days before a re-inspection of treated areas is carried out. After this period, the activity is assessed before the next step is carried out.  There are new dusts on the market now which have now taken the place of arsenic trioxide so toxicity levels are greatly reduced minimising harm towards yourself  and the environment around you.

Soil Barrier Treatment:

Soil Barrier Treatments are applied to soiled areas around foundation walls, piers and beneath filled concrete areas (This is usually the next step after a dusting process has been carried out).  Applied is a liquid based Termiticide which will create a chemical barrier for the protection of your home or structure against Subterranean Termites.  Depending on the Termiticide used and the conditions around the treated areas, most Termiticides will last between 3-10 years.

Be aware of partial Termite Treatments as they are only partial, or part of a full treatment.  Therefore warranty's and guarantees may differ or be deemed nothing.

Monitoring & Baiting Systems:

A Termite Monitoring & Baiting System is installed around the external perimeters of a structure and on any active termite areas.

They are complete systems which are designed to protect homes from Termites by eliminating the termite colony.

This process will not happen over night, but it will happen.  Depending on the Termite species behaviour, size and season of year differs the time needed to reach colony elimination.  So patience and trust in your Pest Professional is needed throughout the whole process.

Baiting systems do not mean that all Termite colonies around your home will be eliminated.  The Baiting System will only affect those colonies that feed on the bait supplied.

Most Monitoring & Baiting Systems are 12 month up front contracts which require 1-3 month monitoring by a Pest Professional.  Be aware there are ongoing yearly costs to maintain that system once it is installed.

 

 

 

Handy Hints

Internally:

Always check all timber frames inside your home, ie. skirting boards, architraves, mantle pieces, timber doors and window frames.  Look for blistered paint, rippled or bulging wall linings or mud packing emerging from timber joints or gyprock walls.

Externally:

For external perimeters and subfloor areas check for mud galleries or mud tunnels against foundation walls, piers or edges of concrete slabs.

High Risk Areas:

  • Formwork timbers left beneath concrete patios, bathrooms, fireplaces and steps;
  • Stored timber or cardboard in contact with the ground beneath or around your home;
  • Damp soil due to poor drainage, lack of cross flow ventilation, leaking pipes or shower recess;
  • Inaccessible subfloor areas and common walls;
  • Construction of retaining walls with railway sleepers;
  • Close proximity to bushland and/or large trees.

 

If any of these areas are related to you, make sure you get an experienced Termite Inspector over to carry out a full Termite or Pest Inspection, supply you with a Full Report and recommendations to reduce or remove high risk areas and supply a quote for further services to be carried out.


 

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