Types of Termites
A termite colony is made up of the Queen, the King, soldiers, workers and reproductive castes. The king and queen are
the original reproductives. Having established a colony after an initial colonizing flight, they can live for many
years. The workers maintain the colony, and are responsible for the damage we see in timber in service. The
soldiers’ role is defense, and most species are identified by the soldier. Soldiers and workers stay in the
security and humidity of the nest and mud workings.Termites make mud tunnels and packing around their workings to
maintain damp conditions. They excavate the wood leaving a thin outside layer of wood or paint to maintain humidity
A full comprehensive timber pest inspection by a qualified and licenced technician is recommended so that the homeowner
can understand the termite damage and attack at his property and the best management plan to put in place. Termite
identification and treatment is not an easy task and should be carried out by professionals.
Wings are unequal in size and shape.
Antennae is elbowed.
Constriction between thorax and abdomen
Wings are equal or similar.
Antennae is beadlike.
No constriction between the thorax and abdomen
While there are many things a home owner can do to protect themselves from termites, the first step in prevention of termite problems is having a detailed inspection and assessment by a qualified Austrapest technician. A detailed report is prepared with easy to follow recommendations. Refer to Austrapest’s termite management plan for our systematic approach, and the building maintenance for tips. Attention to good building practices and general home maintenance will will reduce the risk of termite infestation – e.g. removing formwork timbers, attending to dampness problems, fixing leaking downpipes.
In continuous service for over 70 years, since 1949, Austrapest/ Kevmac has developed a wealth of experience and knowledge of termite behaviour and their biology. Our technical experts are fully aware of the available options in termite management in all the options of termite management and in offering customers the best advice on prevention techniques the home owner can do themselves, and professional treatments.
Termite infestations do not occur overnight and take some time to control, so don’t be rushed into carrying out a termite treatment without having a proper inspection, assessment, report and proposal that offers all the control options available to you. For further and invasive inspections and assessment, tools such as thermal imaging, borescopes or Termitract equipment can be used and at extra cost. Advice may be given about test drilling and treating trees which are harbouring termite nests. Assistance can be given in approaching councils about termite problems in nature strips. We may advise installing monitoring stations around a property, or continuous chemical treated zones. Read on in the termite management section for more detailed information.
Remember no treatments and monitors are as preventative against termites as regular - at least 6 monthly to yearly - inspections by Austrapest’s qualified, experienced, certified, Pest Registrar Accredited and insured technicians. Regular inspections are IMPERATIVE for early detection of timber pest infestation and minimising the need for chemical application.
Biology and Habitats
Winged reproductives (alates) can often be seen on their colonising flight in spring and summer evenings when humidity is high, often before a storm. The trained eye can see them swarming from a "blow hole" in a tree trunk or stump, walls, roof and many other areas.
The nest site depends on the species. Some - e.g. Nasutitermes walkeri, will have an arboreal section to their nest in the tops of trees. Others e.g. Coptotermes acinaciformis, the most destructive species in New South Wales, can have hundreds of thousands to millions of individuals, and nest in a subterranean colony, in tree stumps and root systems, or in old building materials left under houses or anywhere else in a building.
In Sydney, Coptotermes and Shedorhinotermes are the local and most destructive species. These termite species have been found to cause extensive damage throughout the North Shore, Inner West, Hill District, even the City suburbs and in fact throughout Metropolitan Sydney. The subfloor areas of many Sydney homes provide the ideal environment - the house provides the food!
Termites love damp, dark and undisturbed conditions. Subterranean pest species may travel in a radius of 50m or more from their colony to their food source. Termites feed on the cellulose in wood. If wood has been broken down by fungal decay, it appears to be even more attractive to termites (the protein in the fungus is a second source of food). Regular six monthly to yearly inspections are imperative for early detection of timber pest infestation and minimising the need for chemical application.