Termites and other pests which infest timber can wreak havoc on your home, causing structural damage that is extremely costly to repair. The key to lowering the cost of termite-related repairs is to conduct frequent termite inspections in order to detect problems early.
What are termites?
Often referred to as white ants, termites are insects which devour wood and most cellulose containing materials like cardboard, paper, etc. There are great variations in the colour, shape and size of termites depending upon the species but they are all characterised by certain similarities. These critters fall under the order Isoptera, and are closely related to cockroaches on the evolutionary scale. Despite their name white ant, they bear no relation to the ant family.
How big are termite colonies?
Termites are social insects, living together in colonies. Some, like the magnetic termite, reside in above-ground mounds. Others, like the Nasutitermes type, reside all the way up in trees and telephone poles where they build arboreal nests. Others, like the Coptotermes species, can be found in tree stumps or at the base of trees. Termites may also be found hiding in the walls and rooves of residences.
Termite colonies can contain up to several million termites. The insects in each colony are divided into castes which determine their activities. Termites in the worker caste are responsible for digging tunnels and ensuring food supply. Soldiers prevent intruders from harming the colony, while reproductive termites' or alates' main job is to perpetuate the species through an annual colonising flight. Soldier and worker termites are unable to reproduce.
Do termites ever rest?
Termites are active 24/7 – 365 days per year.
Are termites and white ants the same thing?
White ant is the common name for termites of which there are many species. While termite is the correct term, they are often called white ants due to their appearance. They resemble ants and are a milky white colour.
What do termites like to eat?
Termites devour the cellulose that is found in paper and timber-based products. The timber is often eaten from the inside, leaving a paper-thin shell on the outside that appears mottled or wrinkled and often stained with spots of mud. On residential properties, termites often infest finished timbers such as door frames, skirting boards and architraves, subfloor timbers and framing.
If you suspect a termite problem, it is imperative that you have a timber pest inspection done by an accredited professional, who should provide you with a comprehensive written report and a proposal for eradication and future control.
If you would like to know more, give us a ring on 13 14 40, or visit our Facebook page to message us your termite questions.