There are more than 350 known species of termites in Australia. However, they don’t all pose a threat to our homes and commercial buildings, with only about 30 species considered a pest to timber-in-service. As we offer services in Victoria, we focus on the major threat in this area, being the subterranean termite. They live in colonies, usually in the soil, and venture into our homes and offices in search of their principal food source – cellulose. Cellulose is contained in timber, which the majority of our homes and offices are constructed from.
The cost to then treat the problem and repair any damage is estimated at nearly $4 billion. It’s easy to see how you can become financially crippled should you become a statistic, as insurance companies will usually exclude this type of damage from any home insurance policy. These insects are eusocial, meaning they have the highest level of organisation within animal socialite. Colonies can number from a few hundred to a few million and contain nymphs, workers, soldiers and reproductives, all with their own specific roles.
The queen has unmatched reproductive powers, laying as many as 2,000 eggs a day! Should the king or queen die, a replacement will develop in its place. The winged variety, known as alates, also has reproductive abilities. At any time throughout the year they will take flight in search of an acceptable site to form a new colony. They are relatively poor fliers and don’t travel extended distances. This means that multiple colonies may be found in close proximity to each other, often within the same property. This can be a nightmare for any homeowner.
The workers feed the other colony members, so this is the termite type most likely to be found in infested wood. The soldier is principally a defender against predators, with ants the likely attacker. Though formidable, the soldier usually only acts as a suicidal delay to a determined ant attack. This will however, usually provide sufficient time for the workers to close off tunnels that provide access deep into the colony, which will ensure survival.
The subterranean species usually build their nests underground, making them difficult to detect. Nests are common in the root crown or lower trunk area of living trees. Trees stumps are also particularly susceptible nesting sites, so homeowners should consider removing any stumps located within their property boundaries. Nests are elaborate structures made up of mud, soil, chewed wood/cellulose, feces and saliva. If a constant water source within a structure is available, such as a plumbing leak, it is not unusual for a nest to be built close by, such as in a wall cavity. That’s why any leaks should be repaired immediately after you first observe it.
These insects have earned their reputation as the ‘silent destroyer’, with thousands of homes left destroyed in their wake. We offer many management options for new building works as well as existing buildings and structures. We also offer annual and per-purchase timber pest inspections that allow homeowners and future homeowners to have peace of mind that their most expensive assets are not compromised.
To speak with an experienced technician simply contact 1300 665 573 or complete the Contact Us form and we will respond to your inquiry in the shortest possible time.
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