Queensland has several types of Subterranean Termites, or White Ants. Get to know them….

Subterranean termites, also known as white ants are a major problem in the state of Queensland if left undetected. They are known to be highly destructive to timber and timber framed buildings with around a third of all the unprotected buildings in the state liable to be infested by these pests.

Why does Brisbane have this problem?

In recent years the increase in hardwood timbers used in building and landscaping has proven to be irresistible to termites. Products such as timber mulch and railway sleepers combined with the climate in Queensland make ideal conditions for termites to thrive. The development of automatic watering systems used in landscaping has also led to conditions that encourage the activity of termites and poor designs of buildings have led to easy access for termites into a building.

If you need termite treatment for your home, read more here

Subterranean Termites

Subterranean termites have existed in Australia for over 250 million years when they evolved from cockroaches. They generally nest below ground level living in galleries with high humidity between 25 and 35C. If the nest is exposed to sunlight and the open air the termites will dehydrate and die. Most termites are blind and live in total darkness. There may be more than 1 million termites in a nest. A colony will consist of a queen, a king, young immature nymphs, workers, soldiers and winged reproductive termites known as alates. The winged termites are the only ones to have sight. The workers are the ones constantly searching for new sources of food. They are accompanied by soldiers who will defend the workers when under attack. The queen never leaves the nest, is much larger than the other termites in the colony and is totally dependent on the workers for feeding her. She will give birth to up to 2000 eggs every day. If the queen dies the colony will quickly die out.

Identifying the species of Termite

If you discover termites on or in your property it is important that you do not disturb them and contact a specialist who can then determine what species of termite is present and then what action needs to be taken. If you disturb the nest the termites will move on to a new nest and you may not discover them again for some time. The termite specialist will discover the species of termite before taking action. Some species pose no threat to your timber while others can be highly destructive.

Coptotermes acinaciformis

This highly disruptive species is common throughout Queensland, particularly in urban areas where there are lots of eucalyptus trees. They are regarded as the biggest pest throughout Australia and over 70% of the timber damage is attributed to this pest. They are very secretive creatures, building their nests in the base of eucalyptus trees, other similar trees or completely below ground, ideally beneath patios or other concrete structures that retain the moisture and help maintain a humid temperature. This species can also construct a subsidiary nest inside a building’s wall cavities away from the main nest.

Schedorhinotermes intermedius

This species is highly prevalent through eastern Queensland, in particular close to the coast line and the Great Dividing Range. They are mostly known for gouging on timber close to the nails that are used in the construction. They can be highly destructive to timber buildings and tend to form large colonies in tree stumps or root crowns of trees. They can also be found beneath patios and in areas where timber has been buried or stored in contact with the soil below ground level.

Before you buy a house, make sure you have an inspection done by a professional. Read about termite inspections here. Or call Mark for an appointment on 0437 578 982.

Nasutitermes exitiosus

This species of termite is prevalent throughout Queensland and is likely to be found in urban areas where large numbers of eucalyptus trees are found. These termites can cause severe damage to buildings and timber structures although they are not as common as the two species that are listed above. This species of termite builds its nest as a mound which can extend anything from 30 to 75cm above the ground. The nest, once discovered can easily be destroyed by removing the top and the use of a suitable insecticide placed into the nest.

Coptotermes lacteus

These termites are found primarily along the entire coastline of the state of Queensland. The damaging nature of this species can be seen through the destruction of tree stumps, dead trees, timber fencing and poles. Any timber that has been softened by weathering or decay and is in direct contact with the soil is at risk from this species. They will also attack timber used in damp sub-floors. This is a species that its nest is easily spotted as they build a mound with hardened clay walls up to 2m in height. Treatment to eradicate the nest is by removing the top and applying insecticidal chemicals directly into the nest.