Types Of Termites In Australia
Australia is home to over 300 different species of termites. These little creatures are one of the biggest factors of economic destruction of homes, buildings, and timber. Although there are hundreds of species found in Australia only a few are destructive. Out of those the most commonly found and identified types of termites in Australia are Subterranean Termites, Drywood Termites, and Dampwood Termites.
The most dangerous for economic loss of house buildings are Subterranean termites and Drywood termites.
1. Subterranean Termites
Subterranean termites which are most commonly known as white ants are a major cause of structural timber damage in buildings. According to one survey 1 out of every 3 dwellings has termite in their boundary particularly if they have gum trees in the near vicinity.
How serious are subterranean termites?
The latest research has shown that the amount of economic loss to structural timber due to the activity of subterranean termites has increased over the years. The reason for this is suggested to be the ways now houses are constructed and low-quality softwood usage in the construction industry.
What are the signs of subterranean termites?
Subterranean termites have larger colonies and they need contact with soil to take all the moisture they need for survival. Subterranean termites travel in mud tubes which they make with the help of soil and wood particles along with their saliva, these mud tubes are made so that they can keep themselves protected from other predators and loss of moisture. These mud tubes made by subterranean termites are the major indicator of their presence and activity.
Subterranean termites can be active throughout the year but they are extensively active in summer after heavy rain. Hence making it important for home owners to call professionals for Termite Pest Control in summer days.
What do subterranean termites eat?
Subterranean termites feed on any kind of timber, they love the already rotten logs or branches of trees but they can attack any new structural timber also. Since the subterranean termites need moisture to survive the faulty plumbing or any leakages in cavity walls of the houses provide them a perfect environment to set up their colony and eat through the whole structure silently.
2. Drywood Termites
Drywood Termites are the second common type of termite found in Australia. This is considered as the most destructive one because of its nature. Unlike subterranean termites, the drywood termite can live in a small piece of timber or furniture. Drywood termites have small colonies as compared to subterranean termites.
Drywood termites do not want contact with soil for their moisture need, they take moisture from the piece of wood they have infested hence the name drywood suggests. The drywood termites don’t make mud tubes like subterranean termites. They can live inside the wooden structure or furniture for years and eat up whole without being noticed and destroying it completely.
3. Dampwood Termites
As the name suggests the dampwood termites only live in the wood which has a lot of moisture. They don’t enter the drywood. They can eat and live on damp rotten logs and trees.
Dampwood termites have relatively small colonies. They live inside the dampwood and only leave when the whole of the wood is eaten up.
Biology And Habits Of Subterranean Termites
The colony of termites has different castes with all of them performing different roles. These all interdepend on each other for the survival of the whole colony.
The worker termites are the ones who are responsible for the establishment and sustainability of the colony. They are the ones who go out and about in search of food/ cellulose and bring it back to the colony to feed others.
In a mature colony, there is a king and queen who are responsible for the expansion of the colony. The queen is big and she is capable of giving 2000 eggs a day. These eggs later get mature to form alates who are winged termites which are young queen and king, they leave the colony to disperse and go to other places to form a new colony.
Another important caste is soldier termites. The subterranean termites can have millions of termites in one large colony.
The worker termite does extensive work of finding the food. They have a specialized gut system that breaks down the food to a certain limit and then converts it to a material which it can feed to others in the colony even the king and the queen get fed by the worker’s termites.
Early Signs Of Termite Infestation
Although some species of termites will make their nets underground like subterranean termites and will make their way inside your house without you noticing it. Yet there are few signs which can help you spot termite activity, these are explained below:
Wings of termites or flying termites
If you have found the wings of termites scattered around your house or windows, then it means there is a nest nearby. Because these alates have come from somewhere near to start a new colony.
The clicking sound of termites eating up your wood
While the worker termites are eating up the wood they make a noise and if you take your ear close to the infested wood you can hear the sound of their activity. There are soldier ants also who bangs their head across the wood to warn others of possible danger.