Information Guide About White Ants (Termites)
Termites, also known as White Ants, are serious and common household pests. The CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) reports termites are more damaging than fires, and that 25 percent of Australian houses have termites destruction with estimated losses of $100 million per year.
Within a termite colony, there’s a king, a queen, workers, soldiers, reproductive ant, and alates. Each caste has its own responsibilities, and white ant colonies may have up to 1 million termites.
The Queen lays around 1000 eggs each day and lives over 25 years. The King and the Queen produce most of the eggs until the colony has enough embers. When the Queen dies, another reproductive fills the place.
Soldiers must protect the colony. They are males and female whose reproductive organs have not formed yet, and the workers’ cast searches food sources and feeds the other members of the white ant colony.
Their primary source of food is cellulose, which is found in timber. Termites eat timber from living trees until it dries and dies, and they are incredibly tenacious finding timber, even when the worker ants are blind.
Reproductive are the next Kings and Queens of the colony in case they die. They are weaker and more susceptible to the outside environment than any other cast, but when they fully develop they grow wings (alates) and leave their parent company and swarm in warmer months.
New colonies usually grow in the tallest part of the threes during warmer months.
The most common termite species are Coptotermes and Schedorhinotermes.
3.1 Coptotermes (Acinaciformis)
Coptotermes is the most destructive termite in Australia because it’s present in the entire mainland. Their nests are mostly on living trees, three stumps, sleeper retaining walls, or filled patios. As long as there are moisture and water supply, their colonies can survive (for instance, a leaking behind the shower wall)
These species can cause electrical fires eating timber around wiring and power points. They also have a habit of leaving drops of milky fluids when disturbed, so it’s a sure way to identify living specimens.
Captotermes soldier ants measure up to 6mm long, have pear-shaped yellowish heads, and a dark tapering mandibles without any visible teeth. They are relatively numerous and they appear quickly when the galleries are broke open.
These are the most common termite species on Brisbane. These are serious pests capable of causing broad damage to living and dead trees, retaining walls, fences, and homes. Their nests are difficult to locate, but their preferred locations are living and dead trees, under patio slabs, or under other concrete slabs.
Their colonies are very populous and have thousands of termites. Minor soldiers appear first while the nests are maturing, and once the colony is established major soldiers appear. When major soldiers emerge it means the colony has an incredible potential for damage.
The soldiers of these species are betweem5 to 7mm long and have bulbous heads, while the minor soldiers are half the length of their counterparts, with narrower heads, and weaker mandibles.
Schedorhinotermes are easily disturbed. If their work is interrupted they often retreat deep into the affected timbers or back to the nest. It can have a negative effect on pest control, so keep in mind suspicious activity is not an option.
These species are all around Australia, but they are not a risk to homes. Instead, they attack decking, fences, and post and poles where some kind of decay is present.
Heterotherms don’t build mounds or nest, and they place small colonies adjacent to logs on the ground, stumps, and near rotting wood. Their soldiers are 3.5mm-7mm long, have a long rectangular head, curved mandibles, and no visible teeth.
Although not very common in the country, these species may cause damage to sound timber. They build mounds on the sides of a tree (arboreal nests), commonly on Ironbark or Stringybark trees.
They often attack power poles and fence post, but they can enter homes as well. Their soldiers are 5 to 7mm long and have a head that looks drawn forward.
These are very common around old fences and gardens. They build their nests on the ground as small mounds near living or dead trees. If they enter homes, their damage is limited to trim gyprock or timber, so they don’t cause severe economic losses.
Some Facts About Termites
- The survey indicates one one-third of unprotected buildings in Western Australia are vulnerable to subterranean termite attack.
- Termite is more damaging than fires, storms, tempest and floods combined to Australian
- Termites live in Western Australia and have high tendencies to attack in every urban area.
- Standard Home and Building Insurance Policy does not cover repair cost of termite
- Worker termites build mud tubes around and over hard objects.
- A termite colony can have over a million termites, and amongst them, there’s a queen, a king, young nymphs, soldiers, workers and alates (winged reproductive).
- Worker termites are blind and they travel in criss-cross fashion while they look for new timber sources. You may find them by following moisture trails along solid objects, like concrete slab at the edge of your house.
- Termites are shorter and fatter than other ants, while their sandy or amber colored bodies have no clear segments. They also have no eyes and have large heads with thick antennae.
- Termites often live inside wood, so it’s unlikely you’ll see them in broad daylight. You might hear them chewing, though.
- They only eat wood, so they are not attracted to other foods or trash.
- They cause visible damage to your home. A termite infestation has various key signs, so be on the look for any indications inside your
- White ants eat through wood and build nests, but it’s rare to see their colonies in the open inside or outside your home.
- White ants are hard to find. You will need to look around your garden, tree stumps, rotten wood, fences, and walls.
The Difference Between White Ants And Termites
It’s safe to say that every Australian knows about these little creatures that chew through wood and cause economic damages. You might have called them termites or white ants, but there’s something you need to know: they are the same thing. They are the same pest.
The confusion comes because termites are very similar to ants, but their color is generally white. There are some other key differences you’ll need to learn, though, because an ant invasion can be very annoying but nowhere near as damaging as a termite invasion. And because white ant’s pests control is different from ants extermination, it’s important that you know what you’re up against.