||Subterranean termites or "white-ants" are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to domestic and commercial buildings in NSW.
A major economic pest: Recent industry surveys suggest about one third of all unprotected properties in NSW are subject to attack by subterranean termites. Most of the latest technology for termite control products comes from the USA where termite control is a US$5 billion industry. Other major termite control markets include Australia, Japan, South East Asia, China and the south of France.
Most homes are at risk in NSW in built-up urban areas, especially if well established gum trees are nearby the building - within a 100 metre radius.
The problem is getting worse: Severe termite damage to Australian homes is on the increase since the removal in 1995 of the long lasting soil barrier chemicals; the more common use of softwood building and other landscaping timbers that termites find irresistible, such as, hardwood timber mulch and railway sleepers on the ground.
Other important factors promoting termite colony development include automatic watering systems, landscaping and maintenance that encourage termite activity and inappropriate building design that allow hidden termite entry into a building.
DESTRUCTIVE TERMITE RISK ASSESSMENT *
* Based upon CSIRO data and APCA national survey
Termites live in the ground
and can eat your house down
Termites are known to destroy the wall and roofing timbers of a home within 3 months of construction.
Termites cause more damage to homes in Australia than fire, floods, storms and tempest, combined.
Termites occur throughout NSW, with a high incidence of attack in virtually all urban areas.
Consumer Note: The standard Home and Building Insurance Policy will NOT cover the repair costs of termite infested structural and decorative timbers.
Fascinating biology: Australian subterranean termites evolved more than 250 million year ago. Meaning they inhabited Australia long before flowering plants. Their survival success depends on living in a protective underground environment. In some species, their colony nest has a hardened shell, exposed above ground level. In most destructive species in NSW their nest is totally out of sight, below ground level.
The worker termites build mud-tubes over hard objects. The tubes or "galleries" are made up of partly digested timber and mud excrete, and is moist if currently in active use. The termites keep it's colony nest and galleries at 25 to 35oC with high humidity. If they are exposed to light or open air they will desiccate (dehydrate) and die. They live in constant darkness, excepting for the annual summer swarms of the winged
A million termites in the nest: In some destructive species, a termite colony nest may contain more than a million termites, consisting of a queen, king, young immature nymphs, workers, soldiers and winged reproductives (called alates). They are delicate, soft bodied and small in stature, about half the size of match-head. But they are also highly efficient timber recyclers, and often described as Mother nature's best builders.
The worker termites are blind and forage in a largely random criss-cross fashion looking for new timber food sources. However, they may encounter and follow moisture zones and trail along solid objects, such as, the concrete slab edge of your home. The soldiers accompany the workers in their constant search for new timber food sources. If you find termites active in timber framing, it is the soldiers that rush out to defend the workers.
Experience counts: It takes many years of termite control field-work experience to get a proper understanding of the habits of the destructive termite species habits and their likely foraging areas in a variety of building types and environmental circumstances.
Look who's coming to dinner
and whose home is on the menu ?
Picture on your left shows a Fumapest termite inspector examining a large subsidiary nest, termites built inside the dining room wall cavity of a home.
Termites often build such above-ground nests provided there is a reliable moisture source, such as, from faulty plumbing, leaking pipes, shower recess, guttering, broken roof tiles and the like.
Look for tell-tale termite mud-tubes
Picture on left shows a mud-shelter tube that subterranean termites have built over a brick foundation wall to the flooring timbers in a sub-floor of a home.
Termites are very secretive and will often enter a building through areas inaccessible to inspection, such as, via on-ground patios, cracks or expansion joints or around concrete slab flooring, particularly if the slab edge is obscured by pathways or garden beds.
Tiny termite entry points around your home? Termites can pass through a 2 mm crack in concrete slab on-gound flooring and will readily eat through the rubber compound between the adjoining concrete slabs to gain access. Termites can then travel under parquetry and other floor tiles to get to the wall and roofing framing timbers.