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Subterranean Termites

IMPORTANT--IMPORTANT----IMPORTANT

If you find live termites DO NOT disturb the area. DO NOT use spray insecticides on the termites. If sufficiently disturbed, the termites may move elsewhere and not be rediscovered until severe damage has been done. The termite inspector can either bait the termites using an approved termite bait or dust them using an approved termite dust. 

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Except for the Drywood termites,  the majority of termites that will affect your property will be subterranean termites, and depending on the area in Australia that you reside they will be different sub species.

Termites are also known by their slang name of "whiteants",   termites and what people call "whiteants" are the same thing.

Subterranian termites travel usually just under the top of the soil in tunnells and then use mud leads to enter your residence and start to cause damage.

Many insects are confused with termites, especially ants. Termites are sometimes referred to as ‘white ants’ because of their pale appearance.

The home owner can discourage termites by remembering these facts:

  • termites are attracted to wood, so remove potential termite food away from buildings - their food can include timber stacks, old stumps, building refuse, garden decoration such as sleepers and logs
  • waste timber from construction activities is often left in place or stored under the house – remove all timber formwork
  • timber can be treated to prevent termite attack, and some timbers are naturally resistant - use treated or naturally resistant timber when it is in contact with, or close to, soil
  • termites are attracted to water, so fix leaking water pipes, drains, showers, sinks etc, plus capture water from air conditioning units
  • termites prefer humid conditions, so keep air under the house dry by improving sub-floor ventilation, drainage and access should your house have a sub floor.
  • termites cannot chew through properly laid concrete, so ensure concrete slab is properly designed, compacted, and cured, also place an approved termite physical barrier around the perimeter of your house if it is being built.
  • termite colonies can sometimes be located - it is possible to eliminate colonies by killing the king and queen from the colony.

ALSO NOTE:-------

The installation of a chemical soil barrier does not negate the need for regular competent inspections - at least 3 to 6 months where the termite risk is high.

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TREES AND TERMITES

Some termite species build nests in large trees. These trees appear unaffected and, although the whole trunk may be hollow, the only external signs may be hollow broken branches. The presence of termites can be tested readily by drilling the tree. All trees, especially large trees up to 50m from a building should be checked. Using a long auger bit ( up to 20 mm diameter), several holes should be bored towards the centre of the tree approximately 1 m up the trunk. If termites are present or have been, the centre of the trunk will be hollow, or filled with muddy material . The auger will suddenly penetrate easily as it reaches the hollowed centre.

There are a number of ways for testing whether termites are present in the tree. First, the auger should be examined when it is withdrawn from the tree. If termites are not found on the auger bit, insert a specially designed thermometer to test the temperature in the hollow of the tree as any tree with an active termite nest will average between 31 and 37 degrees celcius.

Further the drill holes should be checked 3 to 4 days after they were drilled to check for any mudding of the drill holes which indicates there is a termite nest in the tree.