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Termites are often referred to as "White Ants" but they share very few characteristics with ants. There are a number of visual ways of distinguishing between Ants and Termites.              

                                                                                                  

ANTS TERMITES
Hourglass figure with clearly defined 3 segments of head, thorax & abdomen Less distinct figure with weaker definition between thorax and abdomen
Reproductives have 2 pairs of wings with longer front wings than rear Reproductives wings are also paired but front and rear wing are of equal length
Nesting material and shelter tubes (if any) are made of loose material with crumbly larger grains of sand/soil Solid harder to break nesting material and shelter tubes
Common to see moving in open Shun light and are usually only sighted in an outside environment when workings are disturbed

Many Termite species are important in relation to our environment and feed on fallen trees and in doing so replace the lost nutrients and minerals back into the soil. Of the more than 300 species approximately 30 are a significant menace to man.

Termites are social insects. This means that, like Bees as well as Ants, they have a well developed social order which is controlled by a Queen. The other members of a termite colony or castes are a king, workers, soldiers, reproductives and alates. All of these castes contribute in individual ways to growth of a colony. Each colony can contain up to 1 million termites.

The Queen can lay over 1000 eggs per day and can live for up to 25 years. She and the King initiate the colony and produce the eggs until the colony matures. When the Queen dies a replacement from the chosen reproductives takes her place.

A Soldier's function is to protect the colony from intruders as well as to guard workers when they are absent from the colony gathering food. They are males and females whose reproductive organs and sexual characteristics have not yet formed.

Worker castes do the work in the colony. They are the primary locators of the food source and feeders of the other members of the colony.

Reproductives are the future Kings and Queens of colonies yet to be developed or replacements of existing if they die. They are less susceptible to the outside environment than other castes. When fully developed they acquire wings and swarm in the warmer months leaving their parent colony. These new colonies are usually set up in the bases of trees or where moisture and food is evident.

Through the construction of tunnels both underground and over edges of concrete slabs, up subfloor walls and over or through items that appear in their way, they can travel a radius of at least 300 feet and to a depth of at least 300mm underneath the ground. Shelter Tubes are built if they need to travel above ground over items to get to food and also to protect them from the dry air outside and other insect predators.

The common needs of termites is a food source in the form of any cellulose based materials, a moisture source and high humidity. Living trees, grass, timber and timber byproducts including paper and cardboard are all cellulose rich materials. Moisture is a major factor as Termites have thin cuticles which they shed several times during their growth. If a Termite is unable to grow a new skin, it will dehydrate and die. Obviously timber and cellulose based materials also encourage their development. Both of these factors contribute to the continuing development of the several castes which depend on one another for the survival of the colony.

Wooden articles, wood piles and cardboard boxes stored in direct ground contact or underneath buildings provide termites with a food source and an easier way to the rest of your building. DO NOT store or place these materials in direct ground contact, i.e. either bare soil or concrete.

If the termites are located and disturbed then they may not return to the colony or the colony might prevent them from returning. If at all possible DO NOT disturb them. Any competent Termite Specialist will also avoid disturbing termites at the assessment stage.

DO NOT spray the area with insecticides. The termites that you spray are easily killed but this does not effect the source of the problem, the colony. In most situations other termites from the same colony will return and the damage continues, sometimes in the same place but at other times in other locations.

DO NOT have trees, plants, mulch, gardens or bark type materials too close to the residence. Any cellulose based materials should be removed to provide a 3 ft wide strip between the garden and the structure and a more inert material such as stone or pebbles be substituted. In the case of plants, ensure that they are trimmed regularly. Trees should be removed from close proximity to any structure. A rule of thumb for trees or shrubs is: Distance = Twice the height.

DO NOT cover weep holes in brickwork or build soil up over slab edges. Ensure that you DO NOT place any plastic or newspaper on gardens any closer than 300mm to a building.

If there is a tap, shower, hot water system or anything else leaking around the premises DO NOT overlook it. Ring a plumber and get the problem fixed. Termites are attracted to moisture.

If you have a Subfloor area ensure that ventilation is adequate. DO NOT allow moisture and or dampness to build up.

DO NOT let poor Subfloor Drainage attract termites to your house. If there is excess water contact a plumber to help solve the problem.

DO NOT disturb any Chemical Barrier against a building. If you do you should arrange to have the barrier replaced as soon as possible.

Consult with us and seek our advice. We can provide you with a range of solutions some of which you could carry out yourself at little or no cost. Some of the solutions which we carry out might appear costly but when measured against the asset you are having protected then the cost is very low.

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