Know the Enemy: The Basic Facts About Termites
Many people would prefer to spend as little time as possible thinking about bugs, particularly the varieties that like to make their way into our homes and businesses. The facts about termites are something that everyone should understand, though, to better know how to prepare yourself and when to call in help.
- There are around 300 species of termite living in Australia, which are divided into three groups. These are known as the damp-wood, the dry-wood, and the subterranean. There are actually only about 15 varieties that are very likely to cause damage to human structures, and these mainly come from the subterranean group.
- Termites are more closely related to cockroaches than they are to ants. The most common types are known as the Coptotermes, Nasutitermes, the Schedorhinotermes, and the Mastotermes darwiniensis.
- Colonies are divided into three castes: the workers, soldiers, and the alate or reproductive caste. This determines how each member of the colony lives and what jobs it performs.
- Only the alate caste has functional wings and some of these leave the colony each year to attempt to establish new ones. This happens during Summer and Autumn and is one of the most few obvious signs that people see when there's termite activity in the area.
- It's possible to choose lumber that comes from a species that is resistant to infestations, but none is truly immune to them. Without protective measures, even a very resistant species can become infested and suffer damage.
- It's not always easy to tell when there are termites living in your area. Aside from a few varieties that like to eat grass, they all spend their lives within tunnel systems that extend from their subterranean nests to allow them to acquire food.
- A single colony can extend its reach as far as 50 metres, so they don't necessarily have to start out close to a structure to find and damage it.
- Materials that these pests can't even eat may also be damaged as they search for food. Plastics, rubber, mortar, and even metal have all been known to suffer occasional damage.
If you do see any signs of termite activity around your home, including active alates around dusk or caught in spider webs, don't do anything that might disturb them. It's better to call for a professional assessment and to get more information about active termite treatments by SureSafe Pest Management.