FAQs & More Information
How do Termites Invade Your Home?
Subterranean termites are the most destructive pests in Australia. Most species operate from a central colony Which is usually beneath the surface of the soil. In their quest for food, termites will often build galleries from the ground, over ant cappings and along pipes. Sometimes the galleries are even free standing to reach above ground food sources. To gain access to structural timbers, termites will also penetrate concrete slabs or piers by following minute cracks and flaws.
Once the foundations have been breached, the termites can attack any part of the building (often undetected by the inexperienced), inside wall cavities, in the under floor or in the ceiling areas.
Why are Termite Inspections Important?
You may have termites and not even know it. From a hidden underground nest, a million termites could be secretly eating the insides of your home, leaving you with an empty shell. The fact is that many homes are difficult to inspect. To inspect for timber pests, good access to all timbers is needed. Since this is rarely available, you need a professional. Someone, who in addition to advising on the status of the property, informs clients of areas that can’t be inspected and the potential risk of this.
A Bug Busters technician will also give relevant information on conditions that are conducive to timber pest attack and how to protect the property. Bug Busters’ report format has been approved by a panel of specialist pest control experts and technicians that are certified to carry out reports to the Australian Standards. This means you can have peace of mind knowing that all relevant aspects of the property are being reported on by a qualified professional, with all pertinent information being provided.
Everyone has heard horror stories of houses falling down from damage caused by timber pests. In fact, termites cause up to $100 Million dollars’ worth of damage to properties in Australia each year. Termites, borers and wood decay fungi can severely damage a property. We have seen some repairs require up to $100,000 in expenditure. Accordingly, a thorough inspection and a detailed report by a professional makes a lot of sense.
Biology of the Termite
Termites have very thin cuticles and are, therefore, susceptible to extreme temperatures. As a result, they prefer to spend most of their lives in the high humidity and temperature conditions within their workings and colony. The relative humidity in a colony is approximately 100%.
Termites will venture out of their nest and explore outside when the humidity is similar to that within their workings. It is for this reason that termites will avoid coming into contact with the outside environment, often concealing their activity or building galleries to access food sources that would normally require them to reveal themselves.
Termites exist in a colony in several forms or castes, each of which has particular structures and functions related to the survival and maintenance of the colony.
The main purpose of the queen is to reproduce in the early beginning of the colony. The queen tends her young together with the king until her workers are numerous enough to take over the duty. Some queens can live as long as 20 years and are fertilised at intervals by the king during this period. In some species of termites, the abdomen of the queen becomes distended due to a condition called Physogastry (swelling of the abdomen with eggs).
When the queen becomes aged or dies, reproductives are selected and these become supplementary or neotenic reproductives. These queens are not from Atalates, but are chosen from the reproduced castes, they are not as prolific breeders as the original queens, so several are usually selected from one queen.
The king fertilizes the queen at intervals and is cared for by the workers, similarly to the queen. The king is usually located in the royal chamber of the colony near the queen. He can be distinguished by smaller mandibles and a darker shading across the abdomen, thorax and head.
The workers make up a significant portion of the colony and as many as millions of termite workers can be produced. Workers are blind and are responsible for the damage to millions of homes across Australia every year. There are many duties that the workers are responsible for, which include; gathering food, feeding the young, repairing the damage, tending and feeding the royal couple. Workers are white in colouring which is mainly due to their thin cuticle.
The soldier termites are the protectors of the colony and they are identified by their larger orange or brown heads. The mandibles of the soldier termite are also large. Soldiers, similarly to the worker castes, are females and males that have not developed their sexual characteristics, and they are white due to their lack of cuticle. Soldiers are often seen in numerous quantities with the worker castes.
The Reproductives or Alates
These are the castes with which have fully developed their sexual characteristics, the future kings and queens of another colony. The alates have fully developed outer cuticles which means that, unlike the under developed worker and soldier castes, they can resist the outside environment. The alates can be identified by full wings that are longer than the body, as well as darker colouration along the head, thorax and abdomen. Reproductives can be chosen to carry on the colony if the present queen or king is dying or degenerated, then they become neotechnics or substitute reproductives.
Not all colonies have an actual worker caste. In primitive species, the Nymph or undeveloped termite act as the worker, completing the duties of the worker until the last stage of growth which will determine if they are soldiers or reproductives. The nymph is basically the larvae or juvenile stage of the termite’s life cycle.
To find out more about our termite inspections and pest control treatments in Perth or to book a free, no obligation consultation, call Bug Busters now on (08) 9493 1313.