Is a termite the same as a white ant ?
Yes, they are the same insect. Termite is the correct name, but they are often called white ants because they look like an ant and they are milky white.
What do I do if I find live termites?
Do not disturb the termites or spray with insecticide. Termites need to be identified for proper treatment by the termite technician and we do not want to chase them away to another area. You cannot control termites by pulling out the effected timber and spraying the area. Call a qualified termite technician who has the experience and training to complete a termite inspection report; using the Australian Standards AS 3660.2- 2000 as a minimum guide line. Once the report is done a written Termite Management Proposal can be completed outlining all the treatment recommendations and the cost.
How often should my home be inspected for termites?
The Australian Standards for termite management AS 3660 recommends the structure be inspected at least annually. Regular inspections pick up live termites and therefore reduce timber damage and replacement costs.
How do I know if I have termites?
Termites eat timber and paper products. They eat the timber from the inside out and create a paper-thin veneer on the surface, causing the timber to appear crinkled, wrinkled and often spotted with mud. In a home termites can be found infesting finished timbers (skirting boards, door frames, architraves etc), framing and sub-floor timbers. A professional timber pest inspection report done by an accredited termite technician is recommended.
Why are there ‘inaccessible areas’ listed in my inspection report?
Inaccessible areas are those places the inspector wanted/needed to inspect but couldn’t get to. Even in an unoccupied house, there may be listings for areas of sub-floor or roof or with locked doors that keep the inspector out. If the place is occupied, furniture and stored stuff often gets in the way. You can help by clearing up before the inspection and having people available to move stuff as required. Read the report very carefully to see if the inaccessible areas are considered to be a risk that needs to be inspected. Sometimes this means opening up the surfaces to get access. Cutting access holes in timber floors or making holes to see behind the drywall plaster can make all the difference between finding the problem and living blissfully unaware until the damage is really extensive.
How long can a termite live?
There’s no simple answer to this one. It depends. Species, life-type, wear and tear, colony health–all these things affect the potential for a long life. A worker or soldier termite can live up to about three years in the lab, but probably only a year or so in the wild. They can also get killed soon after starting work and so may only last a few months. A reproductive female, the termite queen is something quite different. In some mound-building species queens are reported to last more than 40 years, perhaps several decades more! This would likely make them the longest-living insects.
As usual, though, termite reality is stranger than we first thought. Imagine an amoeba, a superbly simple single-celled animal. If one splits (binary fission), producing two individuals, is the original one alive or dead? I think it is still alive. Do we think the same if the animal is multicellular and reproduces less simply? The issue arises with termites. Japanese and American researchers looking at the DNA of countless individual termites in a large number of colonies have recently shown that the Japanese termite, Reticulitermes speratus, have queens that can reproduce themselves parthenogenetically (without using male input). Almost self-clone. So half the individual queen’s genes go marching on. Oddly, their research shows the male genes in the colony to be fairly constant, meaning that they have also likely discovered that kings (male reproductives) individually last longer than females.