Every question we could think of about termites answered

Every question we could think of about termites answered

If you’ve ever had termites on your property, you know the damage they can do and just how pervasive they can be and how much damage can be done before they’re even picked up. That’s why it’s important to know at least some rudimentary information about them.

We’re not saying you need to become experts in the field of Entomology, but for the safety of your home (and your insurance premiums) if you’ve ever wondered about termites, we’re sure you’ve had some questions at some stage.

If you’ve had questions we’re hoping to answer them here, so we’ve compiled a list of every question we could think of about termites so you’re able to find out a little more about these amazing, but destructive little creatures.

What do termites look like?

That’s an easy one. The best way to get an idea of what termites look like is to have a look at some images. Take a look at these photos of termites and you will start to get a good idea of what they look like.

termites

termite with wings

What do termites like to eat?

Put simply, anything that has cellulose in it. Cellulose is the main building block most plant-based products like wood, paper, cloth, cotton, some insulations, many different food items, and any other plants or wooden items you have around that home. Termites will even eat the paper off plasterboard wall sheeting!

Some termites prefer damp wood and others prefer dry wood depending on the species of termites in your home so it’s worth checking all areas of your home or getting a termite inspection company to conduct a termite inspection on your home.

What are some things termites do not like?

Well, we can tell you what they really don’t like. They don’t like a good dose of Fipforce treatment that’s for sure! This is the treatment that’s been used in over 200,000 Australian homes to successfully kill termites and keep them at bay.

What do termites leave behind?

Many times termites are hard to detect and because they essentially eat things from the inside out, it’s hard to spot signs of them. If you’re seeing small, round pellet-like piles of wood around your home, this could be a sign of dampwood or drywood termites. These can range in colour from a light brown, sandy colour through to dark or almost black in colour. It will really depend on the colour of the wood they’re eating. If they’re eating pine, it’s likely the pellets will look similar to the colour of pine.

Likewise if termites are eating a dark hardwood, that’s going to be the colour of the termite pellets left behind. If you notice mud tunnels going from the ground into a structure , or other solid, wet mud protruding from any parts of the structure, this may be a sign of subterranean termites. You may also notice distortion or blistered effects on plasterboard and painted timber trimmings (door frames, skirtings etc).

Do termites bite humans or pets?

Usually it’s the kids around the home that ask us this one. Whilst termites have the ability to bite humans (they do have mandibles) they’re specifically designed to eat wood, not humans. If you were to put your hand in a nest of termites and aggravate them, then it’s likely you will get a few bites, but as a general rule termites don’t bite humans or pets.

Are termites black or white?

Everyone has probably heard of termites being referred to as ‘white ants’ but this is not correct, termites are actually closely related to cockroaches.,The colour of a termite will depend on the species of termite and if they’re male, female, workers or soldiers. Typically soldiers will have a more brown / reddish hue to their heads whereas the workers are usually more pale.

Are termites attracted to light?

Flying termites are most definitely attracted to light and you may see around Brisbane the occasional swarm of termites. Usually termites that are swarming only live for a few days and many of them will die off however there will be some that mange to find a mate and start a colony in logs, stumps or any other wooden items they can find (hopefully not your home).

If termites have already colonised and are under the ground, they typically stay away from light (this is one of the reasons they build mud tunnels) so really it’s only the flying termites that are attracted to light.

Are termites dangerous?

To your house? Most definitely.
To you? No (unless they eat so much of your home that it falls over on you).

Are termites actually insects?

Yes. They are closely related to cockroaches. If we want to get really technical, here’s how Wikipedia explains it.
Termites are eusocial insects that are classified at the taxonomic rank of infraorder Isoptera, or as epifamily Termitoidae within the cockroach order Blattodea.

Are termites blind?

This all depends on how you define ‘blind’. Do they have eyes? Many species do not have eyes but they do have other senses that help guide them such as being able to sense touch, taste, odours (including pheromones), heat and vibration.

Are termites herbivores?

Technically termites are classified as detritivores which means they eat dead plant organic matter. This is why you won’t usually see termites burrowing into a live tree as their food source usually needs to be dead for them to be able to eat it. Termites will happily eat or nest in the dead wood in the centre of what would seem to be a healthy and live tree.

Some other types of animals that would be in this classification include millipedes, springtails, woodlice, dung flies, slugs, worms, sea cucumbers and fiddler crabs!

Are termites edible?

Some types of termites are edible, although we don't really eat them as a culture here in Australia, they’re a delicacy in Thailand and apparently they are packed full of nutrients and have a delicious nutty taste. You can even buy some online if you really want at https://www.thailandunique.com/edible-flying-termites.

Are termites bigger than ants?

Termites are around the same size of some ants, smaller than other ants and larger than some. So depending on the type of ants you’re comparing termites to the answer to this is yes, no and about the same.

Are termites attracted to mulch?

This really depends on what type of mulch it is. If it’s pine bark mulch, termites are probably more likely to munch on that than say, cane sugar mulch. If you’re buying mulch from a landscape supply store or getting it from the local dump (some local tips offer free or low cost mulch) it’s always wise to inspect the mulch for termites before spreading it around your home.

Do ants eat termites?

Yes, ants do actually eat termites. If you happen to get a load of mulch and you do find termites in it, you can rake the mulch over your lawn and the ants will get to work using them as a food source (not to mention the birds also). Even though ants are a natural enemy of termites, it is an old wives tale that if you have black ants around the home that you won't get termites!

Which termites are the worst?

That’s easy! The termites that get into your home and cause damage. It doesn’t really matter what strain or type they are – if they’re getting into your home and causing damage, they’re all bad!!

Which states have termites?

Termites that are harmful to buildings are found in every state in Australia except for Tasmania and very southern areas of Victoria.

Queensland and Brisbane definitely have termites, so if you find any signs of termites in your home and you live in Brisbane, make sure you give us a call on 1300 057 067.

How do termites travel?

Termites create what’s called mud tunnels to make their way around your home. Take a look at some images below to get an idea of what we’re talking about.

So there you have it – the biggest list of questions we could think of about termites. If we haven’t answered your questions about termites you’re more than welcome to call us anytime and have a chat. If you require termite treatments or pest inspections, we’d be more than happy to give you a pricing for this and organise a booking.

Call us today on 1300 057 067.