Types of termites found in Australia

Termites are considered one of the most invasive and worst pests in Australia and all around the world. Every year, huge destruction occurs due to termites in homes and businesses. People opt for various pest control options and other measures to keep them away from their homes.

Termites do not usually pose a threat to humans but having a termite infestation in a house can have an indirect impact on your health. As termites are attracted towards damp and moldy areas of the house, and due to their feeding activity, wooden structures are decomposed, and that decayed wood is susceptible to the growth of mold. Many allergies can be caused to humans due to the growing mold on the walls, ceilings,etc in the house.

Do you know there are more than 360 species of termites in Australia? However, not all of them cause economical damage to wood and crops.

Termites are a very crucial part of our biodiversity and ecosystem. They are found in diversity and possess different abilities to damage our surroundings. That’s why you must be able to distinguish between both qualities of termites. You should know which termite is harmful while which termite is not for your economy. This would save a lot of hassle as well as keep the environment safe.

After research, we have found various essential types of termites in the environment of Australia. In this blog, we will explain the types of termites so that next time you know which are your enemies and which aren’t. We will also try to take a scientific approach while explaining the types of termites. We will also add some general callings to make them easily understandable. First of all, we will discuss termites according to their feeding patterns and nesting schedules.

Subterranean Termites

If you are worried about the type of termites that you saw in the wooden furniture of your building then most probably, it is the subterranean termite. They are most commonly found in indoor furniture. Also, when found outside they are mainly found in deadwood which is in touch with the soil. Mainly this condition is created by trees, stumps, and branches falling from trees.

They have an amazing capability of digesting almost all kinds of wood. However, these are mostly found on the wood that has already started to rot. If you are thinking that you saw some subterranean termites in your backyard tree stumps, then you are most probably right.

If we talk about the survival conditions for the termites then these need moisture around them. They exist in the surroundings where normally they will find moisture along with the soil. They also make their nests around the spaces where they can access water along with the soil. For this purpose, they try to tunnel through soil or timber. When the dry season comes, they tunnel even deeper into the soil for getting some moisture.

Drywood termites

After subterranean termites, next comes dry wood termites. These termites live in small groups. The small group here signifies members less than 1000. If you will see dry wood termites in a plank of wood, then the whole bunch will be around or less than 1000. However, there can be several other small colonies that can reside in a timber object. Mainly, these feed themselves around the annual rings of the wood. Annual rings are the circular patterns formed in the stem of a tree and these rings signify the age of the trees.

These are different from the first-mentioned types of termites. These termites do not attack the grain or outer texture of the wood instead they attack the annual rings. However, they are not very keen on heartwood. They are very fond of softwood as well as hardwood. All the moisture is taken from the ground by these termites. The growth of these termites also happens in very unrecognizable ways. They remain undetected for several years and then suddenly the swarm of the termites can reappear. As we mentioned, there is a certain limit to their colony number so they also change their colonies sometimes. When the swarm keeps growing at a certain point the termites leave the colony and find a new position of infestation. This can be regarded as a critical point of the swarm group here.

Dampwood termites

These are mainly found in rotten woods and timber. As the name suggests, they are very fond of moisture around them. They are found in places where the soil is in contact with a good amount of moisture. Places like water leak points or waterlogging checks are ideal spots for such termites. They are mostly found in the outside environment instead of inside. Mostly they live on timber that they take as their food.

For damp wood termites also, the condition is similar to dry wood termites. These are not easily detected. They take years to get detected. Their colonies are not large. They live in small colonies. But different species can live together. In the whole cluster colony of the damp wood termites, there are more chances of finding them as a group of different species instead of a uniform group. There are various reasons which can cause this similarity of co-existence to arise.

Dampwood termites can also work as a signal point. Like if you see them in a building or a house, then most likely it is due to over moisturization of the place. So, this indicates that the place has more water than it should be. This helps in understanding the changes required to better enhance the water management system. You can also find these termites in living trees. But in those trees, they don’t live as a symbiote. Instead, they live as a decomposer. They digest or eat the dead and rotting wood while leaving the healthy wood aside.

If they arise in a building or apartment, then you don’t need to worry as they are easy to get rid of. You can just simply remove the moisture-causing factor and the termites will be gone too. That’s why they are considered minor pests and not a large infestation.

Main Australian Pest Termite Species

Some specific species are found in Australia. Now you know that basically, we divide termite species into three different categories. It’s time to discuss the specific species found in that region now. The native species evolution determines which type of termite will be found in a region. It can be due to location and indigenous factors. Here, we are describing the main termite species that are found in Australia.

Coptotermes acinaciformis

This species belongs to the family of Rhinotermitidae. The termite looks yellow and rectangular. They have narrow brown shade mandibles. Their build is around 7mm long. They are divided into soldiers and workers. This indicates that they have a well-established hierarchy. A few of their members mainly soldiers produce a white sticky substance which they use to protect their living spaces or nests.

In the defense mechanism, the front part of the head release white watery liquid. These termite species are not found in molds normally. But in specific regions named Queensland and some tropical regions of the country, they are found in form of molds. They are mainly found on the trees like eucalypts and peppercorns.

It is the most hazardous species of termites in Australia. If this species of termites gets enough moisture then it doesn’t require soil specifically. There are also huge colonies that are found inside wood and timber which are not provided with soil in any form.

Mastotermes darwiniensis

These are brown and yellowish in their appearance. They have rounded heads along with small black mandibles. They are also divided into soldiers and workers. They show a segmented hierarchy in their colonies. The soldiers are mainly around 11-13mm long while workers are 10-11.5mm long.

They are the very first or most primitive species of termites. They show a huge resemblance to cockroaches and share a lot of traits with them. characters like having an anal lobe or producing eggs are shared with cockroach traits. They don’t form molds. They are mostly found in nests built in-ground.

If we consider their natural habitat then their colonies are not large.  But in extreme cases, millions of termites can be present in one colony. However, it depends on the availability of supporting resources as well like water and food. They can cause havoc in agricultural fields as well as in buildings. They also attack poles, railways, timber, plants, crops, etc.

Cryptotermes genus

The species named Cryptotermes brevis belongs to this genus. It is one of the most hazardous termite species if we consider it in damage criteria. It also has various other termites like C. domesticus, C. dudleyi, C. primus, etc. These are mainly found in New South Wales, South Australia, etc.

Conclusion

There are various termite species in Australia. Some of them are very hazardous and can cause huge destruction to the economy of the country. However, some of the species are not very damaging but still, their existence is unwanted. Moisture is the most important factor in giving birth to termites. To make sure that your house is not riddled with termites, annual termite inspection is highly recommended. Upon finding of live termites, they shouldn’t be disturbed. Call us and our experienced technicians can treat the termites for the safety of your house!