Termites are one of the oldest insects in the world. They are widely spread all over the world. Termites eat non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They cause up to $2 billion in damage every year.
It is estimated that the average cost of repair due to termite damage is around $7000 although the cost can increase to around $50000 in some instances.
There are 3 main types of termites, subterranean termites, drywood termites and dampwood termites. Subterranean termites live in the soil underground while drywood termites live in wooden structures and trees. Subterranean termites are found in almost every state in the U.S and are most common in warmer climates.
Formosan termites are the most destructive species of subterranean termites. While subterranean termites require soil contact to receive moisture to survive, Formosan termites have the ability to form nests inside the colony to retain water for the colony.
Formosan termite colonies are larger than subterranean colonies with hundreds of thousands of members.
Dampwood termites live in wood with high moisture content. They are found in moist or decaying wood in logs, stumps and dead trees.
The species which do the most economic damage are Coptotermes acinaciformis, Coptotermes formosanus, Mastotermes darwiniensis, Schedorhinotermes intermedius, Coptotermes frenchi, Nasutitermes exitiosus and Odontotermes obesus.
Termites are present all over the world but are the most common in Australia.
They build their nests in the base of trees, or completely underground, especially under floor boards and favour moisture rich areas.
They are the most destructive termite species and are responsible for about 70% of all the damage to houses in Australia. A single colony may contain over 1 million termites. These termites are capable of causing large amounts of damage in a short period of time. They cause severe damage to timber and wooden structures, trees and electrical wiring.
This termite is distributed all over the world. It causes large economic damage. The cost to prevent and control infestations and to repair the damage caused by this species has been estimated to be about $60 million a year in the US. This species attacks plants, structural timber as well as materials like plastic, asphalt, and thin sheets of soft metal.
The damage is due to the aggressive but secretive nature of attack with little external evidence of attack. They can cause a great deal of damage in a relatively short time because of the large numbers of aggressive termites present. The large number of termites present in the colony makes it one of the most destructive species. They can be over 2 million insects with large colonies exceeding 10 million termites.
Mastotermes darwiniensis are the most primitive termite species alive and are similar in appearance to cockroaches, which are the closest relatives of termites. They are one of the oldest termites and are found only in Australia
They are large in size and are also called the Giant Termite. They can grow up to 13mm in length. They are usually found in the stumps of trees. A mature nest can cause the termites to break off and form new nests. The network of many sub-colonies makes control of these termites difficult.
Mastotermes darwiniensis cause large damage to houses, buildings, bridges and also agricultural devastation. It also attacks rubber and leather goods including tyres, hide cables, bitumen, flour and there have even been instances of attacking glass. They also damage crops.
These termites are characterized by their large size of about 4-6mm in length and are found under houses, tree stumps, roots of trees and locations of timber in contact with soil. They feed on the sap of trees and usually have multiple nesting points that link together.
This species can eat through an entire timber structure and cause major damage to timbers. It consists of major soldiers which are 6mm long and minor soldiers which are 4mm long. They are capable of rapidly damaging any structure in which they are present.
This termite species is commonly called the Subterranean Termite. They usually built nests in tree stumps or roots of trees. Nests are also built as mounds. Coptotermes frenchi cause severe damage to timber structures, fruit trees, fence posts. However they are the most easily hindered. Once disturbed, they retreat from the location temporarily.
Chemical methods of termite control and years of adding chemical barriers and termiticide can cause the soil to become leached with chemicals. Termite control rather than termite eradication is preferable. An environmentally safe alternative to termite control that does not have any adverse effects is required.