Termites in Australia

Termites are social insects that build large nests in soil or wood and can occasionally cause damage to wooden structures

They are sometimes called ‘white ants’, however they belong to a completely different insect group (Order Isoptera) to true ants (Order Hymenoptera)

There are over 2300 species of termites of which about 350 occur in Australia, and of these about 12 damage sound timber

  • Termites in Australia

    Termites in Australia
    (Coptotermes acinaciformis)

    Facts

    • A Subterranean Termite
    • These termites are the second most destructive termite in Australia and cause the greatest amount of structural damage to buildings, timber structures, trees and electrical wiring
    • Can be found in the base of trees and stumps and in built in patios, under concrete slabs and buried timber, wherever there is moisture and a secure hiding place to form a nest
    • This species of termite feeds on wood and wood products, bark, leaves and grass
  • Termites in Australia

    Termites in Australia
    (schedorhinotermes intermedius)

    Facts

    • The most artistic termite, as they tend to form complex ruts and grooves in the timber, particularly along nail lines
    • Almost as destructive as Coptotermies acinaciformis but does not tend to form ancillary nests in your home
    • Can be found in tree stumps and in the crown root of living, dead and sick trees, under the house, built in patios, fireplaces and where timber contacts soil
    • Diet consists of wood and wood products, bark, grass and leaves
  • Termites in Australia

    Termites in Australia
    (Nasutitermes Walkeri)

    Facts

    • These termites are not major pests
    • Their nests may be visible on tree trunks or forks of branches connected to the ground galleries
    • The outside of the nest is soft and crumbly
    • Can be found in bushland and woodland along coastal and mountain regions
    • Mostly attacks timber in contact with ground such as fences and poles, rarely causes damage to building timbers
    • May also attack damp timbers such as under floors where wood is damp and wood is starting to decay
  • Termites in Australia

    Termites in Australia
    (Nasutitermes exitiosus)

    Facts

    • These termites are destructive to buildings and other timber structures, sometimes severe damage may occur
    • The nest is a mound which protrudes 30cm to 75cm above the ground
    • Both soldier and worker take part in defensive actions
    • Nests are often found under decks and sub-floors
    • Can cause a fair amount of damage to hardwood fences, posts and sub-floors where the timber is in contact with the earth or damp or rotting timber
  • Termites in Australia

    Termites in Australia
    (Mastotermes darwiniensis)

    Facts

    • These are social insects with a complex lifecycle, living in colonies consisting of a king, a queen, workers, soldiers and nymphs
    • They are the most destructive in termites in Australia
    • Workers feed on timber and wood, they are most active in the wet season
    • These termites will often cause damage to electrical cables and other material in the search for food
    • These termites are native to Australia
    • Ground-dwelling without a mound and widespread in urban areas, woodlands and more open areas; attack trees and buildings
  • Termites in Australia

    Termites in Australia
    (Coptotermes frenchi)

    Facts

    • They are highly destructive
    • Soldier termites produce milky liquid from a gland on their head when disturbed
    • Can be found in living and dead tree trunks, tree stumps, and underground
    • Causes damage to Eucalyptus trees, power poles, fence posts, timber building structures
    • Can cause severe damage to building structures, often devouring the timber and only leaving a thin veneer
    • They are reclusive and will retreat temporarily from a location if disturbed