How To Identify Different Species Of Termites

How To Identify Different Species Of Termites

What do termites look like? If you don't know yet, you're in for a surprise! In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of termites Australia has and what they look like. There are more than 2,000 species of termites in the world, so it can be difficult to know which one you are dealing with. Each type of termite has its own unique characteristics, so it is important to learn what to look for. In Australia, there are several types of termites that are common. Keep reading to learn more!

 What Do Termites Look Like

Image by Roy Buri

What are termites

Termites are small insects that live in colonies in wood. They are a major problem for homeowners because they can cause extensive damage to houses and other buildings. Termites are wood-destroying insects that are found in warm climates around the world. 

Although they are often considered to be pests, termites play an important role in the ecosystem by breaking down dead wood and other organic matter.

What termites look like

Termites are small, winged insects that are closely related to cockroaches. These little insects are about ¼ to ½ inch long, with a wide thorax and straight antennae. They come in a variety of colors, including brown and black. What about white ants? What do white ants look like? Termites can also look the same as them. While most termites stay on the ground, swarmers have two sets of wings that allow them to fly.

Different species of termites

There are three main types of termites: subterranean, drywood, and dampwood. Subterranean termites live in the soil and build tunnels to reach their food source, which is typically wood that is in contact with the ground. Drywood termites live in dry wood and do not require contact with the soil. Dampwood termites live in damp or rotting wood and also require contact with the ground. Termites cause billions of dollars in damage each year by eating the wood structural support beams in homes and other buildings.

Where do termites live

Termites are small, winged insects that live in colonies underground. These colonies can number in the millions and can span hundreds of acres. Termites build their nests by excavating soil and using it to construct earthen tubes. These tubes allow them to travel between their nest and food sources without being exposed to the elements. Termites are attracted to wood, which they use for both food and shelter. They typically enter structures through cracks in the foundation or gaps around doors and windows. Once inside, they can cause extensive damage to wooden beams and support structures. Termites can also damage drywall, insulation, and electrical wiring. If left unchecked, a termite infestation can quickly destroy a home or building.

Different species of termites in Australia

There are more than 300 different species of termites in Australia, each with its own unique set of behaviors and preferences. Some of the most common species of termites in Australia include:

  • Cryptotermes
  • Heterotermes ferox
  • Coptotermes
  • Microcerotermes
  • Mastotermes
  • Porotermes
  • Schedorhinotermes
  • Nasutitermes

Homeowners in Australia have a lot to worry about when it comes to termites. Of all the termite species found in Australia, the subterranean coptotermes species is the most destructive. These native Australian species are responsible for causing millions of dollars in damage to homes each year.

Cryptotermes

 Cryptotermes

Image Source

Cryptotermes, or West Indian Dry-Wood Termites, are one of the most common Australian termite species. Cryptotermes is a small, Australian termite species that cause extensive damage to timber structures. They are difficult to detect as they leave no outward signs of damage until the structure collapses. These termites have low water requirements and survive off small pieces of timber. The average soldier is 4.2-6mm long and has a wrinkled head. There are many different species of termites in Australia, but cryptotermes are the most common and widespread. If you suspect that your home or business is infested with these pests, it is important to contact a pest control professional immediately.

Heterotermes ferox

 Heterotermes ferox

Image source

Heterotermes ferox is one of the many species of termites found in Australia. As its name suggests, heterotermes ferox is a rather aggressive species that is known for damaging weathered wood, such as poles, fences, posts, and flooring. While it is not considered to be a major economic pest, Heterotermes ferox can still cause significant damage to sound timber. Colonies of heterotermes ferox are subterranean and relatively small, but multiple colonies can often be found close together. The Heterotermes ferox species of soldiers and workers are not very aggressive when disturbed, and they move slowly. The average soldier is 3.5-7.5 mm in length, with a rectangular head and long mandibles to match. All in all, Heterotermes ferox is yet another Australian termite species that can cause problems for homeowners and businesses alike.

Coptotermes

 Coptotermes

Image Source

There are over 300 species of termites in Australia, and Coptotermes is one of the most destructive. This termite is found all across the country and has been known to cause extensive damage to buildings and other structures. Coptotermes build their nests in tree stumps, walls, and patios, and their colonies can number in the millions. These termites are also able to travel great distances in search of food, using a network of underground tunnels. The coptotermes builds underground tunnels that can stretch up to 50m in length. These tunnels are used to access new sources of food, as the coptotermes feeds on wood. The head of the soldier caste is rectangular and pear-shaped, with dark mandibles. The body of this termite is up to 7mm in length. If you suspect that you have a coptotermes infestation, it is important to contact a qualified pest control professional as soon as possible.

Microcerotermes

 Microcerotermes

Image source

Microcerotermes is a genus of australian termites that comprises three species: Microcerotermes turneri, Microcerotermes serratus and Microcerotermes distinctus. These termites are found across most of mainland Australia, from tropical north Queensland to Sydney in New South Wales. They have a mixture of nesting habits, with some building small on-ground mounds, some nesting underground, and others building the iconic arboreal mounds with stalactites dripping from underneath. These arboreal mounds can be found halfway up a tree trunk or on the top of fence posts.

Mastotermes

Mastotermes 

Image Source: 

The mastotermes darwiniensis, more commonly known as the giant termite, is the most destructive type of termite found in Australia. These pests are capable of causing extensive damage to buildings and agricultural products and can do so at an alarming rate. An adult giant termite is approximately 11-13 mm long, with a rounded yellow-to-reddish brown head and short black mandibles. Alates, or winged reproductive adults, can reach up to 35 mm in length, with a wingspan of 50 mm. Giant termites are most active during the wet season when they swarm in large numbers to form new colonies. If you have this type of termite in your home, it is important to call a professional pest control company to get rid of them. Otherwise, they will continue to damage your home and property.

Porotermes

 Porotermes

Image source: 

Porotermes termites are a species of termite that is native to Australia. They are often called "dampwood termites" because they require damp and decaying wood to initiate an attack. Porotermes termites typically live in colonies that consist of three different castes: soldiers, workers, and reproductives. The soldiers are responsible for defending the colony, while the workers gather food and build the nest. The reproductives are the only members of the colony that can mate and produce new offspring. Porotermes termites are a major pest in Australia, and they are known for attacking wooden structures that are in contact with soil. This includes fence posts, weatherboards, and telephone poles. Older homes that are damaged by poor plumbing are especially at risk of an attack by Porotermes termites. The termites have orange heads and their bodies are rectangular in shape with black-toothed jaws. They can grow up to 2 cm long and they usually live in small independent groups rather than large colonies. These termites are majorly found in the southwestern and eastern mainland of Australia. If you think you may have a problem with these pests, it is important to contact a professional exterminator as soon as possible.

Schedorhinotermes

 Schedorhinotermes

Image source: 

The Schedorhinotermes is a species of termite that is commonly found in eastern and southeastern Queensland and along the coastline. These termites are mostly active during the summer months when they build their nests in tree stumps or the root crowns of living or dead trees. This species of termite is also known to build its nests under buildings or within enclosed patio areas. The workers in this species grow up to 3-5 mm in length and are pale brown in color. These termites have two types of soldiers, called major and minor. The minor soldier is 3.0-5.0 mm long with a narrow head, while the major soldier is 5.0-7.5 mm long with a bulbous head. The Schedorhinotermes is considered to be a serious pest species due to the damage it can cause to wooden structures, such as houses and buildings. If you suspect that you have a Schedorhinotermes infestation, it is important to contact a pest control professional for assistance.

Nasutitermes 

Image source

Nasutitermes are small, pale-orange insects that live in colonies in damp, weathered wood. Their bodies are up to 4mm long and they have a pointed snout, or nasute. The soldiers among them are smaller than the workers, and their primary job is to protect the colony from predators. These insects are not harmful to humans, but they can cause damage to property by eating away at decking boards and other wooden structures. In most cases, Nasutitermes will only attack wood that is already in a state of decay, but they can occasionally cause problems for homeowners by damaging sound timber. If you suspect that you have Nasutitermes on your property, it is best to contact a pest control professional for assistance.

The Many Phases of a Termite's Life

Believe it or not, termites go through quite a few changes during their lifetime. In fact, they have four distinct phases: egg, nymph, soldier, and adult. Let's take a closer look at what each of these phases entails.

Eggs

All termites start out as eggs. Once they hatch, they enter the nymph phase.

Nymphs

Nymphs are immature termites that undergo a series of molts before becoming adults. During this phase, they perform many of the same tasks as adults, such as feeding on wood and other cellulose-based materials. However, they are not yet sexually mature and are not able to reproduce.

Soldiers

The soldier caste's primary purpose is to defend the colony from attacks by predators such as ants. They have large mandibles that they use to bite intruders.

Adults

Once termites reach adulthood, they are sexually mature and can mate with other members of the colony. There are two types of adult termites: workers and reproductives. Workers make up the majority of the colony and are responsible for gathering food and caring for the young. Reproductives are responsible for mating and producing new offspring.

 

As you can see, there is a lot more to a termite's life than meets the eye! These fascinating creatures undergo a number of changes during their lifetime, ultimately emerging as adults that play an important role in their colony.

What bugs can be mistaken for termites?

Have you ever seen a bug in your home and thought to yourself, "is that a termite?" It's a common mistake, especially if you're not familiar with all the different types of insects that can find their way into your home. In this blog post, we'll take a close look at five different types of pests that are often mistaken for termites.

Carpenter Ants

One of the most common household pests, carpenter ants get their name from their habit of tunneling through the wood to build their nests. These ants are usually black or red and range in size from ⅛ to ½ an inch long. While they don't eat wood like termites, carpenter ants can cause damage to your home if left unchecked.

Flying Ants

Another type of ant that is often mistaken for termites is flying ants. These insects are actually winged male and female carpenter ants who leave their nests in search of mates. After they've found a mate, they shed their wings and start a new colony. If you see what you think are flying termites, take a closer look - if they have wings, they're not termites!

Acrobat Ants

Acrobat ants get their name from their habit of raising their abdomens over their heads when disturbed - kind of like a human performing an acrobatic stunt! These small ants range in color from light brown to black and are only about 1/8th of an inch long. Acrobat ants generally nest outdoors but can sometimes find their way into homes through cracks and holes in the foundation or walls.

Carpenter Bees

While they may look like bees, carpenter bees are actually more closely related to wasps. These bees get their name from their habit of boring holes into wood so that they can lay their eggs inside - much like carpenter ants! Carpenter bees range in size from ½ to 1 inch long and are usually black with yellow markings on their abdomens. Unlike honeybees, carpenter bees are not social insects and live alone or in small groups. While they don't eat wood like termites, carpenter bees can cause serious damage to your property if left unchecked.

Powderpost Beetles

Powderpost beetles get their name from the fine powdery substance they leave behind as they bore into wood. These small beetles range in size from ⅛ to ¼ of an inch long and vary in color depending on the type of beetle. Powderpost beetles generally attack hardwoods like oak, maple, and mahogany but can also infest softwoods like pine and cedar if given enough time.

Summary

Although it is not always possible to identify the species of termite, some key features can help you determine whether or not you are dealing with a termite infestation. If you have any concerns about an infestation in your home or business, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for assistance. Termites can cause serious damage to homes and businesses if left untreated, so it is important to take action as soon as possible if you think you might have a problem. Now that you know how to identify different species of termites and their life cycle, it's important to take steps to protect your home from these pests. Have you found any evidence of termites in your home?

EnviroBug blog and resources

You may be interested in...

Products

sale
Snake Repeller
Envirobug Powerful Solar... from $98.00 $110.00
Enhanced Safety with EnviroBug's Advanced Snake Repellers Proven Effectiveness:  Envirobug's repellers are recognised as the most powerful and reliable solar snake repellers in the market. They provide superior protection for your family and pets by effectively keeping deadly ground snakes at a distance. Prevention Over Cure: With 80% of snake bites occurring during human intervention, Envirobug's approach focuses on prevention. By keeping snakes away, the risk of accidental encounters, bites, or confrontations is significantly reduced, ensuring safer outdoor spaces. Advanced Vibration Technology: The Envirobug solar snake repeller employs a powerful vibrating motor that emits variable vibration frequencies, covering a wider area more effectively. This technology not only ensures a broader protective barrier but also adapts to prevent snakes from getting accustomed to the vibrations. Established Track Record: Thousands of customers have trusted Envirobug's solar snake repellers over more than 16 years, using them to maintain snake-free properties in the harshest Australian conditions. This long-term, widespread customer satisfaction underscores our repellers' powerful track record of keeping venomous snakes at bay.
sale
Termite Ninja - DIY Complete Eradication Kit - Envirobug
Termite Ninja - Ultimate... from $297.00 $891.00
Termite Ninja - Safe, Effective, Affordable Protection. Designed to give you professional-grade termite prevention and treatment, Envirobug TermiteNinja bait traps can be installed by you in minutes – and will save you thousands of dollars in the process. Our customers love this product so much that we have never had a kit returned. Why TermiteNinja? Get professional grade protection – but save 80% to 90% vs. paying an exterminator (Save over $4,000 for a large house) Don’t get locked into an ‘inspection’ cost (save $900 every year!) – there is no cost to monitor for termites with our system Install yourself in minutes – no need to pay a professional No nasty chemicals – safe for you, safe for kids and pets - BUT JUST AS DEADLY TO TERMITES Simple to visually inspect (no touching) Don’t pay absurd markups for inferior/poisonous products It is the only system that allows you to directly install termite bait stations to monitor and treat termites anywhere – not just on the ground. Treat termites on walls Treat termites on the ground Treat termites in the ground Treat termites on stumps and patios They can even be painted to match your house! The termite bait is applied directly onto the spot where termites are active; no guessing, hoping or approximation Our system directly targets the queen (like a Ninja!) – her trusty soldiers carry the treatment back to the nest and once she dies, this will trigger a colony collapse. Why choose EnviroBug DIY Termite Ninja Multi-Purpose Termite Control Monitor & Bait stations compared with others?   The flexibility of Termite Ninja Monitor & Bait Traps compared with other traps:        What you get with your EnviroBug DIY termite Ninja monitor and bait system: Everything you need to monitor, attract and kill. You get your selected number of termite Ninja multi-purpose bait traps combo complete with all the components ready to assemble and position ready to go to work. You also receive a full complement of termite attractants and termite killer baits. You can buy additional baits and Killer Bait Powder Treatments separately on our website as needed in the future. Immediately following purchase you will receive, by email, our step by step guide to help you identify the best places to install, and how to treat termites, as well as videos to ensure your system is set up quickly and easily. There are pack sizes to suit all of your needs.Our system allows you to carry out your own regular termite inspections looking for telltale signs of termite activity inside the bait stations. It is still advisable to arrange an annual termite inspection with a timber pest controller as they will have electronic sensing devices to identify damp spots, etc. where termites may be likely to target. Product Features: Multi-purpose termite control boxes for multiple uses. Reusable tough ABS plastic control box traps will last you years and years. Generous supply of specially prepared termite timber bait. Clear indicator viewing window for ease of monitoring. Innovative box stacking system allows you to apply the killer bait without scaring termites out of an affected trap. Ant proof design prevents normal ants colonising the box. The killer bait uses the active ingredient IGR chemical chlorfluazuron at the rate of 1% per kg of pure cellulose - completely harmless to humans and animals.
-32% sale
Stealthy 360 Degree Ultrasonic Pest Repeller - Envirobug
Stealthy 360 Degree Ultr... $55.00 $79.99
Envirobug is proud to introduce our hassle-free, highly effective and contactless rodent repeller.  Superior to rodent traps and poisons, our device safely repels mice, rats and other pests in the home using state-of-the-art ultrasonic sound waves that only small pests can hear. After all, the best solution to pest problems is to prevent them in the first place! Mice, rats and other vermin are attracted to homes and sheds as they offer a dry and warm environment with easy access to food and water and plenty of nesting material. Prevent pests before they set up house and avoid the horror (and smell) of having them die in hard to get to places like in walls, behind furniture, fridges and stoves. How do they work? Simply plug in the EnviroBug 360-Degree Ultrasonic Pest Repeller and it begins to emit high electronic frequencies, which cannot be heard by the human ear, cats or dogs. It works by irritating rodents and other pests, making it uncomfortable for them to remain in the protected area. The 360-degree repeller can cover up to 370 square metres in an open unobstructed area. Don’t forget - they are completely safe and will not annoy your beloved pet cat or dog.  Where should I use them? The clearer the area is of solid objects, the further the ultrasonic frequencies will penetrate. While Envirobug 360-degree repellers are designed specifically to repel mice, rats and other rodents, customers have also had success keeping away a range of other small creatures including bugs, ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and spiders. Please note: it's normal for pest activity to increase slightly after installation, as they are disturbed and looking for somewhere else to live. They will shortly go away! Pests gather where there is food, shelter and warmth. We recommend pest repellers in the following rooms: Kitchen Pantry Laundry Garage Dining Room Storage room Animal feed shed Roof cavities Farm sheds  Features: Silent operation Up to 370 square metre effective range Operation light indicator Test switch Low power cost power usage 12-month full replacement warranty Completely safe for cats & dogs Product Specifications Input Voltage: 240V Frequency Range: 25-65KHz Mode of repulsion: Ultrasonic waves Wave Pressure: 90dB Material: ABS Effective coverage: up to 370 square metres Height: 7.5cm Width: 12cm Package Contents: 1 x 360 Degree Ultrasonic Pest Repeller 
Mighty Plug-in Ultrasonic Pest Repeller - Envirobug
Mighty Plug-in Ultrasoni... from $29.00
Plug and Go! A low cost, hassle-free, highly effective and contactless means of repelling vermin from areas you want keep vermin free.  Safely repels mice, rats and other pests in the home using state-of-the-art ultrasonic sound waves that only small pests can hear. The best solution to pest problems is to prevent them in the first place! Mice, rats and other vermin are attracted to homes and sheds as they offer the ideal environment with dry, warm, easy access to food and water, plus plenty of nesting material. Prevent pests before they set up house and avoid the horror of having them die in hard to get to places like in walls, behind furniture, fridges and stoves. Avoid using poisons, rat and mouse traps or electronic traps to kill pests. No offensive or embarrassing smell of rotting rodent bodies that can last for weeks.  Simply plug in the EnviroBug Ultrasonic Pest Repeller into your wall socket and it begins to emit high electronic frequencies, inaudible to the human ear. It is highly irritating to vermin and stops them from settling in – but guaranteed not to bother your pets. Pests gather where there is food, shelter and warmth. We recommend installing pest repellers in the following rooms: Kitchen Pantry Laundry Garage Storage room Animal feed shed Roof cavities Farm sheds  How do they work? The Ultrasonic Pest Repeller is highly effective against rats, mice, and other pests by producing an ultrasonic signal above the audible range of the human ear. It irritates rodents and other pests, making it uncomfortable for them to remain in the protected area. The repellers operate off a standard 240V Australian power socket.  The repeller can cover up to 120 square metres in an open unobstructed area (we recommend installing more than one in larger rooms, or if the range of signal is impeded by large objects. Where should I use them?The clearer the area is of solid objects, the further the ultrasonic frequencies will penetrate. Vermin prefer anywhere food sources are available. Kitchens and pantries are critical places to install the repellers, followed by storage or box rooms, sheds, garages and other places that provide ideal nesting materials and places to make a home for themselves. Features: Completely safe for cats & dogs Silent operation Works by continuously transmitting a powerful range of ultrasonic sound waves that drives away pests Non-toxic and harmless to humans and pets, an alternative to toxic chemicals and dangerous traps Just plug in the socket, easy and convenient for use 80-120 square metre effective range Operation light indicator (doubles as a night light) Low power cost power usage, suitable for long-term operation. Does not interfere with the operation of radio, television or other electronic equipment. Safe, environmentally-friendly, effective protection to help eliminate common household pests 12-month full replacement warranty Product Specifications: Input Voltage: 100-240V Frequency Range: 25-45KHz Mode of repulsion: Ultrasonic waves Wave Pressure: 90dB Material: ABS Effective coverage: up to 120 square metres Height: 8.5cm  Width: 5.7cm Depth: 3.6cm While these repellers are designed specifically to repel mice, rats and other rodents, customers have also had success keeping away a range of other small creatures including bugs, ants, cockroaches, mosquitoes and spiders. Please note: it's normal for pest activity to increase slightly after installation, as they are disturbed and looking for somewhere else to live. They will shortly go away! They are safe for use around cats and dogs and generally the frequency will not affect them at all. Package Contents: 1 x Mighty Plug-in Ultrasonic Pest Repeller

Designed for Australian Conditions

Eco-friendly

No poisons

12 month warranty

30 Day

satisfaction guarantee

Afterpay American Express Apple Pay Bitcoin Google Pay Shop Pay Visa PayPal Mastercard