Queensland is one of the most beautiful places to live, with a coastline that many around the world are jealous of. However, there is one issue that does affect numerous homeowners in the area: termites. In this article, we will look at the types of termites in Queensland and how to get rid of termites in Queensland.
Why are Termites so Bad?
Termites across the world damage property. Their primary source of food is wood. While in the wild, their feeding behaviour helps to add nutrients to the soil, the search and consumption of wood can compromise the structural stability of buildings.
Major infestations of termites can often lead to buildings being abandoned until extensive repairs are carried out and the infestation destroyed.
About 20% of all homes will suffer from Queensland termites. And insurance companies don’t often cover termite damage as part of their policies. Therefore, there are only two options for homeowners: prevention and cure.
Identifying Types of Termites in Queensland
There are several different termite species in Queensland. Knowing which ones could infest your home can also help you spot what species are infesting your home and what treatment you might need.
Coptotermes acinaciformis – This species is typically found in urban areas across Queensland. They are also found near eucalypt gum trees. They are very secretive, hiding their homes underground. And they can build several satellite nests away from the main one. Once they’ve infested an area, their colonies can grow to up to 1 million individuals and can cause significant damage to all wood structures.
Schedorhinotermes intermedius – A more local species, found in southeast Queensland, this species prefers to build nests within tree stumps, within enclosed patios or where timber has been buried/stored in contact with the soil. Typically the first sign of this species is the large soldiers (about 6mm) but this means a large colony has already been established.
Nasutitermes exitiosus – Found mainly in the south of Queensland, particularly in urban areas, this species builds a mound for a nest. These mounds can be up to 75 cm above the ground. These can cause significant damage, but often not as severe as other species on the list.
Coptotermes lacteus – This species of Queensland termite is found in the south-east of the state. It is one of the most commonly found termites in Brisbane and the coastal areas. They are another mound-building termite, preferring to build mounds up to 2 metres high with clay walls. They are particularly dangerous to wood that is touching damp ground.
Nasutitermes walkeri – Found mostly in the coastal and mountain areas of eastern Queensland, this species builds its nests in the main trunk or fork of a large branch. They are mostly dangerous to damp wood, which is their preferred food.
Heterotermes ferox – An urban termite found in southeastern Queensland. They build their nests in stumps, logs or other timber that is in contact with the soil. The species prefers damp wood. These termites are often found damaging fences, poles and other timber structures.
Mastotermes darwiniensis – Found in tropical Queensland, these are a very secretive species, building a nest below the surface or in tree trunks. When nests become sufficiently large, they can sometimes construct satellite nests, which can be self-sustaining for long periods. These are the most destructive species worldwide. They can cause severe damage to houses, buildings, bridges and other wooden structures. If seen, treatment needs to be applied immediately.
Dampwood termites – These termites form small independent nests. They often attack sick or dead trees but are also known to attack mouldy timber. They are rarely found in dry building timbers.
Drywood termites – They are found mostly in tropical areas, where there is a high level of humidity (often above 75%). Treatment for the accidentally introduced West Indian dry wood termite requires very specialist eradication treatments. It is a highly destructive species.
Protection in Brisbane and the Rest of Queensland
The best approach to termite protection in Brisbane or anywhere in Queensland is prevention. There are several ways that you can prevent termite infestations which include:
Store Wood Safely: If you require wood on your property, such as for home fires or wood projects, store this off the ground and away from your property. Wood touching the ground can be at significant risk of infestation.
Keep Wooden Structures within Concrete: Because termites, like to infest wood that is touching the ground, using concrete to encase any wood that needs to touch the ground, can help prevent termite infestation.
Ventilation: Many termite species prefer areas which have poor ventilation. Therefore, always get a building expert to check your home for spaces which might require adjustments for ventilation.
Check Plumping Work: Damp can attract many termite species. One of the biggest causes of dampness is poor plumbing, such as leaking pipes. Always check whether there are any leaking pipes in your home.
Keep Trees Away from Homes: Whenever you have a potted plant or a new tree, ensure that it isn’t close to your home. One that is too close to the home can allow termites to access the tree and then the timber structure of your home.
How to Treat any Termites in Queensland
If there is a problem with termites in your home, then you need to treat them straight away. There are some specialist treatments you can get, which include a pest controller wrapping your home in plastic and fumigating your home with specialist chemicals. However, this isn’t always the best option, as it is toxic and acts as a ‘band aid-solution’.
To kill a colony off, you’ve got to kill the queen. With termite treatments from Envirobug, you can get a specialist chemical that will attract termite workers to collect and return to the queen. She will then digest the poison which will kill her. Once dead, the nest will suffer, though there are times when replacement queens might be available, so treatments might need to be repeated for a while.
Final Word: Termites in Queensland
Termites in Queensland are a big problem. At a minimum, termite protection requirements (QLD) state that you should treat any roof or floor framing, door jambs, window frames and architraves/skirting. However, above we’ve mentioned some of the other options you have to protect your home from termites infesting your home and causing significant damage.