Many ant species in Australia may be a pest in the home, but they don’t tend to cause many problems. However, this does not apply to white ants. In fact, white ants aren’t even ants, they’re a type of termite. In this article, we explore what white ants are, what risks they pose to your home, and what you can do about getting rid of them.
What are White Ants?
There are more than 3000 species of ant in Australia. These regular ants appear just as those that you see in cartoons. They have long, dark bodies, clear segments, and long antennae. Regular ants are frequently close to food. You can discourage them from living in your home, by not leaving scraps or mess near where they may likely be.
Ants are very easy to see. They have no fear of humans and do not hide away. Although some behaviours will often reduce their activity. If they are active in an area and enough of the workers do not return to an area, ant colonies will often deem this area unsuitable and send foraging parties into other areas and leave that area alone.
Ants do not borrow under any wooden structures or eat wood. And their nests can only be located in pre-existing spaces.
There is no difference between white ants and termites, White ants are termites. They’re shorter, fatter, light in colour, have no clear segments, no eyes, and a large head. They also have a thicker antenna that they use to move around. Termites or white ants live inside and only eat wood, and don’t tend to venture outside during the day.
There are numerous signs of a white ant infestation in the home. For example, there is damage to furniture and wooden structures.
Similarities Between White Ants and Other Ants
There are numerous similarities between ants and white ants. For one, they both build nests in the home or garden. Though non-white ants will tend to have homes in the ground. Compared to white ants that will nest in wood.
Both groups will also live in colonies that are controlled by a queen. The queen is responsible for all the breeding, so killing her will kill off the colony. Though there are some reports that a new queen might be born before the colony dies off. Therefore, even after treatment has killed off the first queen, it is best to continue treatment until you’re sure the nest is destroyed.
Both ants and white ants have swarmers. These are winged ants that will leave a nest to establish a new colony. The white ants are quicker to do this though, so it is often harder to complete this process.
Both sets of ants will leave debris around the areas where they made their home. This can include faeces and sawdust for regular ants. White ant faeces are very similar in appearance to sawdust.
What are the Problems with White Ants in the Home?
There are some significant issues when you have white ants in the home. For one they can cause a significant amount of damage before they’re spotted by you or a family member. White ants will infest about 200,000 homes in Australia in a year, causing an average of AD$7000 per home.
For homeowners or landlords, this is a significant amount, and it will be very costly as insurance does not cover termite damage.
Therefore, it is always best to look out for signs of a termite infestation and then treat the problem as soon as possible.
How do I Get Rid of White Ants?
There are many ways that you can get rid of white ants when it comes to your home. It can be a long and hard process, partly because killing lots of workers and soldiers will do very little. Instead, you need to kill the queen termite.
Using a natural termite queen killer, which is often inside white ant baits, is the most effective. You need to place the white ant bait inside a white ant trap and then leave that be. The bait can take days or a couple of weeks to work. What is important is to continue the treatment for about two months.
This is because white ants are known to replace a queen with another from the nest. Therefore, while one might be killed and the population slowly die down, it might not be completely gone. Therefore, only by continuous treatment until there are no signs of new termite activity can you be sure that all the white ants have gone.
DIY White Ant/ Termite Treatment
One can save themselves huge amounts of money by tackling white ant infestations on their own! There are DIY kits, like the ones sold here at Envirobug, that are specifically designed to target white ants where it is most effective….the reproductive cycle. These kits stop the reproductive abilities of the white ants by infecting them. Eventually, the soldiers take this infection back to the Queen. Once she falls, the entire colony falls with her.
You can add treatments to areas that are going to be very attractive to white ants. Around wooden features in the home for instance. You can also place white ant traps away from areas where you frequent. In crawl spaces are the best options.
Another option you might want to consider is using white ant traps. To be replaced every one to two weeks. The white ant bait is usually used-up by this amount of time.
When to Call a White Ant Treatment Expert
There are going to be times when you can’t do the treatment yourself. Therefore you need to speak to a white ant pest controller. These are specialists in the behaviour and eradication of white ants in the home.
They can minimise damage caused by the white ants in your home and help you to reduce the costs to repair the damage. However, their costs can be relatively high. So, start early to avoid this cost to yourself. Start targeting the colony as soon as you see signs of termite activity.
Conclusion: White Ants in the Home
If you notice the signs of white ants in the home or see them. Then you need to act fast. White ants are a pest that can cause significant damage to your property and you need to be sure that you can remove them before they cause irreversible damage to the property’s wooden structure. Only by killing the queen and her heirs can you be sure of this.