There are about 2000 known species of termites throughout the world. There is a concern in 7 out of 8 states and territories in Australia. Subterranean Termites, are extremely destructive, because they tunnel their way to wooden structures (like your home), into which they burrow to obtain food. Termites all share a virtually insatiable appetite for wood and other cellulose-containing materials. Given enough time, they will feed on the wood until nothing is left but a shell.
Termites are highly social insects that live in large colonies where populations can reach more than one million. A colony consists of several structurally differentiated forms living together as castes (including reproductive, soldiers and workers with different functions in community life.
In the spring, winged reproductives leave the parental nest in swarms to create a new colony. The swarming lasts less than an hour, so it's very likely you'll never even see it. The winged reproductives themselves look quite a bit like flying ants, for which they are often mistaken.
Both ants and termites have two pairs of wings, but ants' wings are different sizes while the termites' wings are all the same size. Also, ants have narrowed waists and elbowed antennae while termites have thick waists and short, straight antennae that resemble strings of beads. Don't be fooled by colour or size. Ants can vary in size, and winged termites can be brown or black like ants.
You're more likely to discover you have a termite problem by discovering the evidence they leave behind rather than the actual termites themselves. If you encounter any of these tell tale signs, there's a good chance termites are busy snacking on your home:
Of course, it's quite possible to have a hidden termite problem even if you never notice any of these signs. The best way to be sure is to contact a licenced pest control professional to conduct a complete inspection of your home. A Termite Professional will be able to determine if you have termites and recommend the best course of action for eliminating them quickly and completely.
Coptotermes Subterranean termites are one of several termite species that threaten homes and other structures in NSW and Sydney areas. Nasutitermes and Schedorhintermes are next in line for destroying the most property in Sydney Australia. Drywood termites threaten homes in Northern Areas of Australia.
On a warm, humid evening, large numbers of winged male and female termites, the "alates" or "primary reproductives", are released by the colony. A small number survive the flight, drop their two pairs of distinctive, equal sized wings, pair off, mate and, if they can, find a suitable location and start a new colony.
As the other castes take over the running of the colony the young queen of most species becomes "psysogastric". Her abdomen distends to many times its original size and she becomes and egg laying machine, laying up to 1000 eggs a day. She is confined to her royal chamber, tended and fed by the workers and regularly fertilised by the king.
The eggs are removed from the royal chamber and transferred to a nursery by the workers. Here the broo (the eggs and nymphs) develops into the castes that the colony requires for development and survival; workers, soldiers and primary or secondary reproductives.
Soldiers and workers are blind and sterile termites. The workers carry out the work of the colony and are responsible for gathering the food the colony needs. In most species, the heads of the soldiers are uniquely armoured and equipped to allow them to defend the colony against attack, notably from ants.