Know what they do before containing them
- Termites are social insects which live in large colonies.
- Swarms of “flying ants” usually appear in the Spring after a warm rain. They lose their wings, mate and seek a new area of soil to set up a new colony underground.
- The workers build mud tunnels to sources of wood which they remove to their colonies. This wood is supplied to a fungal ‘garden’ and it is this fungal growth that the termites feed on. They prefer to feed on rotting or fungus-infected wood but will readily feed on undamaged wood as well.
- Termite colonies are always connected to the soil and close to a moisture source.
- An average colony consists of 60,000 to 250,000 ants, but colonies numbering millions are possible.
- A queen ant may live up to 30 years and workers as long as 5 years.
What you can do to prevent termites:
- Eliminate water leaks and keep wood moisture content in your premises to a minimum. This is a key factor.
- Drainage around the building should be checked so that there is no accumulation of water near the foundation.
- Check around the structure for pot plants, adjacent sprinkler systems, air-conditioner drains, lack of or broken gutters, downpipes etc as these can all be contributing factors to moisture build up adjacent to and underneath the structure, which attracts termites.
- Look out for any signs of termite damage or mud tunnels around the premises, especially in wooden joinery, built-in cupboards etc. Investigate immediately.
- Infestations often go unnoticed as termites literally “eat the wood from the inside out”. Wood damage you must look for is when the soft wood inside doors, frames, windows, cupboards, roof timbers etc, is eaten out leaving a paper thin surface, for example, when you touch a wooden skirting board and your finger goes right through, it appears to be hollow inside.
- You can sometimes hear the termite activity in the wood. It sounds like a faint ‘ticking’ noise.