There is nothing more precious than your Gold Coast home, especially during winter, where temperatures can drop to around 12.5°C or 54.5 °F. Winter means school holidays and whale watching season, but just because the weather is colder, does not mean that pests such as termites go into hibernation or take a break from destroying Australian homes.
The ideal temperature and humidity conditions make this continent a perfect breeding ground for termites. In fact, Australia has around 300 species of termites that live in wood, underground or in soil mounds.
In the northern grasslands and woodlands, termites can build mounds as high as 6 meters. Some of these mounds can last for more than a 100 years and act like a natural air conditioning system, providing termites with comfortable temperatures and humidity.
What You Need to Know About Termites
Known as the greatest architects in the insect world, termites are social insects with many different types of castes living in the same mound and performing different tasks. The queen lays the eggs and the king is responsible for fertilising them, while millions of sterile workers and soldiers look after the nest.
Worker termites are blind, wingless and sterile. They are responsible for collecting food, caring for the young as well as building and maintaining the nest. Soldiers protect the nest from invading predators.
They can also produce a toxic spray to defend the nest, often against ants. Once a year, new winged kings and queens, also known as alates, leave the colony to mate and start new nests.
The three most common home invading species of termites are:
- Dampwood termites: these termites are brownish in color and have long narrow oval bodies. They usually live in damp, decomposing wood or in houses with faulty plumbing. Dampwood termites like to feed on very moist wood.
- Drywood termites: as their name suggests, these light brown termites are usually found in dry wood. Drywood termites do not need moisture to thrive. They are capable of digging tunnels and building colonies in structural wood, moldings, furniture as well as door and window frames. They feed on wood and other cellulose based products.
- Subterranean termite colonies can be home to around 2 million termites. These termites have a creamy brown color and need soil in order to survive. They thrive in underground colonies or damp areas above the ground. Subterranean termites are the most destructive species of termites. They consume large amounts of wood and are capable of destroying building foundations and wooden support beams.
Keep Your Guard Up During Winter
Since these silent destroyers are still active during winter, you need to be on the lookout for early warning signs of termite infestation such as termite droppings, cracks and fissures in the wood and termite mud tubes that connect termites to their food sources.
Being proactive is the best defense against termites, so hiring a termite expert to perform a thorough inspection of your home is essential in uncovering this hidden threat. Termite detection is now possible using the latest infrared technology which can save you both time and money.
So do not hesitate when it comes to termites, because their destruction lasts all year, winter included.
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