Identifying the species of termite is usually very easy for good inspectors, not so easy for others, and of no interest to many!
There are several species of termites commonly found affecting South East Queensland properties, so when we encounter termites during an inspection, it is essential to determine the species of termite involved.
I do this for several reasons. I want to know if there is likely to be structural damage, or otherwise in the building. Firstly I need to know if this is one of the species that can cause serious damage to a property, such as Coptotermes, or Schedorhinotermes, or whether the termite involved is one of the less destructive species such as Microceretermes, Nasutitermes or Heterotermes. Then once we know the species involved, and the habits of the species, we know where to look for their nests.
Here are some photos of the nests of 4 different species of termites.
The first nest is a Coptotermes nest that was exposed inside a large gum tree after it was cut down during n inspection at a Gumdale home. The second nest is an arboreal Microceretermes nest. They often make mound nests on the ground. Microceretermes species are rarely associated with structural damage.
The third nest is an arboreal Nasutitermes nest, which is similar to Microceretermes nests, but different in colour and texture. Nasutitermes species nests are most commonly arboreal nests, black in colour and of a fibrous nature rather than muddy as with the other termites. We sometimes see their nests in roof voids, but are rarely associated with structural damage in buildings.
The fourth nest is that of our most common species, Schedorhinotermes, which I call our ‘dead stump termite’. Schedorhinotermes species are the most common termite found infesting South East Queensland homes. They are very destructive, and their nests are often in dead tree stumps such as gum trees, macadamias, natives and especially beside Tallowwoods. They often cause damage to the bark of Tallowwoods and Paperbark trees. They never have mound nests. Their nests are often found under patio and stair voids, so access to inaccessible areas such as these should be gained by cutting trap doors so that inspections and treatments can be carried out.
See how completely different they appear.