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Nasutitermes spp “Pointy Nosed Hardwood Eaters”

Threat Level: 4/10

There is a species of Nasutitermes in Southern Australia called Nasutitermes Exitiosus, which is a significant threat to homes. This particular type can cause extensive damage to hardwood, though pine is considered resistant. Other species of Nasutitermes also occasionally attack homes, with the same results.

What!? Did you read that correctly? Its true, these guys don’t like pine. Hardwood is the timber of choice, with sapwood preferred.

In fact, many types of hardwood are more susceptible to attack from termites than pine across all species of economically important termites, especially sapwood from hardwoods. Another timber pest (a borer, Lyctus brunneus), had already ensured that the sale of susceptible sapwood was banned in NSW and QLD. A very fortunate coincidence.

Nasutitermes are the other common arboreal nest builder in greater Brisbane alongside Microcerotermes.

Their arboreal nests are distinctively smoother in appearance and black or very dark regardless of the soil type. By far the easiest way to identify one of the local kinds (Nasutitermes walkeri), is to break open one of their dark mud tubes (almost always on a large gum) and take a look at the soldiers. It won’t take long for them to show up; very clearly identified by their brown to black heads and long pointy noses. Other species build mounds like Nasutitermes Exitiosus. Always contact an expert to ensure identification. Many of the Nasutitermes species can be found in somewhat swampy environments breaking down old dead trees.

Attacks attributed to Nasutitermes are rare in South East Qld. Most occur in low subfloors that are seldom ventured into, or through concealed voids (are your side stairs or front patio hiding something?).  The mud tubes left by this species are very distinctive and should be easily identified by an experienced pest controller, especially given the unusual preference for hardwood. Treatments, except under exceptional circumstances, should be straight forward.

Like their relatives Microcerotermes, where an arboreal Nasutitermes nest is present we recommend preserving it where possible (if it does not represent a threat to the house). Many native species of birds and other wildlife live in extinct or even sometimes active arboreal termite nests.

Contact us now if there is any doubt, or if you suspect an attack.