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1. Identify the species of termite. Identification of the species of termite is important, as many species require no action as they do not pose a threat to homes or other structures. Identification of termite species is best done by inspecting the soldiers of the termites.
2. If the termite species poses a threat to timbers in service (i.e homes and other structures) treatment and control can be carried out in a variety of methods.
3. Make an effort to locate the colony or nest. There may be more than one nest or even another species in the same area. If you can locate the colony or nest it can be treated by the application of a registered termiticide such as Pest Defence Termiticide & Insecticide.
4. A suitable insecticidal dust can also be applied directly to the nest to treat it.
5. If you cannot locate the colony or nest you can use a termite bait system. This bait contains and IGR (Insect Growth Regulator). The worker termites feed on this bait and take it back to the nest where it is fed to the rest of the colony. This method interupts the normal growth cycle of the termite colony and over a period of time the colony will die off.
6. Prevention and monitoring - Termite Monitoring Stations or Termite Traps can be installed around the perimeter of the house or structure. These stations are designed to intercept the termites before they enter the building or structure. Once termites become active in the termite traps, they can be baited using a bait system as described above.
7. Another way of protecting a building from termites is to install a chemical barrier. This is done by applying a registered termiticide to the soil around and under a building or structure. The chemical is appiled to the soil around piers, footings, edges of concrete slabs, etc and prevents termites from gaining entry.
Termites are the cause of the greatest economic losses of timber in Australia.
Most termites are grass feeders or feed on decayed wood in the ground and are important converters of fallen trees to organic matter and minerals. Some of these non pest termites occur in the same areas as the pest species and it is therefore important before applying a treatment to identify the species.
Termites develop gradually. A young nymph, on hatching from the egg, passes through four to seven moults before becoming a mature worker, soldier or fully winged reproductive. There is no pupal or resting stage, and the nymphs resemble the adults or mature castes.
The queen lays her eggs singly, and these are tended by the workers. When the nest of a colony is open the eggs are mostly found massed together. The young may develop into workers, soldiers or reporductives. In the case of reproductives, wing buds appear at the third moult, and the reproductives are fully winged by the seventh moult.
The soldiers and workers of a colony live for one to two years, while the king and queen have much longer lives. Some records indicate that the original queen may live for fifty years.
From hatching to the mature worker or soldier usually takes about two to three months but this depends on food and climatic conditions. Eggs hatching in winter take longer to reach the particular adult caste than eggs hatching in summer.
The production of the reproductives is mostly an annual event from mature colony, but this also depends on the vigour and size of the colony.
Species can be found in Queensland where it constructs mounds and the larger mound builders in northern Australia may often be controlled by destroying the mound and exposing its internal structure to predatory animals and insects. As there is always a danger of survivors re-establishing he mound the colony may be eradicated in one of the following ways:
The nursery area is located by probing into the mound with a metal rod. The nursery area is located when resistance to the probe is lost, as the nursery area is always composed of soft and rather papery material. Once the probe is withdrawn it will be warm from being inside the nursery area. Fine dust may then be introduced through the probe hole or holes by means of a dust blower or hollow tube.
While the colony is usually killed in a few days, seven to ten days should be allowed before removing the colony containing the poisonous dust. These dusts remain toxic for some years afterwards and should be removed.
Once the nursery area has been located by probing, the probe holes are used to run in insecticide by means of spray lance or through a tube that can be gradually withdrawn. The volume of material is important, as the entire nursery area should be wetted. Some nursery areas extend well into the soil. The relevant State legislation on pesticides should be consulted to determine the insecticide nominated for this use at the particular time.
Colonies in Trees
Several species of termites nest in the trunks and root crowns of trees, usually becoming apparent in old trees. Among these tree-nesting species are the most destructive in Australia. The following treatments may be carried out:
In the root crown
When a tree is suspected of housing a colony in its root crown, the soil between the root buttresses may be entered with a metal probe and directed towards the centre of the tree and in a downward direction. When the probe breaks into the nursery the resistance is lessened and when in it is taken out the end of the probe is usually warm from being in the nursery area. This procedure should be repeated three or four times around the tree, so that the location and extent of the colony are established. The holes made by the robe can then be used to introduce insecticide.
In the Trunk
Sometimes the only evidence of termites is the healed or callused area over the past blowholes, and these are difficult to distinguish from a callused injury scar.
Where a termite nest is present in an area and cannot be located from superficial observations and exploratory probing, trees maybe drilled to locate the termites activity as a central pipe in the tree. Once the presence of termites is established , the treatment holes may be drilled at a level estimated to be above the colony. Liquid insecticide is then poured into the holes. The holes should then be filled with silicone acrylic to prevent water entering the trunk.
When branches are removed from a tree revealing central pipes that connect with the main pipe in the trunk and the colony nest, the liquid insecticide is introduced into the tree trunk through the smaller branch pipes. The insecticides flows into the main trunk and even into the root crown area, depriving the termites of oil and moisture.
Finally, a trench of soil adjacent to the tree trunk is desirable, to ensure against any part of the colonies surviving the internal flood treatment.
Tree stumps provide ideal nesting sites for many species of termites. Stumps must always be suspected in searching for termites. Stumps must always be suspected in searching for termites colonies. When left in the ground they provide the termites with food, and there is usually adequate moisture in the soil.
Where possible, the stump should be removed and the residue material and soil treated with an insecticide for termite soil barrier treatments.
When the stump is left and it contains subterranean termites or is to be protected from forming a nesting site, the ground within the root crown area and the main roots may be treated with a soil barrier insecticide. Finally, a trench around the base of the stump is treated.
Colonies in railway sleepers used for landscaping
Railway sleepers are popular in the landscaping of gardens. These provide idea conditions for a termite colony to establish. Within five to ten years after the sleepers have been laid, attack on houses have been traced back to the sleepers.
Pre-treatment on the inside of the wall of the sleepers involves placing a chemical soil barrier. Treatment of existing attack where the sleepers are still sound is done in a similar manner, although an additional insecticide is forced between the individual sleeps.
If the soil immediately inside the sleepers is disturbed the protective barrier must be re applied.
Arboreal nests constructed by termites on the trunks or large branches of trees require treatment in certain situations. Sometimes these nests are found at considerable heights above the ground.
The nests have ground contact and attack timber in the ground at some distance from the colony, and for this reason they are considered here as subterranean. These termites often select degenerating trees, by the time the colony is large the tree is already dead.
Eradication involves removing there ground contact by chemically treating the soil at the base of the tree and extending it into the root crown. This isolates them from the tree, where the nest dies slowly. Arboreal nests may be treated by one of the following:
Nest inaccessible - Where the nest is at a great height and removal of the nest is difficult and requires a high climber:
1 Treat the root crown of the tree by probing and flooding it with insecticide.
2 Trench around the base of the tree and treat the soil by injecting or flooding ensuring that the replaced soil also is wetted to maintain the treated barrier.
Nest accessible - Where the nest is at a low and accessible level:
1 Physically remove the colony from the tree and allow it to fall
2 Usually at the point of attachment there are holes leading towards the centre of the branch or trunk and then downwards. Using a spray lance, flood insecticide, into the holes. This chemical flows downwards through the channels used by the termites.
3 Probe and chemically treat the root crown
4 Trench around the base of the tree, and treat the soil by injection or flooding