What are Termites?

Termites are one of the most feared insects on earth. This is not because they are harmful to the people whose homes they invade, but because they can cause huge amounts of damage to the underlying structure of a house or commercial building in very little time. In fact, they cause billions of dollars of damage each year and often go undetected until they have created a big mess because they travel and eat silently within the walls and under the structure.

How to identify Termites

In the spring Ants and Termites both swarm in order to mate. At first glance, the two may seem to be identical, but a closer look will reveal differences.

Winged Termites vs Winged Ants

Winged Termites vs Winged Ants

The Termite
Has no “waist” rather its body is more rectangular without any change in shape.
Has straight, short antennae.
Has four wings that are of equal size and shape. Its wings are longer than its body.
Termite workers are transparent, White or creamy white in colour and avoid light.

The Ant
Has a defined narrow, constricted waist.
Has antennae that are bent or “elbowed.”
Has four wings, with the back, hind wings shorter than its front, fore wings.
Ant workers are dark red coloured and are frequently seen in the open foraging for food.

Incidence of Termites in Australia

Termites Risk Map Australia

Termite Risk Map Australia

Recent industry surveys suggest about one third of all unprotected properties in South Australia are subject to attack by subterranean termites. Most of the latest technology for termite control products comes from the USA where termite control is a US$5 billion industry. Other major termite control markets include Australia, Japan, South East Asia, China and the south of France.

Most homes are at risk in South Australia in built-up urban areas, especially if well established gum trees are nearby the building – within a 100 metre radius. The problem is getting worse, severe termite damage to Australian homes is on the increase since the removal in 1995 of the long lasting soil barrier chemicals; the more common use of softwood building and other landscaping timbers that termites find irresistible, such as, hardwood timber mulch and railway sleepers on the ground.

Steel Framing Advantages in Housing

Due to large risk of infestation by Termites in timber framing, steel framed construction has come into the housing sector and provided an alternative to wood for wall and roof framing. This has given the home owner another option to negate the risk of termites destroying their largest asset from under them.

Steel systems for walling and roofing have been developed by Australian manufactures to suit Australian climate conditions and the Australian Building Code of Australia. The advantages of steel framing are strength, light weight, and available in long straight lengths. Galvanised steel is used for corrosion protection and termite resistance.