Termites – what do they really look like?

Termites – what do they really look like?

Termites are found in a majority of gardens in Perth if you look for them – but do you know what you are looking for?

Termites are often referred to as “white ants” which leads many people to believe they look like the ants running around your kitchen or mining the sand between your pavers.  The more accurate clue is in the white part.  They are white and this is why they live and work in the dark away from the sun.  These fine samples were found in an old tree root left in the ground after a tree had been removed.  On initial inspection the termites themselves were not visible, but the characteristic signs of them having enjoyed munching on the soft deteriorating wood for a while called for a more thorough investigation.  Even once unearthed, they very quickly run back in to the dark and out of sight.

 Termites on rotting wood

They are not the easiest to spot so the termites have been circled here in blue

To give you an idea of scale, in the images below the termite is shown on and next to a regular small garden trowel.

Termite on a garden trowel  

So please don’t panic when you notice the ants in your pantry.  They are not eating away your investment.  These very hard to see creatures are the ones you need to worry about.

We include a termite/white ant inspection on every pre-purchase building inspection we conduct.  For more details have a look at our services page.  Our termite and timber pest inspections are conducted within the requirements of AS4349.3 (2010).  This inspection is visual only so we have to rely on clues such as the eaten tree remains to indicate the presence of termites.  As they don’t like the light, they build mud tunnels as walkways to access the building and return to their nest.  These are some of the other clues we look for to indicate they may be present.

Termites in the garden are not a risk to your home, but you do not want them in your house where they can quickly destroy significant structural and decorative  timbers.  We always suggest removing the remains of dead trees close to the home as well as annual inspections or a regular treatment plan.  It is also imperative that you practise good termite housekeeping to reduce the chances of entry in to your home.


Contact the team at ProConsult Building Inspections Today.

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