How to prevent termites
Most home owners find out the hard way about termite problems in their home but there are many things you can do to prevent an expensive termite infestation in your home.
The first thing is to understand a little about how and why termites enter your home in the first place. Termites are a natural part of the environment that play a vital role in turning hard unpalatable timber into edible food stuff for themselves and in turn the birds, lizards and other insects that feed upon them. They have been around for millions of years and have evolved alongside the trees and plants that they feed upon. So
for those trees to have survived they have had to evolve defences against termite attack. Most species in termite areas have developed oils and resins that they exude when attacked by termites or other insects. Unfortunately most of the materials we use to build our homes, are from areas where termites do not exist like radiate pine or Oregon from the cold regions of the Northern hemisphere that had no need to defend themselves in this way so did not develop any resistance. This means that when termites find their way into your home they find it full of food that is much easier to eat than the trees growing in your garden.
Termites are a very palatable food for most insect eating animals, so they are eagerly sought out by predators such as black ants and lizards. To defend themselves from predators they construct a very strong mud tube that they cross any exposed areas within. They also stay in the soil and will tunnel their way to any suitable food source in relative safety. This way they can work away without being noticed by any potential predators.
When we turned virgin bush into towns the tree stumps that are there preferred nesting site, were often buried in the ground as fill, this makes finding every nest impossible. So as you can now see termites are very complex creatures and not as easy to deal with as most people think.
Termites have no eyes and are able to live out their lives in complete darkness. This makes them very difficult to detect and so they will often be in a house for a long time before they are noticed. They will also as a defence, spread themselves throughout the building and feed in multiple areas. This is so that if a goanna or other predator found a site that termites were feeding the termites would have other feeding areas and can simply back away without losing too much valuable food. When people discover termites in their home in several areas they tend to believe the whole house is full of termites chomping away at the whole place at once. They are usually just using the multiple feed site defence and have not necessarily done vast amounts of structural damage, if left unchecked they will of course completely destroy a home but most times they are pretty obvious to the home owner before that can happen.
Termites are good at judging the strength of timber and do not want their food source to collapse as this would expose them to predators.
This of course doesn't mean they should be ignored as the sooner they are dealt with the less damage they can do.
There are many species of termite in Australia but only 4 or 5 in the Riverina that attack buildings. The most common problem termite locally if you must know the name is Coptotermese Acinaciformise. This species has a vast population with in a central nest and will fan out around the neighbourhood searching for food; The Queen cannot leave the nest but is believed to lay around 3000 eggs every day. The queen can live for over 30 years in ideal conditions and when she loses her fertility is simply replaced by a young queen. This means in ideal conditions the nest can carry on for many years.