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What Do Termites Look Like? Identification and Prevention

What Do Termites Look Like? Identification and Prevention

Termites are a significant problem for homes across Australia, causing millions of dollars in damage each year. These pests are often difficult to detect until they have already caused considerable destruction. Understanding what termites look like, how to identify an infestation, and how to prevent them is crucial for protecting your property.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about termites, including identification, prevention and treatment methods. If you suspect a termite problem, seeking professional help from Drymaster can ensure your home remains safe and sound.

What Are Termites?

Termites are small, pale insects that feed on cellulose, the main component of plant cell walls. They are social insects, living in large colonies that can number from several hundred to millions of individuals.

In Australia, the most common termite species include the following:

  1. Subterranean termites: These termites live in the soil and build mud tubes to access food sources above ground. They are the most destructive type, often causing extensive damage to buildings.
  2. Drywood termites: These termites infest dry wood, including structural timber and furniture. They do not require contact with soil and can spread rapidly within wooden structures.
  3. Dampwood termites: Preferring moist wood, these termites are typically found in decaying wood, stumps, and logs. They are less likely to infest homes but can cause damage in areas with high moisture levels.

What Do Termites Look Like?

Identifying termites involves understanding the appearance of different castes within a colony: workers, soldiers, and reproductives.

  • Workers: Workers are the most numerous caste in a termite colony. They are small, creamy-white, and wingless. They are responsible for feeding the colony, maintaining the nest, and caring for the young.
  • Soldiers: Soldiers have larger heads with powerful mandibles, used to defend the colony. They are also creamy-white but can have darker, more robust heads compared to workers.
  • Reproductives: These are the kings and queens of the colony. They are darker in colour, often brown or black, and have wings during their swarming phase. After mating, they shed their wings and establish new colonies.

How to Identify Termite Infestations

Recognising the signs of a termite infestation early can save you significant damage and repair costs. Here’s how to check for termites yourself:

What Are the Signs of Termites?

  1. Mud tubes: Subterranean termites build mud tubes to travel between their colony and food sources. These tubes provide moisture and protection from predators. Look for them along foundations, walls, and crawl spaces.
  2. Damaged wood: Termites consume wood from the inside out, leaving a thin veneer and a honeycomb interior. Tap wooden structures to check for hollow sounds, and inspect for blistering or darkening.
  3. Frass: Drywood termites produce small, pellet-like droppings called frass. These can accumulate near infested wood and look like sawdust or coffee grounds.
  4. Swarmers: Winged termites, or alates, emerge in large numbers to mate and start new colonies. Finding discarded wings near windowsills or light sources is a strong indication of termite presence.
  5. Tight-fitting doors and windows: Warped wood caused by termite damage can make doors and windows difficult to open and close.

How to Check for Termites

Visual Inspection

Conducting a thorough visual inspection can help detect termite activity. Focus on areas where wood meets the ground, around foundations and inside crawl spaces. Use a flashlight to examine dark corners and crevices.

Professional Inspection

For a more comprehensive assessment, professional pest control services like those provided by Drymaster are recommended. They have the tools and expertise to identify and address termite infestations effectively.

How to Prevent Termites

Preventing termites involves making your home less attractive to these pests. Here’s how to prevent termites:

  1. Eliminate moisture: Fix leaks, ensure proper drainage, and use dehumidifiers in damp areas. Termites are attracted to moisture, which they need to survive.
  2. Reduce wood contact with soil: Keep wood, including firewood and lumber, off the ground and away from your home’s foundation.
  3. Seal entry points: Caulk cracks and gaps in your home’s exterior, especially around pipes and utility lines.
  4. Maintain your yard: Keep vegetation trimmed and away from your home. Remove stumps, dead trees, and other potential termite food sources.
  5. Regular inspections: Schedule annual termite inspections with a professional pest control service to catch problems early.

How to Get Rid of Termites

If you already have a termite problem, prompt action is crucial. Here are effective methods on how to get rid of termites:

Chemical Treatments

  1. Liquid termiticides: These are applied to the soil around your home, creating a barrier that kills termites on contact. They can also be used to treat active infestations directly.
  2. Termite baits: Bait stations are placed around your home’s perimeter. Termites consume the bait and share it with the colony, leading to its gradual elimination.

Non-Chemical Treatments

  1. Heat Treatments: Raising the temperature of infested wood to a lethal level can effectively kill termites without chemicals.
  2. Nematodes: These microscopic worms can be introduced to the soil, where they hunt and kill termites.
  3. Boric acid: Sprinkling boric acid around your home can help repel termites and kill those that come into contact with it.

Professional Pest Control

Professional treatment is often necessary for severe infestations. Drymaster offers expert pest control services to ensure termites are eliminated and prevented from returning. Reach out and learn more about our pest control services in Brisbane.

How to Treat Termites in Specific Areas

In the House

Treating termites in the house involves both direct and preventive measures. Here’s how to treat termites in house:

  • Apply liquid termiticides: Around the foundation and inside walls.
  • Use termite baits: Around the home’s perimeter.
  • Repair and replace: Damaged wood should be repaired or replaced to prevent further infestation.

In Walls

Termites in walls can cause significant structural damage. Here’s how to treat termites in walls:

  • Inject liquid termiticides: Into the wall voids.
  • Use foam treatments: That expand and fill the voids, killing termites on contact.

In Trees

Termites can also infest trees, posing a risk to nearby structures. Here’s how to get rid of termites in trees naturally:

  • Remove infested wood: Prune and dispose of infested branches.
  • Apply nematodes: To the soil around the tree.

What Repels Termites?

Several substances are known to repel termites. Here’s what repels termites:

  • Essential Oils: Such as vetiver oil and clove bud oil.
  • Boric acid: Acts as both a repellent and a killer.
  • Diatomaceous earth: A natural powder that dehydrates and kills termites.

What Kills Termites Instantly?

For immediate results, here’s what kills termites instantly:

  • Direct application of termiticides: Such as fipronil and imidacloprid.
  • Boric acid: Applied directly to infested areas.
  • Heat treatments: Raising temperatures to lethal levels.


Termites pose a serious threat to homes in Australia, but with proper identification, prevention, and treatment strategies, you can protect your property. Regular inspections and proactive measures are key to keeping termites away.

For professional help, Drymaster offers comprehensive pest control services tailored to your needs. Don’t wait for termites to cause extensive damage; contact us for a free quote and ensure your home remains termite-free. We have pest control services on the Gold Coast, water damage restoration services on the Sunshine Coast and more.

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