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TERMITES

  • Termites are social insects living in colonies comprised of a king and a queen (wingless adults or nymphs, depending on the species), and soldiers
  • The king and queen perform the reproductive functions of the colony, while the workers carry on all aspects of colony maintenance
  • The soldiers defend the colony
  • These individuals, separated by divisions of labour, are referred to as castes
  • Termites feed on wood or wood products, and their digestive tracts contain microorganisms which enable them to convert the cellulose in wood into usable food

TERMITES VS ANTS

  • Termites are often confused with ants
  • The termite has straight beadlike antennae, while those of ants are elbowed
  • The abdomen of the termite is broadly joined to the thorax (no waist), while the ant’s thorax and abdomen are joined by a narrow pedicel (wasp waist)
  • Termite wings, both the front and the hindwings, are of equal size. The anterior wings of the ant are considerably larger than the posterior wings
COMMON TERMITE PEST SPECIES 
Drywood Termites
  • Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies in sound, dry wood
  • In comparison to other termites, drywood colonies are rather small (a few thousand individuals), and the colony develops slowly
  • They neither live in the ground nor maintain contact with the soil, and they do not build mud tubes
  • Drywood termites produce dry fecal pellets compared to subterranean termites that produce liquid feces
  • Drywood termites tend to feed across wood grain impacting both the soft spring wood and the harder summer growth
  • Dead trees, branches, brush and firewood from residential areas are the primary habitat of drywood termites

      

Dampwood Termites

  • Dampwood termites are found only in wood with high moisture content
  • Dampwood termites do not usually infest structures because of the low moisture content of wood in structures
  • Dampwoods are considered a minor structural pest, but they can do substantial damage if left unchecked
  • Dampwood termites produce distinctive fecal pellets that are rounded at both ends, elongate, and lack the clear longitudinal ridges common to drywood termite pellets
  • Dampwood fecal pellets are often stuck together along the bottom or sides of the tunnels or may dissolve into a muddy paste
  • Infested wood usually shows no external damage because openings in the wood are plugged with fecal material
  • They nest in wood buried in the ground, although contact with the ground is not necessary when infested wood is high in moisture

 

 

 Subterranean and mound-building termites 
 

1.  Coptotermes spp.

  • Coptotermes species is one of the most destructive termites in Asia
  • In Malaysia and Singapore, Coptotermes spesies alone is responsible for at least 80-90% of damage to human built structures, based on past statistics, and it is the most common termite species in all urban areas
  • They have a voracious appetite for anything wood or paper, and may even attack fabric
  • Their nests are located deep underground
  • They have a large and conspicuous fontanella
  • They secrete a white, sticky liquid upon biting, through the fontanelle

 

2. Macrotermes spp.

  • The Macrotermes genus are the largest termite species of all
  • Most species of Macrotermes build mounds, although there are a few subterranean species
  • Macrotermes species are noted for having two sizes of workers and two sizes of solders (major and minor workers and soldiers).
  • The unique thing about Macrotermes termites is their fungus cultivation habit

 

3. Globitermes sulphureus

  • Globitermes sulphureus is a species of termite that is very common in present in other areas of South East Asia, including Malaysia
  • They live in nests made of earth that can be up to 1.5m tall and can contain tens of thousands of individuals
  • Between 5% and 10% of the population are soldier termites which can be recognised by their yellow abdomen and two large, curved mandibles
  • When the nest is damaged, the soldier termites defend the nest and workers rapidly repair any damage to the nest walls
  • In some cases, the contractions are so violent that the termites rupture themselves. This form of suicidal altruism is known as autothysis
 

4. Microcerotermes spp.

  • This species is 3.15-7.75mm long
  • They have long rectangular heads and long fine mandibles that are finely serrated when viewed with a microscope
  • Some species may build small mounds nest underground and some may make arboreal nests and nest on top of posts
  • Their nesting habits (mounds, arboreal nests) often betray their presence and facilitate their control
 

5. Schedorhinotermes spp.

  • The average length of this species of termite is 3-7mm long
  • The major soldiers have bulbous heads.
  • The minor soldiers are usually about two-thirds of the length of the major soldiers
  • They have narrower heads and more slender mandibles with their labrums extend and almost to the tip of the mandibles
  • This species of termite nest in root crown and lower trunk of living and dead trees
 
 SIGNS OF INFESTATION 
  •  Mub Tubes
     
  • Termite Swarmers

  • Wood Damage
  •  Termites Frass

      
  •   Live Termites
  •  Termite Mound
 
 Termites Management 
 

Residual Spraying

  • Residual spraying with termiticide which act as a stomach and contact poison is apply with a liquid dilution of Premise along the foundation walls of your home to create a continuous treatment zone
 
 

Drenching

  • Termite mound is destroyed by pouring solution of termiticide into the mound after breaking open the structure
  • To facilitate good penetration, holes are made using crowbars
 

Pre-Construction Treatment (Soil Treatment)

  • A traditional method for preventing subterranean termites from entering buildings within the first 5 to 10 years following construction
  • The objective of applying a termiticide to soil is to provide an unbroken chemical barrier between the wood in the structure and termite colonies in the soil
  • Thus, the insecticide must be applied thoroughly and uniformly to block all routes of termite entry
  • Effective termite control usually requires specialized equipment and often 150 or more gallons of prepared termiticide solution per house,depending on size, basement, etc
  • The most recent termiticides to be marketed are non-repellent to termites, but show delayed toxicity as termites forage through treated soil, which they do not avoid
  • As termites penetrate the treated zone, they contact the active ingredient, which causes delayed mortality and also possibly allows the termites to be overcome by lethal microbes
  • Furthermore, the toxicant is thought to be passed to nestmates through grooming activities and social food exchange (trophallaxis)
 
 Post-Construction Treatment (Corrective Slab Treatment)
  • Holes are drilled along the perimeter of the building and termiticide will be pumped inThe objective of this is to establish a termiticide barrier to prevent termites from entering the structures
  • The distance between two holes is an extremely crucial factor to ensure a continuous chemical barrier beneath the house upon application
  • If the distance between the holes is too wide apart, a gap will be present and this will allow termites to move up into the house
  • Distance between two holes varies between 30 -65cm
  • Distance between hole to wall perimeter varies between 5-20cm
 

Baiting

  • A termite bait is usually a paper-, cardboard-, or sawdust-like material containing the active ingredient (or AI) that kills termites
  • The bait is kept inside a plastic bait station. As termites feed on the bait, the termite-killing AI gets into their bodies
  • The AI is spread through the colony as the termites feed each other. As more workers feed on the bait, more AI gets into the colony
  • Eventually the amount of AI in each termite increases until it kills them and the colony dies or is reduced
  • There are two types of bait stations: above-ground and in-ground
  • Above-ground stations are installed directly over shelter tubes or infested wood so that termites can begin to feed immediately on the bait
  • In-ground stations are placed in the soil
  • Most stations are cylindrical tubes with disk tops. The disks makes the stations easier to find and keeps them from sinking into the ground
  • The tubes have numerous holes or slits through which termites enter to get to the wood and bait inside
          


 

 
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