Understanding Termite Behavior and Prevention Measures

Don’t Let Termites Take Over – Protect Your Home

Understanding Termite Behaviour and Prevention Measures

Termites. Just the word is enough to strike fear into any homeowner’s heart. These pesky insects can cause serious structural damage if left unchecked. But armed with the right knowledge, you can protect your castle from an infestation.

In this article, we’ll dive into all things termites – from their secret social lives to how they snack on your house.

We’ll also cover simple tips to keep them from invading in the first place. Let’s get started!

Getting to Know Your Enemy: Breaking Down the Basics

Before we can fight them, we need to understand these creepy crawlers. Here’s a quick termite 101:

The Usual Suspects: Types of Termites

  • Subterranean termites are the most widespread termite species across Australia. They nest underground and build mud tunnels to reach food sources.
  • Drywood termites live in coastal regions of Australia. Unlike subterranean termites, they don’t require contact with soil.
  • Tree-dwelling termites nest in living trees or wooden structures above ground. They are found across northern Australia.
  • Conehead termites get their name from their distinct conical heads. They forage above the surface and cause significant damage to structural integrity
  • Desert termites inhabit arid inland areas. They play an important ecological role in decomposing plant material in the dry Australian outback.

Built to Feast: Termite Anatomy and Function

  • Worker termites have strong jaws for chewing and swallow wood. Their digestive systems contain bacteria to break down the cellulose.
  • Soldier termites protect the termite colony with their enlarged heads and sharp mandibles. No chewing for them!
  • Reproductive termites include queens who lay thousands of eggs and kings who fertilize them.

An Insatiable Appetite: Termite Diet and Digestion

  • Cellulose from wood is the staple snack for termites. Some species also eat wood fungus or even fabric that contains plant fibers.
  • Termites have symbiotic relationships with protozoa living in their guts. These single-celled organisms provide enzymes to digest the cellulose and convert it into nutrients.

United We Feast: Social Structure and Communication

  • Termite colonies have a complex social organization with specialized functions. The queen and king reproduce, soldiers guard, and workers gather food.
  • Termites use pheromones to communicate things like alarm, food trails, and colony identity. Some also use vibrations.

Following Their Lead: How Termites Track Down Their Next Meal

Following Their Lead: How Termites Track Down Their Next Meal

Now that we know the basics, let’s look at how termites discover and consume their woody meals. Here’s an inside look at their sneaky behavior:

A Royal Beginning: Colony Founding and Swarming

  • In spring, swarms of reproductive termites leave their colonies to establish new nests. This is why termites emerge in the springtime!
  • The queen and king land, shed their wings, and create an initial nest chamber. She lays the first eggs that will become worker termites.

X Marks the Spot: Navigation and Foraging

  • Workers explore outwards in tunnels, leaving pheromone trails behind. When they find food, more pheromones summon others.
  • Termites follow the oldest pheromone trails, which lead to the best food resources. Some species also use vibrational cues.

Battle Stations: Defense Mechanisms

  • Soldier termites guard against threats with their large, hardened heads and jaws. Their bites release alarm pheromones to recruit more soldiers.
  • Workers quickly seal off breaches in tubes and walls to keep out enemies like ants. Talk about house security!

A Change in the Weather: Environmental Factors

  • Temperature and moisture influence where they build colonies and how fast they grow. Warm, humid conditions are ideal.
  • Drought stresses the colony and can reduce reproduction rates. Excess rain fills tunnels and forces them to relocate.

Protecting Your Home: Tips to Prevent Termite Takeovers

Now that you know how termites operate, let’s talk about keeping them from invading your house. Here are some prevention best practices:

  • Eliminate all wood/cellulose contact with soil around the home’s foundation. This deprives them of hidden access.
  • Ensure downspouts and gutters channel water away from the foundation. Excess moisture invites dampwood termites.
  • Ventilate damp crawl spaces under the house to lower humidity.
  • Use treated lumber around the foundation and in landscaping features like fence posts.
  • Schedule annual termite inspections to detect signs of termite infestation like mud tunnels on walls or wood that sounds hollow when tapped. Catch invasions early!
  • Consider termite-proofing systems like soil-applied liquid chemical barriers and physical barrier. Work with a professional pest control company.


What do termites look like?

Termites are small, white or cream bugs. They have straight antennae and soft bodies. Worker termites are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. Soldiers have bigger heads with jaws for defense.

How do I know if I have termites?

Look for signs like hollow sounds when tapping wood, mud tubes on walls, or crumbling drywall. Sawdust piles and swarms of winged termites also indicate infestations. Consider scheduling regular inspections if you’re concerned to take early preventative measures and ensure long-term protection.

Do termites come back after treatment?

Yes, they can come back if the treatment doesn’t reach the entire colony. Stragglers can start a new nest. Schedule follow-up termite treatments to ensure any risk of termite infestations is thoroughly addressed the first time.

What’s the best way to get rid of termites?

Combining liquid soil treatment, termite barrier, termiticide, termite bait station, and wood treatment works best. DIY spray bottles don’t penetrate deep enough. Hire a pest control service for the best results.

What's the best way to get rid of termites?


Termites can seem small, but don’t underestimate them! If left alone, these tiny pests can ruin your home’s structure and building from the inside. You could end up with big repair bills. But with what you’ve learned here, you can now protect your house before major termite damage happens.

Don’t let termites take over! Be proactive and implement preventive measures. Treat high-risk areas early, and schedule yearly inspections. If you notice any signs of termites, take action right away.

Call a pest control expert. With early detection, you can defend your house against these sneaky bugs. Your home is worth the fight and protection. Don’t let the termites win!