Over $800 million is spent annually in Australia to repair damage caused by termites. Termites can cause extensive damage to the structure of homes and commercial buildings, as well as the fixtures, fittings and floor coverings inside. In most cases the damage may not be visible for periods up to 18 months after the initial infestation. By then your home may be the adopted home of a million termites.
Unfortunately, you cannot insure your home against termite damage as you can against other natural threats. These hungry little pests are a hidden danger so make sure you have the right termite protection for your home.
- Termites are an insect species that have existed for millions of years.
- Termites are commonly called white ants, but are more closely related to cockroaches and, like their cockroach cousins, they are here to stay.
- Termites are among the world’s longest surviving creatures and can readily adapt to changing environments.
- There are more than 2,500 termite species in the world and this number continues to increase as identification techniques improve.
- Subterranean termites are the major cause of damage to homes and buildings.
Termites are social insects and live in colonies with several hierarchical castes:
- Queen - May live more than 25 years in several species.
- Soldiers - Main function is to protect the colony from predatory insects like ants. They have prominent jaws and some can emit a chemical repellent.
- Workers - They construct the characteristic earthen mud tubes or leads, search for and breakdown timber, and provide food to all the other castes. They have no wings, no prominent jaws and have a lighter coloured head than soldiers.
- Reproductives - Once a colony reaches a certain population density, termites known as alates are produced. They develop wings and when mature they leave the colony to establish new colonies. These are sometimes referred to as flying ants.
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