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  • Writer's pictureRobert Bate

Six Key Signs of a Termite Problem

Signs of Termite problems

The Australian Standards recommend having an annual termite inspection done by a licensed timber pest inspector at least annually to detect any seen or unseen termite activity within a structure. This is particularly important for home owners in south-east Queensland where subterranean termite populations are exploding across the region. Our sub-tropical climate is ideal for subterranean termites and we are busier than ever with calls from panic stricken home owners who have just discovered a colony of termites making a meal of their investment.

This is just a helpful guide for home owners and should by no means be a replacement for a professional termite inspection but we have compiled a list of signs that you may have a termite problem. You may find all or couple of these signs or none at all, if in doubt always contact a professional.


Alates - Swarming termites

Early in the summer season it’s not unusual to see flying termites, especially after rain. These swarmers or flying termites (known as alates) are the reproductive kings and queens of a nearby nest. During the warmer months (usually during periods of high humidity) the kings and queens will fly from the nest to mate and start a new colony. Hundreds of kings and queens are released from a termite nest at any one time (hence the nickname: swarmers). Alates are not distance flyers and will go wherever the breeze takes them, with this in mind, if you see alates near your home it is usually indicative of a large or mature nest that is very close.

Hollow Spots in the Walls or Skirting Boards

Termites found in skirting boards

If left to their own devices subterranean termites will eat all the timber in a home and have been known to leave only the paint behind. We’ve had panicked calls from home owners who have just poked their fingers through their walls to find nothing but a thin veneer of dry paint. If you fancy yourself a bit of a DIY termite inspector, be on the lookout for hollow spots in your walls, window frames or skirting boards but the noises you should be looking for can be difficult to identify without years of training and experience.

Stiff Doors and Windows

If you suddenly notice a door is harder to close all the way than it used to be or it just doesn’t sit right, it could be indicative of an unseen termite problem. The stiff doors indicate that the timber has shifted or possibly swollen. This is a little known fact but a subterranean termite nest and galleries are very hot and humid. The heat and humidity can cause timber to swell and the termites eating at the timber may cause it to shift. It could also mean you have a moisture problem in this area so if you’re unsure, consult a professional to make the distinction.

Live Termites in the Garden

Discovering termites in the garden

Finding termite in the garden doesn’t necessarily mean you have termites in your home. If you’ve found termites eating away at some sleepers in the garden it means a nest is close by. If you happen to find a nest, it’s best to take action and have a professional pest controller treat the nest and inspect the home for any unseen termite damage. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking the termites are happy eating your sleepers so they won’t head towards your home. A termite colony can have millions of members with galleries heading in all different directions, so they can be simultaneously attacking your home and your garden sleepers. Another thing to consider is if they ARE just eating your sleepers, what will they eat once the sleepers are finished?

Night Noises

Many people don’t know this but you can actually hear termite workers chewing on your home’s timbers, if you do hear a slight chewing, gnawing or rustling noise from within your walls it would be a wise idea to have a professional perform a termite inspection to ascertain whether what your hearing is termites or maybe something else entirely. If you also hear a slight clicking or tapping noise this could be the termite soldiers knocking their heads or body on the timber surface to indicate danger to the other termites.


Drywood termites and Frass

Frass refers to termite droppings and/or dead bodies. You may find small piles of frass around the home or skirting boards. This indicates you may have an ant problem or a Drywood termite problem. Drywood termites are different to subterranean termites in that they live their entire lives in the timber they are infesting, whereas Subterranean termites need to return to the soil for moisture. It is unusual for subterranean termites to leave frass behind as they use their feces in the making of their galleries. Drywood termites are an introduced pest and are capable of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage and should not be ignored. As Drywood termites are an introduced pest their presence should be reported to the governing body: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

These are just a few of the major signs of a termite infestation but nothing beats a comprehensive termite inspection completed by a professional timber pest inspector because whilst you can look for these signs, you may not have the experience and knowledge to identify what your looking at and know the best course of action in response to what you find.

Overdue for a termite inspection? Call Results Home Services now on 3823 2500 and ask us about our competitive termite inspection and pest control packages. We service all of Brisbane including Gumdale, Wakerley, Wynnum, Many, Mount Cotton and Redland Bay.

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