Termites were found inside a home eating a window frame during a routine termite inspection. The homeowner making the discovery had opened the frame up to see the extent of the damage and made quite a mess. When he contacted us, there were no live termites to be seen for identification but the photo he sent showed it was definitely termite damage. I phoned and asked some questions and gave advice as follows:
The Advice given to help with the termite problem
As they had been eating the solid timber, they would have been from one of the three “suspect” serious termites: Coptos, Schedos or Nasutes. On questioning, there were no mounds around the house and none in the district that he knew of. (He knew what termite mounds looked like in the ground and also those up in tree branches). That pretty much eliminated the Nasutes (with the pointy heads) that only build mound nests — leaving Coptos and/or Schedos.
I asked him to check the skirting boards and door frames by tapping with the handle of a screwdriver. I was wondering if there might be an undisturbed area of activity that could be baited. It was probably the only time I’ve heard a homeowner excited to find termites!
He made a small hole about 5mm long in the hollow doorframe of the same room and some soldiers’ heads popped out with a milky secretion showing between two black ’fangs” as he described them (really mandibles). I told him to put a little piece of duct tape over the hole and advised to give up gardening or landscaping for the next few months. He ordered our bait and I promised that his house would not fall down before it arrived a week later. In the meantime he should finish the tapping for termites to see if there were other places that could be used for baiting; the more places baited, the sooner a lethal dose would get back to the nest wherever it was.
I asked if there were any trees about 400-500mm diameter nearby that may be hollow. He said there was an old and struggling gum tree about 10 metres away. I told him to check it by drilling it in readiness for pouring in some insecticide when I gave the OK. But not to do it until baiting in the house had been in progress a couple of weeks.
The reason? It was important to get the termites that were in the house to begin taking the bait, then, when they were, the tree could be treated. If a couple of more weeks after dosing the tree, the termites stopped taking the bait, it was probably the nest in the tree was the one attacking the house.
Why wait? It is important to give the house-eating termites a good reason to remain in the treatable area.
A couple of days later he sent through a photo of a termite soldier: Copto! At least they weren’t Schedos which eat more bait and take longer to kill off.
The Result that ended the termite problem
When the Bait arrived, he phoned to say he’d found termites in another window frame in an adjoining room to the first so he would be baiting at two sites. He had drilled the tree but not found any termites in it. While I held on, I asked him to check the hole he’d drilled in the tree and yes, it had been filled in. As only termites were going to fill the hole, I told him they would be active and he should wait the two weeks before dosing it.
A month later, he phoned to say he’d reopened the hole, dosed the tree with bifenthrin solution and two weeks later, there were no more termites eating bait in the house. I suggested that he wait another two weeks before repairing the frames just in case they were having a ’holiday’ because it was too hot.
This was a great result and yet another successful termite treatment we were able to help with.