Here is an identification request from our termite identification page.
Recently we received an interesting email from a gentleman who had found dry wood termites and Schedorhinotermes termites.
I found those in a dead branch (in 2-3 metre height) of an otherwise healthy jacaranda tree in our backyard. I followed your guide and drilled holes in the tree but couldn’t find a hollow bit, so I went back and took the branch off where I originally found them.
I tapped them out of the branch onto a tile (picture) and collected them in a glass jar. They’re feeding on some wood in front of me as I type. Will keep them in a dark spot so I can take more pics if needed.
There doesn’t appear to be a tunnel back to the main tree, but I will look closer tomorrow and hopefully find it. Is it possible that there is no big nest in the tree itself?
I’m already feeding termites not far from that tree with your bait, not sure if they look exactly the same. Might take some photos tomorrow, they’re in a homemade trap with a concealed viewing hole.
Anyway, would love to know what these are.
Thanks, heaps.Lawrie (We’ve renamed him, at his request.)
District: Brisbane SE QLD
They are termites but they are not either of the two serious types.
There is only one soldier (the dark brown-headed one with “the jaws”). If there is no hollow, I doubt there is any nest in the Jacaranda, which are not usually hollow anyway.
You could re-try your photographic skills on the soldier and yes take some photos of the ones you are feeding, they may or may not be the same species.When you send the photos tomorrow.
Very impressed with your speedy answer on a Friday night.
The soldier was fighting with some other guy, I tried to separate them but he was holding on to him pretty tight. Got some close-ups anyway attached.
Will take some others of the feeding ones hopefully tomorrow.
I know from tell tales that the house that used to be on the property opposite from us (pretty close to our tree) had to be taken down about 10 years ago because it was ‘riddled in termites’, and there are also heaps of termites feeding on our neighbour’s fence and parts of the house/floorboards etc. (she is old and doesn’t want to talk about it)
Also, in case I ever find a nest inside a tree, I have both Bifenthrin (100ml/L) and Chlorpyrifos (50ml/L) on hand, should I give preference to one over the other?
Thanks again for your help.Lawrie
You are one of the few. An elite group who have seen dry wood termites!
I thought from that first photo (because of the dark head colour) that they could have been Drywoods but now you’ve sent today’s photos which show the soldier in profile, I can see the steepness at the front of the head. You can find my drawing of dry wood in the how-to-guide and on the ID page of the website.
Good news is they are not going to eat your house and now that the branch from the Jacaranda is down, they are really out of luck!
So now I await your photo of the ones in the bait. From your local history, it would seem they are more likely to be serious terrorists.
Be careful not to disturb them; use a spoon to scoop out a brown-headed soldier then close the bait back up again. Then you’ll have more time to photograph them.
A request: can I have your permission to use your photo, please? It’s ages since I saw Dry woods and don’t have a decent photo.
Sorry for not getting back to you for so long.
The termites I was feeding in the trap in the backyard seem to have disappeared, either the colony is dead or they abandoned it for some other reason.
You can use my photos and also our email correspondence on your website, no problem.
I’ve got some other news. My wife lifted up a flower pot today which was sitting in a garden bed about a meter away from the house. She asked me if those insects she found underneath were termites. They sure are! I have attached some photos and hope you can tell me what exactly they are.
I was thinking of removing the pot and putting a trap above it, but then decided to empty the pot (I could just pull everything out as there was an extensive root system holding everything together) and have put one of your bait pots inside the pot directly over the hole, so hopefully, those termites in the ground will start feeding on it. The good thing is that the bait pot is protected from wind and kids by the rather heavy outer pot, I’ve also put a lid on to shield the inside from light.
By the way, the termites I caught last time are still happily feeding away in a gherkin jar in the cupboard. All still alive.
Anyway, let me know what you think they are or tell me if you need more photos, I’ve got heaps.
Thank you for permission to use text and pics; your ID and details will be protected. However, I have an admission… I somehow lost the originals of the dry wood termites so maybe you could resend those three pics. And, today’s pics are top quality so I may use a couple of them, thank you.
Now to the serious stuff:
These latest pics are definitely Schedorhinotermes or Schedos. And they are fair dinkum; they want to eat your home.
They are also easily frightened, easily disturbed and may not come back for days, weeks, months after being “rearranged.” If you get them to start taking the bait in the plant pot, it will be a bonus and it is certainly worth the try. And, even though they have stopped feeding in the first Trap, they may come back or pop up in another trap nearby. The Schedos take 2-3 times more bait than the Coptos and normally it will take 3-4 summer months to kill off a big nest (and with your local history, the chances are it is a big one). This means that the fact they have stopped eating is more likely due to disturbance than early demise… sorry to dash your hopes.
Let’s go back to the beginning. You said a nearby tree had “been taken down about 10 years ago.” Question: is the stump still there? if so, soak the middle of it with either the Bifenthrin or Chlorpyrifos (no preference)… 3-4 bucketsful of solution.
No tree stump? (and even if there is or isn’t) you should carefully check all the interior mouldings for hollowness and, if you can get underneath, all the foundation walls and piers for mud trails going up.
If still nothing, which will be a good result, you will need to rely on the Traps being found so you can begin baiting them there.
If you have the TermiTraps which sit on the surface, you can bring quite a few of them to the area to give them plenty of opportunities to find a couple. If you have the post model Trap, it is best not to bring any up near the trap that did get a start in case digging them in severs a connecting underground tunnel.
Thanks for your helpful reply.
I have attached the three images I sent previously.
That’s not good news at all about the Schedos. Let’s hope they get back into the flower pot, I will also think of some more traps I can put around the area to try and feed the nest from as many stations as possible and hopefully increase the number of termites that are taking bait back.
I haven’t got any of your traps at the moment as I found the cost a bit prohibitive, to be honest. I have built previous traps out of buckets and other stuff like styrofoam boxes. They seem to work well but they are not ideal, especially as they are on the larger side and would look fairly obvious (and ugly) around the house. I like the way the bait tubs attach directly to your traps, and with them being fairly low in height it also means they’re not as obvious and do look more professional. I will have to have another ponder and speak to the wife about the cost the next few days, but no promises.
As for the tree stump, I wish there was one. There was no tree taken down, but a house (close to our ‘infected’ tree) that had to be taken down because it was riddled in termites. In saying that, there are some trees very close to the area where we now found the termites. Would it be worth drilling those trees anyway to check, or is that likely to kill or destroy the tree? The one closest is some sort of palm tree with a base at least 500mm in diameter.
I will also do a good inspection of the walls close by, your guide has given me some good ideas, and I might even remove some skirting boards on the outside patio to have a look behind them ( I remember the pest inspector complaining about them).
It looks like the old lady next door (her old house seems to be riddled in termites, all palings have now fallen down because termites have eaten most of them) will be selling her house soon, so there is hope that future owners would want to do something about the termites.
Thanks again for all your help, and I hope you can make good use of the photos.
Just curious what your opinion is on Termidor dust? I’m considering using it on a trap where I will hopefully collect a larger number of Schedorhinotermes.
Termidor dust is a good product and should work inside a homemade Trap provided it is reasonably big and above soil level. I say this because Schedos usually bring along a lot of moist mud and the moisture absorbs the dust which makes it less available to be picked up by termites walking around. (Dust deposited on dry timber surfaces is more easily picked up for transport back to the nest where, with some luck, the queen will OD on it. And she doesn’t regurgitate it; she is the end of the line).
I don’t know how big a trap you intend to build and I have no idea how many grams/cubic metre of dust you’d use (or how you’d estimate it anyway) but it is important that you don’t make the inside of the trap too dusty. Too dusty may mean they avoid the treated area. The usual guide is to puff in about 90% air and 10% dust. This is also hard to estimate but you get the idea.
So, if you can get your hands on some, use it judiciously with my comments in mind. I would expect the galleries would contain live termites for about a week after the application. If they are gone in a day or so, I’d be a bit concerned the galleries were either disturbed too much or became too dusty.
Maybe I’ve jumped to the wrong assumption; maybe you have a pestie wanting to use Termidor (in which case he should have been trained by BASF and know which way is up).
That was exactly the info I was after. I plan on applying this myself, so you’ve got it right.
Will be using the so-called Rega applicator, it screws directly onto Termidor bottles and seems to be used by pesties also, according to youtube, so I assume and hope that it automatically gets the dust to air ratio right.
I will carefully keep an eye on those schedos and hope they bring not too much a mess with them.
Thanks again for your help.
Sorry to bother you on the weekend, but I’ve got another question for you. Feel free to answer it when you’re ‘back at work’.What’s your opinion on thermal imaging cameras? It seems like they are useful to detect termite activity inside walls etc with a trained operator. But can they be used to actually detect a termite nest in a dead tree stump, or in the ground or anywhere else around the property?
Some pesties obviously use those cameras, but they are also available for rent so I’m trying to evaluate if this might be a good option to get to the root of the problem.
You are picking up so much info, you could think of becoming a pest technician!
A thermal image is a ‘map’ of a surface. Not 1mm below the surface — just the surface. It shows any variation in temperature in different areas of the wall surface. A technician with a thermal imaging camera can see these variations and, if termites are eating out a timber stud behind the plasterboard and their activity either conducts heat or coolness to the surface, the variation is noted and then they investigate why. It is so sensitive that air-conditioning/heating has to have been turned off for hours before the session as the surface will be a constant temp because of the internal cooling/heating.
So now to answer your question about detecting termites inside a dead tree or stump…. don’t think so!
Back to the auger and watering can.
Thanks again for the info!
I can assure you that I’m not planning to become a pest technician, just trying to protect our house.
I have seen our neighbour’s house first-hand last week and it is absolutely riddled in both termite damage and actual termites.
It’ll be on the market soon and might be pulled down, so a little worried that all those termites might migrate over to us.
Actually thinking of buying it to have a bit more control over the situation.
If you could buy the house cheaply, you’ll know what to do.