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I tried to send some photos though the termite i.d. service on your website but they were taking ages to load so I’m trying email instead.
A few weeks ago I found some termite activity in a wood pile in our garden. I installed a termite trap nearby but they have not entered it. Today I noticed a termite mound on a turpentine tree about 10 metres away. I have taken some photos and think they are a nasutitermes species. We are next to a council reserve and I think the tree is just on the council side of the boundary. I plan to contact the council but don’t want them to take any action that would make the situation worse for us. Any advice you can give me would be much appreciated.
The good news is that yes, these are the Nasute termites and they are most unlikely to be interested in solid, seasoned timber as used in buildings. They are essentially leaf-litter eaters.
Don’t worry about disturbing this lot (or getting the council involved). If the nest is dislodged or destroyed, that’s it for that colony. They won’t be looking for new food such as your home.
In other, earlier times I might have suggested you use a shotgun!
But this is 2014
It is reassuring that they won’t eat our house but are they eating the tree they are nesting in? If so could they weaken the tree sufficiently so that it could fall in high winds? It is less than 10 metres from our house and is over 20 metres tall?
I can’t give an answer to how likely they are to weaken the tree. If I say it’s unlikely but then you get a storm that would have blown down the tree whether it had termites or not… you could sue me.
If it helps, these Nasites mostly feed on leaf litter and dead grass on the ground and what they do on the inside of the tree is get their moisture and maybe eat some of the decaying timber around the pipe up the middle. Decaying timber is weak and if the termites eat some, it could be argued that the termites only ate weakened timber which contributed little to the strength of the tree.
I suggest you get a local arborist to give you an assessment.
No termites yet. . but
At first look I thought the “mud” was from termites because that’s what I expected and what you suggested. on second inspection, I can see a different texture in the gap between the boards and the main “mud’ which now looks a little more like fungus sometimes found growing on logs. I assume the white bit in the current photo is the sky up through a gap?
If it is, that is good reason why there are no termites! From this distance and by photo I cannot be sure so, back underneath for you please, to check if there are any tunnels in the main “mud” mass or does it have a texture like the white top of mushrooms… or the fungus you might have seen growing on the side of logs?
In any event, you haven’t found any live termites to feed so the baiting process is out. This leaves you the option to place the TermiteTrap “bricks around to see if there are termites to intercept.
Please let me know your take on the fungus/mud.
I do not think it is a fungus. The consistency is wood fibers that appear to be aggregated from the ends of the decking boards that are continuously moist at the end of the joist.
There do NOT appear to be tunnels and no sign of activity except for a few small black ants ( still quite cold here) .
I plan on cutting that part of the deck out anyway but did not want to disturb a nest but I am tempted to knock some of it off to examine it furthur before cutting the deck back.
Your plan to begin restoration of the deck seems to be the right one. here are no live termites so there is nothing to disturb. If you find live ones during the removal of some of the boards you may be able to apply bait to the nest side of the disturbance. My guess, from what you’ve written, is that this is unlikely.
Psocids - Book lice
I recently purchased and installed some of your termite traps, after being in our new house for 1 year.
Underneath our house I made some wine racks out of plywood and I found some small insects living on top of them the other day.
They look suspiciously like termites to me in shape, but the biggest one I have found is only 2mm. Sorry the attached photos aren’t great, but they are tiny!
Could you please help to identify them? Before we moved in I replaced skirting and architrave in the entire house, replaced several windows, stripped 2 bathrooms, took down walls, ran cable underneath the house and in the roof, etc. so the house had a good inspection! Many thanks.
Coptotermes In Sydney
Hi, found these in the backyard under a piece of old fencing hardwood. I had it over for about 30 sec and put it back. Do you think I can bait it?
You could get a job as a wildlife photographer!
This time, I an certain these are the Coptotermes and they are probably wild about being deprived of their food and cover. However, they are not as shy as some of the other species and will probably be back!
Here’s a challenge for you: turn over the original fencing timber and see if you can find where they disappear into the soil. they may have already sealed the hole but you may be able to spot it.
If you find it, open it carefully with a small pointed knife, like a surgeon, and if you’ve picked it right, it won’t be more than a couple of minutes before you see heads blocking the hole. You can make several guesses because if you pick the wrong spots, there is no harm done until you get the right spot.
If you find the tunnel entrance, place an upside down tub of bait over that hole and push the edge of the tub into the soil to help them seal it. If it is stoney, get some fine soil/potting mix and build it up around the tunnel so the upside down tunnel seals to the new soil which seals the gaps between the stones.
Then come back in 2-3 weeks to check.
Remember the principle: they want to eat bait in an area which is enclosed, safe and a controlled humidity. If it is out in the blazing sun, cover with a couple of palm leaves or similar.
Don’t go shifting the Traps to the area, you may dig right where their hole is going back toward the nest and if you sever a tunnel from the site where you are feeding them, all your effort will be wasted.