Termites are light in colour thus often referred to as white ants. They imitate ants but they do not have narrow wrist like them. They are social insects such as ants and bees but they live in colonies in wood or in the ground.
Termites are often referred as the silent destroyers since they may be thriving in your yard or home with no immediate signs of damage. They feed on cellulose found in the plant materials. Unfortunately, all homes, irrespective of their construction material, may support cellulose food material for the termite infestation.
Termites are detritus feeders or detritivores, to imply that they depend mainly on dead plants & trees especially wood in the soil,house furniture’s, foundations, books, and even shelves are all common feeding habitat for the termites.
There are three categories of termites found in Singapore, and they include; dry wood termite’s, damp wood termites and Subterranean termites.
Their physical appearance
When classifying a given termite colony into a particular group, you will have to look at the alates and soldiers, unmated reproductive caste, and the winged since worker termites across tend to be the same.
Other factors you will find useful in identifying subterranean termites includes:
• Swarmers: they are dark-brown in color, approximately quarter to half inch long with 2 pairs of wings that are almost equal in length.
• Workers: they have no wings, are about a quarter inch in length and cream in color.
• Soldiers: they have no wings, have large mandibles, and are termite colony defenders,they are creamy-white in color with their head being brownish in color.
• The appearance of the damaged wood: because subterranean termites live underground, infected wood do have an accumulation of mud or soil in the tunnels of the wood they are feeding on. The damaged wood seems to be layered since they feed on soft woods. Besides, subterranean termites feed within the grain, unlike dry wood termites which feed across the grain.
• Location of the nests; although their nests are usually below the ground, the nests may also be above the ground, only when there is sufficient moisture to support above-ground nests.
Behavior, Diet & Habit
Subterranean termites live in colonies where they build mud tunnels to look for food. They are dependant on moisture for their survival. Its diet consists of cellulose material and wood
Subterranean termites have various rates of growth from egg stage to the adult stage depending on the individual termite species of one first queen in a colony which can lay thousands of eggs in lifetime.However, the eggs can also be laid through supplementary reproductives of an established colony.
Eliminating Subterranean Termites
Treatment for reducing subterranean will Consists Of:
• Termite-proofing either using premises 200SC or Optigard Termite Liquid.
• Spot Treatment with Captiva Powder
• Baiting with Nemesis Bait System
• Soil treatment before construction
• Corrective construction after treatment
• Regular inspections.
2.Dry wood Termites
• Swarmers or alates have 2 sets of wings. The front set has a pattern of 3 or more heavy pigmented veins in the outer region of the front wing. Also, alates shed their wings immediately after swarming; therefore, almost all dead swarmer bodies do not have attached wings. This characteristic can be used to differentiate between dry wood and subterranean termite swarms where subterranean termites consist of dead swarmers with or without attached wings.
• Swarmers can reach a length of up to 12 mm .
• Dry wood termite soldiers do have large mouthparts with a broad pronotum than the head. However, a majority of dry woodworkers and termite soldiers are greater compared to the workers and soldiers in the subterranean termite colonies.
Dry wood termites do create colonies in wood or wooden materials, having no connection to the ground . They are commonly found in attic wood. they need a little moisture to thrive.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Dry wood termites depend on Wood and other cellulose material for food.
Nymphs pass through 4 to 7 instars before attaining adulthood.The original forms finally swarm to form new termite colonies.
3.Damp wood Termites
There are different species of damp wood termites in Singapore. The termites are quite larger compared to the subterranean termites.
• The swarmers can be up to 25 mm in length, including their wings and their soldiers being as large as 21 mm.
• Damp wood termites do have a large head with pincers on the front.
• Usually, there got no damp-wood termite workers infact, the immature damp wood termite’s work in colonies. The
mature termites can be up to 20 mm long.
Behavior, Diet & Habits
Damp wood termites derive their name from damp or decaying wood they use to find their colonies. The termites do not nest in the soil. They usually invade wood and wooden materials found on the ground especially if it’s decaying. The damp wood termites are famous in Singapore and along the Pacific coast. They are commonly considered an economic pest.
Pairs of winged swarmers usually start a colony of the damp wood termites. They find a suitable wood or wooden material and make their chamber in it.
Damp wood termites produce few eggs for the first year. Their colonies are small, but in an ideal condition they can become large.
How to eliminate Damp wood termite colonies
The treatment for the termite colonies will consist of;
Pressure injecting and Spraying liquid insecticide into chambers .
Injecting insecticidal dust into the chambers or galleries.
Depending on the situation that additional measures such as footing and moisture control can be treated
Signs of Termites Infestation
Termite’s infestation is almost invisible to the untrained eye. There are few indication that a colony has invaded your property or home. They leave various signs of their presence, but with keen inspections, you can be in a position to tell whether you have a termite infestation and be able to control it before it does much damage to your property. Some of the signs will include;
• Flying termites around your home or termite wings on the windowsills
• Wood damage
• Honeycombed or carved out pieces of wood when broken
• You can investigate a suspect wood with a flat blade or knife to see whether it has been hollowed.
• Termite damaged wood sounds hollow when tapped.
• Mud tubes on the walls, with baseboards or in cracks&crevices may also indicate presence of termites