Termites are as natural to our environment as the birds, ants & bees. They have their purpose in nature as any other insect or organism. They only become a pest when they enter our homes or damage timber in service such as fences, landscaping timbers etc. Termites like any other insect, forage for food and moisture sources in the environment and extract cellulose, protein, sugars and starches from the materials they consume.
Termites are everywhere, they are in every suburb and every state. They are a social insect just like bees and ants. They have a queen, soldiers and workers which all have a purpose in the termite colony. As the colony matures, the termites determine which termites are necessary for the colony and can determine if more soldiers or workers are needed and even future kings and queens to start new termite colonies.
People often refer to termites as white ants and it is easy to understand why when you look at them. However there is no such thing as white ants. It is just a slang name given to termites.
If you can imagine a colony of termites which may contain millions of worker termites which are foraging through the soil looking for a food source, just how damaging they can be when they find their way into a home. When a house is constructed on the ground, it is a natural barrier to termites which are tunnelling under the soil, so when termites come against this barrier they have no choice but to find a way around or through the barrier. This is typically how termites gain access to the building timbers. Whilst trying to negotiate around the structure, they can enter cracks or joins in the brickwork or plumbing pipes etc and then you have termites in the building.
Sometimes in cases where termites have been established in a building for a length of time, the termites will build a nest inside the wall cavity which can even extend outside the wall lining also. The termites build these nests and mud tunnels ( Galleries ) to access the food source while controlling the environment in which they live and work such as the temperature and humidity. The mud workings also serve as a defence against natural predators. People also believe, that termites can’t go into the sunlight. Sunlight is no problem for termites, providing the atmosphere is moist.
In fact there is other ways for termites to gain access to buildings, but this is the most common way of entry. Some termites don’t even need to have contact with the ground, providing there is a source of moisture in the building, they can build a nest right inside your home.
No all termites eat timber and not all termites are a significant pest of timber. In fact termites are essential to the environment.
So careful identification should be made or it could be money wasted for no reason if you find yourself treating termites which are not a pest of timber.