Coptotermes acinaciformis termites : Incredibly Destructive and Voracious Species

downloadCoptotermes acinaciformis is a species of subterranean termites in the family Rhinotermitidae, native to Australia. Coptotermes acinaciformis is commonly found throughout Queensland particularly in urban areas or where eucalypt gum trees are highly prevalent. Coptotermes acinaciformis are a very secretive termite species; they build their nest out of sight, often within the base of eucalyptus or other susceptible trees, or completely under the ground; often within an enclosed patio or under concrete (on ground) flooring which is ideal for moisture retention, temperature and humidity control within the termite colony nest. This species often build subsidiary nests away from the main colony nest. A subsidiary nest can be contained in a wall cavity of a building where there is a reliable moisture source, for example, from a leaking shower recess or faulty guttering or rusted downpipes.

download (1)Coptotermes acinaciformis are highly destructive in nature to buildings and other timber structures. They are the most widely distributed and destructive timber pests in Australia. A single colony may consist of more than one million termites. The most voracious timber pest one needs to be taken seriously. A previous study by Archicentre found that 650,000 homes nationwide were attacked by termites over a five-year period with average $10,000 damage. The most common and destructive — accounting for 70 per cent of all serious damage to buildings nationwide — is coptotermes acinaciformis.

Let’s have a look at how destructive these termites are in our day to day living.




Queensland’s perfect conditions for termite movement, new threat emerges

Dec 13, 2014

The week’s hot and humid conditions are producing a plague of termites seeking new homes — and they could be headed for your place.

After months of dry weather, the stormy downpours in the last few days have created an ideal situation for the little timber-munching monsters, and pest management experts say millions of them are on the move.

 “You will get 200,000 of them flying from a colony on dusk seeking somewhere to establish new nests,’’ Dunrite Pest Control owner Steve Annells said.

“This weather is just about perfect for them. When it begins to rain, they spread quickly.’’

imagesQueensland has seven species of termites which pose a risk to property. The most common and destructive — accounting for 70 percent of all serious damage to buildings nationwide — is coptotermes acinaciformis.

 They will often spread from nearby gum trees to properties in urban areas and establish nests under concrete working their way through behind walls where there is moisture from leaky plumbing or poor weatherproofing.A previous study by Archicentre found that 650,000 homes nationwide were attacked by termites over a five-year period with average $10,000 damage.

While improvements in building techniques, termite barrier installation and chemical treatment appear to be reducing damage in Queensland, a new threat is looming.

More than three times the size of more common types, it can tear through buildings quickly and has also been recorded as damaging rubber tyres and even bitumen.

Its traditional habitat has been the tropics of northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia. But changing weather patterns and warmer conditions have seen it expanding its territory — with colonies found as far south as the Gold Coast.

“Once they are here, they don’t just go away,’’ Mr Annells said.

“They are an incredibly destructive and voracious species. If they come through Brisbane, the old-style chemical barriers are not going to keep them out. That’s a big problem.’’

Mr Annells said the first time most people suspected they had a termite infestation was “when they push the vacuum cleaner head through the skirting board’’.

If householders found evidence of termites, it was essential not to disturb them before calling in professionals to eradicate the pests.

“That will just cause them to set up a nest somewhere else,’’ he said.

And he cautioned against the idea of ‘’sacrificial timber” such as leaving an old log in the backyard in the belief it would keep termites away from the house.

“While they are setting up a sub-nest in your garden, they are also looking to expand their colony so the house could well be next,’’ Mr Annells said.

Annual property inspections were important even after preventive treatments, and Mr Annells advised owners to look for an experienced pest controller with insurance and beware the lowest quotes.  “It’s ‘buyer beware’,’’ he said.

Thus a unique method needs to be devised to keep them away from our precious homes and gardens. C Tech Corporation, an Indian company has come up with a novel solution to counteract problems caused by such creatures. Termirepel ™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous termite/insect repellent which has been designed for various polymeric applications as well as natural materials like woods. It gives the best combination of chemistry and green practice to give an environmentally safe product which acts as a repellent effectively and at the same time guarantees safety to the environment, plants, animals and fragile ecosystem.

Termirepel ™ does not kill but only keeps the insects away by making use of the sensory mechanisms. Aggressive species are further deterred from attacking by advanced mechanisms like aversion, feeding deterrents, mating disruption, reproduction cycle inhibition, growth impairment and chemo sterilization thus modifying their response towards the Termirepel ™containing products resulting in them staying away from the application. Thus, Termirepel ™ actually helps in modifying insect behavior.