Taking on the Common Termite Myths

The very thought of a termite infestation is enough to strike terror in the heart of any homeowner – and with good cause!

Termites are one of the worst pests in Australia, causing significant destruction to roughly 130,000 homes per year – that’s roughly one out of every five homes.

According to Tania Burke, a pest control professional in Brisbane, there are a lot of myths about termites circulating in the community which means that many property owners could be putting their home at risk.

First things first, homeowners need to understand what attracts these ruinous pests to their living space, the common signs of termites, and what action they should take if they do suspect there is a problem. That way they will be less likely to fall victim to some of the common myths and misconceptions surrounding termites.

Six Common Termite Myths

Here are just a few of the more common myths that have been doing the rounds …

Myth: Termites won’t eat hardwood

Fact: Don’t be fooled by their size, terminates are strong creatures and can actually eat through hard wood. In fact, there are some types of termites that only eat hardwood!

Myth: If there are black ants, you won’t have termites

Fact: Although black ants can make a meal out of termites, they are a hard won delicacy. For ants to be able to eat termites, they must enter the termite nest. This is extremely uncommon because the outer shell of the nest is far too hard and strong for black ants to break through.

Funnily enough termites can outsmart black ants. In some instances, while black ants are feasting on the outside of a piece of timber, the termites have gone undercover and are eating out the middle of the same piece!

Myth: House insurance covers termite damage

Fact: Unfortunately, the majority of household insurance policies do not cover termite damage. Homeowners can save themselves the stress and hassle of an expensive repair bill by ensuring they get regular and thorough termite inspections of their home – particularly if you live in a termite prone area like Brisbane.  

Myth: Steel framed houses won’t get termites

Fact: Termites may not be able to eat through steel, but there are plenty of other parts of your home that are vulnerable, such as floorboards, window and door frames. While homes with a steel frame are at lower risk of termites, property owners should keep in mind that this does not entirely eliminate the possibility of an infestation.

Myth: Regular surface spray will solve a termite problem

Fact: Using surface spray will only kill the handful of termites that are visible, not the colony itself. Should you discover termites, it is crucial that you do not disturb them, as this will cause the termites to retreat to another area of the property.

Instead, the best course of action is to cover the area to minimise light and air movement, and call a professional immediately.

Myth: All termites are white

Fact: Not all termites are white. Depending on the species, as well as the termite’s role within the colony, they range in colour from dark brown to white to opaque.

Separating Fact from Fiction

Being able to separate fact from fiction about termites is important if you are a homeowner, as it means you are better placed to ensure your property doesn’t wind up as termite fodder!

If you have any concerns or questions about termite myths, your best bet is to contact your local pest control professional for advice.

Janet Camilleri

When Janet Camilleri was growing up, her mother told her to become a teacher as "you can't make a living from writing". It might have taken a while, but it seems her mother was wrong. Now a fulltime copywriter, Janet is married with two grown children and one very spoilt cat.