What To Do If You Discover White Ants
You've found white ants at your property. Here's what to do next.
White ants are a pest that can destory your home if left undiscovered or unaddressed. But what should you do if you happen to find white ants around your home?
What are white ants?
White ants are another name for termites.
Termites eat cellulose. Cellulose is an organic compound found in wood, plants, cardboard and paper.
Thus, termites are a serious threat to your home.
How to identify termites
As the name suggests, white ants (a.k.a termites) look a lot like regular ants.
This is understandable as they are quite similar in appearance, both having a slender body and six legs. However, they are two different species with very different behaviour, biology and habitat.
Termites have straight antenna, straight waists and 4 wings of equal length (reproductives). Typically, termites are shades of beige or brown. To the human eye, beige termites can appear to be white. Thus, the nickname of “white ants”.
However, you can distinguish them from regular ants by the fact they are lighter in colour and are thicker around the middle.
Flying termite (alates)
Flying termites, also called alates, are the only ones that possess wings.
These flying termites are the ones who travel around and start new colonies.
They do this by flying around in swarms and mating with other termites from different colonies.
After they have mated, they will land, shed their wings, and build new a new colony. It is not unusual to find termites with their discarded wings nearby.
You might also notice termites by the tracks they leave which come in the form of mudding.
Mudding refers to the tunnels that termites make that they travel through.
If they cannot travel through the ground or some other concealed way, they will construct these tunnels to keep themselves safe and hidden.
Termites make these with a mixture of termite feces and saliva with dirt and wood.
You are most likely to find mudding built around ant caps, which are metal plates designed to force termites out into the open.
If you find mudding, there is a very strong chance you have an active termite infestation.
Do not disturb any white ants!
If you find live termites anywhere near your property, you should do your best not to disturb them.
If you disturb them or try and treat them yourself, they will quickly retreat and block off the nest to protect it. This will prevent any effective treatment of termites.
Destroying white ant nests at the source is the best way to keep yourself safe.
If you only kill the termites you find with bug spray, this will do nothing to stop the queen from simply producing more termites and continuing the infestation.
That's why you should always consult with a pest technician who can equip you with a termite management plan.
Termite treatment and management plan
If you do have termites at your home, there are few white ant treatments available. Each treatment option depends on the severity of the termite invasion and the likelihood for future invasions. These treatment options for termites include:
- Spot treatment – a slow-acting chemical is sprayed onto live termites to take back to their nest to kill off the whole colony. Servere infestations may need multiple treatments.
- Chemical termite barrier – a technician will install a slow-acting chemical around the entire perimeter of the house to protect against subterranean termites for up to 8 years.
- Termite bait stations – bait stations filled with treated timber are installed at intervals around the perimeter of the property. This isn’t as reliable as a chemical barrier but is recommended when a house isn’t situated in such a way that a chemical barrier can’t be installed.
- Annual timber pest inspection – whilst it’s not a treatment option as such an annual timber pest inspection ensures that any termite activity is detected early.
The cost for termite damage repair will vary on a case-by-case basis. As it depends on the location and severity of the damage and the complexity of repairs. Licensed carpenters generally conduct termite damage repair work.
What to do if you disturb white ants
If you have accidentally pulled away or destroyed timber and discovered live termites, you should immediately cover up the exposed area.
It is recommended you cover it with a form of thick tape that prevents light or air from getting in. If the area is dark and damp, termites will continue to do their work and will not block entrances to the nest.
Instruct everyone else in your household to leave the termites alone.
Next, book an inspection and termite treatment with a qualified pest technician as soon as possible. They will know exactly how to eliminate white ant nests at the source.
Contact us today
Dedant Building and Pest Inspections are your local termite specialist and technician. We provide termite treatments, termite management plans, chemical barriers and annual timber pest inspections across the greater Brisbane area. Including Redland Bay, Moreton Bay, Ipswich and Logan.