There are a lot of studies on the termite and this is understandable as there are a lot of interesting things about it. It can live on eating just wood and it helps in nature removing decaying stumps and fallen trees. But there can be issues in gardens and yards when you have signs of termites in trees as they also damage living trees and if they should get in the home they can do a lot of damage there. Here is more about termites, what they look like, how to spot them, how to get rid of them and how to prevent them!
All about termites and what they look like
Termites are a close relation to the cockroach and there are more than 3000 species that span the globe! They live mostly on cellulose and dead plant material though a few species do feed on living trees and plants. The queens can live for as long as 50 years. When a colony becomes established it can be a problem all year though it grows and thrives more in warmer weather. One colony can have up to a quarter-million termites. Here is a bit more on how to identify them:
- The worker termites are about 1.3cm long and are usually white in colour
- The soldiers are longer around 1.9cm long and the body is white but the heads are coloured
- Termites that can reproduce are about 1.3cm long and are black or light brown in colour and they are the only termites with wings
- Termites have very long wings that are equal in length and antennae that are straight not bent.
Signs of termites in trees
When you are looking for signs of termites activity in your home or the garden there are a few that are more commonly seen. They include:
- Wood shavings and small holes in the wood or tree where they enter it
- Look around the base of the tree and with a small shovel dig around its roots and you will see them just under the soil line
- You might see things like termite dead bodies and discarded wings
- Trunks of trees might have shelter tubes, swarm castles or little white eggs
Taking care of termites in trees
If you do have a termite problem you need to take action as quickly as you can, the longer you ignore things the more damage they do. Especially if the colony is close to a garage or house. Things you can do to remove termites include:
- Prune any infected wood away quickly then burn the wood so that the termites in it do not spread.
- Find the colony if you can or hire experts treating termites who can also find the colony and destroy it. Common places are in the ground, below buildings and in woodpiles.
- Choose a termiticide or the pest control expert will have one they regularly use. Spray around the infected tree making sure to reach out to about 1m in a radius around it. If there are trees close by also spray the base of them. Spay up the tree for about half a metre or so to deter termites. Some recommend even spraying your whole property.
- Set termite traps or have a professional set them. They are safe because they are chemical-free. That way you know if you have any new activity to deal with.
- Keep an eye on the infected area in case new evidence shows they are still active.
Preventing termites in trees
There are a few easy things you can do to prevent termites in trees or elsewhere on the property. Remove tree stumps from the property, stack firewood further away from the home and avoid placing mulch too close as well. Hire inspectors to come and check on a regular basis if you are worried that you might miss something. Keep dead branches pruned back and consider having the tree removed if it has been eaten from the inside as it is probably unstable.
Treating termites in trees should be handled with extra care. Mishandling can pose a great danger to you and to the tree. If you think you might have a problem, contact a local pest controller straight away and they can help you.