Introduction

Honolulu church stained glass termite_450_388
Stained glass termite

This is a rough guide to termites which aims to

  • help people with termites pest problems,
  • introduce termites for students,
    and also to
  • be a resource for the just plain curious (like me and possibly, you)

Please read this disclaimer. If you need expert or technical pest work done, check here.

Apologies if last time you came here you found little content. We had a PHP glitch some months back, but things are (almost) back to normal, though high server loads are still a problem.

What’s here?

A jumble of information derived from answers to termite questions from people around the world. You can learn lots about termites, what they are and what they do, about avoiding termite problems, how to get rid of termites if you have them and how not to get rid of termites. Warning: some people may be overwhelmed by the amount of information.  Better to aim to be just whelmed by searching through to the particular information you require. Do please use the search box.

Now

In my part of Southern Australia (yes, I probably live on a different continent) it is a strange Summer. We have had days of  excess heat but also periods of excess rain and the pests are thriving. Life is not at all hard for termites this year and pest managers are very busy. In the Northern Hemisphere things seems to be warmer with periods of extreme cold.  Reports of termite problems there are on the decline. In the topics, things mostly just roll along.  If you have any concerns or have been flooded, right now is a good time to have your home professionally inspected and any necessary remedial works undertaken. If you are super-confident, infallible (& rich enough to bet-the-whole-house) then, by all means, do your own inspection, but really it is better to employ a specialist..

Where’s Wally Don?

Wet mound sculptures CNS airport Copyright Don Ewart 2014
Amitermes mound sculptures Cairns Airport

Back from a six week tour of Europe and pre-Brexit England, the work piled up, and except for a quick trip to NZ where I was lucky enough to find some of the local Stolotermes, things have stayed busy There’s field biologist surveys, a Standard to be finished, contract research and the usual consultancies and expert witness assessments and as well, Don’s teaching is being revamped at Melbourne Polytechnic with updated classes covering the Australian pest management competencies, specialist termite skills and the units to achieve a Certificate III qualification  Teaching is mostly done in day blocks with the learning manual tasks and more of the lessons available online, any time. Classes run through the year and are cost competitive. Interstate and International students are most welcome. Big project is assisting The Institute of Pest Risk Management to grow quickly. So, January sees a lot of desk time.

Industry challenge at the moment is the way the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) are implementing the 2014 Standards from May 1 and requiring assessment to AS 3660.3-2014 when there’s barely been time to do that. See the AEPMA Newsletter. Might make things easier for least-toxic options . . .

Doing Stuff

Heavily into working on the update of the Australian subterranean termite management standard, AS 3660.2 (2000), which has to transition from comfortable “Guidelines” to more rigid “mandatory provisions” and so needed a near-complete re-write. ‘Should’ has had to become ‘shall’. Not an easy task. The draft is available for public comment. Please do persevere and download a free copy of the draft before uploading your comments. Be sure to include what you think the words should be.

Finished off a chapter looking at how termites respond to climate change which is in the works for CAB and due out in December. A quick introduction to termite ecology for a visiting professional group from the FCBA. Thanks to Rowan and his crew from Conquer Termites, Mark Porter of Environpest and Eric from CriterionBCA.,  Next big outing was the FAOPMA conference on the Gold Coast, Queensland on with a packed crowd for my talk. Then there was the incipient Institute of Pest Risk Management ‘s highly successful first outing in Melbourne with a room capacity turn out of 25. Meanwhile, the accumulated work must be done and student marking is high on the list. This year there’s to be a rather brave paper with colleagues at IUFRO Div 5, and a couple of equally controversial talks at the Rapid Solutions Conference. Haven’t yet decided whether IRG-48 is affordable.

Mound with test units (wrapped)
An early Blockaid field trial, Townsville
T2 blue is not particularly repellent
This H2 ‘treated’ timber is not sufficiently repellent to stop termites building right on it.

Why Dr Don’s Termite Pages?

Working at CSIRO, about 20 years ago, I was spending far too much time answering telephone queries from the public (instead of getting my own work done). So I created a dawn-of-the-web homepage hoping to make my answers accessible.  When I started this site, Alta Vista (the original search tool) indexed only 35 pages that contained the word “termite” in the whole of the web. Now Google report well over 12 million pages that include  “termite”. Unfortunately, lots of those termite pages don’t necessarily deliver anything helpful to you. Some talk utter rubbish. Be very wary out there, particularly where people are trying to sell you stuff.

For the first few years after CSIRO these pages were at Labyrinth and some old links still point there. Please let me know if you find any of those old links. The move to drdons.net meant I have a lot more control but that move and this update has cost a lot on the Page ranking scale.

When this all began, back at CSIRO, each month only about a thousand people would drop by. Now the site averages thousands of hits per day. I wish that 2 million plus people would also read my research papers! Please feel free to drop me a note.

What’s with the odd title photo?

OK, the eagle-eyed or just well trained my have noticed that the current title photo isn’t of termite damage. It is of damage by gribbles (marine isopods of the family Limnoriidae) to a piece of ship timber at the IBTC wooden boat college in Portsmouth, UK.