Introduction

Honolulu church stained glass termite_450_388
Honolulu church 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 drdons.net/consult.

Things are (almost) back to normal after the last update and switch to https for all links. Please report any issues.

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. Please do make use of the search box.

Now

In my part of Southern Australia (yes, I probably live on a different continent) it is late Spring. We have had a warm and dry Winter, but that happens almost every year now.The termite flights have been light and hard to predict as soils and timbers are not generally moist. Life is getting easier for termites and they are restricted in their travels. In the Northern Hemisphere activity is high In the topics and slowing down in cooler areas, 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

There’s field biologist surveys, yet another Standard to be updated, contract research, some fun training and the usual consultancies and expert witness assessments.   Don’s teaching is again 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  and special short courses to fill in the gaps. Teaching is mostly done in day blocks with the learning manual tasks and more of the lessons (hopefully) available online, any time. Classes run through the year and are cost competitive. Interstate and International students are most welcome. This year saw the first student from Sri Lanka.

Big project is assisting The Institute of Pest Risk Management to grow quickly. So, I see a lot of desk time.

Malaysia in May training 180+ pest technicians from seven Asian countries was a great challenge but core principles are generally applicable and just need to be tweaked for each area’s specific needs. Expect to be doing that again if I can. .

Industry challenge at the moment is still the way the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)  implemented the 2014 Standards from May 1 2017 and required existing products, systems and chemicals to have assessment to AS 3660.3-2014. There’s barely been time to do the testing. See the AEPMA Newsletter. A re-worked and fully updated AS 3660.2 for managing termites in existing building is out and creating a bit of fear in the market. The transition from comfortable “Guidelines” to more rigid “mandatory provisions” the ‘should’ bits becoming ‘shall’ will always ruffle some feathers. As usual, industry is slow to deal with the new National Construction Code requirements and several big-name suppliers are off doing non-compliant things. Update training for Australian  installers is critical and the Melbourne Polytechnic Master Class update (with RPL) is an excellent way for skilled and experienced practitioners to be on top of it all again.

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, almost 25 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 (At an experimental site generously provided by Baylor University in TX) 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 reports well over 24 million pages that include  “termite”. Unfortunately, lots of those termite pages don’t necessarily deliver anything helpful to you. Some of it is utter rubbish. Be very wary out there, particularly where people are trying to sell you magical 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 many thousands of hits each day. I wish that 3 million plus people would also read my research papers! Please feel free to drop me a note.

What’s with the odd title photo?

In Far North Queensland, there is often a greater mass of termites than grazing cattle. The scene shows the mounds uncovered when a fire has removed all the grass. These grass-eating termites will survive because their mounds contain a store of food ready for the Wet Season when it becomes too damp too feed. Some small and damaged mounds are lost to the heat.

Where are the old pages?

Most are still there, but in my latest software updates, a couple of the old fun-bit pages stopped loading. Sorry about that. A fix is on the way.