Honolulu church stained glass termite_450_388
Honolulu church has a stained glass termite. Do you think it is a Western Drywood?

This is an introductory guide to termites which aims to

  • help people with pest termite 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 but life is busy, so don’t leave things for too long.

The site is (mostly) working OK but there are several hundred break in attempts each day (lots are nominally from Russia & the USA lately), so please report any issues you encounter.

What’s here?

What’s here is a jumble of information gleaned 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‘. Browsing is good, but the search box can help you to quickly find what you need and all mentions of what interests you.

The News clips are provided through a rather neat search of Google and are automatically updated daily. I’ve tried to filter out the silly stuff, but sometimes an off-target  story will get through and I can’t stop the odd business press release. There is no suggestion that I approve of any content displayed from Google News.


In my part of Southern Australia (yes, I probably live on a different continent) we have totally weird weather continuing and in many areas it has been a bit wet for termites to rampage. In others, they are doing fine. It’s a good time to inspect for termites. If you are super-confident, infallible (& rich enough to bet-the-whole-house) then, by all means, do your own inspection, but it is way safer to employ a competent specialist.

Where’s Wally Don?

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

There’s a little lab work, field biologist surveys, and the Australian termite Standards are still needing another round of updating. The usual consultancies and expert witness assessments are taking up most of the time.
Teaching is minimal at the moment. Got nastily burned by the RTO we had contracted. Slowly going through options to get back up.

Gave a talk on managing ways to assess termite systems in Australia for the 15th Conference if the Pacific Rim Termite Research Group, Manila, Philippines. 12-13 March 2024 which amazingly had a room of 190+ persons. Otherwise (apart from exploring ridiculously dry rainforest in Sabah, Malaysia) it has been a very quiet year. Heading to far north Queensland next.

Plastic collar badly placed and exposed at slab edge.
This plastic collar around a drain pipe should be embedded in the concrete and the concrete fully compacted around it. The building was demolished.

Big project is assisting The Institute of Pest Risk Management to grow. So, I see a lot of desk time. Look for details at TIPRM.com when the updates hit. Latest was termite training for SE Australia at Globe in Tullamarine. We have a (pdf) TIPRM guide to timber pallet quality. There’s also a working document on managing termite risks for new construction anywhere on the planet.

Testing things for people is ticking along slowly with lab test requests running above capacity

Meanwhile, there’s the Fourth edition of the Code of Practice for Prior to Purchase Timber Pest Inspection (pdf file). Which has been released without publicity.

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, 30 years ago, I was spending far too much time answering telephone queries from the public (instead of getting my own work done). So when the web began to emerge, I created a simple page (At an experimental site generously provided by Baylor, a Christian University in Waco, TX) hoping to make my answers accessible.  When I started this site, Alta Vista (the original internet search tool) indexed only 35 pages (!) that contained the word “termite” in the whole of the web. Noww Google has over 100 million such pages and continued interest. Unfortunately, lots of those termite pages don’t necessarily deliver anything helpful to you and an awful lot will lead you astray with potentially horrible consequences. Be very wary, particularly where people are trying to sell you magical termite stuff.

For the first few years after CSIRO these pages were hosted by Labyrinth and a few very old links amazingly 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 cost a lot on the Page ranking scale. That was a problem at first, but now search engines tend to bury you in local advertisers before you can find these page.

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 10 million 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 of grazing cattle. The scene shows the mounds exposed when a fuel reduction 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 which they eat when it becomes too damp too venture out. 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 code fix is supposedly on the way, but it is harder than I thought to get the old stuff to run cleanly.