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)
The site is (mostly) working OK but there are several hundred break in attempts each day (lots are nominally from Bulgaria & the USA lately), so please report any issues you encounter.
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 finished a warm, winter and it looks like the heat and dry will dominate the coming summer. This is at first great for termites and they are busting out all over, with big flights expected. Although some of my Nasutitermes colonies have died off from the excess water of the previous 3 damp years. The skilled termite managers are very busy. It is always a good time to schedule to have your home professionally inspected and take any necessary remedial works. That works in both Northern and Southern hemispheres. In the North, it is good to act before cold weather limits termite activity. 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?
There’s some lab work, field biologist surveys, and Australian termite Standards are still needing another round of updating. The usual consultancies and expert witness assessments are taking up a fair bit 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 the West Indian Drywood Termite (Cryptotermes brevis) with spot treatments for the forest group of DAF in Salisbury, Brisbane. Otherwise (apart from months travelling in Europe) it has been a quiet year.
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 is 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 roughly as expected but Covid continues to mess up field work.
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.
Why Dr Don’s Termite Pages?
Working at CSIRO, 25+ 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. Now Google reports more than 100 million pages that include “termite”. 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 some 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, so now Google offers you advertisers before you find this 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.