by Belinda Cleary; Edited by News Gate Team
A busy mum has been left horrified after finding two ‘sticks’ stuck to her bathroom ceiling ‘out of nowhere’.
The mum took to Facebook in an attempt to work out exactly what was causing the little brown ‘twigs’ but wasn’t ready for the answer.
‘It looks like termites, get your roof checked as soon as possible,’ one woman said.
And dozens of others agreed the ‘sticks’ looked like tiny termite tracks and could be the sign of a much bigger problem.
‘They are some kind of garden termite, I had them in a rental once,’ said another.
‘They look like they could be wasp nests,’ one woman said.
While another put the mounds down to ‘bad wiring’.
The woman reacted with shocked emojis after termites were suggested.
Termites damage an average of 34,000 Australian homes each year – with an average clean up cost of about $10,000 each time.
What are termites?
Termites are insects that feed on timber and other cellulose-based products; these are primarily domestic pests, recycling dead and rotten timber and other plant matter and as a source of food to many animals.
Termites are detritus or detritus feeders. They feed on dead plants and trees. Termites seek nutrients to obtain cellulose, an organic fiber found in wood and vegetable matter.
Wood is the main food for termites but they may also eat some of the other materials, such as paper, plastic and dry matter. Most species prefer dead wood, but some termites are fed on live trees. Each type of termite has its dietary preferences.
The termite’s mouth can chew dry matter. While the termites are only approximately 1 cm in length, their nutritional appetites can cause adverse damage to houses, furniture, bookshelves, and books as they are all of nutritional value to termites.
Each colony has a Queen, King, workers, soldiers and reproductives, which are like queens in waiting.
It is important to catch them early which means knowing the signs – like mud forming on walls or ceilings.
According to the experts at Termi Trust the best way to pick up termites before they cause too much damage is to have regular pest inspections.
It is important not to disturb termites, signs they could be in your home also include damp walls, faint tapping or chewing noises behind plaster walls, power failures and build up of earthy materials around power points.
Signs you have termites (and what you can do about it):
Signs you may have termites
– Mud trails leading up the sides of buildings
– Accumulation of dried mud in the joins of door or window architraves
– Blistering on door or window architrave, or skirting boards
– Damp areas or moisture stains on walls
– Faint tapping or chewing noises behind plaster walls
– Power failures and build up of earthy materials around power points
– Soft floor boards
– During spring and autumn evenings large swarms of “flying black ants” may actually be termite alates being released from the nest. This is strong indication termite colonies are present
What should you do if you suspect you have termites?
– Try to guess what they are – even if you only suspect they might be termites follow our DO checklist below
– Disturb them or investigate further – it will frighten them off and make it harder to treat them
– Try to kill them with pest sprays, homemade connections or do-it-yourself methods off the internet – the only effective treatments for termites are through licensed pest controllers
– Ignore them
– Stay calm
– Take action immediately
– Check your meter box for a termite or white ant treatment sticker – it will show the treatments or inspections previously undertaken and the company who performed them that you should contact
– If there is no meter box sticker, contact an expert and get them to conduct a full inspection of the activity your home
– Get the technician to explain the inspection process, extent of the termite activity, treatment options and how they work
– If there appears to be damage, the technician will report on the extent of the damage
– Once the termites have been treated make sure you have a termite inspection at least every year