Termites are a group of highly destructive insect pests that reside the urban environment. About 3,105 species of termites have been described, but only a small fraction of them are pests to buildings and structures. Termites can be considered to be beneficial insects. They help to breakdown fallen trees and other plant matters, playing an important role in nutrient recycling in the forest.

Termites can be classified into following three major groups based on their habits: drywood termites, dampwood termites, and subterranean termites.  Drywood termites are found inside drywood, often in structural timbers of buildings. Less dependent on moisture sources than other termites and do not need to access the soil for survival. Faecal pallets are normally visible outside the exit holes of an infested piece of timber. In contrast, dampwood termites feed on decayed woods such as old tree stumps, rotting logs, and buried timbers.

Subterranean termites build their nests in the soil and are highly dependent on soil for moisture. They construct mud tubes to avoid dehydration during the process of searching for cellulose sources above the ground level. As such, preventive anti-termite soil treatment is important before a building or property is built. Treating the sub-floor is as important as the perimeter to prevent termites from gaining entry into these spaces through treated area.

Termites live in colonies

A termite colony consists of immature (nymph and larvae), workers, soldiers, alates (swarmers), and reproductives (king and queen). The soldiers are blind and wingless, they have large jaws or mandibles on the head to help in colony protection and initiate foraging activity. Worker termites are wingless, blind, and sterile. Workers are the most abundant individuals in a colony, they take part in several important roles, including feeding other castes, grooming the royals, making tunnels, and excavating the nest. Alates are founders of new colonies. Female alates are normally larger than male.

About Termites 

Alates termites have two pairs of wings of equal size and shape, whereas the frontal wings of ants are longer than the hind wings. The antennae of ants are elbowed but those of winged termites are not. Contacting a pest control expert in Singapore or a local pest control in your area is a great step to controlling these colonies from getting out of hand.

Termites use their mouthparts for self-grooming and allogrooming (groom other individual). The process of food or nutrient exchange between nestmates called trophallaxis. Trophallaxis can happen from mouth to mouth and from anus to mouth. Workers and soldiers emit an odor (pheromonal) trail when they walk that enables them to find their way back to the nest.


For subterranean termites:
Pre-construction treatment:
  • Soil treatment: create a chemical barrier in the soil around/ under the building foundation to prevent the entry of termites. The soil will be drenched with 5 to 10 liter/m sq. which creates a barrier against termites. The treated areas are then covered by a polyethene sheet to reduce chemical evaporation from the soil. The chemical used could be repellent or non-repellent.
Post-construction treatment:
  • Corrective treatment: Holes were drilled in the floor slab along the building perimeter at regular intervals. Termiticides (repellent/ non-repellent) were injected into each hole to form a chemical barrier. The holes are sealed upon completion of the treatment.
For drywood termites:
  • Spot treatment: Using Fipronil foam. It uses to eradicate the colony. Applied on the infested areas (drywood termite pinholes).
  • Liquid termiticide. Drill holes and inject the termiticides using a syringe until it overflows from the holes. Fill in the holes with wood putty or plastic wood.
  • XTERM™ Termite Baiting works by killing the workers in the termite colony. When the ‘worker’ termites have been eliminated, the whole colony starves and “crashes”. The queens and the soldiers die of starvation as they depend on the workers to feed them. XTERM™ consists of two components; In-Ground (IG) Bait Stations for areas in contact with soil. These normally consist of plastic sleeves which are put in the ground around the house or property. Above-Ground (AG) Bait Stations for direct placement of bait cartridges on locations with termite activity ie. above ground around the house or property. To effectively bait for termites, a pre-baiting strategy is implemented.

Do you know…

Termites cause more than USD 5 billion in property damage and repair every year. An average homeowner would spend approximately USD 3,000 to repair the damage. As much as USD 1 billion is spent on termite control annually. This cost is usually not covered under insurance policies. Hence, it makes a termite infestation more devastating than a fire. To make matters worse, more than 72, 000 landed homes, 210,000 condominium and apartment units, and 1.2 million HDB units are at risk of such destruction.

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