The 5 most destructive subterranean termites

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Most of the species of termites that damage timber-in-service in Australia are subterranean termites.

Mastotermes darwiniensis and Coptotermes spp. are the most destructive.

Coptotermes acinaciformis is responsible for more economic loss than all the other Australian species combined.This is due to its extensive range, the severity of its attack, and its ability to survive in built-up areas such as cities and large towns.

Schedorhinotermes and Nasutitermes are also of economic importance. Nasutitermes exitiosus is particularly wide-spread in the cool temperate regions of the southern mainland states.

The annual cost of termite damage to building is estimate at 7 billion dollars annually.

Research shows that ahouse that have been attacked by termites can be devalued by more than 25%.

1 in 3 homes in its lifetime will be attacked by termites.



Heterotermes are pests of decking, fencing and weathered and decaying timber. They are rarely found in sound timber. In the tropics they do attack sound timber more often. Their long rectangular heads distinguish them. The mandibles are curved and have no obvious teeth.




This genus has two casts of soldiers, the Major Soldier and the Minor Soldier. The head is bulbous. The mandibles have teeth on the inner surface. The Major Soldier has uneven serrations on the base of the mandibles. The Minor soldier is about two-thirds of the length of the major soldier. They have a narrower head and more slender mandibles. Schedorhinotermes, are becoming a major problem termite and are now very wide spread. They are not known to attack Oregon timber. They are often found in bark chips in garden beds. Schedorhinotermes moult infrequently during winter and are hard to control for this reason.




This very destructive termite is capable of causing extensive damage to timbers, Fortunately they are only found in the tropical north of Australia. They are easily recognizable by their size. Identification is confirmed by the number of segments in the lower portion of the leg. They have been known to totally destroy a home within 3 months.



Nasutitermes termites are easily recognized their beak shaped head and lack of mandibles. They are often darker in color compared to others. They usually build distinctive arboreal nest .



5.8mm ± O.8mm

This species of termite is responsible for causing the most damage to properties across Australia. This is due to its widespread distribution, throughout Australia and its voracious appetite. They are easily recognised by the latex that is exuded from the fontanelle on the head of the soldiers when they are disturbed. The soldiers are aggressive and can bite when agitated. The mandibles are smooth with no serrations present, the head is pear shaped and rounded