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Termite Species in Australia

Termites are regarded to be the most destructive insect pests in the world. Many buildings and structures are damaged by these pests each year resulting in huge financial losses.

There are over 300 different species of termites in Australia, but only a handful cause problems to properties:

  1. Coptotermes acinaciformis
  2. Coptotermes frenchi
  3. ‘Giant Termite’ Mastoternes darwiniensis
  4. Cryptotermes spp. (native)
  5. ‘West Indian Drywood Termite’ Cryptotermes brevis (introduced)
  6. Heterotermes ferox
  7. Schedorhinotermes intermedius
  8. Natsutitermes fumigatus
  9. Natsutitermes walkeri

Out of all these, it is the Coptotermes species that are “public enemy number 1” in Australia.

Coptotermes spp.

Family: Rhinotermitidae (subfamily Coptotermitidae)

Genus: Coptotermes

Type: Subterranean.

Castes: Queen, king, soldier, worker, reproductive.

Nest type: Coptotermes normally do not build mounds, except in Queensland and other tropical areas of Australia. Nests occur in trees, stumps, poles, or filled-in decks where timber has been buried. Favoured trees for nesting are silky oaks, various eucalypts and hardwood species. The colony is mostly found in the root crown or to the lower part of the tree trunk.

Distribution: Coptotermes acinaciformis is present over the entire Australian mainland, except in a few high-rainfall areas and along some of the eastern coastline, from Jervis Bay in New South Wales to Cape Otway in Victoria.

Economic significance: These termites are the most destructive termite species in Australia. It causes damage to all timber structures and will damage forest or ornamental trees as well as fruit trees. Even though Mastotermes darwiniensis is the more destructive termite where both species occur together, Mastotermes darwiniensis is confined to the upper part of Australia, and mostly in the tropical areas.

Soil contact is needed for this species, but not essential, provided that it has an assured moisture supply and security in its location. Colonies have been found on the top of multistorey buildings where there is a constant water supply, but no ground contact. Large colonies have also been found inside wooden ships that do not have contact with the soil, the moisture being provided through the timber from the fresh or salt water. This species has caused fire damage by shorting out electrical wires.


  1. QBCC Builder - Termite Management – Chemical Number 1048753
  2. QBCC Completed -Termite Management - Physical Number 1048753
  3. Queensland Health Pest management Technician Licence PMT-O-12670

All Pest and Termite Eradication for your termite identification requirements 1300 656 124 or book online to hire a pest management technician today.

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