Termites – Silent Destroyer : Danger that Lurks Beneath

THERE are an estimated 10 million insect species in the world, of which a few hundred thousand are believed to abound in Malaysia. Among them are pest termites.

There are apparently three main groups of termites: dampwood termites, drywood termites and subterranean termites.

In Malaysia, it is the subterranean species called the Coptotermes which are of concern to home owners. These termites are easier to spot and use mud tubes to connect their food sources to their nests. This transportation system provides shelter from common enemies such as ants and guide them along as they have no sight.

These termites usually have colonies that live five to eight metres underground and can destroy man-made timber products rapidly.

Termites are foraging insects. They don’t simply find a food source and stay there. Instead, they are constantly searching for new food sources, even if they already have an over-supply of food.Some termites build their shelters in the same environment they feed upon. These termites are known as dry wood termites as they live on dry, rotted wood that provides adequate food, essential to their survival.

If you have any posts or dead tree trunks, then you are likely to find spots, cracks, or leaks that house this type of termites. Most termites like to live in environments that provide adequate moisture and food. They also need to be sheltered from harsh climates, like warm sunlight.

At present, no home insurance covers your property against damages caused by termites. So, your best line of defense is prevention. Property maintenance and building modifications should be done to decrease, or preclude termite infestations.

There are some ways to tell if termites could be causing damage to your house before it gets too late, and there are also ways to tell where termites live, so that you can check for their presence.

Why there are termites in my area?

Tree infested by pest termite
Termite populations usually found in peat swamp forests.  Large-scale conversion of peat swamp forests into agricultural land has resulted in an increase in populations of pest termites. This is relevant when agricultural land such as oil palm estate was turned into housing estate such as in Bandar Baru Bangi Selangor.
Something has to be done in eradicating the termites to ensure that our home is safe from them.

Here are some property maintenance and building modifications tips to help you prevent future termite infestations:

* Keep your area clean. Clear your area of debris made of paper, cardboard, wood or other cellulose materials. You should not keep these kinds of materials near your home.

* Avoid putting wooden ladders or wood piles against the sides of your house. These items tend to collect or absorb moisture and become the initial food supply for termites.

* Check wooden parts. Regularly check wooden parts of your properties like walls, trellises, fences, and posts for signs of termite infestation. Keep wooden structures away from the ground as much as possible to reduce the chances of attracting termites.

* Eliminate moisture. Most termites need moisture to stay alive. Keep your house properly ventilated to reduce the amount of moisture in it. Look for moisture sources like leaking faucets, defective gutter, pipes, air condition units and sprinklers. Also, make sure the water containers within the vicinity of your house are drained.

* Keep plants and trees away. Property maintenance includes your garden as well. Trees and plants can be both moisture and food sources to termites. If you love plants and want to have them, just plant them at a distance from your home and make sure the branches do not touch the wooden parts of your house.

* Use treated woods. Borate treated woods are best to prevent termites. Wood treatment decreases or eliminates the chance of your home timbers becoming food sources for termites.

* Have home inspection done by experts. To be more confident your termite protection methods are successful, have experts regularly inspect your home for signs of termite invasion. Termite infestations are often tricky and tough to detect, so an expert's opinion is an added security.


Learning how to kill termites should be the concern of every homeowner. Here are ways to kill termites and save your property:


Some cases of termite infestation are not detected until the damage has been done. It would be sensible to watch for winged termites, mud tunnels or hollowed wood that may indicate the presence of termites.


Extermination companies know better how to kill termites and stop them from coming back.


Before building a home, have your soil and wood pre-treated with chemicals. Make sure the wooden parts and structures are elevated from the soil.


One of the latest methods of killing termites is using bait stations which is placed in the path of workers, who ingest the chemicals and take them back to the colony. The chemicals inhibits molting and eventually destroys the entire colony.


Trenches and holes are dug in surrounding areas, which are filled with chemicals to prevent termites from reaching the house or returning to the soil, and when ingested result in termite death.


As the name suggests, it involves enclosing the house in a tent and fumigating it. This means vacating the house and taking any belongings that may be contaminated.

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