Most Destructive Termites in Brisbane

Termites or white ants. Firstly We will show you the most destructive types of termites from Number one to the least destructive types in Australia and South East Queensland.

Firstly there are only two major destructive types of termites in South East Queensland. and we have listed them below. These species contribute to most of Australia’s yearly billion-dollar damage bill.

Subterranean Termites live and travel under the ground and can eat Your house out in a very short time.

Both Subterranean termites and White ants are actually the same things. In fact, termites are actually related to the good old Cockroach but they do resemble ants Hence the term White Ants. Termites are a highly destructive timber pest, causing major structural timber damage to buildings in Australia. In Fact, termites cause 1.5 billion dollars worth of damage annually.

This is why you can’t get insurance against termite damage. Your Home or Building Insurance Policy will NOT cover remedial and repair costs of damage caused by termites to structural and decorative timbers in a building. A CSIRO Survey indicates about 1 in 3 Properties have termites within the property boundary. Additionally, they have been known to destroy all walls and roofing timbers of a home within 3 months of construction. Just imagine your new home getting destroyed within a few months of you moving in. Furthermore, they cause more damage to homes in Australia than fire, floods, storms, and tempest, combined. So you can see why the insurance companies won’t cover the damage caused by these destructive pests.

Termites occur throughout mainland Australia, with a high rate of attack in all areas.

South East QLD in the Very high-risk area

The Number One Destructive Termites in Brisbane South East Qld and Australia.


CoptoTermes Frenchi

Firstly Coptotermes have three different species. CoptoTermes Frenchi, Acinaciformis, and Lacteus.

Coptotermes found during an annual inspection

These guys aren’t the most aggressive but are pretty close to the top.  Coptotermes cause more damage than any other species. Coptotermes is the most widely distributed termite in Australia. And occurs throughout the country with the exception of Tasmania. Some parts of coastal Victoria. And a few other areas with high rainfall. They can have colonies numbering in the millions and that is a lot of mouths to feed. With the Queen laying up to 2000 eggs a day. Now that is very impressive and imagine trying to feed this lot.

Subfloor entry
coptotermes entering through the subfloor
termites damages
The Most Destructive Termites

Damage found during a Termite inspection. The Coptotermes come up through the subfloor, destroyed the walls and roof timbers.  The treatment used for them was Termidor Foam which eliminated them out of the building.  The next step was to install a chemical barrier using Termidor.

dead Termites after a foaming Treatment

In the picture below the termites had got into the home from the palm tree. The palm tree was leaning against the house.

Coptotermes got into a home via this palm

The Number Two Destructive Termite in Brisbane South East Qld and Australia.


The picture shows major and minor soldiers which tells us it is a very mature colony and would contain millions of termites.

Schedorhinotermes would be one of the most destructive in Australia and would rank ahead of coptotermes but they aren’t as widespread. This species can devour your home in a very short time once established. In Brisbane it would probably rank number one as we find them more often than coptotermes .

Destructive termite species
schedorhinotermes Subnest found in the subfloor of this home

As you can see in the picture above a sub-nest was in a storage area in the subfloor of this home. The owner had only checked this area a few months previously. So within a few months, they had set up a sub-nest and just got into her home. If left unchecked they would have destroyed the whole home. The treatment used was Termidor dry dust. Due to the construction of the house, we couldn’t use a chemical barrier.

So we used the Sentricon Always active termite baiting system. Sentricon  In-Ground baiting systems have the Termiticide Rods always in the stations. This protects your home from termites and has the benefits of both chemical barriers and bait stations, without any of their drawbacks. The termites consume the bait which in turn stops them from regrowing their outer shell after shedding. Also, their mandibles become soft so they can no longer consume timber. This causes the total collapse of the colony. As they no longer can feed each other and more importantly the queen and she can no longer produce eggs.

Damaging and destructive species
Termidor dust transfers throughout the termite colony

Termidor Dry Termiticide. Is the first termiticide and insecticide formulated with a revolutionary BASF patented MICROLOSE carrier to improve flowability and increase product palatability? This ensures it spreads throughout the Termite colony.

Schedorhinotermes found during a building and pest inspection

mastotermes darwiniensis.

Biggest species

It is the most primitive termite alive. This termite shows similarities to cockroaches the termites’ closest Cousins.

The Giant termite or giant Northern Termite. They can grow up to 13mm in size. As far as destructive ability these guys are definitely number one. This termite is by far the most destructive termite in Australia.   The reason they are not number one is that they are predominantly found in Northern parts of Australia, QLD, and the northern territory only. But if they make their way down the coast it would be disastrous and there have been a few occasions they were found on the gold coast but were thought to be bought down in railway sleepers.

They will eat almost anything.  They are known to eat rubber tires and cause damage to leather, hide, plastic or electrical cables, bitumen, bagged salt, flour, glass, and even metals. It is Northern Australia’s most destructive termite often causing major damage to houses, buildings, bridges, posts, poles, and killing trees.

Termite damage
Mastotermes ate all the ceiling timber in this home

The treatment used is only chemical as they don’t shed baiting does not work on these guys. So let’s hope they don’t come to South East Queensland.


To find these termites in homes is pretty rare but we do find them occasionally. If left unchecked they can cause some serious damage to homes.


These termites are a hardwood species and feed predominantly on hardwood and that’s where we find almost all of their nests.

Damaging White ants
Nasutitermes Nest

Hardwood is their preferred food source so that blows that myth about hardwood homes being safe from termites. All the species above will eat hardwood framed homes.


They can damage your home but usually no significant damage.

 Found throughout NSW, ACT, VIC, QLD 

Nest Location  They build their colony nest next to stumps, logs, or other timber in direct contact with the soil where some wood decay or rotting is prevalent. This termite we find quite often in homes but in most cases don’t do too much damage. In fact, they do the most damage to decaying timbers like fences, posts, retaining walls, etc. These guys have some pretty amazing mud leads which can look like stalactites and stalagmites.

Heterotermes mud tubes

Microcerotermes Termites. 

Firstly These are the most common ones people call us about and are not a major cause of structural damage to homes in Australia. You will see them in your retaining walls. Also in fences etc. Below is a typical microcerotermes nest.  They make nests in trees and nests on top of posts. most times we find the nest in gardens.

Microcerotermes nest

In fact, these termites aren’t too much to worry about as they generally only eat decayed timber. Additionally, the treatment is relatively simple. Either you can treat them with a chemical or just break open the nest and expose the queen and the ants will take care of them.

Damaging Termites
Active termite nest

The picture below shows the damage you can expect from this species of termites. anywhere there is decayed timber these termites will have a chew.

Destructive termites

Finally, all the termites listed above are our subterranean termite species and we have other types that can cause significant damage in your home these are called dry wood termites.

Drywood termites.

The Number One Destructive Drywood Termite in Brisbane South East Qld and Australia.

Cryptotermes brevis. (West Indian Drywood termite )

Firstly these termites are an introduced invasive species and must be reported to the department of agriculture or DPI when found. They then take over and do the treatment by way of tenting your home and fumigating. They have been found quite often during termite inspections around coastal areas of Australia. I personally have come across them on four occasions. Twice the properties were active and had to be treated and the other two were not active.

West indian destructive drywood termite
Cryptotermes brevis

In the United States, this termite species causes damage over $100 million yearly and a lot more than this worldwide. So we have to be vigilant and try and keep them under control. Cryptotermes brevis infests both softwood and hardwood timbers and structural wood in homes and wooden furniture. More than one colony can exist in a single structure and objects as small as picture frames. They excavate galleries through the timber but leave a thin veneer of surface wood intact.  Which makes them very difficult to find. In Fact, One wooden door was found to have twenty colonies inside.  A mature colony may contain over a thousand termites and survive for upward of ten years.

The pictures above and below show frass or droppings left by this species. And this will indicate to us there might be a dry wood termite infestation. We are not allowed to treat them we must take them to the DPI for identification and if it is positive they take over the treatment. We find them mainly in old Queenslanders and closer to the coastal areas but we have found evidence in most Brisbane suburbs.

Drywood termites species.

The Number two Destructive Drywood Termite species in Brisbane South East Qld and Australia.

destructive termites
Termite Types Native Cryptotermes Primus

Cryptotermes primus.

This species is a native to Australia. This species is a minor to the moderate pest of structural timber in homes, house stumps, power poles.  The native dry wood species Cryptotermes primus is distributed widely throughout coastal areas and is common in most areas settled before 1940. Colonies have up to 200 individuals, generally with less than 10 soldiers. So as you can see they don’t pose too much of a problem for our homes. But you still must be vigilant and have regular termite inspections and keep your termite protection up to date.

To book an inspection Give Vicki or Lauren a call on 07 32008586

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