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Locating a live nest and finding a termite queen is always a satisfying moment, so finding seven queens is something quite special! 

The architects

Termites are well known for building their shelter tubes and creating mudding over feeding areas, but what designs would they create if left undisturbed in an enclosed area, protected from light and predators?

Chris Schmid from Abolish Termite and Pest Management came across a range of spectacular patterns in an enclosed void under the stairs in a Coomera property on the Gold Coast. Apart from the nest material, there are intricate tendrils and half-dome shelters on the concrete slab. Why termites build such structures is a bit of a mystery. “Definitely one of my more exciting finds,” said Mr Schmid.

Multiple queens

Finding the queen is on the ‘bucket list’ for most termite professionals. Although Andrew Critchley of Instinct Pest Management in Darwin has been lucky enough to find queens before, he really struck gold with this Microcerotermes find.

Seven Microcerotermes queens in the one nest

Digging up the nest around a wire fence, Mr Critchley found a plank of wood at the base, and the queens were just sitting there: four queens in one chamber and another three in a chamber close by. “I’ve searched hundreds of nests and only located a couple of queens in my career, and many pesties will never find one, so I’m pretty stoked with this find!”

I spy

During timber pest training, it is always emphasised to “inspect each structural timber in turn.” When entering a subfloor or roof void, if it’s hot or you’re running late it can be very tempting to speed up the inspection. But this can easily result in missing potential termite activity.

Rick McPherson from Premium Pest Control in Melbourne highlighted the benefits of taking your time over a termite inspection when he spotted this very small sign of termite activity in a sub-floor in Frankston. “That inspection took one and a half hours with two techs. Inspect every crack, crevice, timber join and concealed area.”