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Taxonomy terms

Microcerotermes

“Despite their medium sized colonies, Microcerotermes are considered a minor pest of timber as they generally feed on already decayed or weather damaged timber such as posts and fences. ”

  • Microcerotermes turneri
  • Microcerotermes serratus
  • Microcerotermes distinctus
  • Microcerotermes turneri – From tropical north Queensland to Sydney, New South Wales
  • Microcerotermes serratus – Across most of mainland Australia
  • Microcerotermes distinctus – Across most of mainland Australia

The genus contains a mixture of nesting habits. Some build small on-ground mounds, some nest underground but the most iconic nests are the arboreal mounds with stalactites dripping from underneath, that can be found half-way up a tree trunk or on the top of fence posts

  • Central nester – meaning they tend to have one central nest where the queen resides.
  • Medium sized colonies that can contain many thousands of termites

The soldier has a rectangular head resembling Heterotermes except for the presence of fine serrations on the inner margin of the mandibles (a feature upon which it was named)

They generally feed on already decayed or weather damaged timber such as hardwood posts, poles and fences

  • The galleries/leads are thin and vein-like
  • Mudding colour varies depending on the soil type

Microcerotermes are considered a minor threat to timber in service across Australia although the Australian Standard 3660.1 states that the genus is not well known as pests, however it does contain some species of economic importance.

  • Stage 1 treatment (curative) – dusting, foaming work well but the lack of numbers present may be an issue
  • Locating and destroying the nest where possible, can be useful
  • Stage 2 treatment (preventative) – soil applied liquids is a suitable option
  • Not much information is available on successfully using a bait for population control
  • Identification between species can be difficult especially as the genus is so widely spread across Australia and many species overlap territories.
  • Heterotermes have an annoying habit of tunnelling through plasterboard. The tunnels are narrow and vein-like and can be seen just below the surface.

Image credit: Auswise Pest Control