Drywood termite on Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Page last updated: Monday, 18 February 2019 - 10:31am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Drywood termites such as Cryptotermes dudleyi and C. domesticus cause substantial damage to buildings, boats, furniture and other wooden items. Drywood termite infestation of buildings could impact real  estate values, future investment potential and building safety on Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Drywood termites are easily transported in infested wood, usually when a piece of furniture/wood is moved. The queens can also fly from infested timbers, adding to  the spread.

How to Identify
Drywood termites have a thick waist, short legs and straight antennae. Drywood termite swarmers (also known as alates or reproductives) have wings twice as long as their body. Termite soldiers have pincer-like mouthparts with a dark and hardened head capsule 
Drywood termites vary in colour depending on their maturity and role within the colony. Worker termites are cream coloured and can look white against wood. Soldier termites range from cream to brown. Swarmers can be brown or black.

Signs of Infestation
It can take 5–7 years for drywood termite damage to become apparent. Signs of infestation can be:

  • termite droppings, known as frass, are tiny pellets, 1mm in length, pushed out through a ‘kick out’ hole
  • a temporary release of winged insects in your home or discarded wings from swarmers especially near a window, spider web or a light source
  • wood that sounds hollow when tapped
  • cracked or bubbling paint (see image above).

How to protect your island or home

  • Know the signs of infestation.
  • Only use timbers treated to Australian building standards when building or repairing homes.
  • Don’t bring reclaimed wood, including artwork or wood from the beach into your home. If you have brought any of these timbers into your home, get them checked so your home is protected from damage.
  • Arrange regular property inspections to look for termite activity and/or damage.
  • If in doubt, call a licensed pest controller for an inspection and further advice.





Kirrily Palmer