In Singapore, termites are active throughout the year. The most common types of termites found in Singapore are drywood termites and subterranean termites. This is what you need to know about them (information provided by pest control service, Rentokil):

(image: Rentokil)

Drywood termites…

  1. are normally found in the structural timber of buildings. Unfortunately, infested wood can be easily transported and used in these structures, making it a challenge to control drywood termites’ infestations.
  2. are less dependent on the need for moisture and need no access to the soil.
  3. attack wood whose natural chemical compounds have decomposed – even wood species which are not prone to attacks when in prime condition, such as teak, chengal, meranti and belian from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
  4. are more challenging to control compared to subterranean termites. 

Subterranean termites…

  1. are normally found in soil, and therefore dependent on soil for moisture. Therefore, antique furniture has to be kept away from the cool air of the air conditioner unit, which can cause moisture to accumulate. Any water leakage observed are required to be rectified. 
  2. will cause damages to built-in-cabinets in cupboards, after entering the house premises through mud shelter tubes from the soil. 
  3. especially the coptotermes sp, the most common type of Subterranean termites in Singapore, is considered to be very destructive and are the culprits of most damages in the house.

(image: Rentokil)

The two also present different types of warning signs:

Drywood termites are spotted through the presence of faecal pellets which variy from pale white to dark brown to black (depending on the type of wood infested) as well as the clean and smooth internal chambers inside the consumed timber, which has been described as wood which has been smoothen by sandpaper.

Subterranean termites are spotted through the presence of mud shelter tubes which they build out of mud, faecal matter and saliva. The damage done to timber is across the wood grain. Thermal imaging can also detect the presence of subterranean termites in wood through infrared radiation. 

(image: Rentokil)

Control methods include fumigation with methyl bromide or phosphine, or spot treatments (for small or concentrated areas) with a slow-acting insecticide dust. Some drilling into the infested timber is necessary, so it might get a little bit messy!Find out how to prevent termites from entering your home.