Experts warn that the super termite is capable of eating four times as much, and four times as quickly as a normal termite.
They're bigger, more ferocious and hungrier than any other termite on the planet, and they've started marching south along Australia's eastern sea board.
The Mastotermes Darwiniensis, or the Great Northern Termite, is responsible for doing millions of dollars in damage in far northern Australia every year.More stories from Today Tonight
It's three to four times the size of normal termites, and is resistant to regular white ant treatments.
“Nobody wants super-termites like these in their homes anytime, and certainly not to the point where they might destroy their home within three months,” pest treatment consultant, Chris Langley warned.
Langley has been studying the species for over 40 years and says an average size colony can eat through seven kilos of wood a day.
“I've actually had them draw blood when I've had contact with the soldiers,” he said.
What has scientists so concerned is that the Great Northern Termite normally has one major chink in its armour - cold weather.
Previously it couldn't survive below the tropic of Capricorn, which cuts across Australia along a line from Rockhampton through just north of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory, and Carnarvon in Western Australia.
That was until last week when a colony was found surviving quite happily on a property on the Gold Coast.
The question now is just how far south they will go.
“It appears that they had modified their behaviour to meet the climatic conditions down south,” Langley said.
Whether it's global warming, or an adaptation by the termite itself, is so far unknown. But from now through till May, termites of all types are moving into their prime feeding and breeding phase, and the wetter and warmer the weather, the better.
Danny Kelly is the pest inspector who found the super termites while carrying out a pre-purchase property inspection on the Gold Coast last week.“They are definitely heading south,” Kelly said.
Entomologists confirmed his suspicions, but the exact location of where this colony was found is being kept secret by the property owner as they are trying to sell the property.
Reports from northern Australia are that this termite will almost stop at nothing to get to timber, chewing through tractor tyres, eating live trees, electrical cables, bitumen, metal, even plastic, leather and glass.
“They could be considered the most destructive termite species in the world,” Langley said.
The problem for homes south of the tropic of Capricorn is that even if they have been treated for termites, the chemical barriers aren't strong enough to defend against these super termites.“Keep your eyes open, have regular inspections in your home, and wherever necessary ask questions if you see something you're not sure about,” Langley advised.
OUR SOCIAL SITES
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest