VIDEO: The horror find inside one in three Coast homes
A PEST exterminator says termites are chewing through one in three homes on the Gold Coast.
And the biggest culprit is a growing army of a particularly aggressive bug.
Pegasus Environmental Pest Control & Termite Management boss Murray Waugh says the suburbs of Parkwood and Robina are hot spots for the wood eaters.
He provided photos of a massive termite nest inside a Parkwood home and holes peppered throughout.
"Statistically, one in three houses are infested (to varying degrees)," he said.
Mr Waugh said he often came across more aggressive species of termites, including Schedorhinotermes intermedius, which were "very voracious" and "quite prolific".
"They weren't so common once, but nowadays they're probably the most found termite. When we look at homes with major destruction probably 60-70 per cent of the time it's down to the Schedorhinotermes," he said.
The Coptotermes acinaciformis termite used to be more common and are not as destructive.
Gold Coast Pest Services also warned residents to be on the lookout for giant northern termites (Mastotermes darwiniensis), not ordinarily found on the Coast.
"With it's voracious appetite it can eat through a home in as little as six months," Gold Coast Pest Services wrote on its Facebook page.
This month, another pest hit the headlines when the Bulletin revealed an alarming council memo raising concerns fire ants could infest iconic Burleigh Hill and force its closure within four years. Fire ants have now reached as far south as Surfers Paradise.
Mr Waugh said: "We think it's climate change that's causing (Mastotermes) to be slowly moving south. They're possibly being transported down here too in pot plants and in old sleepers."
Pegasus found Mastotermes in Tallai in 2007 and the bugs cropped up from time to time, Mr Waugh said
He said he regularly dealt with clients who had moved into a home only to discover their investment riddled with the insects.
"It's devastating for them. Some clients in Broadbeach Waters bought a house at auction, they didn't get an inspection. They asked me to come in and do the pest spray for cockroaches and spiders and I found the house riddled with termites.
"They're normally found when the termites make themselves visible by eating through skirting boards or your doorframes and window frames.
"People see what looks like ruffled paint, rippled paint. They touch it and their finger goes right through. Sometimes the termites poke their heads out to have a look.
"We often see properties as bad as the Parkwood home (pictured) and worse."
Mr Waugh urged would-be homeowners to get a pre-purchase inspection through a reputable termite controller and for homeowners to get their properties checked annually.
Gold Coast City Council states termites, commonly misnamed white ants, are social insects and live in nests or a large communities.
There is no law governing the control of termites in Queensland and responsibility for control rests with property owners.
Prevention includes barriers created by treating soil with pesticide, physical barriers, such a metal shielding or stump capping, and building with resistant materials.
Originally published as VIDEO: The horror find inside one in three Coast homes