Drywood Termites – a Homeowner’s Nightmare

Termites. They are every homeowner’s biggest fear. While subterranean termites can cause more damage to a structure more quickly, drywood termites can be just as dangerous to a building. These little insects can do some serious harm to a building before you are even aware that you have an infestation. So, when you discover a drywood termite infestation, take immediate extermination measures.

All About Drywood Termites

Drywood termites distinguish themselves from subterranean termites in quite a few ways. The most obvious is that they do not need moisture and soil to survive. Instead of making their nests in the ground, drywood termites prefer structural wood found above ground. They love to attack wooden fences, window frames, outdoor furniture, and door frames. Drywood termites are also only found in the hottest climates in the most southern part of the United States, while subterranean termites can be found in most US states.

Since drywood termite nests are built completely inside wood, it is difficult to detect them. The best way to uncover an infestation is to look for 1/25 inch long fecal pellets. They have a ridged shape and accumulate where the colony workers kick them outside of the nest.

How to Get Rid of Drywood Termites

Because drywood termites almost never leave the protection of their nest, it is much more difficult to eradicate them than subterranean termites. Termite baits won’t lure in an unsuspecting worker and liquid termiticides injected into the soil are pointless when the termites don’t have any contact with soil. Due to the difficulty of exterminating drywood termites, it is recommended to call in professionals to take care of the problem.

If you do decide to try getting rid of the termites yourself, there are a few treatment options. The first is to try wood treatments, which involves applying an insecticide borate preservative directly to the wood. This treatment also prevents the drywood termites from attacking wood that has not yet been infested. Another option is to apply spot treatments to known contaminated wood. Drill a small hole into the damaged wood and inject a liquid termiticide into the termites’ tunnels. Dusts can also be applied, but should be used in small quantities so that the termites don’t put up protective barriers.

If none of the do-it-yourself pest control measures work, call a professional. When the infestation is severe, they may suggest structural fumigation. This is an extremely effective method, but it is costly and harmful to the environment. Your entire building would be covered with a non-porous cover and then fumigated with methyl bromide or sulfuryl fluoride gas. Fumigation should only be considered when every other pest control method has been tried without success.

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