Signs of Drywood Termites and Tips for Controlling Them
Termites usually live in burrows under the soil. However, there are certain types of termites that prefer to live inside wood. They are called drywood termites.
Drywood termites are mostly found in the coastal areas of South Carolina, Texas and the west coast of California. Their size ranges from 3/8 to 1 inch long. Their colors range from creamy white to light and sometimes dark brown
Detecting an Infestation
Drywood termites can cause a considerable amount of damage to any property. To avoid their destructive effects, be on the lookout for these usual signs of drywood termites:
- Wood damage. Drywood termites eat both across and with the grain of the wood, resulting in clean and smooth wooden galleries. You will find mounds of fecal pellets inside these galleries, where they have been pushed out of the way by the termites. The damage they inflict can be found in structural wood, trim, hardwood floors, furniture, and other wood items.
- The presence of termite droppings or fecal pellets. Termite droppings, also known as frass, are also found around the infested site. As already mentioned, they can be found in wooden galleries that they damaged. These fecal pellets are about 1/16 inch long, can be black or cream in color or both, giving them a “salt and pepper” appearance. Frass is often found in piles like tiny stones or pebbles.
Tips for Control
The first step to avoid a drywood termite infestation is to always keep firewood and other lumber materials at least 20 feet away from your home. You have to seal up any unfinished wood in and around the property. When sealing, use paint, varnish or sealant and make sure the coats are even. Make sure all nail holes and cracks are sealed, too. You should also consider installing fitted, type 20 mesh screen on all doors, windows, vents, and other openings, especially the ones that lead to attics and crawl spaces.
Once you or an expert has determined the presence of a drywood termite infestation, the first step that you can take is to remove the infested area. For instance, if the infestation is confined to a door or piece of furniture, you need to immediately remove and destroy the infested wood.
If the infestation is confined to a small piece of furniture, freezing it can destroy the termites. Wrap the furniture in plastic and place it in a large freezer for about two weeks. After removing the furniture from the freezer, leave it wrapped until it reaches room temperature to protect the wood from water marks due to the process of condensation.
A severe infestation, however, would warrant the services of pest control experts. To know if you have a localized or whole-structure infestation, it would be best to have your property inspected by pest control technicians first.