Drywood Termites

Christopher Dunaway, Morgan, Alan L., Ring, Dennis R.

Look for piles of fecal pellets near an active infestation. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Probing into the board shown above reveals live drywood termites in thier galleries. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Drywood termites may also be found infesting wooden furniture, artwork, chests, etc. (Photo by Chris Dunaway.)

Drywood termites are different from other termite species in that they do not require additional sources of water. They can survive and thrive on the small amount of moisture present in "dry" wood. They can accomplish this by absorbing the moisture from their feces prior to defecation. This process creates distinctive fecal pellets that are often the indication of drywood termite infestation.

Unlike subterranean termites that usually attack structures from mature colonies in the soil, drywood termites typically enter a structure as alates during the mating season. Paired couples need only to find a suitable crack in which to conceal themselves in order to start a new colony. This makes it very difficult to prevent drywood termite infestation.

Drywood termites also prefer to maintain very clean galleries. As they live entirely within the wood that they are consuming, there is no soil present in the galleries as is found in subterranean termite colonies. They deposit their excrement far away from where they are living and eating. Often times they will create openings to the exterior of the wood and cast the waste outside. During an inspection, look for piles of their fecal pellets directly below infested material.

Control of drywood termites includes physical removal of the infested wood, insecticidal treatment of the infested areas or whole-structure fumigation. 

Content by Chris Dunaway. 
6/21/2011 1:17:14 AM
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