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Which Structural Lumber Treatments Effectively Prevent Drywood Termite Attacks

September 12th, 2019

Several drywood termite species, both native and invasive, inhabit the state of Georgia where they frequently establish infestations within homes. Subterranean termites leave several signs of their presence within a home, namely mud tubes on foundations. Mud tubes are often conspicuous and they alert homeowners of an infestation before subterranean termites inflict serious damage to structural wood. Unfortunately, drywood termite infestations are far more difficult to notice, as these pests leave very few clues of their presence within a home. 

One sign that a drywood termite infestation has taken form within a home is the presence of fecal pellets around indoor wood sources. These fecal pellets are pushed out of the structural wood sources that drywood termites infest, and they have a distinct hexagonal shape. Another sign that a drywood termite infestation has occurred is the presence of “kick holes” in structural wood. Kick holes are small circle-shaped holes that drywood termites construct in order to discard their fecal pellets. While the presence of both fecal pellets and kick holes will tell a person exactly where drywood termites are active, these signs are not always readily noticeable, as much of a home’s timber frame is located within wall voids and other obscured areas. 

Drywood termites sometimes establish multiple colonies in different areas of a home’s structural wood frame, so applying a spot treatment to one area of infested lumber will not guarantee that a home is completely free of drywood termite pests. In situations where pest control professionals cannot determine how many drywood termite colony sites have been established within a home, “whole-structure treatments” are necessary. Whole-structure treatments will exterminate all drywood termite specimens within an infested home. Fumigations and heat treatments are the two most common types of whole-structure treatments.

While it can be hard to detect drywood termite infestations during professional inspections, preventing drywood termite infestations may be even more difficult. Drywood termite infestations start after winged termites (alates) establish a nesting site on either exterior or interior wood sources while swarming. In rare cases, drywood termites may infest structural wood after infested furniture is brought into a home. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termites infest structures while above ground, and therefore, termiticide barriers in soil will not prevent drywood termite infestations. The best method of preventing drywood termite infestations is to have all vulnerable areas of a home’s structural wood frame treated with repellent chemicals. However, repeated treatments are necessary, as these chemicals wear off over time.

Have you ever witnessed a termite swarm in your neighborhood?

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