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Why Are Drywood Termite Infestations Particularly Difficult To Control

October 3rd, 2019

Termite pest activity is heavy in Georgia due to the relatively high number of both native and non-native termite species that inhabit the state. Multiple subterranean and drywood termite species regularly infest houses and other structures in all areas of Georgia, but subterranean termites are by far the most destructive. The native eastern subterranean termite is the most economically damaging termite species in Georgia, and although the invasive Formosan subterranean termite has spread throughout the southeastern states, their colonies can only be found in isolated pockets of Georgia.

Drywood termite species in Georgia include western drywood termites, which are endemic to the southwest US, and powderpost termites, which are invasive in the US. Most drywood termite infestations in Georgia occur in the south, especially along the coast, but western drywood termite infestations sometimes infest houses in the northernmost areas of the state as well. While drywood termites are not as destructive as subterranean termites in Georgia, the termite pests still cause millions of dollars in property damage in all areas of the state each year.

Unlike subterranean termites that access structural wood around a home’s foundation through conspicuous “mud tubes,” drywood termites do not leave behind any clear signs of their presence within homes. This makes drywood termite infestations relatively difficult to detect, and therefore, drywood termite infestations often go unnoticed until serious structural damage has been inflicted. Drywood termite infestations are also more difficult to treat than subterranean termite infestations, as drywood termites do not produce workers that forage away from colonies; instead, drywood termite colonies remain entirely within the wood items that they infest, making baits useless against the pests. Drywood termite infestations are also nearly impossible to prevent, as only swarming termites (alates) initiate infestations, therefore, termiticide and physical perimeter barriers in soil will not prevent these winged termites from invading homes. Due to the current limitations in drywood termite control, pest control researchers have been struggling to develop more effective strategies to prevent, detect and eliminate drywood termite infestations.

Have you, or anyone you know, ever experienced a drywood termite infestation?

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