Dealing With Drywood Termites
Drywood termites pose rather different problems than the much more common subterranean termites. Drywood termites can cause extensive damage to any wooden structure, although the damage progression rate is a lot slower. Unlike subterranean termites that live underground and need moist conditions to survive, drywood termites feed on wood that is located above the ground and dry. If the infestations are left untreated, wooden structures can be harmed to the point where they may not be able to be repaired.
Inspecting for drywood termites
The first step when dealing with drywood termites is to confirm that you indeed have an infestation. This can be done by examining the area for their frass or fecal pellets. These pellets are cast out of the colony, so large piles can often be spotted near infested areas. You will be able to identify them by recognizing their appearance which resembles dark and rough grains of salt or sawdust. You might also want an exterminator take a look at your wooden structure to make an assessment as to whether or not you have drywood termites.
Treating drywood termite problems can be easier than with subterranean termites (if the nest is just a single one and is confined to a piece of wood or small structure). This is due to the fact that each colony consists of relatively few number of termites. But if there are multiple nests and the infestation is heavy, then it may be even harder to treat compared to subterranean termites, mainly because drywood termites do not respond to bait like subterranean termites do.
If you have determined that you do in fact have drywood termites, you may want to obtain the assistance of a professional exterminator. He or she will most likely recommend that you have the home fumigated if you have a large infestation or multiple infestations in progress. The whole fumigation process typically takes 24 to 48 hours to complete, requires a bit of prep work in advance, but kills a large number of pests all at one time.
In the event that you do not have a widely spread infestation, an exterminator may recommend spot-treating certain areas, rather than fumigating the whole home. Spot treatments, or localized treatments, typically involve injecting pesticides into the areas of the wood that have been affected, or where termite colonies have been spotted.
Another form of drywood termite treatment that is gaining a bit of popularity is heat treatment. Heat treatments start off much the same way fumigation does, with the tenting of the home, however instead of poisonous gas being pumped in, hot air is injected. The use of extreme heat kills termites quite quickly, but because no form of pesticide is used, the termites can return sooner than with other treatments.
Another type of drywood treatment method is all natural and involves using certain plant oils, like orange oil. Because there is no type of harmful pesticide used, people and pets are not in any danger and can remain in the home during and after treatment. These types of treatments can be easily done by any homeowner, and simply involve treating the wood affected directly with the citrus product. Besides orange oil, another plant oil that has been claimed to work on drywood termites is neem tree oil.