In nature drywood termites attack dead dry branches and trees. They digest the wood and return useful substances into the soil. But living near people, they penetrate also buildings through wood elements if they are less than 60 cm high from the ground.
Winged alates may wedge into tiny cracks in wood trim, door and window frames. Then they start making tunnels. They literary pierce the wood with galleries and chambers, leaving a thin wooden surface that contact with the air. As a result, furniture may have a frame, which is powdered from a light touching. After a few years of termite damage activity, the roof and walls may completely collapse.
Termite infestation evidence
Wings. Dropped wings on the window-sills may be an evidence of house infestation with termites. Most drywood termites can’t fly. But there is a special caste, called alates, which have a very important mission – to find a place for a new colony. The Queen lays thousands of eggs every day, but not all of them are alates. This kind of termites appears when the colony is big enough and exists at least 3 years. Winged termites leave the nest in wet warm season. They need wings for mostly gliding through the wind because they are not very good at flying. Having flown about 50 meters, the termites gather in pairs and discard the wings.
If you look at the wings, you will notice that they are all of the same size and lengths. Winged alates are very vulnerable and became a nice food for birds and some termite-eating animals. Most of the alates die. If there is no wind the flying termites reach illuminated windows, intense light sources. And that is a good idea for killing them. Install biting lights around the house. The light will attract the termites and the electricity will kill them. Discarted wings are not necessarily the sign that your house is already infected by drywood termites. They may appear in your yard from anywhere. Take good preventive measures and the termites will have no chance to settle in your property. But if you have seen swarming alates inside the house – that is a direct indication that you share your house with unwelcomed guests.
Termite frass. Drywood termites live inside wood constructions, including beams, furniture and wood floors. They are practically invisible because they feed on the timber they live in. Drywood termites are very cautious insects and perfectly hide their presence. But they have to get rid of their droppings which they don’t need. For this purpose, they make little kick holes in the wood and throw away everything unwanted through them. As a result, the housekeeper may notice scattered piles of tiny termite pellets of tan color under the infested wood section.
Holes and tunnels in the wood. Take a thorough look at the wood damage. To find the infested section, get armed with a screwdriver. Then tap it on the wood construction. Hollow sound may need more proper examination. If you suspect termites infestation in your house, try to cut out a piece of wood in this place. Different types of termites leave different evidence of damage. Subterranean termites chew the soft wood along the grain. After their activity, there are distinctive signs that remind combs. It is very important to stop subterranean termites immediately after you notice their markings. Drywood termites chew through large chambers both along and against the grain. The damage done by this type of termites look rather serious, but they are not as dangerous and gluttonous as subterranean. The largest colonies usually have about some thousands of species, and they annually eat up to 250 grams of wood.
Drywood termites: effective control and treatments
Damaged wood must be treated by specialized insecticides for termites.
Boric acid is one of the best treatment options against termites. It depresses and dehydrates the insects leading to their painful death. Apply boric acid powder on wood surface or make little baits from it. Then place these baits either inside the termite nest or close to your house. Check the baits regularly and add more boric acid.
Gassing is also good treatment often used when fighting against termites. The poisonous substance is hydrocyanic acid or bisulfide carbon. But there is a rule forbidding gasing the premises with food enterprises and product warehouses. First of all the premises must be free of people and foodstuff. After this, space is carefully pressurized: big holes are caulked with alabaster matrice and stuck with wide dense paper. All vents are properly sealed. Space is gased by fireless cartridges or dispersed by chloropicrin. Leave the premises for 5 days unused. At the end of this termite treatments aerate the room. Don’t forget to seal the holes make by termites with an alabaster dissolve.
How to prevent and control termite infestation in the house?
- Your house should stand on a high foundation without any contact of wood construction with the ground.
- Create a safe zone around your house with the help of a furrow (depth and width at least 1 meter). Fill the furrow with sand medicated with insecticide.
- Keep firewood and wood boards far from your house as they may attract termites.
- Termites don’t like some timber species, like cedar and redwood. They will fly your house by.
- For drywood termites control, you can use little warms – nematodes. They are natural termites’ enemies, parasites because nematodes lay eggs in termites’ bodies. Hatched larvae feed on termites. Nematodes are afraid of ultra-violet rays. That is why, it will be better to use them in the evening or early in the morning.
As we see, termites are rather active pests and can cause great damage to the premises. The housekeeper should use all necessary treatment for termites to prevent their appearance inside the house. If they have already settled in, take elimination measures as soon as possible.
My husband and I have been looking at buying a new home, and are looking for something with more of historic charm. We know that when purchasing a home, you can risk paying more in the upkeep of the home. The one thing we are really concerned about are termites as they can eat away at the foundation of the home. That is smart to look for dropped termite wings as a sign and we will be keeping an eye out as we look at homes. Thanks for the tips!