Drywood termites are the most difficult termites to eliminate. Detecting the infestation is also a tough task.
In this guide, you’ll find out how drywood termite infestation in your home begins.
In other words, how drywood termites enter your home. You’ll also learn to spot the five signs of drywood termite infestations in the house that many homeowners fail to notice.
Many homeowners ignore these signs. That causes the infestation to spread, which leads to heavy expenditure on treatment and damage repair.
You’ll also find out why hiring a pest controller is the best way to get rid of drywood termites in the house.
What Are Drywood Termites?
The termites that infest hard and dry wood by flying inside your home are drywood termites. Unlike most termites, drywood termites don’t need dampness in the wood to infest wood.
Like the dampwood termites, the drywood termites nest in the wood. They don’t nest in the soil like subterranean termites.
Drywood termites also don’t need to maintain contact with the soil to attack a home.
In nature, drywood termites would nest in dead trees.
Drywood termites grow between ¼ and 1 inch in size. Their waists are thicker than the subterranean termites. Drywood termites have six legs, and their body color is white or light brown.
The swarmer drywood termites have a pair of wings. All the wings are of equal length.
Drywood termites will lose their wings before they drill into the wooden structure.
The most common areas where drywood termites are active are southern California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
Here’s How Drywood Termites Enter Your Home
Drywood termites invade homes in swarms. Drywood termite swarms will directly get inside your home through open windows and vent-less openings like the ones in the attic.
The swarmers are winged termites. They’re also known as alates or reproductive termites.
Drywood termite swarms occur in the summer and fall months. The alates leave their current colonies to search for new structures to invade.
Drywood termites don’t attack homes from underground. Subterranean termites and Formosan termites do that.
Drywood termites don’t even build their nests in the soil. They will nest inside the wooden structure.
The swarmers, or alates, will fly inside your home through open doors and windows.
After entering, they’ll mate and lose their wings. During the process, many males die.
The females, and a few males, drill into the wooden structures of the house after losing their wings. And they start to build their colonies inside the wood.
As drywood termites fly inside the house, they target the upper areas of your home.
So, the most common places where drywood termites will start building their colonies are not your furniture or wooden floor. Those places are wooden ceilings, the higher end of the structural lumber, like beams and joists, roofs, and shingles.
Light from your home attracts the drywood termite swarms to fly inside your home. So, it’s during the evening hours the attack takes place.
However, drywood termite swarms can also invade homes during the day.
Many drywood termites don’t even enter your home.
They can directly attack the wooden structure at the exterior of your house. That’s how drywood termites can sneak inside the roofs and singles without entering the house.
5 Signs Of Drywood Termites Infestation
- Fecal pellets
- Tiny holes in the wood
- Broken wings
- Dead drywood termites
- Cracks on the wooden structure
These are the five signs of drywood termites in your home and property. However, these signs can be hard to detect and can take months to show up.
The reason is drywood termites don’t invade homes in large numbers. Even during the case of severe drywood termite infestation, the number of drywood termites can be lesser than 1000 termites.
Second, drywood termites don’t build mud tubes on the infested wood. Subterranean termites do that by mixing their feces and saliva. Subterranean termites create those mud tubes to travel from one food source to another.
Drywood termites will build tunnels inside the infested wood. And there’s no way that you can detect it from the outside.
So, many homeowners detect the presence of drywood termites when they’re doing some home revamp work.
However, these four signs can be noticeable if you don’t ignore them. Let’s dive deep into these five signs to find out what they look like.
Drywood Termite Fecal Pellets
Fecal pellets are the droppings or feces of drywood termites. The droppings are also known as termite frass.
You’ll notice these fecal pellets on the floor. Drywood termite fecal pellets look like brown particles of dry mud. So, many homeowners ignore them.
But you must not if you see the fecal pellets on your home’s floor or at the base of a wooden structure.
You’ll need a magnifying glass to ascertain if the fecal pellets belong to drywood termites.
The drywood termite droppings are elongated hexagonal with curvy edges. There are also vertical ridges running across the surface of the pellets.
The drywood termite droppings don’t look like fine sawdust.
If you see fine saw dust right at the base of a wooden structure, it can be a sign of a wood-boring beetle, like the Powderpost beetle, or carpenter ants in the structure.
Tiny Holes On The Wooden Structure
The tiny holes in the wood are the eviction points of the termite droppings. Drywood termites will create these holes inside the wood to push out their fecal pellets.
These tiny eviction holes are less than 2mm in diameter. And they look like small pin holes in the wood.
However, there’s also one more use for these holes.
The drywood termite swarmers, or the alates, will also use these holes to leave their colonies.
These holes will also act as an exit route for the alates to swarm during the summer and fall.
Broken Shed Wings
Termite swarmers of all species will shed their wings moments before they mate and drill inside the wood.
Flying ants will also do the same.
Sightings of broken wings on the home’s floor, window sills, and on the outdoors of your property are clear signs of termite invasion.
Dead Winged Drywood Termites
You’ll also notice dead drywood termites along with broken wings. Most of these dead termites are male termites that died and couldn’t make it inside the wood.
Only a few males could mate with female-winged drywood termites. And many of the males that can’t breed, die.
The female drywood termites drill into the wood and start building tunnels inside the wood and lay eggs.
That’s how a drywood termite infestation in the home begins.
Cracks On The Wooden Structure
The cracks on the wooden structure take months to show up. Many homeowners come across these cracks on the joists, beams, ceilings, and roof sheathing when doing some renovation work in their homes.
In addition to the cracks, the wood also sounds hollow when you tap on it.
The wood turns hollow because of excessive feeding by the drywood termites from the inside.
That causes cracks in the wood, and the paint on the wood also starts to peel off.
Do Termites Spread From House To House
Indeed they do. Termites can spread from house to house.
So much so that experts always recommend home buyers to check for history of termite, and bed bugs, infestation in the neighborhood.
Both subterranean termites and drywood termites can spread from one house to another.
Drywood termites travel in swarms. And when they leave your neighbor’s home in swarms, they don’t have any reason to ignore your home for starting a new termite colony.
Termites’ ability to spread in multiple homes either from underground or in swarms is one of the ways how termites get into your house.
What Attracts Drywood Termite Swarms To Your Home
Though the winged drywood termites will invade homes randomly in swarms, light from your home attracts drywood termite swarms.
Light coming out of your home during evening hours will surely draw these termites to your home.
How To Stop Termite Swarms From Invading Your Home
There are certain cheap steps that you can take right now to stop termite swarms from infesting your home.
These products will save you a fortune in termite treatment and home repair.
Bug zappers should be an integral element of your home’s outdoors. A bug zapper emits light but it kills the flying termites that land on them.
Not just flying termites, bug zappers also kill flying ants, mosquitoes, and any flying bug that can invade your home.
So, it’d be best if you install a bug zapper in your yard and on the patio.
Light from bulbs attracts flying termites and many other bugs.
But there are certain bulbs that don’t. Mercury bulbs are one of them.
Installing these bulbs near windows, doors, patio, near swimming pools, and in the garage will significantly reduce the chances of any winged termites flying into your home.
Window screens are a great addition to your windows to stop any type of flying bugs entering your home.
They’re really worth their money after rains when many flying bugs become active.
Install window screens with fine mesh on the windows of your kitchen, bathroom, and on the windows that are facing your yard.
That’ll stop the termite swarms from flying into your home.
The Best To Way To Get Rid Of Drywood Termites
Do not use DIY ways to eliminate drywood termites inside your house or on your property. They don’t work.
You must hire a professional pest controller to do the job.
Existing drywood termite infestation is tough to detect. And eliminating drywood termites will need a proper examination of the home and zeroing in on places where there are drywood termites.
That might need removing things like drywalls and drilling on the wood.
These processes need expert hands and minds.
Also, treating drywood termites is a complex job. The entire home, or the whole structure, needs treatment for the complete removal of drywood termites.
Most of the time, the treatment is a mixture of fumigation, heat, and pesticide sprays on selected areas of your home.
So, if you notice drywood termites in your home or property, immediately call a professional pest control company for an inspection.
Dr. Thomas Orbert, the Microbial Maestro, dances with the tiniest of creatures as an entomologist extraordinaire! With a PhD in entomology, his passion lies in unraveling the secret symphonies of insect-microbe interactions. From minuscule marvels to captivating complexities, Dr. Orbert unveils the hidden world of bugs, igniting curiosity one buzz at a time!