This is a common scenario here in the Sunshine State. It’s a hot lazy August day and you head to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. You notice what looks like sawdust or coffee grounds under the window sill or around the door frame. The wood is dry and appears to be in great shape. However, a tough invader might be at work and if left unchecked can cause considerable, expensive damage. The culprit at work here is drywood termites, and unlike their subterranean termite cousins, they don’t retreat to the soil when conditions aren’t favorable. Instead, they have adapted well to dry environments, require very little moisture to survive, have a thicker impermeable cuticle to retain their body moisture, and form their nests and live within their food source.
Why are drywood termites more active in the summer?
Drywood termites are very active in the summer time, when temperature and humidity conditions are optimum. There are two types, the southeastern drywood termite, which swarms between May to November. The swarmers of this species are about 7/16 inches long and usually yellow to light brown and have translucent wings. The western drywood termite is a non-native species that swarms from the end of August to November. It’s important to know which variety you’re dealing with, as southeastern termites typically make larger colonies.
Is the “sawdust” they kick out of their nest wood debris?
Actually, it their excrement. Dry wood termites leave behind six-sided fecal pellets known as frass. It’s their biological way of retaining moisture from their feces, which are removed through very small “kick-out holes,” which can be as small as one to two meters in diameter, making them hard to spot. Frass is typically light tan or black and have no relation to the color of wood they’re consuming. Pest control professionals often test the gritty texture of frass to identify an active drywood termite colony.
Another sign of a drywood colony at work is if the paint or surface of the wood is blistering or warping, which usually indicates an advanced infestation. This occurs because the termites are feeding right under the outer surface of the wood. The good news is that drywood colonies are smaller than subterranean colonies, and can usually be found in fairly localized areas. The bad news is that multiple colonies may be infesting the structure, making it necessary to have the entire home or office checked after the first colony has been found.
Leave drywood termite colony elimination to the pros.
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, drywood termites can be the toughest to get rid of. Treatment of the soil under and around the structure will not protect it from drywood termites. Likewise, baiting systems won’t work either. The best method of removal is direct treatment of the infested lumber and may provide protection if the drywood termites tunnel through the treatment to infest the wood. In some cases, the wood must be replaced altogether. That’s why you should never to treat drywood termite infestations on your own. A licensed termite removal professional like St. Petersburg, Florida-based Regional Termite & Pest Control can help you identify and effectively remove drywood colonies. In fact, they offer free termite inspections so you’ll no exactly what type of termite you’re dealing with and how to stop them.
Serving the greater Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Ocala and their surrounding areas, Regional Termite & Pest Control offers both annual and quarterly pest control services for homes, offices, hotels, restaurants, retail shops, and health care practices to name a few.