drywood termite yellownecked

Many termite species are known for being home invaders, including subterranean termite, drywood termite, and dampwood termite. One way that they can be distinguished is through their swarming activity. And during late spring and summer months, the most active species are the drywood and dampwood termites. 

But what else are the differences between drywood termites and dampwood termites? While both are considered wood termites, the drywood termites thrive in humid environments and enter homes through cracks and holes in structural wood. Meanwhile, dampwood termites are drawn to high moisture environments and are usually found in areas with leaks or wet surroundings. They can also be differentiated by their physical features and infestation habits. 

Dampwood vs Drywood Termites 

Termites are always on the move looking for new places with plenty of food sources. They mainly get their nutrition from anything with cellulose such as plants, wood, paper, and even decaying barks and leaves on the ground (mulch). If these food sources are abundant within your property, termites will likely be attracted to your home and establish a colony.

But unlike its Eastern subterranean termite and Formosan termite counterparts, both dampwood and drywood termites don’t necessarily need contact with soil or ground to survive. To better identify them from other termite types, here are their main unique characteristics: 

1. Appearance 

Dampwood Termite: Dampwood termites tend to have larger sizes compared to drywood and subterranean species. Their swarmers (winged termites) can measure as long as 25 mm and soldier termites can be as wide as 20 mm. They are usually light to dark brown, with streaks of yellow or red in their body. They also have a huge head with mandibles on the front which they use to munch on wood. 

They are typically found in western states like California, Montana Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The common species of dampwood termites include Desert dampwood termite, Nevada dampwood termite, Florida dampwood termite, and Pacific dampwood termite.

Drywood Termite: Dry wood termites are smaller and have slimmer bodies. A drywood reproductive termite can only grow up to 11 mm while soldiers can reach as long as 12 mm. They have an elongated and narrow body that is usually oval and appear white or light brown. A drywood swarmer is closely similar to a flying carpenter ant but can be distinguished with its straight antenna and wings with distinct vein patterns.  

Drywood species such as Western drywood termite and Southeastern drywood termite are common among households in the southern states such as in South Carolina and Texas to coastal areas of California. 

2. Nesting Habits and Behaviors 

Dampwood Termite: They like to build their termite colony in decaying, damp wood since they need moisture and regular contact with water to survive. Indoor areas which are prone to water leaks, plumbing problems, and drainage spouts can attract damp wood termites. They can also be found outdoors near old trees, excess piles of moist wood, mulch, and fence posts. Gutters filled with leaves can retain moisture and present an attractive environment for these termites. 

A dampwood termite colony can contain up to 2,700 termite members. Since they are social insects, their colonies consist of castes which include the nymph termites (who function as the worker termites), reproductive termites (kings and queens), and soldiers who protect their nest. The months of January and October are typically when the dampwood winged swarmers fly and build their new colonies. 

Drywood Termite: The majority of drywood termites do not require water to survive. They commonly feed on cellulose from wooden structures and objects in homes. Their colonies can be found in dry hidden areas in attics, backboards, window frames, and even surrounding wooden furniture. 

The peak season for its winged termite is usually in late spring and summer. They can build multiple colonies in the infested wood and can contain up to 10,000 termite members. The amount of swarming termites (alates) that are produced depends on the size of the colony. Usually, there are about 100 drywood swarmers that take flight during their swarming season

3. Infestation Signs 

Dampwood Termite: They don’t particularly pose devastating wood damage to homes since dampwood termites don’t infest on wood unless they’re decaying or near moist surroundings. They do like to eat on natural wood grain and can excrete termite droppings or fecal pellets as signs of dampwood infestations. 

Another evidence of dampwood termite infestation is the presence of discarded wings which they shed after a swarm. They can be found in window sills, countertops, floors, and even cobwebs. 

Drywood Termite: Frass (fecal pellets) is one of the common drywood termite infestation signs. They like to create small holes in the wood they are inhabiting and usually push out their droppings through these exit holes. Its frass may appear grainy in texture with the same color of the wood they are nesting in. There’s also potential for big wood damage since drywood termites munch at their structures until they are hollow inside. They also leave behind wings after a swarm activity. 

What Happens If You Don’t Treat Termite Infestations Immediately? 

drywood termite damaged wood

Termites are one of the common household pest problems in the United States. When left untreated, they can cause significant structural damage to the foundation of the home. About 600,000 homes are affected by termite infestation annually and an estimated total of $5 billion is reported to be spent by residents for control and termite damage repair. 

The main culprit for most damaged wood and property is drywood termites. They’re more destructive compared to dampwood termites as they can eat at almost any wooden structure and break down their structural components and support beams until they become weak and collapse. They can also affect wood floorings and carpetings and ruin the appearance of walls and ceilings. 

Tips for Termite Control at Home 

Fortunately, most damaged woods can be easily remedied by replacing them with new wood materials or adding support to the ruined structure. There are also preventive measures that can be done to keep termites away from the indoors such as: 

  • Check roofs, drain pipes, air conditioner units for leaks to avoid accumulating high moisture content that can attract dampwood termites. 
  • Store excess piles of firewood at least 20 feet away from the home to prevent drywood termites.
  • There should also be a gap between your home and ground soil to avoid termites (particularly subterranean termite infestation) from entering through gaps and cracks from the outside. 
  • Do thorough inspections annually to check for any presence of mud tubes or holes in wood structures. 
  • Install termite screens or mesh along possible entry areas so termites cannot easily penetrate the home. 

Consulting with pest control professionals can also help in preventing advanced termite infestation. Depending on the degree of termite infestation, they can suggest liquid termiticides (a type of barrier applied within the home to block termites from entering), termite bait stations (lures out worker termites to ingest food with toxins), and tent fumigations (spraying a chemical gas within the property) to manage the termite problem. 

Solve Termite Infestation Problem with Pinnacle Pest Control 

While many distinct qualities set drywood and dampwood termites apart from each other, there’s no doubt that they are sources of distress for many homeowners. It’s important to first identify the type of termites present in your home so you can choose the appropriate termite treatment to eliminate them for good. 

Our team of experts at Pinnacle Pest Control can lead inspections of your property to determine the most effective solutions to your termite problem. We utilize the latest technology in pest control and offer quality products to get rid of any insects, termites, and bugs. Call us today and let’s discuss how we can make your home termite-free.  

A dead termite

Drywood termites are the second most destructive household pests, closely following the subterranean termite. They’re almost hard to detect because they inhabit deep inside wooden structures and can cause significant termite damage in the long run. 

So what measures can help avoid uncontrollable drywood termite activity at home? Since drywood termites are more attracted to wood than any other termite type, it helps to keep any scrap of firewood or dry wood away from the indoors. Secure any holes or gaps and put up screen vents since they can fly in through openings in windows and ducts. Putting up preventive termite barriers such as baits and liquid chemicals can also keep them away from your territory. 

Preventing and Controlling Drywood Termites 

The drywood termite is a silent killer among households and commercial buildings. Unlike subterranean and dampwood termites, they do not require contact with soil and water to live hence they can exist for years without being detected inside infested wood. By the time they are discovered, the damage is already too extensive and requires immediate repair. 

Factors such as extra piles of wood, drainage and roof leaks, garden mulch and dead trees, and other sources of cellulose can draw termites near your home. It’s important to do routine inspections to clear out anything that can attract them and check entry points to prevent termite activity. In addition, there are simple termite prevention tips to avoid inviting termite attack indoors: 

  • Seal cracks and crevices where termites fly their way in: Termites are small insects and they can easily make their way indoors through tiny holes and gaps in windows or doors. It’s best to secure any openings by installing screens that will block their entry. You can use a termite mesh which is stainless steel with small holes that termites cannot penetrate.
  • Avoid storing firewood inside the home: Drywood termites love to feast on wood so it’s recommended to keep any excess piles of scrap wood or firewood at least 20 feet away from the property. For houses with wooden structures such as debris, patios, fences, there should be no wood-to-ground contact to fend off any termites from crawling their way inside. 
  • Protect wood structure and furnitures: A treated wood which has been applied with liquid treatments can ward off termites. Most anti-termite treatment solutions contain chemicals such as borate and are sprayed over the wooden furniture and fixtures to avoid decay. The borate spray is an effective repellent that seeps into the wood and keeps termites from going near them.
  • Dispose of any damaged wood or antique pieces: Old and damaged pieces of furniture are also attractive for drywood termites. To minimize risks for drywood termite infestation, declutter and remove any antique objects to avoid giving termites a possible home. You can also clean up any cellulose-rich materials such as papers and cardboards which can invite other types of pests and termites.
  • Turn off lights at night: Flying termites (swarmers) are attracted to light sources. A drywood termite swarm is commonly seen converging near light bulbs and lamps during their flight. As much as possible, turn off lights at night and keep windows and curtains closed to avoid attracting them. You can replace porch and floor lights with insect-resistant yellow bulbs which are great at repelling winged termites and flying ants. 

Treatments to Get Rid of Drywood Termites 

Enlisting help from a professional termite control team always helps in identifying the termite problem before it’s too late. Depending on the extent of infestation and damage, they can suggest different methods for termite control and extermination. The common ways to get rid of drywood termites are: 

1. Spot treatment 

Spot treatment deals with the termite problem at its core: the colony. This process requires a thorough inspection to pinpoint where most of the termites are active. It works by drilling holes into the infested wood until you hit its nest. The area will then be filled with a strong termiticide to kill the termites. Fecal pellets, or termite droppings, can help in searching for the location of a drywood termite colony.  

2. Orange Oil 

Orange oil is extracted from orange peels and it is an ingredient commonly found in cleaning solutions, soaps, perfumes, and food additive products. The oil contains a chemical called d-limonene which is an active substance that can kill termites by dissolving their exoskeletons until they are dried out and out of proteins which results in their death. 

The drywood termite treatment of orange oil must be sprayed directly onto the area where they live. It can also be used as a preventive measure by regularly applying them on wooden furniture and exposed surfaces to repel termites. 

3. Tent fumigation

Another effective technique for drywood termite control is fumigation or tenting. It’s a complex method that requires to be performed by a team of pest control experts. The process involves covering the house with a tarp or tent before releasing the fumigant or chemical gas onto the property. 

The fumigant will penetrate through the cracks between the structures and reach the places deep inside the wood where termites are residing. The toxic gas will affect the nervous system of the termites, slowly exhausting their oxygen until they die. Tent fumigation usually requires residents to be out of the vicinity of their house when the gas is released since it can be harmful. 

4. Bait stations 

Termite bait, or termite trap, is another effective treatment for household termites. They usually contain cellulose-rich food mixed with toxic insecticide substances. It controls infestation by luring out the worker termite to get the food bait and sharing them with the rest of the colony. It’s a slow-acting solution but they can successfully wipe out an entire nest of termites especially when located along their trails and in areas with high termite activity.

Commercial baits are easily available at any supermarket or convenience store. You can also make your homemade termite trap with cardboard. To create a cardboard trap, you need two pieces of wet cardboard where you will place a cellulose ingredient to attract the termites. Ideally, they will get caught between the cardboard and you will need to burn the trap outside to kill the termites.

Read more: How Does Termite Bait Work?

5. Boric acid 

Boric acid is derived from the mineral borax which is an active ingredient found in most household cleaning products and detergent solutions. It’s a natural termiticide that works the same as orange oil where it targets the nervous system and exoskeletons of termites. It’s generally available in powder form and you can use it for baits or dilute it with water to make a termite spray.

Identifying Drywood Termites From Other Termite Species

termite nest

The common types of termites known to invade households are subterranean termite, drywood termite, and dampwood termite. Subterranean termites are popular wood-destroying insects that live underground in the soil surrounding the home. They can infest the property’s structural foundation and cause great damage since they have sharp jaws. Like drywood termites, they can nibble on wood until it weakens its support beam, increasing chances for collapse. 

The most obvious sign of subterranean termite infestation is the presence of mud tubes. Soil treatment with termiticide is the most effective solution for controlling subterranean termite damage. The common subterranean species are Eastern subterranean termite, Western subterranean termite, and Formosan termite. They usually swarm during the spring and summer months. 

Meanwhile, dampwood termites thrive in high moisture environments and prefer feeding on decaying wood. If your home is prone to leakages and drainage spouts, there is a high chance of dampwood termite infestation. Their termite swarms are most active during the summer months. 

When it comes to dampwood and dry wood termites, the presence of frass is one of the telltale signs of their activity. Discarded wings of flying termites, hollow-sounding wood, and clicking sounds inside the walls are also indicative of drywood termite activity. 

Learn more: What’s the Difference Between Dampwood Termites and Drywood Termites?

The swarming season for drywood termites is during the late summer to fall months. Flying drywood termites can be easily mistaken for flying carpenter ants since they swarm at the same time. To differentiate them, termite swarmers have equal size wings and straight antennae while flying ants have wings that are unequal and have crooked antennas.  

Manage Termite Problems with Pinnacle Pest Control 

Drywood termites can be prevented by sealing any entry points and keeping the home free of food sources and wood materials that can attract them. And with the guidance of a pest control company, they can recommend a suitable treatment option to eliminate them and keep your home termite-free. 

At Pinnacle Pest Control, we offer quality products and services that are guaranteed to help control your termite problem. We equip our teams with the latest technology and knowledge in pest management so we can effectively get rid of termites and stop future re-infestations. Contact us now to schedule a termite inspection of your property. 

Termite tunnel

Uncontrolled termites infestation brings several problems to homeowners and causes great property damage that often amounts to thousands of dollars in repair. Knowing the signs of termite activity can help in preventing extensive termite problems to the home. And one of the termite species that households should be on the lookout for is drywood termites. 

So what are the common warning signs of active drywood termite infestation? Drywood termites thrive in dry wood structures and surfaces. They produce piles of termite droppings (frass) that accumulate outside the entrance to their colony. Discarded wings of flying termites, hollow and damaged wood, as well as clicking noises within walls are also indicative of drywood termite activity. 

What Does Active vs Non-Active Infestation Mean? 

Regardless of its termite species, if you see fresh mounds of termite frass, reappearing blisters or mud tubes on wood surfaces, and squeaky floorboards, it can mean an active termite infestation in your home. An active infestation means that live termites and pests are living and currently infesting your property. 

Meanwhile, an inactive infestation pertains to a previous infestation that has already been dealt with. There is no more visible evidence of live termites since they have already been exterminated with pest control treatments. For example, dry and empty mud tubes (for subterranean termites) can mean non-active termite infestation. 

Upon declaring the status of inactive infestation, homeowners can generally proceed with repairs and it is advised to put up preventive measures to avoid reinfestation. 

How to Tell If Drywood Termites Are Active  

Not all termite infestation signs are the same, especially since each termite species have unique characteristics and swarm in different seasons. The swarming season for drywood termites is during late spring to summer and early fall months. 

Drywood termites are among the most destructive termite species together with formosan termite, dampwood termite, and subterranean termite. Detecting a possible drywood termite infestation is easy when you know the following signs: 

1. Fecal pellets (termite feces or frass) 

Drywood termites have a habit of chewing across the infested wood they are living in. Once they find a suitable location for their colony, they begin creating tunnels or galleries which serve as their pathway. Often, there will be a presence of small exit holes or “kick holes” in the walls where they will enter and exit whenever leaving their colony. 

Unlike subterranean termites that use fecal pellets to build their mud tubes, drywood termite dropping is excreted through the exit holes. They prefer to have their galleries clean so they push out the frass and let them accumulate outside their nests. Most of the time, drywood termite pellets appear sawdust-like and grainy in texture and present as small droppings with the same color of the wood that termites are living in. 

2. Discarded wings 

Wings from flying termites known as swarmers or alates are another telling sign of drywood termite infestation. These winged termites are the reproductive termites (king and queen) of a colony who are in charge of leaving the nest and creating new colonies to expand their population. 

This typically happens during a termite swarm season where the alates take flight for a few seconds to find their partners before landing and searching for a new location. Swarming termites shed their wings as soon as they have a partner and begin their reproduction in the new colony. 

These swarmers may often be confused with flying ants (carpenter ant) who are also active at the same time of the year. To differentiate them, termite swarmers have equal size wings that are creamy-white and almost transparent in color; while flying ants have wings that are disproportionate and have reddish-brown hues. Flying termites also have straight antennae and thick waists, whereas carpenter ants have crooked antennae and narrow waists. 

3. Damaged wood 

Drywood termites do not require water or soil to survive, unlike other termite counterparts. They can thrive in humid environments and get their nutrition from cellulose inside the dry wood. Because of this, they can aggressively chomp on wood, making their insides hollow and empty and leaving only a thin layer of the surface. 

One way to find out termite wood damage is by knocking on the surface of the wood. When it creates a hollow and dull sound, it can mean that termites have consumed all of the timber inside. Another infestation sign is the presence of burrows or termite galleries which are the tunnels that termites usually create. 

It can be difficult to detect them from the outside so it usually requires breaking a piece of the wood to see the termite galleries. Drywood termite tunnels are usually clean so any presence of frass or mud along the trail is a sign of subterranean termite infestation. 

4. Noises within walls

If you listen closely, you might be able to hear soft clicking sounds coming from inside the walls. These noises belong to the worker termites who are loud eaters and can create quite a ruckus as they munch on the woods. Soldier termites are also known to do “head-bang” which is usually their warning signal to the rest of the colony. When they sense potential danger or threats in their surroundings, the soldiers hit their heads against the walls of the tunnels. 

5. Hard to open and close windows and doors 

Some windows and doors may also become difficult to open or close. When termites chew on the wood, the galleries they create can build moisture inside which can distort the fixture and make it challenging to push close, or pull open the windows and doors. 

Identifying Drywood Termites: What They Look Like and How They Behave 

drywood termite yellownecked

Drywood termites are rampant in areas with high levels of humidity. They are largely located in coastal areas in South Carolina to Texas and up to California. Western drywood termite and Southeastern drywood termite are among the common species of the drywood family. 

The average size of a drywood termite is between ⅜ inch to 1 inch long. They are typically long, narrow, and oval. They appear white or light brown and have short legs, a thick waist, and a straight antenna. Drywood termite swarmers have distinct sets of wings that have well-pigmented venation on the front wings. 

Drywood termites can be hard to detect since they primarily reside in the interiors of the wood. They can infiltrate households through exposed cracks and gaps in any structural wood. Since they can survive without soil, a drywood termite colony can be located in areas above the ground such as attics, backboards, and soffit areas. 

Read more: How Do Termites Get Into Your House? Your Guide To Termite-Free Living

Having a thorough termite inspection can help in searching for droppings and termite exit holes to determine possible locations of their colony. While it can take years of undetected termite problem to bring down a house or commercial building, the termite damage can still ruin pieces of wooden furniture, floorings, window frames, and doors when left unmanaged. 

Getting Rid of Drywood Termites  

There are many commercial pest control treatments available to manage termite infestation at home. One of the most common methods is liquid termite treatment which acts as a barrier that blocks termites from entering the home. Most liquid termiticides have strong chemicals that repel and kill termites almost instantly. However, this requires help from a pest control expert to set up the trench and apply the chemical around the property. 

Another effective treatment to get rid of termites are bait stations. Termite baits contain any cellulose-rich food mixed with toxic insecticide substances (such as boric acid). They work by luring out the worker termites to pick up the bait and share them with the rest of the colony. Baits are a slow-acting treatment but they can successfully kill an entire colony when strategically located in areas with high infestations. 

Fumigation, or tenting, is also considered an option for termite killing. It’s usually done by a team of pest management professionals where they release a fumigant or chemical gas over the property to eliminate termites. This method requires residents to be out of the vicinity of their house when the gas is released since it can be dangerous to their health. 

Preventive Management of Termites at Home 

Year-round termite prevention is also important to manage the infestation at home. Some of the useful preventive measures that can help keep termites from entering the house are: 

  • Avoid drywood termites by putting excess piles or blocks of firewood at least 20 feet away from the home. 
  • Seal any cracks or small holes where termites can enter from the outside. Termite screens or mesh can be installed in possible entry areas so they cannot easily penetrate the home. 
  • Routinely check for leakages in roofs, drain pipes, faucets, and even air conditioner units to avoid accumulating moisture that can attract dampwood termites. 
  • Make sure that any mulch or plants are not placed too close to the property so they will not grow against the wooden surfaces and invite termites inside. 

Get Expert Help with Termites at Pinnacle Pest Control 

Drywood termite activity can easily be recognized when you know its common infestation signs which include termite frass, shedded wings, wood damage, and clicking sounds within the walls. Once you have pinpointed the possible areas where they have infested, you can now enlist the help of an expert pest control team to get rid of the termites for good. 

We, at Pinnacle Pest Control, are committed to providing professional pest and termite control solutions to your homes. Our team is trained and knowledgeable in the latest technology for exterminating all kinds of pests, termites, and even rodents that infest your property. Call us today and learn more about our services and products. 

swarming termites

Drywood termites are one of the most common termite species that invade homes and properties. Unlike its subterranean termite and dampwood termite counterparts, they thrive in humid environments and like to infest dry woods where they build their colonies until it is time for them to swarm and look for a new home. 

So when do drywood termites swarm and build new nests? The swarming season for drywood termites varies depending on their type. Southeastern drywood and West Indian drywood termites often take flights during spring, while Desert drywood and Western drywood termites swarm during the late summer to the beginning of fall. 

A Guide to Drywood Termite Swarming Season 

One of the most important warning signs of termite infestation is the presence of a termite swarm inside the home. Termite swarms describe the means of survival of termites where they reproduce and establish new colonies near their desired food sources. For drywood termites, their main food source is cellulose in wood. 

A termite colony of drywood termites consists of approximately 4,800 termites. It usually contains soldier termites who protect the nest and worker termites who are in charge of foraging for food for the entire termite family, including the king and queen. Once a drywood termite colony has matured, termite alates (swarming termites) are produced and they are responsible for scouting for potential places to create new colonies. 

A drywood swarmer termite can be distinguished with its wings that have very distinct patterns of veins appearing in the front set of wings. During drywood termite swarm season, flying termites leave the colony to take charge of multiplying and sustaining their population by establishing new nests. Upon finding a new home, swarmers easily shed their wings to leave behind evidence of their activity. 

What Time of the Year Do Drywood Termites Appear? 

The majority of drywood swarming termite are present in the summer where the dry weather conditions are favorable for their activity. However, the particular species of West Indian drywood and Southeastern drywood termites prefer to swarm at night from the late spring to summer months. Meanwhile, Desert drywood and Western drywood termite swarmers are more active in the mid-day of late summer and early fall months. 

A typical termite swarm activity may last within 30 to 40 minutes where they will exit through small holes in walls and wooden structures. They are drawn to light sources and usually fly toward light bulbs and lamps. Swarmers include male and female winged termites who pair up to mate and search for a new place to build their colonies where they can populate. 

How Drywood Termites Swarm 

When a colony reaches the maximum capacity of termites, it can be difficult to sustain its nest and there is a need to expand its species. This is where a termite swarmer comes in. Also known as reproductive termites, the main role of the alates is to reproduce and form new colonies for their population to live in. The swarming season usually takes place once a year. 

To begin the swarming process, the termites prepare a tube or launch site where they will take off for their flight. The swarm launches begin when the environment and weather conditions are all met. Once ready, the swarmers will use the tube to fly into the air where they will stay for a few seconds until landing and shedding their wings to find a partner. 

Not all termite alates are successful in mating and starting a new colony. Some pairs of swarmers die within a day or few hours because of different factors such as dehydration and insect predators that can attack them as they fly. 

Surviving pairs of swarmers then construct their nests where the future king and queen of the colony will mate and hatch eggs. These eggs will turn into larvae which will be taken care of by the king and queen until they grow to become worker and soldier termites. They will continue their cycle of foraging for food and protecting their colony until it matures and swarming takes place again. 

Signs of Drywood Termite Infestation at Home 

Termite droppings

Unlike worker termites, the winged alates do not have mouths and cannot bite or chew through woods inside homes. Most of the termite damage and evidence of the presence is done by their drywood termite workers. The common signs of drywood termite infestation are: 

  • Presence of frass (fecal pellet)  - Drywood termites like to chew through woods and create small holes where their fecal pellets, or termite droppings, are excreted. They can appear grainy in texture and present as small and elongated with the same color (ranging from tan to light brown and black) of the wood that the termites are nesting in. They usually accumulate into piles just outside of their colony and can sometimes get caught in spider webs.
  • Shedded wings - When settling into their new home, the alates discard their wings near the entry of their new habitat. They can be found in window frames, door corners, and even cobwebs.
  • Wood damage - Termite infestation can also be detected by knocking on the surface of the wood. When it creates a hollow and dull sound, it is a telling sign that the termites have eaten their way inside and created a tunnel for their colonies. You may also break a piece of the wooden structure to view the tunnels or termite galleries that they have created. Occasionally, termite frass may also be found in the openings inside the infested wood.
  • Noises inside the walls - Worker termites are loud eaters and if you listen closely, you can hear the sounds they make as they chew through woods. Soldier termites can also create noises when they “head-bang” or hit their heads on the walls of their tunnels. They do this to warn the colony of potential danger or threats in the environment. 

Everything You Need to Know About Different Termite Seasons 

Termite swarming can generally occur anytime in the year depending on the type of termite species. Since they’re active at any given time, they can also be confused with another type of pest which is the flying ant. 

Flying ants (mostly carpenter ants) and flying termites are similar since they are both winged species. However, flying ants can easily be distinguished since they have crooked antennae and unequal wings size. They can also infest wood but unlike drywood swarmers, they do not chew wood and cannot cause wood damage. 

Types of Swarmers in Different Seasons 

Subterranean termites swarm peak during the spring and summer seasons. Eastern subterranean termite is more common in late March through late July, while Formosan termite (also known as Formosan subterranean termite) usually swarms in late April through June.  

Unlike drywood termites, subterranean termite swarms are most active during the day. The common infestation signs that hint at a subterranean termite colony is mud tubes which can be seen in exposed surfaces and concrete foundations. 

On the other hand, a dampwood termite swarm can be detected during the summer months. Dampwood termites like to build their nests in moist wood surfaces, drain pipes, and areas with roof and water leaks. Like drywood termite swarmer, they also leave behind frass or droppings outside their homes as a sign of their infestation.

What Happens If There Is Swarming At Home 

Drywood termites can enter properties and structures through vents, creaks, exposed cracks, and joints in wood surfaces. If a termite infestation is not treated immediately, it can cause significant damage to the foundation of the home as its main structural components to become weak due to the termites eating their way. 

They can also attack any wooden furniture, tables, chairs, and cabinets, nipping at their structures and breaking them down to the point that they can no longer be used. Termites can be a big problem for both residential homes and commercial properties. Years of undetected termite infestation can eventually bring a structure down, causing homeowners and organizations thousands of dollars for damage repairs. 

Managing and Preventing Termite Problems 

A professional pest control expert doing termite inspection

Upon discovering the first sign of drywood termite infestation, it’s best to consult with a pest control professional to determine the right termite treatment for your problem. They will initially conduct a termite inspection around the property to check the possible areas where they are inhabiting. Inspections are necessary to identify the extent of the infestation and damage brought by termites. 

Depending on the results of the inspection, they can then suggest the best method to manage termites at home. The common options for treating drywood termite problems are: 

  • Tent fumigation - This method requires releasing of fumigants or chemical gas within the property. When the termites inhale the toxic air, their nervous systems are affected and it can slowly exhaust their oxygen to result in their death. Fumigations are performed by a team of professionals to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Liquid termiticide - Liquid treatments use a chemical made of fipronil and they are usually applied within the perimeter of the residential property. They work by blocking the entry of termites inside the homes, effectively repelling or killing foraging termites when they get near the termiticide. Most liquid termiticides can last up to five years and annual inspections may be done to check the status of the barrier.
  • Termite baits - Termite traps, or bait stations, help control termite activity by luring out the workers to get food baits that are mixed with a toxic insecticide substance. They require to be placed along their trails or in areas with the obvious presence of termite colonies. Some common substances that may be used for baits are boric acid (borax) and chemicals like diflubenzuron (stops insect development) and noviflumuron (which can disrupt termite growth and activity). 

Pest management to prevent termites from invading indoors can include sealing cracks and installing bug screens in possible entry areas. You should also safe-proof the home by repairing water leaks in pipes and roofs to control moisture that can attract certain types of termites. As much as possible, blocks of firewoods and scrap wood must be kept outside the home to avoid inviting drywood termites inside the home. 

Get Professional Help For Termite Control Management with Pinnacle Pest Control

Drywood termite season peaks during the spring and summer months. Preparing ahead of their swarming season can greatly help in reducing the chances of termites coming inside homes and establishing their colonies in your property. 

At Pinnacle Pest Control, we provide professional pest control services and products that can help control termites at home. We have teams of trained experts and technicians who can conduct thorough inspections to determine the right treatment that can guarantee the elimination of termites and all kinds of pests. Contact us now and we can discuss how we can solve your termite problem. 

Drywood termites

Termites are one of the main culprits of property and structural damages in homes. They come up from the soil in the ground and can crawl their way inside homes through cracks, wall gaps, and mud tubes without being noticed. Two of the common household pests are drywood and subterranean termites.

But what are the major differences between these two popular termite species? Drywood termites nest inside the wood that they’re infesting with very little need for water, while subterranean termites inhabit soils underground and require moisture for their survival. Another way to tell them apart is through the signs of infestation they leave behind — while frass is left behind by drywood termites, obvious wood damage and mud tubes are evidence of subterranean termites.

Drywood Termites vs. Subterranean Termites 

There are approximately 2,000 unique species of termites. Among them are Formosan termite, dampwood termite, conehead termite, and the most common household pests, the drywood and subterranean termites.

For an average homeowner, it may be hard to tell them apart from each other as they seem to look and act the same. These two varieties actually vary in shape, size, and behavior in termite activity. To help distinguish drywood and subterranean termites from each other, here are their main differences:

1. Drywood Termites 

As implied from its name, drywood termites infest wood habitats and areas with high levels of humidity. They’re largely located in southern states from North Carolina to coastal areas of California. The Southeastern drywood termite is the most common among its species. A swarm of drywood termites typically attacks wood structures, furniture, and even wood flooring. 

  1. Appearance — The average length of a drywood termite ranges between 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch long. They can be white or brown in color and may sometimes appear translucent. They have short legs, a thick waist, and a straight antenna which they use to detect the smell of wood. A drywood termite swarmer has wings that are useful for searching for a nesting location. These winged termites typically shed wings once they find a home.
  2. Nesting habit — One of their differentiating qualities is that they create nests inside the wood that they’re infesting, which in turn causes major damage to the property and structural foundation. Drywood termites don’t need water to survive. 

They eat cellulose which is found in wood which is why they like to build their nests in wooden structures in homes, fences, and trees. They can live with no contact with soil such as in attics, backboards, window frames, and other wooden structures. The peak season for drywood flying termites is usually in late spring and summer. 

  1. Infestation signs — A drywood termite colony may be hard to spot and they can go years of living in their nests in infested wood without being noticed. However, they do leave behind signs of their infestation. When settling into their new home, swarming termites shed their wings near the entry of their new habitat. 

They also like to chew on wood grain, creating and leaving termite droppings or fecal pellets called frass. They’re usually small and roundish in shape with the same color of the wood that the termites are nesting in. One other way to look for evidence of drywood termite infestation is to tap on the structure. When it makes a hollow and dull sound, it usually means that the termites have eaten their way inside and established their colony. 

2. Subterranean Termites 

Subterranean termites are considered one of the most destructive species in the U.S. Their hard, sharp jaws work like cutters and they can bite their way through small fragments of wood — eventually ruining a property’s foundation and causing them to collapse. They’re found in every region except Alaska and can cost millions of dollars in damage each year. 

They can be further classified into several types of termites: Eastern subterranean termite, Formosan subterranean termite, Western subterranean termite, dark Southeastern subterranean termite, light Southeastern subterranean termite, arid land subterranean termite, and the desert subterranean termite. 

  1. Appearance — Generally, subterranean termites can come in 1/8 inch or 3/8 inch in length. Their appearance may vary depending on their subspecies. For example, soldier termites are wingless and white in color with large jaws to defend the subterranean termite colony.

Worker termites have no wings, are cream in color, and are smaller in size as compared to soldiers. Meanwhile, the subterranean termite swarmers (alates) and reproductive termites (kings and queens) are dark brown to black with two pairs of flying wings. 

  1. Nesting habit — Unlike dry wood termites, they prefer dark and moist environments and make their nests underground. They create tunnels, also known as mud tubes, from pieces of mud and wood to allow them to forage safely for a food source. They need moisture for survival and need a nearby source of water from the soil. They may also pass through cracks and holes in concrete walls and hollow blocks.
  2. Infestation signs — Damaged wood such as the formation of a distinct honeycomb pattern or blisters in flooring is a common infestation sign of subterranean species. Swarmer termites may also shed their wings and leave them in piles on windowsills, spider webs, and corners in the home.

The most obvious sign of subterranean termite infestation is the presence of mud tubes which are usually dark and flattened in appearance. It may be difficult to detect them at first, but over time, mud tubes often extend to exposed surfaces and concrete foundations.

Drywood TermitesSubterranean Termites 
Appearance Can be white or brown in color with short legs, a thick waist, and an antenna Vary depending on their subspecies but are typically 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch in length and either white or dark brown in color 
Nesting habits Typically build their nests in dry wood structures Thrive in moisture-rich environments
Infestation signs Shedding of wings, presence of frass just outside their habitat, and a hollow sound when tapping atop structures Presence of mud tubes, obvious wood damage, and shedding of wings 

How to Get Rid of Termites 

The first step for termite control is to identify the reasons why they stay and breed inside homes. Like most pests, they’re constantly on the search for things necessary for their survival such as food, shelter (dark spaces), and water.

There are many popular commercial ways to help manage termite swarms at home. Two of the common termite treatment methods to eliminate them are termite bait stations and liquid termiticides.

1. Termite bait stations

Termite baiting, or termite traps, employs the use of food baits like wood, paper, or cellulose and is mixed with a toxic insecticide substance that kills termites. They’re strategically placed in areas with termite colony infestation, mostly below the ground. Some of the active ingredients in bait stations and most insecticides are diflubenzuron, hexaflumuron, hydramethylnon, lufenuron, and noviflumuron.

It attracts worker termites who are usually tasked to look for food for the entire colony. When they pick up food from the bait station, there’s a high chance that they’ll share it with the royal termites and soldiers until eventually all of them are poisoned. Bait stations are slow-acting and require to be monitored all year round.

2. Liquid treatments 

Liquid termiticide treatments are a type of barrier that prevents termites from entering indoors. It makes use of a long-lasting liquid chemical made of fipronil (an active insecticide belonging to the phenylpyrazole family) and is spread under the soil and around a property’s perimeter to block the entry of termites. Foraging termites who attempt to penetrate this will be repelled or killed instantly. They may also share the liquid with other members of the colony when they retreat, resulting in the complete elimination of the swarm. 

This type of termiticide may last for up to five years. It requires a special and trained termite killer to set up a trench around the perimeter of the home and apply the liquid treatment in it. To maintain its effectiveness, annual termite inspections help to ensure that no termites pass through the barrier.

3. Tent fumigation 

Termite tenting is a pest control technique that releases a fumigant or chemical gas (sulfuryl fluoride) over structures to kill termites. It’s usually performed by a team of pest management professionals to ensure effectiveness.

This process usually requires the house to be covered with a tent or tarps before the team releases the gas throughout the structure. The fumigant will seep through the cracks between the structures and reach inside the wood where termites usually reside. When the termites inhale the fumigant, it will affect their nervous system and exhaust their oxygen to cause their death.

Learn more: Termite Bait Stations Vs. Liquid Treatment: Which One Should You Choose?

Tips to Prevent Termites at Home 

As always, it pays to be prepared and set up preventive measures to avoid termite infestations from spiraling out of control. Here are some tips on how to better protect the home from termite damage:

Have annual termite inspections — Consult experts for regular checking for the presence of termites in small cracks and holes in the house. Early detection can help in mitigating termite activity. In some circumstances, these gaps where termites pass through may need to be sealed immediately to avoid further damage.

Investigate for leaks and unwanted moisture — Subterranean termites thrive in moist areas, and leaks in the home could create damp spots that can attract them. Regularly wipe or place sheets in crawl spaces and gaps or use a dehumidifier to control the temperature indoors.

Avoid storing wood — Drywood termites live inside wood. So as much as possible, keep firewood piles or mulch away from indoor spaces or the foundation. Check also wooden furniture or objects stored inside the home for signs of infestation. 

Learn more: How Do Termites Get Into Your House?

Protect Your Home From Termite Infestation With Pinnacle Pest Control 

Drywood and subterranean termites are two sources of termite problems in many households. While they mostly differ in their appearance and habits, it goes without saying that they both cause property and structural damage when left unmanaged at homes. Fortunately, the usage of treatments such as bait stations and liquid termiticides can solve these infestations easily. 

What also helps to look after termite breakouts is to have a dedicated team of pest control professionals. At Pinnacle Pest Control, we guarantee the safe and effective elimination of home termites. We use the most advanced tools and technology to control pest problems and guarantee that they’re removed for good. Call us now to inquire about our services and know how we can help you with your termite problem.

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