A Guide on How To Prevent Drywood Termites
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
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.
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.