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What are drywood termites?

November 8th, 2017

You’ll find drywood termites throughout the desert southwest, especially in areas that are close to natural areas and mountain preserves. This species of termites shuns damp areas and navigates by flying. Of the two types of termites in this region, the drywood species cause more physical damage than the subterranean termite because there are fewer signs of infestation.

Identifying Drywood Termites

They differ from subterranean termites in that they live above ground and avoid moist areas. Because they fly rather than crawl or climb up from the ground, drywood termites are easy to miss since they leave few outward signs indicating their presence.

Like all termites, the drywood species has subgroups within their colonies. Only the alates, aka reproducers, can reproduce. Each has two sets of wings of equal length. After reaching their destination and setting up the colony, the alates or reproducers lose their wings, which you may run across near your home’s structure.

The soldier termites protect the colony and are easy to identify by their overly large heads. Up close, you may see their teeth that are a weapon they use against invaders.

You might also see their waste on window sills or on the floors by walls or furniture. It’s never more than 1/32nd of an inch and oval, with concave sides. Drywood termites don’t use their waste and sawdust to build tunnels, like subterranean termites.

Instead, they push it out of their tunnels to keep their living environments clean. Unexplained black dusty areas in corners may be their frass, another word for their droppings.

Hearing the Termites

You may hear noises coming from the walls or ceilings that indicate drywood termites are there. As they eat, they make clicking sounds that are loud enough to hear through drywall.

These termites are one of the few species in the animal kingdom that enjoys loud rock and roll music. Researchers have found that they speed up their munching as the music gets louder and the beat bolder.

Navigation Habits

Drywood termites enter homes by flying. They can crawl through small cracks in window frames, eaves, beneath roofing shingles, and cracks in the siding. They swarm in the summer after a rain and unless you see them or their wings, chances are you won’t know they’re infesting your attic and walls.

Food Habits

Unlike subterranean termites the drywood species prefers dry wood and instead of eating the wood with the grain, they are more likely to chew against the grain. Their natural habitat is the undisturbed desert, where they eat trees and cacti. Like scorpions, drywood termites invade residential neighborhoods close to areas of new developments.

Not only will drywood termites eat your home’s framing, they’ll also eat anything else made from wood, including furniture, doors and wood flooring. They will consume entire pieces of lumber so that the only thing left is the painted surface. They eat wood from the inside and work their way out, which makes it difficult for the untrained eye to spot an invasion early on.

Inspections and Control

If you live near a natural preserve, new development, or mountainous area, drywood termites may be living nearby and chances for infestation are higher.  Anyone who has noticed the droppings or wings on or near their homes could have a drywood termite problem.

Budget Brothers Termite & Pest will thoroughly examine your home to look for evidence of termites. The best control methods will be applied to your home to stop their aggressive and costly damage to the structure and contents.

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