Differentiating and Treating Subterranean and Drywood Termites – There are two main categories of termites that can infest your home or property. Subterranean Termites are the most destructive species. The hard, saw-like jaws of these termites are able to bite off small fragments of wood, possibly leading to the collapse of an entire building. Drywood termites have smaller colonies and a slower rate of feeding, so the damage they cause often goes unnoticed by homeowners. Because the behavior and effective treatment options differ between the two categories, it is important to be able to distinguish between subterranean and drywood termites.
Differentiating and Treating Subterranean and Drywood Termites
Identifying the Termites:
• Need contact with the soil
• Live underground
• Build tunnels called mud tubes
• Travel to structures through the ground
• Require a lot of moisture to survive
• Most common in the southern parts of the United States.
Formosan termites, a species of subterranean termites, are most common in parts of Louisiana, Texas, and Florida.
• Most destructive species
• Fast-paced feeding,
• Jaws allow for more destruction of the wood
• More difficult to control because they can travel through the ground to a structure, making the nest harder to find.
• Live inside the wood they infest
• Do not require soil contact
• Do not build mud tubes
• Can arrive by air or through moveable wooden objects, such as furniture
• Require much less moisture than subterranean termites
• Most common near the Gulf Coast and Southern California
• Not as economically dangerous as subterranean termites
• Smaller colonies
• Slower rate of feeding
• Easier to control because the colony is limited to one piece of wood, although should not be ignored.
Termite Behavior: What to Look For
1. Swarming insects around your homes foundation•
2. Piles of mud near the foundation•
3. Tunnels- hanging tunnels are even possible if you have a bad infestation•
4. Pieces of wood that produce a hollow sound when hit with a hammer
5. Small wood debris around windows and doors
6. Excessive creaking in floorboards
Termite treatment and control:
• Subterranean termites can be treated using three different methods:
• Liquid repellent termiticide treatment
• Liquid non-repellent termiticide treatment
• Termite bait systems
Read Also: Types of Termites How Dangerous They Are
Liquid repellant treatments discourage termites from attacking the actual structure. Products such as Demon TC, Prelude, and Talstar are effective. Liquid non-repellant treatments don’t discourage termites from infesting the wood. Its strategy is to allow the termites to spread the poison throughout their own colony. These repellants allow the termites to live up to 90 days after exposure so that when they go back, they poison the entire colony.
This can cause rapid termite decline that can last for a number of years, although it may not completely eradicate the termite colony. Phantom, Premise, and Termidor are reliable products. Termite bait systems are more consumer-friendly because they use fewer chemicals than the other methods.
The termites feed on the bait and take it back to the colony, killing the most termites possible. These baiting systems also have a mass effect that can not only decrease the population, but can kill the entire colony. Reliable brands include FirstLine, Advance, and HexPro.
Drywood termites are treated using either:
1. Structural fumigation
2. Localized or spot wood treatment
Structural fumigation is used for extensive infestations of drywood termites. Fumigation involves introducing Vikane gas or bromo-gas to the infested wood. Fumigations are effective because the when the gas is introduced, it completely replaces all the oxygen with the deadly poison.The termites then breathe the gas, killing them almost immediately. Fumigation must be performed by licensed fumigators because the gas is quite dangerous, resulting in nearly 100% elimination of all insects and mammals.
Localized or spot wood treatment is used for limited infestations When the termite colony can be located and is limited to a small area or piece of wood, a localized wood treatment, foam, or dust can be very effective. Holes are drilled into the infested wood and then the insecticide is inserted and dispersed throughout. Aerosols such as Termidor Foam, Termidor Dry, Premise Foam, and Alpine Foam are recommended. Foams like Timbor and TriDie are effective. TriDies silica gel is a dust that works well.