Understanding Dry Wood Termites and Damp Wood Termites
Posted: May 02, 2016
Termite infestation can destroy wood structure completely if left undetected. There are various types of termites who infest a wooden structure. Let us look at the dry wood and damp wood termites and their distinguishing features.
Drywood Termites: These types of termites infest the wood within first five years of its construction. Commonly called swarmers, they can be seen crawling down vents, shingle roofs or even in crawl spaces. They can also enter the structure through the windowsills and frames. As the name suggests, drywood termites stay in dry wood. These termites like the usual kind of termites do not require moisture source like soil to grow.
Signs of drywood infestation: there is very little visible evidence of a drywood termite infestation on the woods attacked by termites. The usual visible sign is appearance of small piles of fecal pellets, on surface of the wood. One can also spot these pellets on a spider-web near the round kick holes. Inside the attacked woods due to termite infestation have chambers or galleries. These might have few surface deposits. Also one may find fecal pellets deposited inside the galleries. The other sign of a drywood termite infestation is swarming. Swarming is characterized by small winged termites hovering over damaged wood. The wood itself is not weakened in a short duration. It takes the termites very long to cause a permanent damage to the wood like a span of few years.
Control method: as the infestation tales long to damage the wood, the diagnosis is done at various stages of extent of damage. Depending on the extent of damage, different methods are applied for controlling the infestation. If there is limited spot termite infestation, spot treatment can be used. Also in such cases, sometimes the damaged wood is removed. For widespread or in-accessible infestation, a fumigation of the entire structure can be done to control infestation.
Dampwood termites: as the name suggests these kind of termites require high moisture content wood to thrive. Thus, the dampwood termites are found usually in decayed wood, where they have built colonies.
Signs of dampwood infestation: the most obvious sign of a dampwood infestation is swarmers. Also if one spots shed wings near kick holes, one can safely assume a damwood termite infestation. The extent of infestation and the wood damage done by the termites can be understood by the decay present. In a decayed and damaged wood the gallaries made by termites can be seen to pass through both summerwood and springwood, while in sound wood the galleries can only be seen in springwood. As a result of termite infestation, the surface of the gallaeries take on a velvety appearance and also can be seen sometimes to have dried fecal material collected on the surface. These fecal pellets in size are about 1mm in length, they are also coloued depending on the kind of wood infested. These pellets can be usually found throughout and are round and hard at both the ends. Control method: the dampwood termites need moisture to thrive and must have a continuous contact with damp wood to spread the infestation. Consequently, they can easily be controlled by elimination of damp wood. Also in some areas chemical treatment of the soil can help in killing the dampwood termites.
Termites are a common problem in wooden structures and the damage in some cases is only identified when the structure has become irreparable. It is best to go in for preventive measures to check termite infestation in large wooden housing structures. Also there are options available to test if the termites have already infested and to what extent is the damage.
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