A subterranean termite infestation begins in warm weather and rainfall triggers an established colony to send out seamers of winged termites. They are usually confused with ants, but are smaller than ants. After mating, swarmer termites land and shed their wings, leaving piles of wings on windowsills of your home. Subterranean termites then build large colonies underground which are composed of elaborate tunnels and chambers. Worker termites then construct protective tunnels made of mud. If mud tubes are visible on the walls or foundations of your home, it’s highly likely that you are experiencing a subterranean termite infestation.
Drywood termites are secretive insects and are difficult to detect. They live deep inside wood and, except during periods when they swarm or when repair work is being done on infested homes, they are seldom seen. Colonies are small (usually up to 5,000), can be widely dispersed, and take years to mature.
Eliminating Existing Infestations
All drywood termite control methods can be categorized as either whole structure or localized. A whole structure treatment is defined as the simultaneous treatment of all infestation, accessible and inaccessible, in a structure. A localized or spot treatment is more restrictive, often applied to a single board or small group of boards.
Fumigants such as Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride) treat all infestations simultaneously and have high levels of efficacy if correctly applied. Sulfuryl fluoride kills drywood termites in about 3 days.
Major issues to consider with the use of fumigants include the difficulty of installing tarpaulins, the difficulty in determining the proper dosage, the need to protectively bag food items, and the lack of residual control. Residual control means long-term protection (several years or more/0 from drywood termite attack. (Generally, only chemicals added to or onto wood provide residual control.) It will also be necessary to vacate the structure for 2 to 3 days while being tented and then ventilated.
Localized or Spot Treatments
There are many localized/spot treatment methods available that include both chemical and non-chemical (eco friendly) options. For liquid or dust insecticides to be effective, termites must touch or ingest them. Spot treatments should be applied only by licensed applicators. Home use products are not effective. In addition, we offer Heat Treatments, Foam Treatments, Soil Treatments and Pre-construction Soil Treatments.
Wood replacement is another remedial treatment option. However, similar to other spot treatments, its effectiveness is highly dependent on detection accuracy and the extent and location of the infestation.
Integrating chemical and nonchemical treatments to ensure that termites are not able to colonize over the long term is a strategy used by some pest control professionals. Nonchemical, long-term preventative methods include physical barriers, such as metal screens. Resistant woods can reduce but do not eliminate damage. There are a few studies that demonstrate the efficacy of combinations of methods or of nonchemical, long-term preventative treatments directed against drywood termites.
Stanley Pest Control termite inspectors can give you all the options that are available, including Annual Control Policies to help protect your property from termites.