Controlling Drywood Termites
Methods of controlling drywood termites have changed in recent years. Until recently a structural fumigation was considered the only "sure fire" way to gain control. However, fumigations can be very expensive and require the building to be prepared and vacated for a few days. Although whole-house fumigation is the best approach in most situations, there are times when fumigation is not the most practical alternative.
We believe that it is best to approach drywood termite control with an open mind. The key to understanding drywood termite control is to realize that:
- The entire colony exists in a few connected wood members of the structure. The goal is to locate and eliminate that colony (or colonies in some cases).
- Drywood termite colonies tend to develop very slowly and they almost always start at exterior walls. This often means that new infestations are more accessible for detection and treatment.
- Just because drywood termites were detected at one spot in the structure does not necessarily mean that the building is generally infested.
- We (the termite control industry) don't have the diagnostic tools to tell you what is going on in all of the concealed wood members of the walls, ceilings and floors. (But people are working on this.)
To eliminate drywood termite colonies we have three choices:
1. Remove and replace the infested wood members.
• Removal is useful when a termite colony is found in an exposed and accessible wood member. An infested patio cover support post, for example, should probably be removed and replaced.
• We usually don't recommend removal when the termites are in finished areas. To access the colony for removal we must remove the sheet rock and the infested framing from finished walls, ceilings or floors. New sheet rock must then be installed, textured, painted, etc. This process can get very expensive very quickly.
• Removal is only effective on the colony you have found and removed (obviously). If there is another colony (or colonies) somewhere else in the building, they won't be controlled.
• And, it is always possible that the entire colony won’t be removed. Termites that survive could become the source for the infestation to reappear a few years later.
2. Localized treatment
• Localized treatment of drywood termites has gained significant acceptance recently because of advanced detection tools and termite management products.
• In the picture at the right Matthew is checking a wall stud with an Acoustic Emission Detector to determine which studs are infested with drywood termites. This enables us to know which wood members require treatment.
• Localized treatment is often a good choice for buildings less than 10 - 15 years old. Generally speaking, the newer the structure the less likelihood of multiple colonies. Therefore newer structures are often good candidates for localized treatment.
• Buildings with wood siding are more vulnerable to drywood termite infestations. But they are also much easier to treat using localized treatment techniques.
• Localized treatment can be extremely valuable for large structures and multi-family buildings such as condominiums and apartments. The cost and inconvenience of fumigating a multi-family building or other very large structure often makes localized treatment far more practical than fumigation.
• Periodic inspections are crucial to providing long-term control. New infestations may occur at almost any time (most will start during the fall of the year). New colonies or older ones that were previously not visible will require additional treatments.
• Localized treatments are simply not appropriate in some situations.
• If you have drywood termites and would like a no charge evaluation to determine if your building is a good candidate for localized treatment, please call our office for an appointment.
• The see more pictures of this work being done click the following link:
Local Treat Pictures
3. Structural fumigation
• If your home is an older home and/or there is evidence of multiple drywood termite colonies in the building, a structural fumigation may be the most economical method of control.
• When fumigation is selected, we don't need to worry about opening walls and we don't need to be concerned about a hidden colony that we didn't detect.
• Structural Fumigation is a process that has been around for decades. The products and procedures used have an outstanding track record for both safety and effectiveness.
• Fumigation is a science and may only be done by a licensed fumigation company. If we find Drywood termites in your building, and if fumigation is recommended, we will select a reputable fumigation company and subcontract with them to do your fumigation. (If you desire you may also choose to select your own fumigation company.) If you contract with us you will have our assurance that your work will be done by one of the best fumigators available in the area. You will also have the Morse Termite and Pest Control guarantee, as well as the guarantee given by the fumigator, that your job will be effective and with a minimum of disruption to you. Fumigations are guaranteed for a period of two years from the date of completion.
• The fumigant leaves no residue. There is no need to wash countertops or dishes following fumigation. This lack of residue also means that termites may reinfest the building. Periodic inspections are strongly advised.