Homeowners often figure that if their wood is in good condition and free from rot, they don't have to worry about termites. Sadly, this is not the case. The most common type of termites in the U.S., subterranean termites, do prefer to feed on moist and decaying wood. However, you have another type of termite to worry about - the drywood termite.
Drywood termites actually prefer dry wood in good condition. Because homeowners are not always on the lookout for drywood termites, the bugs can cause substantial damage by the time they're detected. If you don't want to be their next victim, keep reading to learn more about these sneaky insects.
Where Are Drywood Termites Found?
Drywood termites are a common threat in southern California and along the Gulf Coast. Outdoors, they build colonies in dry stumps and wooden structures. Indoors, they are often found in the attic and in wood structures in the upper floors of homes since these areas tend to remain dry.
What Do Drywood Termites Look Like?
Many homeowners actually mistake these insects for winged ants. The two look quite similar, but you can spot the differences if you know what to look for. Drywood termites have two sets of equally sized wings. Winged ants, on the other hand, have front wings that are longer than their back wings. Both insects are about 1/2 inch long, but drywood termites have a thicker waist, whereas ants have a pinched-in waist.
Drywood termites are dark brown in color with black wings, unlike subterranean termites, which have black bodies and white wings. As with subterranean termites, you may see the drywood termites swarming in large groups, particularly after a rainstorm.
What Are the Signs of Drywood Termite Damage?
Drywood termites are sometimes called silent destroyers because they work behind the scenes undetected. But if you know what you're looking for, you can spot the damage they cause before it becomes too serious.
If you hear mysterious tapping noises that sound like they're coming from between your walls, you may have a drywood termite problem. The insects bang their heads against the wood to communicate with other termites. Some of the tapping may also be the noise they make when eating wood.
After termites mate, they lose their wings. So you might see piles of discarded termite wings near the opening to your attic, around a door frame, or in another inconspicuous area. The wings look like thin flakes of tan material.
Drywood termites eat wooden beams from the inside, out. For this reason, the wood they attack continues to look safe and sound until the damage is substantial. If you suspect you may have termites, tap on a few of the wooden beams in your home. If they sound hollow, they may have termite damage inside.
Shifting Windows and Doors
If the termites have caused substantial damage to the structural beams in your home, these beams may start bowing, causing the window and door frames to warp and bow. Window and door frames may also warp or shift if they have been hollowed out by termites.
What Should You Do About Drywood Termites?
Drywood termites are difficult to get rid of since they spend much of their time hiding inside wooden structures. Do not attempt to get rid of them on your own. Instead, call a pest control company that can properly identify the pests and use effective insecticides to get rid of them. Depending on how long the termites have been living in your home, you may need to have your wooden structures repaired or replaced.
Don't let drywood termites go undetected. Contact Cliff's Pest Control Inc. if you suspect you may have a termite problem. We offer service throughout the Inland Empire.