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Posts Tagged ‘Drywood termites’

Where Do Drywood Termite Infestations Usually Begin, And How Do They Access Structural Wood In Attics And Roofs

Louisiana is home to eight destructive termite pest species, four of which are subterranean species that dwell below the ground, and the other four are drywood termite species that dwell solely within single pieces of above ground wood. Unlike subterranean termites, which see foraging workers infest homes from the ground up, drywood termite colonies do not contain foraging workers. This is because drywood termites live within their own food source, making foraging unnecessary. In order for drywood termites to spread to new areas, winged termites (alates) emerge from drywood termite colonies during swarming season in order to mate and establish new colonies as king and queen.

Alates usually establish new colonies within natural wood sources, like logs and tree stumps, but occasionally, they establish new colonies within the exterior and/or interior wood of houses. Since alates are fragile and cannot bore into wood as effectively as their nymphal offspring, they often nestle into superficial cracks and crevices on the surface of wood. Shortly after alates initiate a new colony, their first born nymphal offspring bore deeper into wood in order to accommodate new colony members. For example, many drywood termite colonies are first initiated on or behind siding, or in wood beneath shingles, and nymphal offspring expand the colony by boring deeper into wood, which often brings them into the interior of homes. In other cases, drywood termite alates fly directly into houses through open windows or attic vents where they initiate a colony in structural wood or finished wood items, like furniture.

Since drywood termite colonies are located within single wood items, while subterranean termite colonies are located in the ground where foraging territory is basically infinite, drywood termite colonies are naturally much smaller than subterranean termite colonies. Generally, mature drywood termite colonies contain a few thousand individual termites, while mature subterranean termite colonies contain anywhere from 20,000 to well over 1 million individual termites. Due to their smaller colony size, drywood termites do not inflict damage to wood as rapidly as subterranean termites, but drywood termite infestations are more difficult to detect, as they can be located anywhere on, or within a home.

Have you ever noticed signs of a drywood termite infestation in your home?

Can Drywood Termites Spread To Multiple Pieces Of Lumber In A Home’s Timber Frame?

 

Of the three types of termites, subterranean drywood and dampwood, subterranean termites are easily the most damaging and economically costly of the three. With the exception of Alaska where termites do not exist, subterranean termites are the most abundant and damaging termite pests in each state. There are several reasons to explain why subterranean termites are the most damaging. For example, subterranean termite colonies, such as eastern subterranean termites, live within colonies containing thousands to millions of foraging workers. The invasive Formosan subterranean termite, which is abundant in all of Louisiana, can contain at least 50 million termite workers. Subterranean termites also maintain a widespread habitat below the ground, and interconnected termite colonies can cover several square miles of land, giving them easy access to timber-framed houses above. Drywood termites, on the other hand, live in colonies that only contain hundreds to thousands of workers, and unlike their subterranean counterparts, drywood termites are not soil dwellers; instead, they are only able to inhabit one wood item at a time. For example, drywood termite colonies dwell within wooden logs where they also feed, and new colonies are established elsewhere only when swarming alates emerge from a wood item. However, researchers have long wondered whether or not drywood termites can infest multiple pieces of lumber that make up a home’s timber frame.

According to researchers, multiple colonies of C. brevis, more commonly known as west Indian drywood termites, can infest one single wood item, or in this case, once single piece of lumber. Traditionally, it has been assumed that drywood termite colonies maintain a presence within single lumber pieces only, as infested lumber does not show exit holes where the termites may move to new lumber components of a timber frame. In an effort to determine whether or not these drywood termites can move to new pieces of lumber within a home’s timber frame,  researchers allowed drywood termites to infest a single wood component on a shipping pallet. The results showed that up to eight colonies can become established in a wood pallet, and most importantly, each colony could move from one piece of lumber to another by traveling through juncture points that cannot be observed by pest control inspectors. Therefore, drywood termites, contrary to popular belief, can spread throughout a home’s timber frame one piece of lumber at a time. This finding makes drywood termites a greater threat to a home’s structural integrity than previously thought.

Did you known that multiple drywood termite colonies could infested one single piece of wood?

 

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