The Two Most Destructive Drywood Termite Pests In Louisiana Are Non-Native Species That Can Infest Dry Lumber

Louisiana is home to at least nine termite pest species that are known for damaging woodwork, resulting in costly damage. The most economically significant termite pests in Louisiana, and the rest of the US, are subterranean termites, particularly the invasive Formosan subterranean termite and the native eastern subterranean termite. In addition to the five subterranean termite pest species found in Louisiana, the state is also home to the most destructive drywood termite pest species in the country. These two species, Incisitermes minor and Cryptotermes brevis, are both non-native termite species in Louisiana, and the latter is frequently categorized as an invasive pest.  I. minor and C. brevis are more commonly known as “western drywood termites” and “west Indian powderpost drywood termites,” respectively. Unlike subterranean termites, these two drywood termite pest species are capable of infesting sound dry lumber and single wood items, mainly furniture.

The west Indian powderpost drywood termite (WIPDT) is native to the Carribean, and they have been common pests of woodwork in the Gulf Coast states for decades. This species is unique in that their colonies cannot be found in the natural environment in its non-native North American range, and they only infest wooden furniture and other wooden items. Western drywood termite colonies are also frequently found excavating cavities within wooden furniture, but they are common pests of structural wood within homes as well. Due to their habit of infesting wood furniture and other movable items, these two termite pests have a rich history of spreading to new regions well outside of their native range, which is why they both establish infestations in all areas of Louisiana.

Unlike the WIPDT, the western drywood termite is often found infesting dead portions of numerous tree species, and its well known to be the most destructive drywood termite pest in the US. The western drywood termite was first discovered in Louisiana back in 1998 when a large colony was recovered from a fallen tree branch in Louis Armstrong Park not far from the French Quarter. Shortly after this discovery, an inspection of a structure located in the park, Perseverance Hall, turned up an extensive western drywood termite infestation on the first and second floors. Two years later, researchers were shocked to find that the western drywood termite had already established a destructive presence throughout the entire state. Today, the western drywood termite continues to inflict significant structural damage in Louisiana every year.

Have you ever suspected that your home had become infested with drywood termites?

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