Drywood termites are very different from their cousins who live in the ground. Common in arid, dry regions, drywood termites live above ground and often times go unnoticed for many years.
Drywood termites can do a lot of damage because they eat wood. And they will most often infest outside siding like soffits, facia boards or attic spaces. These areas are often far from active people living in the home which allows the problem to develop undetected.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE DRYWOOD TERMITES?
Don’t expect to actually see live termites. Its more likely you’ll see swarmers which are winged reproductives an active colony will release 1-2 a year.
The most common way people learn that they have drywood termites is because they start to find termite droppings.
This happens after a colony gets established on the home. At first, their droppings could very well be dropped outside the home or in a wall void out of sight. But over time, the colony will grow and their fecal matter will increase which means the likelihood of finding some will increase.
Eventually the activity will move down to living areas where they’ll end up dumping it through a port or “hole” which leads into a living space. Through these holes the droppings will be sent and that’s when the homeowner begins to notice little piles accumulating on a countertops, alongside baseboard molding or inside a cabinet.
Drywood termite fecal pellets are small, a bit thinner than grain of rice, and half as long. Most people mistake it to be nothing more than dirt. But if you keep finding the same “dirt” in the same place, take a close look.
DRYWOOD TERMITES CAN CAUSE DAMAGE
Like most wood eating organisms, drywood termites will cause damage as they eat their way through structural members in the home. In general, they don’t move quickly so don’t panic if you discover activity. But understand the problem needs to be treated to ensure it doesn’t linger allowing them to cause more damage.
HOW TO TREAT A HOME FOR DRYWOOD TERMITES
The most common way drywood termites have been treated in the past was by tenting the structure and fumigating. This process ensures all active insects in the home are killed. But the treatment is costly; the average home will cost $15,000+ to be fumigated. For this reason other treatments have been developed and at this time, there are a couple that work well.
HOW TO TREAT UNFINISHED WOOD FOR TERMITES
For open areas like an attic, rafters, roof decking, exterior siding and the wood found under the home in crawl spaces, BORATHOR is a good way to properly treat an active problem. Borathor is a boron based chemical which is designed to soak into wood. A thorough application can penetrate 3-4 inches and once the treatment cures (which takes 48-72 hours), insects eating the wood will die. So for open, accessible areas, Borathor is a cost effective long lasting treatment that will both control and prevent future termite activity.
To calculate how much Borathor you’ll need to apply, you’ll first want to measure the square footage of the area you intend on treating. Coverage will depend on the thickness of the wood. For example, 1″ thick siding will require 1 gallon of concentrate per 1,000-2,000 sq/ft. But if you’re treating mostly 2×4’s or 2×6’s, coverage will be less and more in the range of 500-1000 board feet.
Borathor is odorless and can be applied with a standard PUMP SPRAYER. But you can also paint it on.
For hard to access spaces, you can even fog it. We have several fogging machines which will mist the product out over the area needing protection thus ensuring proper coverage with little effort. The good thing about fogging is that you can get the material evenly distributed in very little time.
The most popular and powerful fogger for the job is our own BUGSPRAY FOGGER. It can pump over 20 oz per minute and spray out 25-30 feet.
HOW TO TREAT HIDDEN WALL VOIDS AND SPACES FOR TERMITES
If you have termites behind a wall void and don’t want to open up the space, inject with FS MP AEROSOL. This product uses penetrating oil based agents sure to deliver the active throughout the wood, galleries and tunnels insuring a swift and thorough eradication of any nests directly treated.
Each can cover and area 10 feet wide by 10 feet tall when injecting every 4 inches. You’ll need to drill small 1/8″ holes for the “straw” injector to fit nice and snug. These holes should be spaced every 4 inches as the treatment will typically migrate 2 inches in all directions when treating “solid” wood.
WHAT ABOUT HARDWOOD FLOORS OR ANY FINISHED WOOD?
FS MP is ideal for hardwood floors. Remember, if you have drywood or any termite or even wood borers in the floor and the wood is sealed? Your only option will be to either treat with FS MP OR remove the wood, get new wood, treat it with Borathor and then install it. So FS MP can effectively allow you to save the flooring. Here’s how.
First, you’ll treat all holes you find to start. Since the aerosol will “follow” the galleries for long distances, you can effectively kill them all from only a few holes. We recommend pumping as much as the holes will take for your initial treatment.
FS MP is the only product that will kill all stages. Its formulated with special penetrating agents so it spreads through the wood moving a good 2″ in all directions from the injection point. Any adults or eggs it encounters will be killed making it the only product besides fumigation that can kill them all in one full swoop.
This means if you’re lucky, you can reach all their galleries and nests from their exit holes and kill them all with one treatment. You’ll know pretty quick; if you find new holes in other areas after you do the initial, it will mean you have more treatments to do and at that point, doing some additional work would be smart.
This video shows how far FS MP will penetrate when treating wood cabinets, flooring, statues and more.
The extra work would be to drill some 3/32″ holes every 4 inches per 4″ wide plank with the holes centered. If the hold hits a tunnel? Flood it. If the hole is solid wood and you treat to spray it, the spray will come back out so don’t waste your time there. Move on
And don’t drill a lot of holes to start. Do a few around the new holes and see what you find. In general, stop drilling once you find solid wood so focusing on where the soft woods with tunnels is usually the best practice.
Once applied, FS MP will last pretty much last forever in the wall or wood flooring assuming the area is not washed or exposed to sunlight.
For large wall voids, get our SLAB INJECTOR. It sends the spray “sideways” so you can use it to inject under cement but also in wall voids.
The following short video shows how it works:
This tool works like any standard sprayer; you simply add the chemical you want to the tank and pump it up and then spray as the video above shows.
The insecticide needed to add to the Injector is PROTHOR. Its a “non repellent” meaning it won’t spook termites or any other insect as they can’t detect it. For this reason Prothor is a great product for use around homes in the soil as well as in wall voids once they are active in the home.
Odorless and long lasting, you’ll need to add 1 ounce per gallon of water. 1 gallon of mixture can treat 2-4 holes.
Holes should be spaced in between the studs (remember, they’re usually about 16″ apart) and need to be 1/2″ wide.
One Quart per hole is usually enough to saturate the studs and sill plate at the bottom; use less, like 8-16 oz if its getting good coverage and leaking out the bottom.
In general, walls with insulation will require more material.
In summary, drywood termites can be “scary” when first identified. But they don’t eat quickly and with the right product applied at the right location, you can control any nest using the right combination of the products listed above.