What is in a name? To begin with, you can tell by the name where a termite’s nest will undoubtedly be located. A Drywood Termite colony will be found in wood that is dry.
A Subterranean Termite colony will probably be underground. Drywood termites are much less sensitive to dehydration than Subterranean Termites. This adaptation lets them dwell interior of wood that is dry, above ground.
In reality, the wood framing of almost any building has enough moisture. These insects are designed to take advantage of their role on earth. Aside from having a thicker shell (to handle the dry environment), their social system and caste system is adapted to this function also. Like most termites, a Drywood Termite colony begins with a set of mated swarmers ( alates).
We usually look for Drywood swarms during the late summer and into fall. However you might see them at almost any time of year. The signs most folks locate after swarming is an assortment of loose wings on a window sill. ( See photograph at right.) At this stage the insects have shed their wings and already burrowed into the woodwork. After swarming on their parent’s colony the new royal pair needs to locate a place to build their nest.
Crevice or a crack will serve them. Around doorways or wood windows they frequently begin in buildings or they could be seen in the substructure area or in the eaves under the home. Houses with wood siding are usually particularly vulnerable since there are so many cracks and crevices where a new colony might create.
In nature, we find them in the ” dead arm” of a tree, in a woodpile, or in just about any other dead wood. Once established, the fresh colony will grow slowly, but steadily. After a number of years the colony might have eaten their way nicely into the framing around their initial entry point. A mature colony may grow to several thousand members.
Given time, their galleries may extend into substructure timbers, into wall framing in all ways and floors and into the ceiling overhead. The only signs of their action inside the wall or floor might be a heap of ” seed-like” pellets that continue to appear even after cleaning them up. These pellets are the fecal material of the termites and it’s a positive indication that Drywood termites have been at work.
After only three to five years, a few swarmers will normally be released, and the cycle continues…
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