Drywood termites are one of three types of termites; the other two are subterranean and dampwood. The drywood ones are mostly located in the southern reaches of the country with coastal Florida from the Tampa Bay area to Miami being amongst the country's most infested. They received their name because they do not need a water source as they satisfy that part of their diet by metabolizing wood.
These insects are usually between a quarter to a half inch long, have short legs and straight antennae. Wings, which have often been shed by the time you come across them, will be quite long and equal length with each other. Their bodies are brownish in color, sometimes with a hint of red, orange or yellow.
Drywood termites tend to not be noticed for quite a while as they are quite talented at hiding within the wood they are feeding upon, and they can end up consuming an entire block of wood if the process is not interrupted.
One of the few ways to tell that these types of termites are consuming wood on your property is due to a tiny pile of excrement in pellet form that may appear next to a tunnel they have formed. These pellets, which are known as frass, have the appearance of sand and are about a millimeter long. Another is noticing when swarms of winged drywood termites who have recently mated leave or arrive to develop new colonies or discovering their shed wings.
Fortunately, drywood termite colonies tend to be smaller than other types of termite colonies. However, they can still cause quite a bit of damage, partly since they will still number in the high thousands and partly because of how well they can be hidden. They can also multiply quite a bit over the years if they start swarming in your home, colonizing other pieces of wood there while doing so.
You can do several things to help prevent them from entering your home and doing damage over the coming years. Be wary of any wood you bring into your home as it could be already infested. This can include things like picture frames and furniture. Install bug screens on all vents in addition to doors and windows. Seal all cracks and holes possible. Keep all greenery away from your home as it touching the side of your house can provide any easy route for these insects to enter. If you store firewood outside, keep it a healthy distance from your home. Have your wood treated with an insecticide, termiticide or fungicide.
Make sure to contact Arrow Environmental Services if you want to ensure that all preventative steps have been taken to their fullest, to see if you already have an infestation and, if so, to treat it. Our pest control specialists have been helping protect Sarasota residents from a variety of pests since 1958.