Last month I had to have my home tented and fumigated for the third time in 10 years to eradicate drywood termites.  Sad to say that one of my neighbors on Rische Street also went through this same process about a year ago.  I have to wonder if perhaps the termites on my side of the neighborhood are swarming from house to house before being discovered.  These unwanted house guests were eating my home and forced me to move out for 24 hours. 

My pest guy told me that drywood termites are often misdiagnosed as subterranean termites.  Drywood termites “swarm,” whereas subterranean termites crawl on the ground because they require moisture.  Drywood termites are sneaky, they can enter the house through infested furniture or through foundation or attic vents.  They often eat away for months or years at your dry, good, 100+ year old wood floor or rafters before they are discovered.  Termites cause billions of damage each year in Texas.  

If you happen to see some collection of “granular” substance or “wood shavings,” pick up a sample and look at it through a magnifying glass.  The interesting thing about drywood termites is their “frass.”  Their fecal pellets are uniquely shaped: they have six concave sides and are about 1/22 of an inch long.  Ironically, the pellet looks like a fluted column from Classical Style architecture.  See image below. 

Diagram from: http://www.doityourselftermitecontrol.com/non-subterranean-termites-and-wood-detroying-insects.html

According to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension: “Research has shown that only fumigation at the proper chemical concentration is likely to kill all the termites in a structure.  If even a few termites survive, they can tend the eggs and sustain the colony.  It is difficult to verify the effectiveness of drywood termite treatments because these insects are concealed inside wood.” (extentopubs.tamu.edu/e-366.html)  

I recommend getting a professional exterminator to check your home.  My nextdoor neighbor just discovered he had carpenter ants.  By responding speedily to these pests we can reduce their spread from house to house. 

- Cherise Bell