Drywood termites require no soil and get the moisture they need out of the air. Their
diet consists of wood fibers and other forms of cellulose. Contrary to popular opinion
termites eat redwood. Drywood termites generally build their nests in dark places such
as attics, ceiling walls, and flooring. The body structure of the drywood termite cannot
tolerate the light or dryness of the outside. This is the type of termite most commonly
found living right inside the walls of a southern California home.
Drywood termites live their entire lives within wood with the exception of their
reproductive caste, commonly referred to as swarmers. As with the subterranean
termites, the drywood termite swarmers are the ones responsible for the spreading of
the drywood termites. They must pair up with a mate and enter back into the wood to
continue a new colony. The swarmers are very vulnerable outside the wood and can
easily be taken care of, the problem is the colony they left behind and the ones they
can start. Typically drywood termite swarmers can be seen in the fall, but they can
also swarm as early as July or as late as December: humidity and temperature are a
factor in this.
The discovery of small pellet-like matter on attic joists, rafters, near mud sills, on
floors, windowsills, and even furniture may indicate a drywood termite infestation.
These pellets are actually termite excrement. This is one of the most clear signs of
drywood termites. Although pellets indicate a drywood termite infestation they do not
necessarily indicate an active one. After a house has been fumigated it is possible that
drywood termite pellets continue to sift down from existing galleries even though the
infestation has been eradicated. A licensed field representative can determine the
activity of the infestation with an inspection of a suspicious area.
Drywood termite infestations are controlled by licensed personnel in one of the following methods:
Fumigation of the entire structure with a lethal fumigant for the eradication of all drywood termites in the structure.
Chemical treatment with an approved chemical at accessible areas of drywood termite infestation.
The type of treatment depends on the extent and accessibility of the infestation.