Man becomes irksome when any one threatens to destroy his home. One of the most damaging guests to the integrity and the value of our homes are termites. These silent destroyers have now become a huge problem with their capability of bringing the entire house to the ground. Just discovering that we have termites eating our house is enough to cause great anxiety to us, because it generally is a huge mystery to us as to how these critters got there, and even a bigger problem is how are we going to get rid of them.
Of 2,300 species of termites known to exist in the world, 183 cause structural damage and of those 83 have the record of most economic impact. Less than 20% of economically important species is accounted for by the drywood termites.
Living up to their names drywood termites live, feed and nest in undecayed wood which has a very low moisture content. Unlike subterranean termites, they do not require any contact with the soil in order to live.
Because of their ability to live in wood without soil contact, drywood termites are frequently carried in infested furniture and other wooden objects into geographical areas where they are not normally found. For this reason, you should be aware of their habits so as to recognize them when they appear.
The wood that drywood termites digest provides moisture needed to survive, thus they do not require free moisture. They are a major wood destroying insect that cost consumers many millions of dollars in damage and control. One estimate suggested Californians spend $250 million dollars a year on this insect.
Their infestation can be confirmed by inspecting the structural wood in the building. These termites consume both the soft springwood and the harder summerwood of timbers, giving their galleries a smooth sculptured appearance. Drywood termites eat across the wood grain and create chambers, or galleries connected by tunnels. Their gallery and tunnel walls are velvety smooth, and no soil is present. They form many galleries in the wood which are interconnected. If you want to confirm that the infestation is of drywood termites, look for the fecal pellets stored in their gallery which are often kicked out of the crevices. The presence of the fecal pellets also called as frass, accumulated near the structure confirms the drywood termite’s infestation.
These characteristics can help distinguish drywood termite damage from that caused by other kinds of termites. For example, subterranean termites usually consume only the springwood, leaving alternating layers of damaged and undamaged wood. The galleries of the subterranean termite also contain soil. Formosan termites consume summerwood, as do drywood termites, but their galleries contain no fecal pellets.
These species are represented by six genera;
- Neotermes insularis
- Kalotermes rufinotum Kalotermes banksiae
- Ceratokalotermes spoliator
- Glyptotermes tuberculatus
- Bfiditermes condonensis
- Cryptotermes primus; Cryptotermes brevis; Cryptotermes domesticus; Cryptotermes dudleyi; Cryptotermes cynocephalus
These species are found in Australia in the regions of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria. They are distributed in the coastal region from southern Queenland to Western Australia. In US; Insectitermes minor (Kalotermes) are found in the regions of Florida, Southern California, from the coast of northern California to the coasts of Oregon and Washington, Mexico, Arizona.
Drywood termites have also started appearing in Minnesota, where as per history only subterranean termites were found.
Increased societal mobility during the latter half of the 20th century has had an enormous impact on the distribution of such pestiferous insects around the globe. The hardwood imported in New Zealand from Australia, has introduced these destructive termites in New Zealand as well. Due to their ability to survive in wood with little moisture content, drywood termites can maintain viable colonies for extended periods and would remain viable during transportation across vast stretches of land and water.
Of these the Insectitermes minor (kalotermes) and Cryptotermers brevis are the most destructive species. Their destruction ability is close that of the Coptotermes acinaciformis; one of thedestructive species of termites.
An Unusual Insect Found in Minnesota: Drywood Termites
University Of Minnesota; November 1, 2012
Jeffrey Hahn, Asst. Extension Entomologist
Termites are present in Minnesota but they are not common. They are found in southern Minnesota up to about the Twin Cities area and very rarely discovered, if ever, in central and northern Minnesota. Minnesota’s native termites are subterranean termites, Reticulitermes spp.
That is why the discovery of winged termites in a home in Minneapolis during September was so interesting and unusual. First, when termites swarm, i.e. winged forms leave the nest en masse, they do so in the spring (and this is very rarely seen in Minnesota). Even more interesting was when the termites were examined more closely, they were identified not as the local subterranean termites but as drywood termites. This group of termites is not native to Minnesota but is most commonly found along the coastal areas of the southern U.S. from North Carolina to California.
Drywood termite colonies develop slowly. The entire colony may take five years or more to mature. Limited space and resources prevent them from even attempting the rapid growth of subterranean colonies. Even with optimal resources, the growth rate of drywood colonies is slow due to their low inherent reproductive rate. Also, in their preferred habitat, water is a precious resource in limited supply at certain times of the year. Drywood termites have several adaptations for conserving as much water as possible. Three pairs of rectal glands compress their feces to remove and retain all water possible before waste excretion. This results in hexagonal fecal pellets (frass). These six-sided pellets, usually found in small piles, are indicative of drywood termite infestation. Drywood termites depend heavily on production of metabolic water.
The understanding of the species attacking our home is of great importance. The plus point about drywood termites is that their colonies are small and they do not introduce moisture to the wood, as the subterranean termites do. The drywood termites works very slowly, it takes years of their activity to cause appreciable damage and structural weakening to the wood. In contrast to it, let’s say, Formosan termites can literally destroy a home in less than one year.
But, however slowly the drywood termites are working it is not the best thing to happen in the world – your largest financial investment being eaten away by such pest! Thus it might be good idea to keep our eyes and ears open for such house guests and inspect the areas like the attic occasionally. Once the species are found in the house generally exterminators are called as a temporary solution to problem. But in today’s world where everyone is 24*7 busy, the idea of playing hide and seek with such annoying species may not be the viable solution.
C Tech Corporation provides a solution in the form of Combirepel™ which is very effective and once used does not require any further attention towards the application. The most important unique quality of the product is that it is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly. Along with termites they even help in keeping ants, mosquitoes and near about 500 insect species at bay. It is available in solution and lacquer form which can be coated on the wood or can be injected in the wood at high pressure. A special form of this solution is the Combirepel™ WP solution which is in the form of a ready to apply liquid. This can be directly applied on the pieces of wood or furniture. The application will be protected against termites till the time the coating is present on the application. The coating has to be reapplied after certain time intervals.
Also a concentrated form of Combirepel™ solution can be mixed with paints, varnish, etc and be applied on the application that is to be protected. The most important feature of this product is that it does not aid to kill the termites and other insects but efficiently repels them. Moreover the product does not leach out from the application coated with it, thus ensuring that the application is protected for a longer duration.