Dry wood termites can be found in the southwest, Mexico, and Florida. They can also be found in other areas as they have been found being transported via infested furniture and other wooden items. While most other varieties of termite have no problem getting down and dirty in the mud, dry wood termites do not. They build their homes in dry wood, preferring to remain close to their homes.
Unlike many insect species, these termites do not divide their colonies into workers and nymphs. Instead, everyone works to support the colony. These pesky insects move in swarms and seek out new knotholes and cracks in dry wood that look like they might be the next place to build their homes. The excavation begins as a small tunnel where the swarm will move in and seal themselves off from the world in a chamber at the end of the tunnel.
At this time, they may choose to mate or remain dormant for the first year. After two years, the colony may have grown by up to 6 to 40 nymphs and a single soldier. At the end of four years, the colony may contain up to 700 termites and new swarmers may have grown. Dry wood termites typically swarm on warm sunny days when the temperature is approximately 80° F.
It’s All Our Fault
It is funny in a non-humorous way, that the human race is to blame for the spread of these highly destructive pests. They are now rapidly spreading to areas of the country where they have never been seen. The reason for this is the interstate and in fact intercontinental shipping of furniture, wood picture frames, and lumber that is already infested with them.
When the swarmers go on the move, they will fly straight into wood targeting anywhere where there is exposed wood. This could be a doorframe, the doors themselves, window frames, under your eaves, in your attic, and many others. They then look for a protected crack or crevices to work their way into and start building their new nest. Oddly enough swarmers may even choose the place they have just left.
Dealing with an Infestation
The first step is to call in a licensed inspector to inspect your home and identify any infestations and subsequent damage. His or her written report will list everything they have found and what they think needs to be done to remove the infestation and restore any damage. You may see some signs of an infestation such as small poop pellets, wings left behind on various surfaces by the flying termites, and the actual red-headed swarmers flying around.
You should have your home inspected on an annual basis to ensure any infestations you have can be dealt with before any damage they can do becomes too severe. There are several different methods of treatment such as heat treatment, fumigation, or localized treatments. The correct method of treatment will be based on the severity of the infestation and any damage they have caused.