Next time, instead of checking your phone while stopped at a stoplight, take a look around. The desert Southwest is full of wonder and mystery. Notice anything unusual at the bottom of the buildings around you? Look closer at the tiny dirt trails snaking up the sides of their concrete bases. Have you ever wondered what those are or how they got there? These are the tell tale signs of subterranean termites. Living underground, these busy termites travel back and forth within these dirt highways from their homes to the wood source they are currently using as food, doing incredible amounts of unseen damage.
Not to be outdone, the Drywood termite is also busy at work throughout all of Arizona. This termite consumes wood in a manner similar to its relative, the subterranean termite. The Drywood termite, however, throws us a twist in the way it makes a living: setting up residence inside the food it eats, this voracious foe never builds those telltale trails. It can work for years; undetected, silently consuming the structural wood that is the strength and backbone of your home. For years, these tiny creatures can be feasting non-stop, day after day, month after month, and since the evidence of their destructive behavior is not as noticeable, you have no idea of the amount of damage that has been done.
The Drywood termite, just like every creature that requires water to survive, draws its’ water source from the wood it consumes. As it consumes the cellulose, or fiber, of the wood, the termites also squeeze every bit of moisture from that food source. It compresses the leftover remains into distinctly shaped pellets, with concave depressions on each side, and then ejects them as they travel along their path. These tiny pellets soon accumulate in the galleries, or tunnels, they create as they excavate and eat. Eventually, when enough of these pellets are present, they start to overflow and spill out of these spaces. The evidence of Drywood termites resembles tiny wood barrels, often seen along baseboards, in corners, or even accumulating behind the paint of the structure.
Some people are surprised when they learn that Drywood termites are prevalent in Arizona, thinking that the desert is too hot, too dry, and the humidity too low to sustain such insects. Mother Nature, however, always seems to find a way to support life in the most inhospitable of places. Along the many washes and river beds of our state are the familiar cottonwood groves dotting our landscape. These stands of trees, living and growing where the water table runs close to the surface, provides the perfect conditions for these termites to thrive. With the Drywood termite capacity to infest and invade wood, you might be wondering how to treat such a pervasive pest.
Whole Structure Fumigation is the standard procedure for eliminating Drywood termites. This is the process you might have seen where those colorful tarps are draped all over the building and vaporous gas is injected into it, effectively destroying all the offending insects living inside. This is a very labor intensive and expensive method, and it is not the only solution to resolving your issues with these pests. The experts at University Termite & Pest Control advise that, because these termites make their homes in the wood itself, in certain cases the infestation problem can be solved by simply removing the wood. “If the infested area is in a non-critical part of the home or building, like a baseboard or a planter box, it can just be pulled off and discarded.” University’s Termite Inspector Fred Massino says. “I have advised many of my long time clients that they can save a lot of money, trouble and heartache by doing exactly this.” he continues, “Removal, or even a localized treatment, depending on the severity of the infestation, can be a very effective alternative rather than treating the entire structure. It should be determined on a case by case basis, with the client and pest professional deciding in conjunction what the best course of action is.”
Crucial to this entire process is the proper identification of exactly what is causing the damage to the wood in the home. This is where calling on the experts of University and Termite Pest Control is most valuable. “There are several different wood destroying organisms that look very similar to, and attack the wood in a manner comparable to termites in the buildings and people’s homes here in Arizona.” says Mr. Massino. “The debris being cast out of the galleries (the hollow areas created by the insects) is critical in classification. If certain key identifying markers are not present, we can determine immediately that it is, or is not, Drywood termites, then proceed with the appropriate protocols to address your issues. ”
This is just one of the reasons why it is important to choose a company like University Termite and Pest Control. We have the knowledge and experience only a 40 year-old family company operating in Arizona can bring you. This means when we say we are “The Ones Who Know”….it is not only a slogan, but a way of life as well.