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Termite/WDO Education

General Definitions Associated with WDO/ Termite Inspection

Wood Destroying Pest and Organisms Inspection Reports: These reports are commonly referred to as a Termite inspection Report. It is a visual inspection to the readily accessible areas of the home and contains valuable information on the conditions of the property. The inspection report will indicate if the structure contains wood destroying pests and organisms or conditions deemed likely to lead to wood destroying pest or organism.

Wood Destroying Pest: Includes subterranean termites, dry wood termites, damp wood termites and wood destroying beetles in addition to carpenter ants and carpenter bees.

Wood Destroying Organisms: Includes fungus growth or fungus damage (commonly called dry rot).

Section 1 Findings: Section 1 findings indicate active infestations or infections in addition to the cause of the infestations or infections.

Section 2 Findings: Section 2 items include conditions deemed likely to lead to future infestations or infections.

Further Inspection Findings: These are areas that are normally inspected and for whatever reason were inaccessible on our original inspection.

What are Subterranean Termites?

Subterranean termites can cause the most damage of any termite species. These termites build distinctive tunnels, often referred to as “mud tubes,” to reach food sources and protect themselves from open air. They eat wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week, using their saw-toothed jaws to bite off small fragments of wood one piece at a time. Over time, subterranean termites can critically damage a building structure, sometimes causing a total collapse. Subterranean termites threaten homeowners across the country, as they’re found in every state in the U.S except Alaska. 

What do Subterranean Termites Look Like?

There are three distinct types, or castes, of subterranean termites with physical differences, including reproductives, workers and soldiers.  

The reproductives include the king, queen and alates. Integral to a colony’s growth, the queen is the largest termite while the king is much smaller. Alates, also known as swarmers, have long, dark brown to almost black bodies and translucent, slightly milky-colored wings. Their bodies typically measure about ¼ to ½ inch in length and their wings may have a few barely visible hairs. Unlike swarmers, workers and soldiers do not have wings. Workers are about ¼ inch or less in length are have cream colored bodies. They have small jaws that help them chew away at wood and move materials. Soldiers can be distinguished by their large mandibles. They have rectangular shaped heads and their bodies are flat and wide. Although their body is usually a creamy white color, similar to workers, their head is darker and more brownish in color. 

Signs of an Infestation

Subterranean termite infestations can occur on the inside or exterior of the home. There are several telltale signs of a termite infestation. One sign is the presence of mud tubes on the exterior of the home. Mud tubes look like long tunnels made of wood and soil, which the termites construct to protect them from drying out as they travel. Other signs of a subterranean termite infestation include soft wood in the home that sounds hollow when tapped, darkening or blistering of wood structures, uneven or bubbling paint, and small piles of feces that resemble sawdust near a termite nest. Discarded wings near doors or on windowsills also indicate that swarmers have entered and infested the home. 

How to Get Rid of Subterranean Termites

The best method of subterranean termite control is prevention first and foremost. Avoid water accumulation near the home's foundation, as these pests are attracted to moisture. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks. Reduce humidity in crawl spaces with proper ventilation. Never bury wood scraps or waste lumber in the yard. Additionally, be sure to seal cracks and crevices in the home’s foundation to keep termites out. Most importantly, eliminate wood contact with the soil, and maintain a one-inch gap between the soil and wood portions of the building. 

Termites are a destructive pest that cannot be eradicated with do-it-yourself measures. In fact, termites lead to more than $5 billion in property damage each year in the United States, a cost typically not covered by homeowners insurance. In order to proactively prevent these devastating pests, schedule annual professional termite inspections for your home. If you suspect a termite infestation on your property, contact a licensed pest control professional to determine the extent of the problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan. 

What are Drywood Termites?

Drywood termites are a termite species known for thriving in hard, dry wood found inside a home.  This includes structural timbers as well as furniture, picture frames and banisters. They do not make colonies under the soil - instead, they make their way into the wood and are able to extract necessary water from the wood they ingest.

Drywood termites are commonly found on the West Coast, Florida and Hawaii, but they can extend east to Texas and the Carolinas. This pest can cause just as much damage as other termite species, and if you suspect an infestation, you should seek drywood termite treatment before too much damage has been done.

What Do Drywood Termites Look Like?

The size of drywood termites range, depending on their age, from 1/4 inch to 1 inch long. Adult drywood termites have a thicker, oval-shaped waist, short legs and straight antennae with equal length wings. They are usually cream-white to light brown in color and have six legs.

Signs of an Infestation

Because they live in the wood they excavate, it can be difficult to identify when drywood termite treatment is necessary. Swarms of termites or discarded wings are a common sign of an infestation, especially near light sources. Drywood termite droppings are another telltale sign. Drywood termite droppings look like small mounds of tiny pellets that are also called frass.

How to Get Rid of Drywood Termites

Drywood termites form new colonies by gaining access to wood through small holes or crevices. To prevent needing a drywood termite treatment, you should seal all cracks and crevices in a structure. Early detection can also save you a lot of headaches, so be sure to look out for drywood termite droppings and discarded wings.

Because this pest can quickly overtake your home, it’s important to act fast if an infestation is suspected. To proactively prevent these devastating pests, schedule annual professional termite inspections for your home. If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest control professional to determine the extent of the problem and develop an appropriate drywood termite treatment plan.

What are Dampwood Termites?

As the name suggests, dampwood termites infest wood with high moisture content. Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species.

What are Powderpost Beetles?

Powderpost beetles lay their eggs in cracks of wood and the larvae tunnel into the surface, filling it with a very fine powder-like dust. Powderpost beetles have long, narrow, flat bodies that allow them to easily attack wood surfaces. These beetles are reddish-brown in color. Some researchers believe that powderpost beetles are second only to termites in the United States in their destructiveness to wood and wood products.

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