St. George & Southern Utah Pest Control Experts

Top 10 FAQs About Drywood Termites

By Eric Palmer March 21, 2022
Termites are among the most damaging pests in southern Utah. The costs caused by these insects should be measured not just in dollars and cents but also in worry and anguish. Want to learn more about the Drywood termite. Read the top 10 FAQs we receive.


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Termites are among the most damaging pests in southern Utah. The costs caused by these insects should be measured not just in dollars and cents but also in worry and anguish.

Understandably, as with any threat, you want to know more about the Drywood termite. You are not alone! We’ve selected the top 10 FAQs about Drywood termites:

1) What are Drywood termites?

Drywood termites are social insects that live in colonies of about 2,000 or more individuals. They vary in size and color depending on their age and role in the colony.

Workers are cream-colored and around ¼ inch in length. Soldiers are normally brown and 3/8 inch long. The male and female reproductive stages (called alates) are typically dark brown and about ½ inch in length with a pair of wings, they shed after their first short flight.

They only eat dry wood, which distinguishes them from other termite species that prefer damp wood. And, unlike other species, they do not need water or contact with the ground to survive.

2) How destructive are Drywood termites?

An individual termite may only eat a small amount of wood each day. But with 2,000 or more siblings relentlessly munching through the wood in a house in St George for 24 hours a day, that small amount quickly adds up.

One of the biggest problems is that termites do their damage out of sight and undiscovered of most homeowners.

Drywood termites cause millions of dollars of damage in the US every year. An infestation can cost in excess of $3,000 to treat properly – or much more, depending on the severity of the damage. Homeowners are often shocked to learn their standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover the damage.

3) How do I know if I have termites?

Although Drywood termites are secretive pests, living deep inside the wood of a building, they do leave subtle signs of their presence.
The first sign is often small piles of droppings or frass on the floor. These piles will comprise dozens of tiny pellets, often found below a small ejection hole in the wood.

Another sign is a termite swarm when dozens of termites take to the air to start new colonies. The swarms often only last 30 to 40 minutes and can be easily overlooked. But on landing, the wings are shed so you may find clusters of wings on the floor or by a window.

A third common sign is damaged wood. This may be wood that looks eaten or when tapped makes a hollow sound.

4) Do termites make any noise?

Termites make faint noises that can be heard with your ear and especially with a stethoscope. It is best to listen for them when there are few other sounds, such as at night with the TV turned off.

Termites make several different sounds. Headbanging is a barely audible knocking sound normally produced by soldier termites when threatened. They bang their heads on the sides of the tunnels to warn other termites of a threat.

Termites can sometimes also be heard chewing on the wood they’re eating when you are dealing with a large enough colony.

5) How did Drywood termites get into my house?

When Drywood termites swarm (fly), the mated pairs will look for damaged wood, cracks around window or door frames, or damaged roofs to start their new colony.

Termites can also gain entry as unwitting passengers inside wooden items brought into your home. These objects don’t need to be old to have termites. If just a few isolated workers are in the wood, they will soon die but if the infested wood contains a king and queen then a new colony could be started.

6) What should I do if I suspect I have termites?

It is important to act quickly if you find evidence of an infestation no matter how slight. One colony can swarm and soon become two or more colonies.

A termite inspection is not something that can be done effectively by an untrained person. Termites are experts at evading detection. Southwest Exterminators have the means, as well as the experience, to ensure that termites are found and treated successfully.

7) How are Drywood termites controlled?

Treatment for Drywood termites will vary depending on the size of the problem and the location of the colony. This is where expertise is important. Some of the chemicals used are only available to certified professionals.

Southwest Exterminators can advise on situations where concerns about children or pets are involved which may require a different approach.
The two most common treatment types are fumigation (tenting) and localized or spot treatment (liquid, powder, & foam treatments).

8) Can anything be done to prevent termites?

Despite the invasive skills of Drywood termites, you can take these seven simple steps to reduce the risk of getting an infestation:

  • Seal any cracks and crevices in the wood around your home.
  • Regularly look for signs of termites, such as shed wings or piles of droppings. Tap any suspect wood to see if it sounds hollow.
  • Make sure all new construction uses treated wood.
  • Store firewood away from the house, not inside.
  • Treat wooden furniture with anti-termite products where appropriate.
  • Be careful to avoid bringing termites into your home inside wooden furniture or objects.
  • Discard unwanted wooden furniture, including any stored in the basement or attic.

9) Do termites only attack old houses?

Drywood termites can attack both new and old buildings. Termites have even been found within days of a building being completed. They are not fussy eaters. Termites build their colonies in any untreated dry wood, new or old. Every untreated wooden part of the building is at risk.

It is important to check that any new construction uses treated wood and the necessary anti-termite protocols.

10) Are termites harmful to humans?

Soldier termites may bite if disturbed or feel threatened. Termites do not have any venom, so bites are harmless unless allergies are triggered.

Termites do not carry diseases but dust from their droppings may aggravate asthma in sufferers.

Damage to wooden structures can create a physical risk but it is unusual for an infestation to become that severe without being noticed.

Other sources of harm are indirect, such as worry over property damage and costs.

Forewarned is forearmed

If after reading these FAQs, you have any concerns about termites in your home or business premises, ask your residential pest assassins at Southwest Exterminators about our termite inspections today.

Effective treatment may differ by location and by the extent of the problem. Southwest Exterminators have the expertise to advise you about the best treatment for your situation.
This is a pest problem that should be treated immediately. Any delay could be costly.


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