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Dampwood Termites

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Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are normally larger in size than other termite species.Bodies of king and queen damp wood termites range in size from 1/2 inch to 5/8 inch long and have two pairs of wings that are equal in size and shape and extend beyond their abdomen. Nymphs range up to 5/8 inch and worker damp wood termites are up to 3/4 inch.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood Termites

There is no worker caste in this species; the nymphs perform this function. Nymphs are white to cream colored and are about 1/2 inch (13mm) long. Dampwood termite fecal pellets are approximately 1/25 inch (1mm) long and slightly hexagonal.2.

Dampwood termites are found only in wood with high moisture content. In structures they need sources of “free water,” such as roof leaks, to survive. Dampwoods are considered a minor structural pest, but they can do substantial damage if left unchecked. Correcting moisture problems and wood replacement are effective controls. They are commonly found infesting large trees.

Dampwood fecal pellets are often stuck together along the bottom or sides of the tunnels or may dissolve into a muddy paste. Infested wood usually shows no external damage because openings in the wood are plugged with fecal material. If the wood is sound, dampwood termites eat along the grain. However, if the wood is decayed they consume irregular galleries similar to those of the drywood termite.

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood Termites

Dampwood termites are relatively strong fliers and, like most nocturnal flying insects, are attracted to lights. Porch lights, indoor lights, and video monitors often lure the alates inside, especially when doors and unscreened windows are opened. When alates are found indoors, their origin is usually from a yard tree or a woodland colony. Occasionally, alates found indoors originate from an infestation in the structure itself. However, alates flying indoors are unlikely to find the moist wood they need for successful colonization, and are doomed.

Life Cycle: A typical scenario resulting in successful colonization begins with a male and female alate pairing after flight. The pair sheds their wings and selects a nest site such as a crevice in a damp log or untreated fence post, or a pruning scar, tree hole, or other entry into a living tree. The alates then crawl into the existing crack or crevice and seal the entrance with fecal secretion. A few weeks after mating, the queen lays her first batch of eggs.

The eggs hatch and the first brood of larvae develop. Over the first few years, additional batches of eggs are laid and the first soldiers appear. After a few more years, when colony population numbers in the hundreds, the first crop of alates molt and the colony begins its own first dispersal cycle. Dampwood termite colony populations can reach several thousand individuals and gallery systems may extend many meters into the wood.

termite damage look like

Dampwood Termites Damage

Damage : Because of their moisture requirements, structural infestations of dampwood termites are associated with sources of free water. These include wood-to-soil contact, wood exposed to roof leaks, or wooden siding or ornamentation exposed to rainfall or sprinkler irrigation. Because these same conditions are conducive to fungal decay and subterranean termites, it is in the interest of the property owner to correct these moist conditions.

Wood that has been pressure- treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is resistant to infestation. Neotermes infestations can extend into sound dry wood several meters away from the moisture source, but once the remote source of moisture is removed, the colony will gradually decline and succumb to desiccation. Like drywood termites, dampwood termites produce fecal pellets, but because of the moist conditions of the gallery system, the pellets loose their distinctive shape and form amorphous clumps or paste. The degree of shape degradation is directly related to moisture content.

Control: Avoiding situations that lead to dampening or rot of structural wood can prevent termite attack and establishment in most cases.

Remove or fix sources of water such as leaking pipes and leaky irrigation systems.Get rid of shrubbery blocking air flow through foundation vents. If foundation walls are too low, wood may be in contact with soil. There should be 12 inches of clean concrete between soil surface and structural wood.

flying termites

Dampwood Termites

No wood near or under your house should be in contact with soil; this includes firewood, tree stumps, lumber, and scrap wood. Downspouts should carry water away fromthe building. Move any soil piled up next to the house. Be sure planter boxes built on the ground are at least inches away from the house.Repair leaky roofs.

Replacing rotten or damaged wood is important. You will remove the majority of the termites along with the damaged wood.Once removed, small pieces of wood debris containing live termites can be soaked in soapy water to kill the insects. Larger pieces can be taken to a landfill or a natural area where the decomposing ability of the termites is useful.

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