Can drywood termites be spot treated

Can drywood termites be spot treated

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Localized spot treatments using chemical pesticides serve as a remedial termite control method, but unlike tent fumigation it offers no guarantee for drywood termite elimination. This is because spot treatments can only be applied to accessible areas where drywood termite activity has been detected. Therefore, spot treatments only affect the termites in the immediate area that is treated.

The primary benefits of spot treatments for termite control are cost and convenience. Spot treatments are significantly less expensive than whole structure fumigation and don’t require you to vacate the structure. The down side of spot treatments is that is significantly less reliable in achieving total eradication.

The success of spot treatments is heavily dependent on the technician’s ability to locate all activity. This can be difficult to determine in areas that are inaccessible, such as behind walls. However, this method is often ideal if it is determined that the termite activity is isolated or confined to a specific detectable and accessible area.


Borates are derived from minerals and act as a stomach poison for target pests. Lumber is often pre-treated with borates prior to or during construction as a preventive measure against termite and fungus infestation.

For existing structures, borates can be effective in eliminating small infestations of termites but it is typically considered a remedial treatment and/or preventive treatment. Borates can only be applied to bare/unfinished wood and because borates are water-soluble they cannot be applied to exterior wood unless a finish or sealant is applied thereafter.

Borates are usually applied by brushing or painting directly on the wood, spraying or fogging or by drilling into the wood and pressure injecting. Successful eradication of existing drywood termite infestations is dependent on the technicians locating each piece of wood that is infested.


These types of products contain high citric acid content, which can be fatal to termites that feed on it. The product does not leave an unpleasant odor behind and this treatment approach does not require displacement of the household occupants.

However, total eradication of drywood termites cannot be guaranteed unless this product is delivered to all infested wood throughout the entire structure. If the entire structure is not properly treated or the product is not delivered to all wood members where termites exist, the existing termites will be affected only if they consume one of the treated pieces of lumber within 96 hours of the initial application because the product biodegrades within 4 days.

This approach is fairly new within the pest control industry. It is considered an alternative measure for drywood termite control but has not been established as a method that guarantees 100% eradication or a method that provides prevention.


Freezing with liquid nitrogen (such as the Blizzard System and others) is different from other spot treatment methods. This type of treatment is considered a localized treatment and requires that holes be drilled into the structure in order to deliver the product. Because the mode of action for this type of treatment is thermal, success is highly dependent on dosage and detection accuracy is critical. All undetected or inaccessible infestations will go unaffected by this treatment method.

Drywood Termite Treatment

Detecting the extent of damage done by drywood termites is difficult, so experts do not recommend over-the-counter remedies for drywood termite treatment. These termites live deep inside the wood and show wide dispersal. Usually, the extent of feeding damage, the number of shed wings and fecal pellets, and the number of kick-out holes gives an idea of the severity of infestation. The drywood termite’s fecal pellets are hexagonal in shape, and the kick-out holes are usually the size of a BB shot. The termites use this hole to push their pellets out of the wood.

Drywood termite control methods are categorized into two types: whole-structure, and localized or spot treatments. The whole-structure treatment deals in treating the whole infected structureβ€”both visible and invisible partsβ€”and is much more effective. The localized treatment, as the name suggests, deals with a particular infested area; hence, it is more restrictive.

Whole-Structure Treatment

If correctly applied simultaneously, it is possible to achieve high levels of efficacy with fumigants. In about three hours, the termites get killed. A monitored fumigation, which needs gas monitoring lines to be installed inside the infected structure, has the highest success rate. Non-monitored fumigation does not have the same rate of success as there may not be enough concentration of gas to kill the infestations. This process is also known as termite tenting and it comes with some distinct disadvantages. Whole-structure treatments should be performed by professionals.

  • The difficulty of installing tarpaulins
  • Determining the proper dosage of fumigants
  • Protecting food items
  • Lack of residual control (long-term protection from termite attacks)
  • Vacating the building for 3 to 4 days during treatment and, later on, during ventilation
  • The possibility of roofs getting damaged due to the use of tarpaulins

Heat Treatment

In the heat method, the affected structure is heated to a minimum of 120Β°F, and the heat is maintained for at least 33 minutes. With this method, whole structures can be treated without the use of chemicals. The structure needs to be evacuated only for a few hours, as opposed to the few days required with other fumigants. Huge buildings, such as condominiums and apartments, can be treated in stages, instead of at one go. The heat method is used for spot treatment as well.

  • Sometimes a difficulty may crop up in raising the internal core temperature of the large infested structural beams
  • Damage to heat-sensitive items, such as plastics, electric outlets, and cables
  • No residual control

Localized Treatments

There are chemical as well as non-chemical treatments available, such as with aerosol, liquid, and dust insecticides. For the liquid and dust methods to be practical, the termites should touch or ingest the insecticides. Spot treatments should be applied only by licensed applicators. Some of these treatments have shown 13% to 100% effectiveness in eliminating termites. Treatment with liquid nitrogen is a successful spot treatment method. It causes a sudden drop in temperatures, which kills the termites.

  • Liquid nitrogen has no residual activity when used alone.
  • Small amounts of damage occur as holes have to be drilled for chemical insertions.

Microwave Devices

Microwave devices used for spot treatment kill the termites inside the wood itself. They leave no chemical residue.

  • Accuracy in detection is critical to the success of such devices.
  • They may damage the surface or interior of the wood boards.

Does spot treatment for drywood termites work?

Q: Does spot treatment for drywood termites work? I have drywood termite damage to some interior trim and evidence of live termites (termite excrement, tiny sawdust pellets, and wings), is observed in one room of a large home, but in no other rooms. I’d prefer not to have to tent the entire home (and risk breaking tiles on the roof), but just spot treat if it’s effective. Is it?

A: Spot treatments can be effective, but there are several factors needed for them to work. First, the termite problem needs to be isolated. There needs to be a clear sign of termite activity and the area needs to be easily accessible. Of course, it also won’t work if you aren’t using the proper product; specifically, a termiticide made specifically for spot treatments.

Visual evidence and accessibility are critical to just how effective spot treatment will be. If you can inject the termiticide in the galleries β€” the “tunnels” termites form to travel inside wood β€” or on the termites, it should be effective. That, however, is the trouble with spot treating for termites. Because you can’t see inside wood or walls, you can’t be assured that the termites will come into contact with the treatment. There could also be several individual colonies inside the structure that you won’t be able to reach. If you don’t eradicate all the termites, they’ll continue to mate and multiply.

Tent fumigation is the only guaranteed remedy, because the fumigant penetrates all wood in the structure. Unfortunately, termite professionals often get called out to tent a structure after a homeowner has spent time and money trying spot treatments.

I recommend you have a thorough inspection done by a reputable, certified termite inspector. Check consumer reviews and look for information about your specific need to see how companies have performed. Get three estimates for the treatment and follow the advice of the company you decide to hire. If the problem is isolated, you might be fine with the spot treatment.

If tenting the structure is needed, talk to the company and share your concerns about damage to the roof. Done carefully, there should little or no damage and the cost for any repairs should be minimal; especially when compared with the damage termites can do.

Drywood Termite Treatment Gu >

If you have drywood termites in your home, there are three methods of treatment available to you. Which method you use depends on if the infested wood is visible and if the wood is raw or has been stained, sealed, or painted.

We highly recommend that you contact and use a reputable pest control company if you have a widespread infestation. Widespread drywood termite infestations can be extremely hard to treat yourself. You may even need to have your home tented and fumigated. Many professional pest control companies will give you a free or low-cost inspection if you need help determining your level of infestation.

Remove or Replace Infested Wood

The simplest way to get rid of drywood termites is to remove and/or replace infested wood. If the infestation is localized to one or two pieces of easily accessible wood, you can simply remove and replace the infested wood to effectively get rid of drywood termites in your home. If the wood cannot be removed or replaced, see the methods below for treatment options.

Treat Unpainted or Raw Wood with Bora-Care

Bora-Care is a concentrated borate-based product with a glycol (alcohol) base. When applied to raw or unpainted/unstained wood, Bora-Care penetrates up to 4 inches into the wood, making it more effective than other products. Drywood termites that ingest wood that has been treated with Bora-Care will stop eating and die. Bora-Care also prevents new termites from tubing into treated wood. If applied correctly (according to the label) Bora-Care will offer protection for the lifetime of the wood. That is why many homebuilders treat the studs of a home with Bora-Care, which they may dye blue to show that wood has been treated.

To use Bora-Care, begin with the following tools and products:

  • Bora-Care
  • A foaming solution if you decide to foam the Bora-Care
  • A 5-gallon bucket
  • A paint stirrer
  • A hand pump sprayer, paint brush, paint roller, or foaming device

How To Kill And Get Rid Of Drywood Termites

Drywood Termite Swarmer

Use Professional Quality Drywood Termite Control Products. No License Required*

Recommended Drywood Termite Insecticides, Sprays, Baits and Wood Treatment

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Tri Die Pressurized
Silica Gel Aerosol

Alpine Ant and
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Solo Wall
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Stainless Steel
Needle Injector

Drywood Termite Distribution Map

Drywood Termite Facts

Drywood termites generally live, feed and nest in undecayed wood which has a very low moisture content. Unlike subterranean termites, they do not require any contact with the soil in order to live. Thus, they can seriously damage movable wooden objects such as furniture. In the United States, drywood termites are found in a narrow strip from Virginia, south to Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico and from Mexico to northern California on the Pacific coast.

A male and female pair work their way into the wood chosen for the nest. The opening through which they enter the wood is sealed with a plug of brown cement-like material about 1/8-inch in diameter. Behind this plug they excavate a chamber where the queen lays the first eggs. The nymphs which hatch from these eggs perform the work of the

colony. Soldiers and reproductives develop from these nymphs. There is no distinct worker caste as in subterranean termites.

During the swarming season, nymphs make round holes 1/16- to 1/8-inch in diameter through which the reproductive forms leave the wood. When swarming is completed, these holes are plugged in the same way as the entrance holes. Damage done by drywood termites is entirely different from that caused by subterranean termites. These termites cut across the grain of the wood, excavating large chambers which are connected by small tunnels.

The chambers and tunnels being used by the colony are kept clean. Excreta and other debris are stored in unused chambers or cast out through small openings in the wood.

Drywood Termite Frass

Drywood termite fecel pellets. Also known as frass. Fecel pellets have a unique 6 sided concave appearance with rounded ends and are appromimately 1/8 inches long.

Drywood Termite excretal pellets (frass) are a distinguishing characteristic of non-subterranean termites. These pellets are hard and have six distinct concave surfaces on the sides; only the ends are rounded. Certain anobiid (powder post) beetles also eject pellets from wood in which they feed. These pellets can easily be distinguished from those of drywood termites because they have rounded, convex surfaces.

Entrance into wood is usually made from a crack or crevice which the termites can enter before boring into the wood. This may be a crack in the wood itself or may be the joint between two pieces of wood or even the space underneath roofing or sheathing paper.

Because of their ability to live in wood without soil contact, drywood termites are frequently carried in infested furniture and other wooden objects into geographical areas where they are not normally found. For this reason, you should be aware of their habits so as to recognize them when they appear.

Drywood termites may attack wood products of all kinds. Structural timbers and woodwork in buildings, as well as furniture and other wooden objects, may be damaged. Although serious damage is done to buildings and other wood products in some areas of the U.S., these termites are usually less injurious than subterranean termites simply because they are less widespread. In fact while a typical subterranean termite colony can contain more than 500,000 termites, a typical drywood termite colony only contains about 10,000.

The dark western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor (Hagen), is the most destructive drywood termite in this country. It is found from California east to Arizona and Utah. In this area, it causes extensive damage to structures as well as to wooden derricks, piled lumber, furniture and telephone poles. It may infest any dry wooden portions of a structure from the foundation to the roof.

Drywood Termite Swarmers

Drywood termite swarmers.

Unlike the subterranean termite which lives in the ground, drywood termites do not need soil moisture. Instead, they excavate their nest and live directly inside the wood. They infest dry wood such as siding, eaves, cornices, and walls. They can also infest furniture and interior wood work..

Size – 7/16 inches up to 1/2 long

Small swarming flights of drywood termites occur during April through July, frequently after rains. Winged adults are dark brown and about 1/2-inch long. The white, soft-bodied workers and nymphs remain in the galleries and are not seen unless the wood is broken open.

The light western drywood termite, Marginitermes hubbardi, is found from California to Arizona. It is also referred to as the southern drywood termite. This termite is very similar in habits to the western drywood termite but prefers drier conditions and higher temperatures.

Three species of drywood termites are most often found in the southeastern part of the U.S. The light southeastern drywood termite, Incisitermes snyderi (Light), is found from South Carolina to Florida and west to Texas. It is the most injurious species of drywood termite in that area. A second drywood termite, IIncisitermes schwartzi (Banks), is a common species in southern Florida occurring as far north as Pensacola. Thirdly, the dark southeastern drywood termite, Kalotermes approximatus (Snyder), occurs along the Gulf Coast west to New Orleans and on the Atlantic Coast north to southern Virginia. It attacks wood in structures, posts and utility poles.

Drywood Termite Treatment Recommendations:

Treatment for control of drywood termites consists of (1) structural fumigation, or (2) localized or spot wood treatment. The localized or spot wood treatment treatment method should only be used in the case of limited infestations. If you are interested in doing it yourself you may want to check out our

Fumigation involves wrapping the structure in gas tight tarps and releasing a fumigant such as “Vikane” inside. The entire process takes about 2 days and is usually 100% effective in killing all pests withing the structure.

Drywood Termite Structural Fumigation

When extensive infestations of drywood termites are found, treatment should be performed by fumigation. Fumigation is done with sulfuryl fluoride (Vikane) or methyl bromide (bromo-gas) gas. When performing a fumigation, The entire building is covered tightly with a fumigation cover (tarps) and the gas is introduced. Fumigations are effective because the gases penetrate the structure and completely consume all the oxygen replacing it with the deadly gas. When the insects respire or breathe, the gas is quickly absorbed resulting in almost immediate death. Fumigation of structures with fumigants almost always results in 100% elimination of all insects and mammals. This is the reason that fumigations can only be performed by licensed fumigators.

Vikane need only kill the adult drywood termites to be completely effective. The immature termites and eggs cannot survive without the care of the adults. This is not the case with powder post beetle control in which the eggs can hatch and begin their lifecycle on their own. This is the reason that most drywood termite fumigations are performed with very low amounts of Vikane – the termite eggs do not have to be killed – and powder post beetles are fumigated with amounts up to 10 times or 10X the amount required for drywood termites.Powder post beetle eggs have to be killed in order to control the infestation.

Vikane also has the advantage of rapid and uniform dispersion within the within structures where drywood termites are found. Such fumigations should be done only by professionals thoroughly trained in the use of gasses. Both Methyl Bromide and Vikane are restricted use products and cannot be purchased without a Certified Structural Fumigator license – in all 50 States.

In the Los Angeles, California area call Global Termite Solutions at 1-800-253-8870 or visit the website at
In Texas contact Coastal Fumigators at 713-863-7378. Ask for Harvey West and tell him that Ron Dawson at ePestSupply referred you.

Drywood Termite Localized Spot Wood Treatment

Drywood termites are not always a widespread structural problem. Sometimes the infestations are very small and localized and can be treated with spot or localized wood treatments, foams and dusts. In order to effectively use a liquid, aerosol or dust formulation, holes are drilled into the infested timbers through the termite galleries or kickout holes, using a 3/16 inch drill bit. Insecticide is then forced through these holes to be dispersed through the galleries.

When treating limited localized infestations, aerosol’s such as Termidor Foam, Termidor Dry, Premise Foam and Alpine Foam as well as dust formulations such as Timbor and TriDie are recommended. These products require drilling small holes into the infested wood, preferably directly into the drywood termite galleries and applications being made into these areas.

Invader and D-Foam can all be applied directly into the drywood termite kickout holes. Holes can also be drilled every few inches directly into the termite galleries and these products injected directly into the galleries. After an insecticide has been injected into wood, the openings should be plugged with wooden dowels or at the very least sealed with Dapβ„’.

Silica gel such as TriDie is an example of a dust that is used. Dusts should be injected into the termite galleries in small amounts. Too much dust will plug the galleries, and the termites will wall off and isolate these areas. Bora Care is another good alternative treatment in Drywood termite control. If the wood is bare and has not been stained or sealed, an application of Bora Care will penetrate the wood and kill the termites. Bora Care will also leave a residual that will last for the life of the wood. In cases where the wood is sealed or stained, it may be necessary to sand and remove the finish to allow the Bora Care to penetrate the wood. In all cases, Stain, paint or varnish can then be applied over the top of the Bora Care for weathering protection.

In Los Angeles and Orange County California, Americana Termite Company offers a cost effective fumigation alternative with XT-2000, an organic termite treatment, known commonly as orange oil.

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