Many residents of Florida, especially those living near the coast or in southern counties, will experience a drywood termite infestation in their home.
Unlike subterranean termites which require excess moisture, drywood termites spend almost their entire life cycle inside the sound, dry wood members upon which they feed.
Only during brief swarming flights do young adults leave the confines of their galleries to begin new colonies elsewhere.
Winged adults or "swarmers", shed wings, ejected pellets, and galleries inside wood are typical signs of a drywood termite infestation.
Swarming ants are sometimes confused with termites, but their differences are easy to recognize.
Drywood termite treatments are divided into three general categories which reflect their areas of coverage: whole-structure, compartmental, and local or "spot" applications. Preventative treatments are also available and are usually offered after an existing infestation has been treated.
Fumigation ("tenting") has been the only method used for over forty years which insures complete eradication of all drywood termites from a structure.
Fumigation is a highly technical procedure which involves surrounding the structure with a gas-tight tarpaulin, releasing a gas inside the seal, and aerating the fumigant after a set exposure time. Before fumigation, the homeowner must remove all plants and animals from the house, remove or place food items inside special protective bags, and insure that there is sufficient tarp clearance between sensitive landscaping and exterior walls.
The fumigation company may monitor gas concentration during the fumigation to insure that a sufficient dose is maintained. Only after the house has been aerated and tested for absence of fumigant can it be reoccupied. Because the fumigant is a true gas and works as a component of air, no cleanup of clothing, dishes, floors or other surfaces is needed.
Wood injection or "drill-and-treat" applications have been used since the 1920s to treat drywood termite infestations which are accessible and detectable. A termiticide is injected into small holes drilled through any wood surface into termite galleries delivering the treatment directly to the termite population. This is the simplest and most direct method of treatment. The amount of drilling required and the effectiveness of this treatment depends on the chemical used and the nature of the infestation. Most chemicals will remain active in the wood after treatment to thwart resurgent colonies.
Borates. Spray and foam applications of products containing boron salts are applied to raw, uncoated wood surfaces. Because penetration depths of borate solutions and depth of drywood termite galleries vary, injection into existing infestations should also be performed.
This method allows for absolute removal of a drywood termite infestation if it is isolated to a wood member which can be detached relatively easily, as for example, a fascia board or a door. Make certain that there are no galleries leading to adjacent wood members, otherwise, they will also require treatment or removal.