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Dampwood termites are given their name because it is just as their name implies; dampwood termites nest in and will create their colonies in wood that is damp or even decaying. Dampwood termites are usually much larger in size than their cousins, subterranean termites. The nymphs of dampwood termites can grow up to .75" long and the swarming dampwood termites will grow to be about 1" long including the size of the wings. Dampwood termites can most commonly be found in the Pacific Coastal region and the adjacent states. They can also be found in the desert or semi-arid southwestern region and also southern Florida. Although of course dampwood termites will often times be confused with other species of termites, dampwood termite infestations are often times incorrectly identified as a carpenter ant infestation.
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There are several different representative groups that are include in the dampwood termite species. There are minor physical attributes that will differentiate each group like the lengths of their bodies, size of their wings, the number of segments in their antennae and etc. However, most representing groups will have very similar shape and biological behavior. The representing species that are included in the dampwood termite species are Pacific Coast Dampwood Termites, Desert or Semi-Arid Southwestern Dampwood Termites, and two different groups of Souther Florida Dampwood Termites.
All representative groups will include identifiable “swarmer termites” and “soldier termites”. All swarming dampwood termites possess wings that are not hairy. Some of the wings of the swarming termites are heavily veined and others are not. Soldier dampwood termites are also going to have commonalities amongst each representing species. All soldier groups in the representing species possess mandibles. Some of the mandibles have teeth that are unequal in number and one representing species lack teeth on the mandibles.
Dampwood termites create significant structural damages to wood work on a variety of structures. They create damage to the wood because they eat across the grain in both spring and summer wood. While they eat across the grain, they create a series of galleries that are connected by tunnels. The walls of the tunnels are smooth and appear as if they have been sandpapered down. Unlike the tunnels of subterranean termites, the tunnels of dampwood termites do not have soil. However, if the surrounding conditions are very damp, then there are signs of fecal pellets that have stuck to the sides of the gallery walls. If the surrounding conditions are very dry, the fecal pellets do not stick to the walls and will build up on the bottom of the galleries. As the subterranean termites use soil to seal off the galleries, dampwood termites use their fecal pellets to close off galleries.
Dampwood termites are most commonly found in tree stumps, old standing trees that have died, in logs, and etc. From these initial areas of infestation, they will migrate towards the buildings and begin to infest structures. Generally, they will infest structures where there is a constant moisture source. These key areas will typically be places like woodwork that is close to leaky pipes and etc. The major difference between dampwood termites and subterranean termites are implied in their names. Dampwood termites do not colonize underground like subterranean termites do. They do not require contact with the ground; however, they do require wood as their food source. Also, the wood must have high moisture content. All these requirements apply to all representing groups of the dampwood termite except for the desert dampwood termites. Desert dampwood termites require contact with the ground in order to colonize. Ultimately, this means that woods that are constantly vulnerable to a moisture source is the most likely to be attacked by dampwood termites. Furthermore, because they do not require contact with the ground, dampwood termites will attack the wood directly rather than building tunnels up from the ground.
Generally, because dampwood termites infest woods that are very damp or always in contact with wet conditions like leaking pipes, it is always good to check for leaking problems and also decaying wood. This will help you identify the termite problem if there is any. After eliminating all moisture problems and all wood that comes in contact with the ground, then the wood pieces that are infested should be disposed of, replaced, or treated. The wood can be treated with an appropriately labeled termiticide. Termiticides will come in a liquid form, a foam application, a wet-able powder, or a granule. The best to directly treat for dampwood termites would be a liquid concentrate that is diluted in water and sprayed or injected into the wood or a foam application that is spot treated throughout the infested piece of wood.
Treatments of the soil around the wood that comes in contact with the wood can also be done with a correctly labeled termiticide. Liquid concentrate termiticides can be infected into the ground around the infested wood.
Please refer to all product labels before applying any type of termiticide. Also, keep in mind that many termiticides are not labeled for indoor use. If you have any questions about what termiticide to use for dampwood termite infestations, feel free to talk to a representative of Pest Mall at 1-800-788-4142.
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