Although drywood termites are rare in Maryland, some owners can still encounter drywood termites from wooden objects they order or transport.

Unlike subterranean termites that tend to feast on softwoods, drywood termites burrow into harder woods, such as furniture, framing members, and picture frames.

Understanding the difference between these two termites and how to deal with them will help homeowners save themselves on countless repairs and unnecessary stress,

What’s the Difference Between Subterranean Termites and Drywood Termites

Of the 2000+ species of termites found worldwide, the two most common in the US are subterranean and drywood termites.

Both tend to have a cream-colored body with a 1-inch length. However, you can differentiate the two by the massive mouth incisors that subterranean termites possess and the winged backs that are characteristic of drywood termites.

Unlike soil-dwelling subterranean termites, drywood termites build their colonies inside wood, making them potentially more dangerous. Drywood colonies are also extensive, encompassing over 2,500 members, and can be difficult to contain.

Luckily, most drywood termites reside on the West Coast and in more tropical areas, though their presence has been spotted as far and wide as the Carolinas and even Maryland.

Signs of a Drywood Termite Infestation

Since these pests are so small and generally linger in more uninhabited areas, living deep inside the wood, it can be hard to spot an infestation.

For the most part, drywood termites will display the same signs of infestation as most wood-eating insects–minus the mud tubes.

  • Fecal pellets
  • Shed wings
  • Damaged wood
  • Small holes around 2mm in diameter
  • Blistering of the wood from tunnels too close to the surface

Unfortunately, it may be tough for an untrained individual to catch and deal with a termite infestation on their own. Not only are these signs difficult to see with the naked eye, but they may also conceal their presence behind walls and other structures that are not easily inspected.

Tips to Prevent Drywood Termite Infestations

Drywood termites can get into the home through a few different methods. Preventing these pathways inside is your best bet for reducing the likelihood of an infestation.

  • Make sure wood piles are at least twenty feet away from the home.
  • Seal all holes, cracks, and crevices around the house with silicone-based caulk.
  • Stain or paint exposed wood to make it less appealing to termites.
  • Check antique furniture or purchases of old wood before allowing them into the house.
  • Make sure doors and windows are fully sealed, and attic and crawlspace vents are screened with 20-mesh screen wire.
  • Keep tree limbs trimmed back from the house and from hanging over the roof.

Prevention is an obvious first step to treatment, but if termites enter your home by other means, prevention may not be enough.

How to Get Rid of Drywood Termites

If you encounter any kind of termite in Maryland, it’s critical to contact a qualified termite control professional. Your local exterminator can identify nests where termites reside and implement quick and effective treatments that drive termites out immediately.

Some powders and products, such as boric acid, will be effective against drywood termites, but they will not guarantee success without proper application. Therefore, contacting a local exterminator is critical for the health and safety of your home.

Frequently Asked Questions: Drywood Termites in Maryland

What are the main differences between drywood and subterranean termites?

Drywood termites infest dry wood, while subterranean termites prefer moist environments and build their colonies underground. Drywood termites also do not require contact with soil, unlike subterranean termites.

Can I effectively treat a drywood termite infestation on my own?

While some DIY treatments exist, effectively treating a drywood termite infestation typically requires professional intervention. Their colonies can be difficult to locate and eradicate without specialized equipment and expertise.

How long does it take for a drywood termite colony to establish?

Drywood termite colonies can be established within 2 to 5 years after initial infestation, depending on factors such as environmental conditions and the size of the initial termite population.

Are there any natural predators of drywood termites?

Yes, several natural predators, such as certain species of ants, birds, and beetles, feed on drywood termites. However, they may not provide sufficient control to eliminate an infestation entirely.

What steps should I take if I suspect a drywood termite infestation in my home?

Immediately contact a licensed pest control professional for a thorough inspection and assessment. Avoid disturbing potential infestation sites to prevent further damage.

Is tenting always necessary for treating drywood termite infestations?

Tenting, also known as structural fumigation, is one method used to treat severe or widespread drywood termite infestations. However, localized treatments may suffice for smaller infestations in specific areas of a structure.