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Which Structural Woods Do Termites Prefer To Infest Within Homes, And How Do Subterranean And Drywood Termites Know Which Wood Sources Provide Optimal Nourishment?

Several damaging species of subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites infest homes and buildings all year round in Arizona. Species from both the dampwood and drywood termite groups live in colonies that are contained entirely within single above-ground wood items. Generally, drywood termites establish infestations within sources of sound and dry wood, and this is especially the case when it comes to the western drywood termite, which is the most destructive drywood termite pest species in the country.

Unlike drywood termites, dampwood termites establish infestations exclusively within decayed wood items that have become heavily saturated with moisture. Due to their preference for feeding on rotting and waterlogged wood sources, dampwood termites are not found infesting structural wood within homes as often as they are found infesting open-air wood sources that have already sustained damage from rainwater. Dampwood termites frequently infest wood fences, utility poles, patio-wood, and occasionally, infestations are found in hardwood flooring located above consistently damp crawl space environments.

Subterranean termites dwell beneath the ground where mature colonies can contain anywhere between 50,000 and two million individual termites, making them much larger than the drywood and dampwood termite colonies found within single pieces of wood. Subterranean termite workers generally infest relatively moist substructural wood components that are located in close proximity to their ground-soil habitat. Workers digest moist and rotting wood more rapidly than sound dry wood, but unlike dampwood termites, subterranean termites do not rely solely on moist wood for their water needs, as workers can return to the moist soil in order to hydrate as needed.

Since pest species from all three termite groups feed within interior wood cavities where they remain hidden from view, infested wood usually appears undamaged. However, termite damaged wood will produce a hollow sound when tapped, and the surface of heavily infested wood will collapse in response to exterior pressure. Drywood termite nymphs possess particularly strong and durable jaws that allow them to chew into dense and hard summerwood portions of lumber as well as softer springwood portions. Subterranean termite workers, on the other hand, cannot readily chew into summerwood, and they also have a difficult time digesting hard wood particles. Subterranean termites are usually found infesting sill plates, beams, joists and other moist substructural lumber components near the ground-soil, but drywood termite infestations can be found anywhere on a home’s interior timber-frame or exterior wood paneling. Drywood termite alates frequently initiate new colonies within attics, behind wood siding, and below roof shingles. Unlike subterranean termites, drywood termite infestations are also commonly found in wood furniture.

Have you ever discovered a drywood termite infestation within wood furniture?

 

 

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