Creature Feature

West Indian Drywood Termite

The West Indian drywood termite is the most widely and frequently introduced termite in the world. Although called West Indian, they are not native to the West Indies, but to the Pacific coastal deserts of southern Peru and northern Chile. In the United States, the West Indian drywood termite is common throughout Hawaii and Florida. In Florida, it is the most common drywood termite infesting structures. Heavy infestations also occur in coastal areas of southeastern and Gulf states. For example, New Orleans, Louisiana and Galveston, and Corpus Christi, Texas are major port cities where West Indian drywood termite infestations are common.

The West Indian drywood termite is introduced to new areas in infested wooden ships and goods. Compared to other drywood termite species, it is more inclined to infest smaller furniture items and is almost exclusively found in structural infestations, not outdoors in natural settings. It is sometimes called a powderpost termite because the fecal pellets tend to be small. Alates fly at night from April through June and have medium brown bodies that are almost a half inch long. Soldiers have phragmotic heads that are used to plug gallery openings from ants.

Drywood termite colonies are not usually large. One colony may span several feet within a piece of wood. However, many colonies may infest a structure and fumigation is common in areas with drywood termites. Individual colonies may be treated locally with drill-and-treat applications. Small holes are drilled into wood to access termite galleries and insecticide is applied with a crack and crevice or foam injector. Remove any fecal pellets after treatment and follow up to observe if new pellets accumulate, especially in a cone shape. A swarm should not occur within a few years of a successful treatment.

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Termite Biology & Pest Identification

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Managing termites in structures requires some knowledge of their biology to understand how and why they do what they do and, also, how to stop them. After completing this course, you should be able to know the differences between termites and ants; know the differences between drywood and subterranean termites; recognize the termite castes and understand how they develop; and identify the drywood and subterranean termite pests that are most common in the United States.

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