drywood termites


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Old 05-16-07, 10:10 AM
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drywood termites

greetings, must say that i love this forum, lots of info.

i recently found some activity in my attached garage in one of the roof joists, (garage is exposed studs and joists, fiber board on wall that is adjacent to house) i noticed some saw dust (grainy) like remnants on the concrete floor below the joist in question.(about the amount in a very very very small packet of salt) i swept it up not knowing and it was there again but not as much the next morning. i got on ladder and looked at joist and noticed a hole about the size of a bb, i took a dental probe and out came some of the same stuff i found on floor, i then pealed back someof old tree bark remnants (must have been an edge of a tree board cut) and found these tunnels, very smooth and after doing some internet research iam leaning towards drywood termites....so i called in an exterminator and he just left and after i showed him the problem joist he said it was subterain termite sattalite colony with out getting on a ladder to look. he then went into the sentricon sales thing for 1471.00 initial payment and then 340 a year after this year to maintain it. i asked about if it was drywood termites and he said it was very rare to have it in south east virginia (york county va.)....i know iam not an expert but from what i have researched, it leads me to believe he was just sales pitching somthing i may not need...i did also go under the crawl space the other day and i have not noticed any tubers on block foundation (its a brick house 1964 year, on crawl space with attached sun room on slab, the sun room was an addition about 15 years ago, and have been the owners for 4 years, it had a negative termite inspection before we bought it), so not knowing and now totally confused...here iam on the forum asking for advice.

the area in question has not had any activity since i vaccumed the tunnel holes 2 days ago...i also noticed a few other wall studs with the same type of bb holes but no saw dust around the floor near them, the exterminator said that i disturbed the termites and they freaked out and now are located somewhere else...he also said that the contract would cover damage up to 20K if termites damaged the house after their inspection/service.... i almost got the service but read online to get 3 estimates....but also read that i can get most of chemicals and do the prevention and eradication myself...but... confusion....

anyideas?? thanks!

ps i did order some bora-care the day i found the joist thinking i had drywood termites so should i apply this as directed to the areas, or was the exterminator right and get his service which he said would get rid of the joist pests? arg...i got such a headache...lol
 
  #2  
Old 05-16-07, 05:04 PM
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You're off to a good start
Now get at least two more companies to do a free inspection and let them know that you are shopping

Don't point out what the other companies have said until they give you their report

With a house built in 65 if there has been no other treatments done after 85 then I would be suspect of a sub finding
Chloradane was used back then and it don't go away

I just Nextelled a friend who is more knowledgeable than me on termites and he says that it doesn't sound like termites at all, but rather some sort of boring beetle due to the BB sized holes
The smooth galleries are indicative of drywoods if that if they are in fact termites
I have another call out to a more experienced certified operator who was a termite manager for many years with half a degree in entomology
And also to degreed biologist who can answer better

I can say that I have never seen a sub exit hole that did not have part of the mudtunnel protruding through it
They go nowhere without taking their mud with them

Also around here at least Sentricon is quickly losing favor but that price is pretty good compared to what we used to charge
The process is very labor intensive and techs are prone to taking shortcuts on these low paying accounts
I have known techs that would actually contaminate the wood or stations to avoid getting a hit and the customer and office have no way of knowing that it is being done
 
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Old 05-16-07, 05:30 PM
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many thanks

ocoee, thanks for the reply and nextel out to another, iam looking forward to finding out the solution, i have an appt for wed next week for another exterminator, and left message at another since it was after closing hours. i did do another survey of area and found another set of holes on another joist near wall but it had spider nesting stuff in it and the other holes didnt have the grainular stuff under it.

when the others come i wont mention what the others have found out and will play dumb (well..iam dumb to the termites/mystery boree)

i cant remember where i read this but iam guessing it was in this forum about putting masking tape over the holes and since its a paper product the insect will eat through it to drop its stuff, i have since covered the holes with masking tape. awaiting till the next exterminator comes over then ill remove it and see if he finds the holes. (i guess i should show him the holes or leave them to see what and if he finds them????) the first guy just looked up and said yep subt. termites without even going under house...oh well i guess i have two other time to see whats up as well as what you can find out. (again i really appreciate your help...many thanks!!)

so in the mean time when my bora-care comes should i go spraying the exposed rafters and attic area or wait?

thanks again!! james d.

PS i can take some pics and email them out if needed?
 
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Old 05-16-07, 06:26 PM
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Yes please email the pics so I can pass them on

When I first got in to the business Chloradane was still being used but on the way out

Back then I was skinny so i got to do all crawls. I also had a severe problem with claustrophobia

developed a distinct hatred of termite work which was further strengthened by the lawsuits against even the proper use of Chloradane
I have also had two friends severely injured through stupid mistakes with fumigants, one actually died
I have actively avoided termite work for 20 years and really only know the very basics
My friends are certified experts in the field and can tell from pictures, usually, what is going on

NO EMAIL ADDRESSES ALLOWED IN FORUMS

PS
take photos of the frass and holes and any insect parts you may find especially wings and also of the galleries
smooth or rough and clean or dirty apparently mean alot as does with the grain or against the grain
These are questions that they have asked me already

It is very possible that this is simply old damage that you disturbed, judging by the spider activity

PPS
Hold a dime or pencil point next to the items you take pictures of for a size reference
 

Last edited by twelvepole; 05-17-07 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Email address in forum
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Old 05-17-07, 08:26 AM
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thanks

iam on duty as a firefighter and will get the pics taken tomorrow after my shift and send them out to you with the references (dime or ruler as reference sizes) i do know that the one joist in question did have activity because i did sweep under it two days in a row, but i dont have any of the frass as it fell but its in the sho vac which i did clean out before picking up the stuff. again thanks for you help!!

james d.
 
  #6  
Old 05-17-07, 04:23 PM
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Drywood termites need no soil contact to infest your home. They make BB size holes. These termites cut across the grain of the wood, excavating large chambers which are connected by small tunnels.
 
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Old 05-17-07, 06:22 PM
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Talked to Tug today
He also says drywood

They clear their fecal pellets from the galleries leaving them clean and smooth and drop them out of BB sized holes
(Very abridged paraphrasing of his answer)
 
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Old 05-18-07, 12:59 PM
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thanks

hey thanks for replying guys, OC you have email. 12pole and OC should i wait to spray bora-care until after the other exterminators that are going to come out give me the run around? i hope the others are not like the first...i cant believe he was in house for less than 10 mins. i guess that why they give you a free estimate b4 they actually get you hooked into a contract to go under a house... but to me that is counter productive to getting a customer...also should i call terminex? i read some horror stories about them.... so confusing... but none the less i appreciate you guys input and help that you have given. (now wondering if i should set house on fire and rebuild???) just kidding!

james d.
 
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Old 05-18-07, 02:18 PM
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On a side note, and not to hijack thread, but, has anyone tried the new Bayer Advanced "termite granules"?

Seen this stuff advertised on TV.
 
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Old 05-18-07, 07:08 PM
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Never heard of such a thing
Almost has to be a clay based water activated imidicloprid or fipronil product along the lines of Over and Out ant granules
I believe that Bayer is into the imidicloprid

Wouldn't work for drywoods though

Ghetto
You can call Terminix for the inspection
 
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Old 05-18-07, 07:52 PM
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Tug
Says that it looks like some kind of wood destroying beetle but is not sure which

He is sending the pics to one of, if not the, foremost experts in the country.

Tug is also a Florida boy so it may be something that we don't have down here
 
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Old 05-19-07, 06:37 AM
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thanks again for sending out the pics to tug, ill give terminex a call monday to see if they can come out to look too...i did a search yesterday evening and found a few more holes in other joists but no activity noted but on two areas, this time i didnt vaccum it up and left it as it was. thank tug for sending them up to the guy too. again thanks for everyones help!!

james d.

iam also thinking about cutting one of the joists out and replace it and then disect the board inch by inch just to see what and if anything is living in it, you would not believe how obsessed i have become with this whole fiasco, my wife thinks iam on destruction mode (trying to put screw driver through the boards to see which is weak etc) what a nite mare. but thanks again for your help.
 
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Old 05-19-07, 05:02 PM
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Check your PM before you call Terminix
 
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Old 05-19-07, 06:50 PM
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I'd want a complete inspection of my home. Infestation can spread, even to your wood furniture. Remember inspection can only be of visible areas.

MODERATOR NOTE: KEEP DISCUSSION IN THE FORUMS RATHER THAN PM SO THAT ALL CAN BENEFIT FROM DISCUSSION.
 
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Old 05-19-07, 09:18 PM
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PM's

[quote=ghettoct]hey appreciate you sending the pics out to tug, iam hoping i can find out what it is and kill them, i have nite mares about having to have house fumigates with the tent....btw you would have a ball park figure on how much that would run on a single story rancher with an attached day room total sqft is approx 1600-1800?

thanks!

**Tug says powder post beetles, which was my first guess( but then that's always my guess is there are no wings present) but has not heard back from Stoy, PB is a fume job.

**As always get at least three different quotes let them know you are shopping and don't be afraid to dicker and get a repair guarantee if possible

i do have 2 more exterminators coming out this week...one other local ext company and terminex. (i do hope the others are more competent than the first guy who wanted to sell me a bait and kill service and didnt even address the rafters after i showed him...he said this would take care of problem. anyways...i did manage to see some flying things in garage, i caught a few and put in alcohol...i did find out by a comparison pic i found that they were swarming ants..not termites....i did also find some ants crawling around the garage too, but they were the small kinds (not the big carpenter ants) did i mention that i hate bugs?
 

Last edited by ghettoct; 05-19-07 at 09:23 PM. Reason: not complete
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Old 05-19-07, 10:30 PM
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Apologies
Some of the information in the PMs contained names of well known people that I do not have permission to use in open forums
But all other pertinent info has also been presented here
 
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Old 05-22-07, 01:34 PM
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22may update

ok, terminex came out today and the guy was pretty cool, he did follow me to the areas in question and even followed my into attic (unlike the first guy who looked at area from 12 feet away and said its was subter termites with out the usual findings of tubers etc) the terminex guy said he wanted to have his supervisor to come out and see it, but he was somewaht sure it was drywood termites or carpenter ants, thats why he wanted his supervisor out to see it. so iam awaiting for him to call to see if they can get out in next day. he did also say that the only way to rid of drywood was to fumigate at 8K-15K (he orginally said 8 to 15...and i though in hundreds not thousands...so after the shock of my jaw hitting ground...) he told me of the older couple who had their house fumigated and that their matress had plastic cover on it and thatit wasnt removed prior to fumigation and after they came back home they made bed and went to sleep and died...appears that there was fumigation gas trapped in plastic and it got to them in sleep. hmmmm iam really feeling good about this whole process....i asked if there was a less invasive procedure andhe said no...but from what i have read you can try spot reatment.....iam confused as usual.

i have 2 more exterminators lined up and did tell them that i others coming out too...

my question though is what about bora-care and spraying the wood that is in question. i have found only 5 boards with the bore holes in them and though i feel tenting house may be too much (yea what do i know..) shouldnt you try a different approach..i guess like carpet bombing vs thermonuclear detonation, ie. spot treatment vs fumigation?

iam still thinking an electrical or fire of unkown orgin is the cheaper way....lol..just kidding.
 
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Old 05-22-07, 02:45 PM
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The problem may just be isolated to the garage and may not be in the structure. A thorough inspection should reveal what you have. This will likely mean cutting into the rafter in the garage to inspect the tunnels. Fecal matter present or smooth and clean?

Drywood termites cut across the grain of the wood, excavating large chambers which are connected by small tunnels. There may be fecal matter packed in galleries. The extent of damage inside boards is not evident. Considerable damage can be done to the point that the wood fails without any visible damage.

The galleries of carpenter ants follow the softer sap wood with numerous connections through the harder/darker heart wood. The gallery walls are so smooth that they appear to have been sanded with sandpaper. The galleries are very clean. Carpenter ants prefer wood softened by fungus. Thus, they are often associated with moisture problems.
 
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Old 05-22-07, 04:05 PM
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Our carpenter ants don't eat wood but I hear that they are second to termites in damage up north

TimBor or BoraCare is a boric acid surface treatment that basically changes the flavor of the wood and will kill insects if they ingest it

It wouldn't cure and existing problem but may be helpful with prevention
Terminix used to sell this treatment quite often to cracker houses and docks with fair results

You can do a needle treatment, but it is expensive and labor intensive.

Basically it is simply using an longterm aerosol insecticide with a plastic tip and injecting each and every hole
We used to do that with antique furniture and such back in the day, if we didn't have a fume job to piggy back off of.

18K is definitely a budget buster for most of us
If you chose not to go with the fume and to use the TimBor and needle treat be very diligent in inspecting your home in the future

You might also want to think about calling your extension office to do an inspection of the area
They have absolutely nothing to gain and the agents I have met would love the opportunity for field time on a disputed case

If they can't come to you send them those photos

This is important but a decision does not have to be made immediately
they do about one to teo linear feet of damage a year if infested
(Just got that from Mike the termite manager)
 
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Old 05-22-07, 08:35 PM
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thanks

thanks guys for the info and suggestions which i will do. i just got in from crawling around attic and i found a board in end of house near the vent on side of roof, it was split long ways and had some frass coming from the cracks...it moved pretty easy and got my pry bar and pulled it off, i carefully took it down and started pulling it apart, but there was not a single tunnel, gallery or sign of bugs...iam presuming it just dry rotten so to speak, but it didnt crumble apart, so i replaced that board and a vertical one that goes from joist to peak behind the vent. i cleaned all the dust out and will just watch to see what happens in the mean time, i did find another stud that had some damage to it but it was not like the ones above in rafter, it was pretty much a larger area and in open...it did have frass in it. its a pretty easy board to just pull out and replace so ill be doing that tomorrow, then iam going to cut that board to pieces to try and find out whats in it, the damage looked fresh too.

another question though, am i making this worse by cleaning and pulling studs out? i dont want to cause them to flee or migrate to the other side of house.... man this really bites....but i now know more about termites than i did last month. again thanks for helping me out and listening to me wine...

james d.
 
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Old 05-22-07, 09:00 PM
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Termites 'flee' when they swarm and settle in new places. If boards have lost structural integrity they must be replaced. I was hoping for your sake that the problem was isolated to the garage. It's sounding much more serious than that.

When describing boards, you say, "it did have frass in it." The fecal pellets (frass) of drywood termites are found inside galleries.
 
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Old 05-22-07, 09:16 PM
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boards

all the boards are pretty sound, (with exception of the two i replaced, they had no signs of bugs dwelling or tunneling, the cracks on the bottom ran from nail hole to nail hole had some frass (like pellets) but i couldnt tell where where it came from, there was no gallery, no tunnels just a split piece of wood.split length and width i then split it more and found no holes etc, just a piece of wood that seemed like it was very easy to split. its also considerably darker in color too.
the stud that i found last was near the window, it had an opening about 2x3in and had powder like frass in it and there was some that flowed to bottom of floor but not much.its almost directly below the joists that have the holes in it (kick outs i persume)

correct me if iam wrong...but subter termites would have mud like stuff in tunnels? iam wondering since this is the wall located on side of house could there be a way of these things getting into wall between brick venere and sheathing? but then again the frass would look different than what iam finding? i cant wait until tomorrow to pull that stud out and go on a search and destroy mission.

any suggestions on how to disect the board?? length cuts or side to side etc??

thanks for help!
 
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Old 05-22-07, 09:19 PM
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oh yea, i have been taking a awl and sounding all my boards in garage and they seem solid too.

man i wish i knew all of this prior to buying a house....any ideas on how these got in my garage? i know how subter termites get in but drywood termites?
 
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Old 05-22-07, 10:46 PM
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Mommy and Daddy termite swarm in spring to early summer to find a crack in wood or where two boards join and bore in and lay more eggs. When they swarm they leave their nymphs behind to munch on your wood. They plug the hole after entering the wood and upon leaving. Then, they're off to find a new location.

Copy and paste the following link in your address bar for detailed info re: drywood termites: http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1170/ANR-1170.pdf
 
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Old 05-24-07, 06:02 AM
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orkin came out and did a very detailed exploration of my problem area and did go into crawl space and did visual and moisture content of most of the area under there too with meter, everyting wsa 12-15 on meter andhe said it was good, it was very clean under house, termite barrier was good (plasitc) and he said since house was built in 64 that i had 99% sure i had cloradane (sp) and sub ter wouldnt be a problem. while wainting for orkin to come over i took the wall stud out and stripped it to pieces and found no larvae, no bugs just tunnels and frass.... when the guy came up and his new student he was training i showed him the stud and the holes, and he said yep..its old house borer, i showed him the rest of holes in joists and he said its old house borer, i then questioned him as to not-drywood termites and he said they are not in our area and that the holes are oval in shape, and the frass is differnt. he said that the treatment was with bora-care 1:1 spray, he figured out sq footage of house and suggested that i do crawlspace area too bc there was one oval hole near front proch area but looked to be old,( i went under house too and that was all i saw too) the price would be 2200$ and then 279 year for coverage. the guy was really knowledgable and honest, i played dumb about bora-care but he said it was an excellent product. the other exterminator who i had coming over showed up a few mins early and they both saw each other.. the other exterminator also said it was old house borer too (with out me saying anything) and said treatment was with a borate, but he tried to sell me a termite sprayinjection with friponol to soil but he only said i needed to borate the garage area only, he said my attic space was low and difficult.

sooooooooooo iam going to go with orkin, the guy was really nice and honest with me, he was only guy who went into crawl space, did a moisture content probe of wood in house(attic and crawl space) and the garage too,

i talked it over with wife and said i can spray bora-care my self but if we went to sell hous e afew years later that the holes may be construded as termites and that it was beter to get them to do the treatment and guarantee just to eleviate the selling problem that may occur.

what a relief that it wasnt termites (i guess) but it has been funny to see all the exterminators come out and give me sale pitches for something that i didnt need. (orkin was only one that didnt try and sell me other services, i had read about cloradane and my neighbor who has been here for ages said that the houses were done with that stuff)

i actually had 6 companies out for survey, 5 showed up, 1 was no show, 4 tried to sell me something i didnt need (each was a differnt thing) and the funniest one was the first guy who said i had sub ter termites just looking at roof joist from 10 feet away, and he didnt even go into attic nor crawl space.

i apprciate everyones input and help and suggesting to get minimum of 3 contractors out, i went a little over but iam glad i did for orkin was the last one i called, and it was on just a whim. glad i did.

thanks again!!
 
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Old 05-24-07, 06:43 AM
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So the holes were oval in shape!
 
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Old 05-24-07, 06:18 PM
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Really late to the thread..

I had drywood termites infesting one of my prior homes and it required tenting... 2400sq. ft /two story home.... cost me around $2700... five years ago.... According to all the experts I could find... it was the only means of eradicating them....
 
 

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