Because drywood termites exist solely within the wood they eat, effective treatments must be able to penetrate the wood to get to the termites’ nests. The two most common treatments for drywood termites are wood treatment and structural fumigation.
When a drywood termite infestation is limited to a known area, a direct wood treatment can be effective. For this treatment, a pest control expert applies an odorless, liquid insecticide to the surface of the wood, or injects it directly into the wood to target the drywood termite nest.
An extensive termite infestation may include multiple colonies in and around a home. Rather than treating each colony individually, a termite expert may recommend providing one comprehensive treatment to the entire house to control all active colonies. This type of treatment can be a gas fumigation or heat treatment (not as common).
Fumigation is a very complex process and should be performed only by a highly trained professional. Before the fumigation begins, a termite expert inspects the home for all signs of past and present infestations to determine their size and locations. After all objects that could be negatively impacted by the fumigation have been removed – including people, pets, plants and food – the process will begin.
During the fumigation process, the home will be covered by a fumigation tent. The pest control specialist will pump the fumigant gas into the home, and the gas will penetrate all cracks and crevices where termites could be present. This fumigant will kill both termites and their eggs.
Not only is structural fumigation effective for large-scale infestations, it also can be effective in treating limited infestations that are located in areas where it is not feasible to apply direct wood treatments, such as in wood shingles, between walls or in attics.
Other Drywood Termite Treatment Methods
Additional drywood termite treatment options include heat treatment, extreme cold and electronic termite treatment. The effectiveness of these methods depends on many variables, including the size and location of the infestation. A qualified termite specialist can explain which treatment option will be most effective for a home.
During the heat treatment process, portable heaters are used to increase the air temperature of a home to 120 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At this level, temperatures inside the wood will rise to 120 degrees. Termites cannot survive at this extremely hot temperature.
On the opposite side of the temperature spectrum, liquid nitrogen may be used to control localized termite infestations. The application of liquid nitrogen can bring temperatures to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Since termites require moderate temperatures and moisture to survive, this extremely cold temperature will kill the termite colony.
When using localized treatments (non-fumigation treatments), it is important that the pest control expert accurately identify the location of the infestation and the reach of the colony/colonies to provide effective control. While these targeted treatments are effective for one-time infestations, a long-term termite control plan is required to prevent future infestations.