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Why Do You Find Dampwood Termites Indoors?

March 30, 2022
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Termites can remain active throughout the year and even cold weather conditions cannot stop them from taking shelter and hiding deep within wood structures inside your home. One of the common species of termites that you may likely find indoors is the dampwood termite.  

So what attracts dampwood termites to get inside your home? Dampwood termites get their name because they actively look for decayed wood surfaces and wooden structures with water-related damage or excess moisture content. If you have an existing roof leak, damaged water pipes, plumbing issue, or ventilation problems, dampwood termites will be easily drawn to your home. 

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What Causes Dampwood Termite Infestations Indoors?  

Termites aren’t only a nuisance household pest but their infestation could lead to structural damage and costly annual repairs. Unfortunately, these invasive pests are silent wood destroyers and you might not notice that you have a dampwood termite infestation until you see visible property damage. 

Being proactive in pest control and using preventative measures can go a long way in avoiding a severe dampwood termite problem. One of the most crucial steps in termite control is having good knowledge about what starts an infestation. Here are the possible reasons for an indoor dampwood termite infestation: 

1) You have ventilation problems which cause high humidity indoors 

Having poor ventilation can cause moisture and condensation to accumulate in the foundation walls and wood surfaces inside your home. This can make your house an attractive nesting place for dampwood termites since they have high moisture requirements to survive.  

2) You have old furniture with rotten wood 

Termites are notorious for being wood destroyers and if you have wooden furniture, there’s always the risk of having a termite infestation. However, dampwood termites will just not infest any wood and they’re more interested in damaged and decaying wood. They’re likely to attack old furniture with untreated wood that has started to rot or have accumulated mildew and fungus. 

3) You have leakage problems 

Another possible cause of dampwood termite infestations is that you have unresolved plumbings issues or water problems. Leaky faucets, sinks, and air conditioners can increase moisture levels and invite termite pests to settle inside your home. Dampwood termites are likely to hide in the crawl spaces, basements, wooden door frames, and attics where there’s excessive moisture.

4) Your drainage is not working properly due to clogged gutters 

Having clogged gutters and downspouts can affect how water flows away from the roof of your house. If it’s not draining properly, the water can spill over the sides of the gutters and damage your foundation. This can eventually lead to the accumulation of moisture in the exterior walls and create an ideal nesting ground for dampwood termites. Water may also drain to the soil in the ground and attract dampwood termites once it becomes excessively moist. 

5) Your home has direct wood to ground contact 

Having some parts of your home’s foundation or structural wood in direct contact with moist soil can make it easy for dampwood termites to enter inside. If you have overgrown shrubs or tree limbs that are extending to your home, the termite pests can use them as a way to sneak inside your home. The tree branches may also block the entry of sunlight into your home and encourage moisture to accumulate indoors. 

6) You have plenty of dead woods, tree stumps, logs around your home 

Placing stacks of firewood and damp wood piles close to your home can also attract dampwood termites. Likewise, if you have garden mulch touching the wood siding or foundation of your home, the termites can use this as a bridge to enter your house and destroy the structural integrity of your property. 

How Do You Know If It’s A Dampwood Termite? 

There are thousands of termite species scattered throughout the country and any one of them can be the culprit of infestation in your home. It’s important to have an idea about the unique characteristics of each termite type to know which species is invading your property. Here are the differences between the common termites: 

1) Dampwood termites

These pests are normally larger in size compared to other types of termites. Its soldier caste and nymph dampwood termites can grow up to 1/2 to 3/4 inches and the winged swarmers can measure up to 1 inch. 

They generally have brown bodies but their nymph caste have a creamy white appearance. Dampwood termites are active year-round but they usually go out to swarm during late summer months.  

2) Drywood termites  

Unlike dampwood termites, the drywood species are more likely to infest dry and sound wood, furniture, flooring, support beams, and can be found hiding in the cracks, holes, and wall voids inside the home. 

They appear smaller in size, ranging from 1/4 to 3/8 inches long. The worker caste usually have cream-colored bodies, the soldiers can appear dark to light brown, and the reproductive termites can vary from brown to black with translucent sets of wings. 

3) Subterranean termites 

These termites prefer to live underground where they have access to soil. However, they can also travel inside homes through the cracks in the foundation and feed on the wooden materials and structures indoors. The workers of subterranean termites can measure up to 1/4 inch while the swarmers can grow up to one-half inch long with a pair of termite wings. 

These termites are known for building mud tubes on wall surfaces, ceilings, and baseboards so if you see some mud-like tubes inside your home, you most likely have a subterranean termite infestation. You may also find swarms of subterranean termites during warmer months. 

4) Formosan termites 

Formosan termites are a sub-species of subterranean termites and they are one of the most destructive wood-eating pests. They can measure up to 1/2 inch long and they have cream to light brown bodies with yellowish wings. Formosan termite colonies can be found inside walls, attics, and roof areas of homes and buildings. They may also establish their nests above ground near water sources.  

Common Signs Of A Dampwood Termite Infestation  

winged termites pest control needed

Unlike other termites, the dampwood species don’t usually leave any external evidence like mud shelter tubes or kick out holes in the wood that they’re infesting. Dampwood termites do a good job at hiding themselves so you may need the help of pest control professionals to confirm their activity in your home. During a pest inspection, the team may look for the following warning signs of dampwood termites: 

  • Discarded termite wings - Like any other termite swarmers, the reproductives of dampwood termites will shed their wings once they land after swarming. They’re usually drawn toward light fixtures so they will discard their wings near windowsills or floors in your front porch. 
  • Termite droppings or fecal pellets - Dampwood termites can also leave fecal material or frass droppings. Most of the time, the droppings are stuck to the sides of the galleries that they create or piled outside the wood structures.
  • Hollow sound - When tapping on the surface of an infested wood, you may notice a hollow or soft sound that occurs because the dampwood termites has eaten away most of the wood material. They also like to create chambers in wood which is the most common sign of their wood damage. 

What To Do If You Find Dampwood Termites Indoors?  

There are several preventive measures and pest control methods that can help mitigate dampwood termite infestation. Here are some of the things that you can do to get rid of these termites: 

  • Eliminate moisture sources by fixing your plumbing and water-related problems 
  • Replace rotting wood and use pressure-treated wood materials to prevent termite infestations 
  • Use a dehumidifier to control indoor air flow and avoid excessive moisture levels 
  • Don’t place firewood, wood debris, or any structural lumber close to your home foundation  
  • Avoid using mulch for your landscaping and remove direct wood to soil contact 

You should also consider calling a professional pest control company that can help exterminate dampwood termites. Depending on the extent of the infestation, they may recommend either of the following termite control methods to solve your pest problem: 

  • Termite baiting systems - Bait stations work by using a slow-acting insecticide bait which the worker or nymph termites will share with the members of their colony. When installed in the right location, bait stations can effectively eradicate the entire dampwood termite colony. 
  • Barrier treatment - Termite barriers are designed to prevent dampwood termites from entering your home. This method can place either chemical liquid treatments or soil treatments within the perimeter of your home to stop the termites who are attempting to look for food indoors.
  • Heat treatment - This termite control method helps raise the indoor temperature to eliminate moisture and kill the termites that are nesting inside the wood in your home. 

Eliminate Your Termite Problem With Positive Pest Management   

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Dampwood termites prefer living outdoors where they are close to moist soil, dead trees, and decaying wood. However, they can also invade your home if you have wood structures with water damage, damp walls and surfaces, leaky pipes, and ventilation issues. 

Our team of experts at Positive Pest Management can help make your home free from dampwood termites. We offer comprehensive pest management solutions, prevention measures, and extermination programs to help give you back your peace of mind. Contact us today to schedule a home inspection with our team.

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