Termites in Los Angeles

Thursday, January 27, 2011@ 1:04 PM
Author: Ken Martin

Los Angeles is home to several species of termites. There are two in particular that, while quite different in their habits, are both capable of causing major damage to your home. We are talking about the Western Subterranean termite (Reticulitermes hesperus) and the Western Drywood termite (Incisitermes minor). Most of the U.S. is home to one or more species of subterranean termites, and Los Angeles is no exception.  Los Angeles, however, has to deal with the Western Drywood Termite as well. While much more common in southern California, drywood termites can also be found well north of Los Angeles along the coast, and in the Central Valley region.

Drywood Termites

Unlike their subterranean cousins, drywood species need no contact with the soil.  They can survive on the moisture found in the wood.  Drywood termites infest dry, sound wood, including structural lumber as well as dead limbs of native trees and shade and orchard trees, utility poles, posts, and lumber in storage. From these areas, winged reproductives seasonally migrate to nearby buildings and other structures usually on sunny days during fall months. Drywood termites are most prevalent in southern California (including the desert areas), but also occur along most coastal regions and in the Central Valley.

Drywood termites have a low moisture requirement and can tolerate dry conditions for prolonged periods. They remain entirely above ground and do not connect their nests to the soil. Piles of their fecal pellets, which are distinctive in appearance, may be a clue to their presence. The fecal pellets are elongate (about 3/100 inch long) with rounded ends and have six flattened or roundly depressed surfaces separated by six longitudinal ridges. They vary considerably in color, but appear granular and salt and pepper like in color and appearance.

Winged adults of western drywood termites (Incisitermes minor) are dark brown with smoky black wings and have a reddish brown head and thorax; wing veins are black. These insects are noticeably larger than subterranean termites.

Treatments can be broken down into two categories:

1. Fumigation

2. Topical and spot applications.

Fumigation

Fumigating a home is absolutely the most effective means of eradicating drywood termites.  However it is expensive, labor intensive, and provides no protection against re-infestation. In addition it must be done by a professional exterminator with a license for fumigation.

Topical or Spot Applications

When the infested wood is readily accessible, spot treatment may prove to be effective.  Concentrates, such as BorRam are useful on unfinished wood.  They can be sprayed or painted on the wood.  If the wood is painted or finished, you can often drill inconspicuous holes and inject aerosol foams into the affected area.  Premise Foam is ideal for such applications.

Drywood termites can be challenging, but you can do something about them.  Feel free to give us a call and speak with one of our termite technicians. We can help you determine the best treatment strategy for your particular situation.

3 Responses to “Termites in Los Angeles”

  1. Hey man, I just wanted to say thanks for describing termites in detail. It takes passion to make good stuff like this.
    Pest Control Sydney

  2. Ken Martin says:

    Guilty as charged! I am passionate about my work. Thanks for reading it and leaving such a nice compliment.

  3. Tracy says:

    I don’t miss doing escrow report in LA and Orange County, missing drywood termites
    is a real concern. Seller’s would not disclose the infestations.

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