Treatment for Drywood Termites


According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, drywood termites have existed for millions of years. Typically the insects attack and destroy trees close to rivers. Detecting the presence and specific location of the termites can be a challenge. It is advised that you seek a pest control professional if you suspect that you have drywood termites. However, there are steps that you can take on your own to treat against the pest.

Early Detection

  • Because it can be hard to locate drywood termite infestations, it is important that you conduct a complete visual inspection of your home. Look for termite wings that have shed, bite marks and fecal pellets. To make sure that the infestation is a live one, clean the area of the wings and pellets. Check the area again in two to three days. If new wings and pellets are there, you have an infestation. You can also let a pet sniff out the area. After a pet reacts to a specific area of your home, conduct a more thorough investigation.


  • Sulfuryl fluoride and methyl bromide are major fumigants used to treat against drywood termites. Both fumigants use concentrated gas to kill termites in approximately three days. Gas lines may have to be installed by a professional before you can start the fumigation. This form of nonlocalized treatment is effective because it can kill termites in areas where wings, pellets and bite marks have not been noticed. Downsides to using a fumigant include the quality of air around the treated area and the strong scent of the spray. For these reasons, you may find it best to vacate your home for a couple of days after fumigation begins.

Chemical Spot Treatments

  • Chemical spot treatments can be done using aerosol and liquid sprays like pyrethrum, cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, nitrogen, mermethrin and tetrahydrate. Dust insecticides can also be used for effective spot treatments. Overall, the effectiveness of spot or localized treatments is generally not as strong as fumigants. Orange and neem oils may also prove successful in ridding your home of drywood termites. If you apply oils to treat against the pest, go back in two to three days and inspect for signs of remaining termites to see if you need to apply a second treatment. Liquid nitrogen kills termites by creating a dramatic shift in wood temperature. For spot treatments to be effective, holes must be drilled in and around infested areas. Liquid, oil and aerosol products are then injected or sprayed inside and around the drilled holes.

Chemical-Free Spot Treatments

  • Spot treatments that do not use chemicals include microwave or radiation treatments. The microwaves are large machines that kill drywood termites by raising the temperature inside the pests' body and causing their fluids to boil. The microwaves are portable, look like small ovens, are easy to install and use and range in power from hundreds to thousands of watts. The higher wattage machines run the risk of damaging your house's wood boards, so check with a pest control professional before using the microwave. As with other spot treatments, it is critical that you know exactly where the termite infestation is so that you can place the microwave in the infected area and stop the infestation. Electrocution is another chemical-free way to treat against drywood termites. The method works with a hand held electro-gun that is powered with about 90,000 volts of electricity. Electricity pulsates through the gun and penetrates the affected wood area to kill the drywood termites.

Heat Treatments

  • Heat is another chemical-free localized treatment. It works by destroying the cellular membranes and enzymes in the termites. Using propane heat generators and ducts, heat is pumped around the affected area bringing the temperature inside the wood above 120 degrees. Treatments are typically applied for about 30 minutes to the infected area. This method is beneficial because it does not leave a chemical residue. A downside to this spot treatment is the time involved if you have a large infestation. If marble surrounds the infected area, it may be tough to kill all of the termites using heat. You also need to be careful to avoid heating areas of your house that might melt or bend under the heat.

Replacing the Wood

  • By removing infected wood pieces and replacing them with new, treated wood, you may be able to rid your home of drywood termites. It is crucial that you know exactly where the infestation is for this localized treatment to work. Painting or varnishing wood has not proven to be effective at killing drywood termites. Applying an aerosol behind the wood before you replace it might increase the likelihood that the termites will not return.

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