Termite Inspection Orange County Termite Terry Pest Control

Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, South Orange County, Long Beach Area

Drywood Termites 101

A lot of people in Orange County have started calling us because they are finding hundreds, or even thousands of drywood termites, flying in and around their homes and businesses.

The reason why we are getting so many calls is that it is mating season for drywood termites. These termites work year-round inside the wood members of structures, and they stay hidden most of the time. Many people don’t even know they have a problem until the termites start swarming during this time of year.

This article is for owners who want to know what to look for, and those who want to learn how to protect what is probably their largest investment.


What is a drywood termite?

Drywood termites belong to the family Kalotermitidae and while they are similar to subterranean termites, their ecology and behavior are distinctly different. The Western Drywood termite is the most common specie in Orange County. They are about ½ inch long, dark brown, with smoky black wings, and they have a reddish-brown head.

Many owners confuse ants with termites. To avoid this confusion, take a close look at the insect with a magnifying glass. Drywood termites have two pairs of equal length wings, which are almost twice as long as the body. Whereas, the wings on an ant are not much longer than its body, and one pair is obviously shorter than the other.

Another way to distinguish an ant from a termite, is to take a close look at their bodies. Termites appear to have only two body parts – a head and an abdomen. Ants, on the other hand, have three distinctive body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and you will also see an obvious pinched-waist between the abdomen and thorax.


Why do drywood termites swarm?

Drywood termites swarm because it is part of their mating ritual. They usually swarm in Orange County during the months of September and October.

Swarming is triggered by bright sunlight and temperatures of over 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It is quite common to see swarms of these pests flying in and around homes and businesses this time of the year, because they are looking for new locations to start their colonies.


If you see a swarm of termites at your home,

does it mean you have a problem?

    Drywood termites are flying everywhere during this season and many owners will see them on the outside of their home or floating in a swimming pool. Termites will also occasionally fly through open doors and windows. The sighting of termites, in these instances, does not necessarily indicate that you have an infestation.


What happens to these swarming termites?

Fortunately, drywood termites are extremely poor fliers,

and most of them will start settling down after they fly for just a few feet. A majority of these termites will fall prey to birds, reptiles or other insects. Many of the others will die of dehydration or injury.

After the swarmers land, they shed their wings, begin the mating process, and start looking for a piece of wood to enter. Cracks, knot holes, or joints between pieces of wood are the easiest access points.

The king and queen will remain in their small nest and build up the colony. Drywood termite colonies are usually small, but when you combine multiple colonies in a single piece of wood, you may have over 10,000 members. When there are that many termites, eating 24 hours a day for 365 days a year, you’re going to start seeing a substantial amount of damage.


What are the signs of a

drywood termite infestation?

If you see large numbers of drywood termite swarmers inside of a home, attic, garage, or subarea, an infestation is likely to be located somewhere within the structure.

Termite fecal droppings are a strong indicator of an infestation. Drywood termite droppings are oval shaped, have six sides, and are about the size of a grain of sand. From time to time, these termites are known to clean out the galleries where they work and their droppings will fall directly below the kick-out hole.

Termite damaged wood can also be a strong sign of a problem. You may not always see live termites in these areas because in many cases, they have moved on to other locations to eat or for protection.


How can you get rid

of drywood termites?

When you see evidence of drywood termites, the first thing you should do is order a thorough inspection of the structure.

If the area of infestation can be located and it is fully accessible, a localized/spot treatment of the area may be all you need to have done.

Localized treatments are performed by drilling small holes in the infested wood members and injecting a termiticide into the termite galleries.

If the infestation extends into areas that cannot be seen or accessed, an all encompassing type of treatment, such as fumigation, will probably be needed.


What should you do if one company says you need a spot treatment and another calls for a fumigation?

This is a common problem that many owners face. The answer is easy; if the area cannot be fully inspected and is not fully accessible for treatment, a fumigation is probably needed.


What should I know before

I hire a fumigator?

Not all fumigations are created equal and if you are going to do it, it must be done properly.

The first thing you need to ask any fumigator is, “How much gas are you going to use?”

There are a number of factors which must be calculated to determine how much gas is needed. One of the most important factors is the size of your home. Always insist on an accurate measurement, and you should carefully review the fumigator’s math. The size of your home greatly determines the amount of gas needed. Please note that if enough gas is not applied, your fumigation will fail and you will have wasted all your money.

You should also inspect the quality of the fumigator’s equipment, especially the condition of their fumigation tarps. If they are old, torn and ragged, you already know that your fumigation will probably fail.


At Termite Terry, we’ll get

rid of all your termites or

your treatment is FREE!


People ask us all the time, “How can you offer a guarantee like that when no one else will?” The

answer to that is the one extra “secret” step we take to insure the success of all of our fumigations:


We use a Fumiscope and

take a final reading

before we finish the job


That’s right! About 20 to 24 hours after the gas has been in the structure, we use a Fumiscope, and measure the gas concentration levels. If the amount of gas left inside of the tent is correct, then we know that your termites are gone. On the other hand, if we took a reading and the amount of gas was incorrect, we’d add more gas and continue the process until we knew your job was successful.

This “secret” step takes out all of the guesswork. Why do so many of the other termite companies continue to play “guessing games” with their fumigations? Don’t know the answer to that. Maybe it is because this “secret” step takes extra time, and the special equipment we use is very expensive.

Do you have a termite problem and need help? Call us at (949) 631-7348 and we’ll be happy to schedule an inspection at your convenience.