replies: Drywood termites are present in New
Mexico, and they can definitely cause trouble. They
are found in a very narrow region along the
southern fringe of the U.S., from California to
Florida. Drywood termites do not live in the ground
like the more well-known subterranean termites, and
they don’t multiply as fast. In the U.S.,
drywood termites cause far less damage than
subterranean termites, but their ability to live in
dry wood, without outside moisture or contact with
the ground, makes them particularly troublesome.
The destruction caused by drywood termites does not
proceed rapidly, but over the course of many years
they can completely destroy the timbers in a
Drywood termites are seldom seen and are
difficult to detect. Signs of the presence of
drywood termites include tiny termite fecal pellets
and "kickout holes" in the wood, which are the size
of a BB.
Drywood termites can be transplanted from one
building to another in boxes, furniture, lumber,
and other infested wooden objects. It is important
to inspect lumber carefully before you build with
it. Remove wood scraps, debris, old brush, and
stumps from your building site. Keep exposed wood
painted, since paint is a fairly good barrier to
infestation by drywood termites. Even better, use
treated wood where possible.
Pesticides can be used to get rid of existing
drywood termites in a home. You can either spray
the nests directly or fumigate the house, which is
both very effective and very dangerous. However,
reinfestation after fumigation is possible, since
fumigation does not leave any residue behind.
Spraying or fumigation should be left to a licensed
exterminator. Call your state pest control office
for a listing of licensed professionals.