If you still see wood-eating termites, such as drywood termites, in your home after using your own pest control methods, you probably didn't use the right inspection techniques to find them. Drywood termites generally eat and destroy the wood in your home's walls, floorboards, ceiling, basement, and attic. However, flying drywood termites leave the colony to look for food sources inside the main rooms of your home. If you look carefully, you'll find signs of termites in your wooden dressers, nightstands, paintings, and other furnishings and decorations. Before you try to take on the termites again, follow the tips below to seek out and find the drywood termites that escaped your do-it-yourself pest control treatments.
What Should You Look for When Searching for Drywood Termites?
Wooden dressers and nightstands make perfect hiding places for drywood termites, especially if the items aren't treated with varnish or some other protective chemical. Chemicals can make wooden furnishings taste and smell unappealing to termites. Termites eat wood because it contains a natural sweetener called cellulose that gives the pests energy to mate, build colonies and raise their young.
Now that you know where to look for the termites, here's more information on what you look for when you check your dressers and nightstands:
Piles of Sawdust
Drywood termites burrow holes or tunnels inside the furnishings, which makes it hard to spot them easily. If you remove the drawers, you might notice piles of sawdust inside them. The sides of the drawers may seem loose or weak. The termites most likely consumed the sweet tasting wood that seals the pieces together.
You can also spot signs of drywood termites beneath your nightstands and dressers when you move them. Look for termite pellets when you do. The pellets vary from tan to black, depending on the wood species used to make your dressers and nightstands.
For instance, if you have a white oak dresser, the pellets may look cream or tan in color. Drywood termites produce dark brown or black pellets when they eat red oak, mahogany or some other dark-colored wood.
When termites find a food source, they lose their wings once they land on the surface of the source. Losing their delicate wings makes it easier for the termites to burrow their tiny bodies through your wood furnishings.
Since the wings are thin and soft, the air produced by your AC or ceiling fans can easily blow the wings onto the flooring around the dressers and nightstands. For example, look for wings along the baseboards behind the furnishings and inside or on the fibers of your carpets and rugs. You might even see termite wings hidden in the cobwebs and dust bunnies hiding beneath the furnishings.
After checking the dressers and nightstands, do a detailed inspection around the home, including these places below:
- Bookcases — Termites will eat the paper used to make your books' covers and pages because they contain cellulose. To find signs of termites, check the spines of the books and look for small holes. You may even find a dead termite or two buried in the holes.
- Headboards and footboards — Termites can burrow tunnels through your headboards and footboards of your beds. The insects also eat through any wooden railings that support the mattresses. You might see long tunnels or deep holes in these furnishings.
- Paintings — To find evidence of termites in your paintings, use a magnifying glass to look closely at the colorful images of the art to find holes and tracks. In addition, check the frames and areas beneath the paintings' hooks and screws for termite damage.
In order to keep your furnishings safe and intact, you need to call in your pest control experts to treat the locations safely.
How to Get Rid of the Termites You Find and Keep Them Away
You shouldn't try to spray or treat the furnishings with store-bought chemicals or powders to get rid of the termites hiding inside them. Many store-bought chemicals contain oils that stain wood and other delicate materials. Removing the stains from your furnishings with cleansers and water might damage the surfaces even more.
Your pest control experts may use plant-based chemicals that are safe for wood furnishings. Plant-based chemicals may not leave behind residue, spots or stains once they dry.
In addition, you may want to contact someone to repair any damages to your paintings instead of treating them. The colors and designs on the paintings may contain water-based dyes that fade or smear when they interact with the oils inside OTC termite chemicals.
If you need professional help with your termite problem, contact a pest control expert today for treatment.