Well, the photo below is something I have yet to run into doing inspections. In fact, many inspectors in this state, probably most, have never seen the pest below -- in action at least. Now, most of us have seen some species of this world-class house-wrecker. But this particular termite species is rare in the state of Washington, to the point that WSDA does not consider it to be an established pest. What menace am I speaking of? And why am I speaking of it now? Well, a friend of mine who is a busy Seattle home inspector (Charles Buell Inspections) was called out this weekend when people found what they thought was a larvae coming out of a chair. When he got there, it was no larvae. It was a drywood termite! This species is found in hotter climates than our state and the common cure is tent fumigation of the house. I remember years ago seeing a Hollywood star sobbing in front of her house as they tented over the mansion. Name withheld. Unlike the subterranean termites and the dampwood termites that we do have in Washington, these drywood critters actually live in the wood, often in the house, and do not need to seek out excess moisture. Hence the name -- drywood termite. They do not go back underground like subterranean termites or choose to live in a shanty like the dampwood termite that lives in soggy or rotten wood.
Charlie gave great advice to the client: "Get the chair outside and have it treated by a pest control professional, if they wish to keep it". I spoke with Dan Suomi of the WSDA, which regulates pest issues, and he confirmed that it is a seldom seen pest in the state, but every once in a while they are found, usually in furniture from the warmer southern climates. Bingo! That is undoubtedly the problem here. As for the obvious question: "Will they spread from the chair into my house", Dan says that is unlikely, but remotely possible. If our temperatures become more favorable to their survival then the pest could become a common problem in the state. Something for us to look forward to. So AR members, with joy in your hearts feast your eyes on this beautiful and rare little Washington state specimen in all of its glory. This clean and clear photo is thanks to Charles Buell's excellent abilities with a camera.
Lifesize -- No only joking. This is a small termite, about a quarter of an inch long
Thanks for looking.
Steven L. Smith