Whatcom County Home Inspections (King of the House): Drywood Termites

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. Home Inspector Lic #207

  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.

www.kingofthehouse.com

Steven L. Smith

 

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Steven L. Smith

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Rainer
17,646
Gary Bland
Century 21 All Islands - Lahaina, HI
My mind ran for a minute when I saw this picture.  It is one ugly dude. 
Oct 24, 2007 10:27 AM #1
Rainer
407,371
Sean Allen
International Financing Solutions - Fort Myers, FL
International Financing Solutions

Wow,

Thats interesting. Did your buddy keep it as a pet? Cute little pecker.

Sean Allen

Oct 24, 2007 10:29 AM #2
Rainer
29,333
Harold Miller
Miller Home Inspection - Camano Island, WA
Everett Home Inspector

Steven

Great photo and post!

Did Dan say if this species of termite would be able to survive our climate with lower humidity levels?

 

Oct 24, 2007 10:29 AM #3
Ambassador
2,734,902
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland
I would advice burning the chair.  Next thing you know, folks will have to have their furniture inspected.
Oct 24, 2007 10:33 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,243,537
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Harold,

Long time since we have corresponded. Basically Dan said:

I would isolate the chair and, if they want to keep it, have it treated.  The chances are good that the infestation is localized and will not spread.  However, since the termite can live in the San Francisco area, they potentially could establish here.  I have not heard of that happening.

Here's a good link for information on drywood termites, including control tactics:

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7440.html

 

Oct 24, 2007 10:34 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,243,537
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Lenn,

Yeah, count me out on inspecting all the furniture.

Oct 24, 2007 10:36 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,243,537
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Gary,

You are kind of hurting my feelings saying he is an ugly dude. Have a heart. It was not even your chair that he was eating.

Oct 24, 2007 10:46 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,243,537
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
By the way, the customer would not part with it, he is keeping it as a pet. I once kept some dampwood termites in a ziplock plastic bag for four weeks. They survived all that time.
Oct 24, 2007 04:28 PM #8
Rainmaker
237,399
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate
Steven - What an excellent photo.  That little guy sure looks well fed.  Must have been one tasty chair.
Oct 25, 2007 03:50 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,243,537
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
Everyone is so keen on this cute little fellow that I am thinking of a new online business. Mail order termites to homeowners through out the land. We breed them, purebreds of any species you want. Anyone else want to get involved? We could sell them in bulk on Ebay.
Oct 25, 2007 05:05 AM #10
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Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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