Take a closer look into and around windows, doors, hardwood floors, wooden floors, sidings, window jambs, window sills, window apron, others and you might see signs of termites. You might see pellets/dropping, course peppers like debris and the actual heads, bodies and wings of the termite swarming bugs. the color of the heads and bodies of the swarming termite bugs are either black or yellowish orange. In California, when what you see yellowish orange heads and bodies, these are drywood termites, completely black are subterranean termites. For visual aids, google, termite pictures.
For drywood termites: Spot or localized treatment is the fastest method but, for complete control it is tent fumigation with sulfuryl fluoride (vikane gas) that takes 3 to 4 days to undertake. All occupants need to vacate the house and garage for 3 to 4 days and look into the safety guidelines for this treatment.
For subterranean termites, again localized treatment is the fastest method but whole house/structure method controls all of the termites where ever they are in the house or under the ground.
For drywood termites, they do not go away for good. Generally in and around the cities/communities along the pacific coast of southern California, our service area and where our long time experience is based upon we do not see them go away for good. However, with patient localized treatment or tent fumigation plus the replacement and/or proper repairs of infested wood the complete control of drywood termites are noted to last up to 10 to 15 years.
Drywood termites thrive around these communities/cities along the pacific coast as their alternate hosts, like trees, shrubs and the like, are all over the place. Our experience with the control of subterranean termites for long periods of time, 10 to 15 years, are more satisfying, especially with the use of "altriset termiticide".
The queen and colony of subterranean termites usually live under the ground but, they can also do so in areas like wall voids, under bathrooms where moisture is always plentiful. The number of members of a subterranean termite colony may range from a few thousand to a million, making this kind more destructive as they consume a wood member much faster than drywood termites. When termites swarm their numbers are a lot more than drywood termites. In southern California, subterranean's wings are charcoal black in color. (google for subterranean termite pictures)
The drywood termite colony lives inside wood, which is almost always not visible until they have consumed any wood member up to the layer boundary of the the wood and paint, as the case maybe, inside and outside the house. It is easier to detect or see drywood termite infested wood that are not painted.
They need to live inside wood otherwise they dehydrate or lose water in their bodies and die. Finished carpentry or repairs of drywood termites damaged wood can be expensive and need immediate action as they are quite visible in the interior areas of houses/garage spaces. (google termite pictures of drywood termites)
Depending of the severity 1- 8 hours for localized treatments and 3 to 4 days for tent fumigation.
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In most cases yes, especially when localized treatment is to be undertaken. When a structural wood member is more or less eaten up by termites to about 10% or more, replacement is recommended ASAP. When infested structures involved are complicated and/or concerns multi story buildings it is safer to consult a structural engineer.
It is fungus that eats up wood where growth is always caused by the presence of moisture in wood and weaken the strength of wood.
1- 5 years