Dampwood termites are truly the most unusual termite species found in Arizona. Like other types of termites in Arizona…left unchecked they can cause extensive structural damage to a home. Damp wood termites found in other parts of the country easily survive in the rich moist soil found in the eastern half of the United States. One would think this species would find it difficult to survive in the dry Arizona clay soil. Yet they thrive. Colonies can be found along river washes attacking native trees and bushes. Interestingly this species is the most misidentified termite in Arizona.
“Dampwood Termites…Arizona’s most misidentified species.”
Dampwood termites infest all types of wood at or below ground level throughout the greater Phoenix area. It sometimes girdles young citrus trees and grapevines below the soil line in desert areas along washes. In the Phoenix area it attacks living trees, wood poles, fences and bushes. They can be a problem for citrus groves that use irrigation for watering. Damp wood termites are a pest to the logging industry, infesting moist timbers that is in contact with soil. Untreated posts, poles, and fences are attacked below ground level and infestations are not noted until severe damage occurs.
Dampwood termites like other species feed on all types of wood and seem to prefer the soft wood use in home construction. Unlike subterranean termites this species does not build mud shelter tubes above the ground in order to reach wood. Homes with crawl spaces and excess moisture seem to attract infestations. Damp wood termite colonies extend from the wood into or below the soil, they sometimes kill living shrubs and trees, frass is cone-shaped rather than cylindrical, and the termites produce a pungent odor.
Because this subterranean termite does not build conventional mud tubes along the foundation detection requires years of experience and training. Subtle signs of infestation are often overlooked by the typical termite inspector. When damage wood is found inspectors often assume they are dealing with Desert Termites.
Termite Treatment Methods
Treatment methods can vary depending upon the location of infestation and severity. Treatment methods should be specific to this species as other types of services may not stop the infestation and leave homeowners with a false sense of security. All treatments should include correcting wood in contact with soil and reducing moisture in the soil. In addition to correcting conditions conducive to infestation, consumers are advised to have their home inspected at least once a year by a trained and experienced termite inspector. Free termite inspections can be ordered @ 602.308.4510 or online here.