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Question DetailsAsked on 6/18/2012

does spot treatment for drywood termites work?

Drywood termite damage to some interior trim, and evidence of live termites (termite excrement- tiny sawdust pellets, and wings), is observed in one room of large home, but in no other rooms. I'd prefer not to have to tent the entire home (and risk breaking tiles on roof), but just spot treat if it's effective.

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3 Answers


Termite Spot treatments can be effective when the problem is isolated to an area which is completly accessible. An example of this would be if drywood termites were found in a piece of fascia on the exterior of the home and could be drilled into and treated with a termiticide.

Drywood termites typically fly in to a structure through an entry point in the fascia or soffit area, drop their wings, mate and start to feed. It can take several years before the termites find a way in to the interior of the structure and multiply in sufficient numbers to start swarming inside.
For a spot treatment to be effective every piece of wood containing termites would have to be treated. An attic treatment would only protect exposed wood and wood covered by insulation would be left untreated allowing termites to carry on feeding and multipling in numbers. I have personally been called out many times to tent a structure after a homeowner has spent considerable amounts of money on spot treatments and endured on-going termite activity.
If you have wings inside the home and termite frass I would recommend that you tent your home. It is not common for roof tiles to be broken during the tenting process but can happen from time to time.
A broken roof tile or two is a small price to pay for ridding your home of termites.
Please just TENT and protect your home!

Mark Carran
Nozzle Nolen.
West Palm Beach. Florida


Answered 8 years ago by Mark Carran


Spot treatments can be effective in many cases. But, there are limitations. The key to a successful spot treatment is to have access to all the active sites. The problem is finding all of them and having access to all of them.
Spot treatments can be also effective in stalling their progression by lowering the population in the known areas. Since Drywood termite damage is relatively slow and spot treatments are relatively inexpensive, they should be considered first.
A newer method being promoted, which we don't recommend, is "tentless" whole house treatments using a variation of boric acid or the newest of the new procedures, orange oil treatments. Both of these are really spot treatments with whole house guarantees. In the case of the boric acid treatments, there is no way the whole house will be treated. They are priced very high because you'll be calling them back, year after year.
The orange oil treatments are worse. They are very expensive and you'll be calling them back year after year. They are being sold as organic, which they are, but it is the acid that does the killing. The product label says all active sites need to be drilled and injected on a 1 inch staggared pattern. First, there is no way this can be done to a home once it is built. Secondly, the data shows the killing lasts only about 4 days with a successful kill rate of only 78%. Lastly, the oil left in the wood makes it more flammable.
Fumigation: Once the population has reached a certain stage, such as annual swarming, spot treatments are no longer an option. Fumigation is the only viable option once it reaches this stage.
Beware of fumigation games. A fumigation requires the correct amount of fumigant, based on cubic feet and for a specific amount of time. We see in the Tampa, Florida area, homes deliberately measured smaller to reduce the price to the customer. The result... a fumigation look and hassle without a full kill. Coincidentally, they guarantee to spot treat, if the fumigation fails! :)
Curtis Rudolph
Emergency Pest Patrol, LLC.


Answered 8 years ago by onpatrol


The answer is maybe. As suggested in the other answers if the drywood termites colonies can be found, spot treatment can work well. The fact that you are seeing the winged termites (reproductives) tell us they have been in the house for at over 3 years as it take that long for the colony to develop to the point they produce reproductives. If you have had the attic inspected and found no other signs of termite anywhere in the house spot treatment may work. The good thing about drywood termites is they eat slow so even if you have to tent later the damage should not be severe.

After spot treating the pellets do not reappear and you don't get more swarmers you probally solved the problem. If you treat and get rid of the pellets but the swarmers reappear the damage is probally hidden and I would tent.

Doug Longfellow

President, NaturZone Pest Control


Answered 8 years ago by NaturZone

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