Jump to content

Another exactly what are these?

Recommended Posts

Thank you, gentlemen. The owner is sure to be pleased. This little surprise was about 12 feet off the ground, so they traveled quite a way to find the wet spot. There was a bit of sandy-looking debris in the area.

In that case they could very well be Dampwoods that arrived there on the wing. AFAIK, they don't need to go down to the dirt level for moisture.

Another scenario is when they are in a log that is milled locally and air-dried a bit or nailed up green. Not likely but possible in larger timber.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pacific dampwood termites

Area of Distribution: The Pacific dampwood termite is the largest and most significant dampwood termite in the United States. They have been found up to 6,000 feet above sea level, but more commonly in the cool and humid coastal areas.

Identification of Swarmers and Soldiers: Swarming may occur throughout the year, but most often from August through October. Swarming usually will occur on warm humid evenings just before sunset. The reproductives are strongly attracted to light.

Swarmers are up to 1" in length and are light to medium brown with dark brown wings. Soldiers have a large head armed with long black toothed mandibles. The anterior portion is black generally shading to a dark reddish-brown in the posterior position. The abdomen and thorax are a light caramel color, the abdomen varying according to the stomach contents at the time. The largest termites in the United States, soldiers may be very large, reaching 5/8 to 3/4".

Identification of Timber Damage: The tunnels vary greatly in size and shape and in sound timber may favour the softer springwood. Faecal pellets are found throughout the tunnels, and are hard small, oval and about 1/25 ? long. The color of the pellets may vary according to the type of wood being consumed.

Biology and Habits: This species will attack wood of all types throughout its range. Timbers in contact with the soil or structures built near or over water are common targets. This species is known to be very tolerant of moist conditions, even being found in pilings subject to tidal flooding. Colony size varies but may contain as many as 4,000 individuals. Colony growth is aided by the production of secondary reproductives. Like other termites this species aid in the spreading of wood decay fungi, the spores of which are carried in the gut and on their bodies. A well established colony will produce winged reproductives which may infest nearby timber. The life history of the Pacific dampwood can be summarized as follows. Both male and female swarmers excavate a chamber, they enter, and the chamber is sealed. They mate and within about 2 weeks, eggs are laid and the colony is founded. The queen lays about 12 eggs. The second batch is laid the next spring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to know how these guys found this concealed pocket of wet rot in this house. I suppose an entomologist would know. They would have had to scout several thousand square feet of exterior surface area to find the one small opening that led them to their new home. In 11 years of working this one 50-square-mile area and repairing countless leaks, I've never seen them before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not on the house per se... it's all nicely above grade on a concrete foundation... but there are landscape timbers embedded all over the place. When I told the owner the window was really poorly installed and should be pulled and re-set, he said "there was water coming in there before they even installed drywall"... and that was 20 years ago. My repair is not the first to this exact spot. The termites had 2 decades to find the good stuff. Idle curiosity, but I'm wondering if they smell it or something like that.

This would be a difficult area to repair correctly, and it's not in the cards. I was able to improve the flashing at the bottom corners of the lower unit, so maybe it won't leak further, but the correct thing to do would be to scaffold all the way up, strip the wall, pull the units, install pans, and then re-install the windows, siding, and trim. Wild guess, $7500. If this was a typical 3x4 unit it would already be done.

Click to Enlarge

101.55 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would be interesting to know how these guys found this concealed pocket of wet rot in this house.

They send scouts to browse the building permit files for goofy roof designs. [:)]

Seriously, I imagine the wood-destroying fungi give off odors that flying termites can smell. You will sometimes see small clusters of wings beside a hole on the side of a log or a house. They land, shed their wings and move in.

I saw this not long ago on a wood deck with no flashing at the ledger board. Ledger board nailed to OSB sheathing. Below the deck, OSB is covered with mats of white fungus.

Little wings on the deck. I tell the client, young guy, he will need to strip off some wood and fix this. Realtor rolls his eyes and vows to never refer another job my way. So it goes. [:)]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...