San Francisco Chronicle

Dam­p­wood ter­mite fix: solve mois­ture prob­lem

- By Richard Fager­lund Richard Fager­lund pro­motes the least toxic meth­ods of pest con­trol. Go to www.ask­the­bug­man.com or e-mail com­ments to home@sfchron­i­cle.com.

Q: I have dam­p­wood ter­mites in a house four blocks from the ocean. I was told by a pest con­trol com­pany that dam­p­wood ter­mites, un­like sub­ter­ranean ter­mites, have their en­tire colony in­side the wood in the walls and spray­ing in­side the walls of the house is in­ef­fec­tive. I was told the only thing I could do was to some­how “dry out” the walls, which is dif­fi­cult or nearly im­pos­si­ble in the area we are in (90 per­cent hu­mid­ity). Any dam­p­wood ter­mite con­trol/ erad­i­ca­tion sug­ges­tions? I didn’t see any info on dam­p­wood ter­mites on your web­site.

C.G., San Fran­cisco A: The com­pany is ab­so­lutely right. You can’t treat the soil as you would for sub­ter­ranean ter­mites as damp­woods don’t have to go to the soil. There is cer­tainly no rea­son to fu­mi­gate as the damp­woods could come back al­most im­me­di­ately if the wet wood is still there. The only thing you can re­ally do is solve the mois­ture prob­lem. If that isn’t fea­si­ble, maybe you can re­place the in­fested wood and then treat all ex­posed wood with a sodium bo­rate to pre­vent fu­ture prob­lems. Bo­raCare is a good prod­uct and is avail­able on­line at www.pest­con­trol­sup­plies.com. Fu­mi­ga­tion should never be used for any pests. If you should de­velop dry­wood ter­mites, go with XT2000 orange oil.

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