Ventura County is located in a region of the US that sees a high amount of termite pest activity. All three termite groups are well represented in the county. These termite groups are known as subterranean, drywood and dampwood termites. Subterranean termites are the most destructive of all termite species in just about every region of the world where termites are found, and this is the case in southern California as well. Southern California also sees a significant amount of drywood termite damage to homes, which is not common in the US outside of the southwest desert regions. Dampwood termites are mainly a concern only in northern California, Oregon and Washington, as these termites thrive in cool, humid and rainy regions. In southern California, the Pacific dampwood termite is a problem in coastal areas and at elevations above 6,000 feet, but they are not pests of great economic concern in Ventura County. Although subterranean termites inhabit the ground soil, while drywood and dampwood termites dwell solely within natural and finished wood sources, the manner in which the three groups attack a home’s structural wood is largely the same.

Termite infestations are notoriously difficult to detect, as they inhabit inner cavities of wood while leaving the surface of wood mostly unharmed. Therefore, termite infested structural wood usually appears sound. Subterranean termites access indoor wood by building protective mud tubes that connect their soil habitat to structural wood sources. These mud tubes are found on the foundations of homes, and they serve as the primary sign that a home is infested with subterranean termites. In most subterranean termite infestation cases, infested structural wood will appear undamaged at the surface, but advanced infestations may see darkening or blistering on the surface of infested structural lumber. These vulnerable areas are extremely thin, and poking them usually breaks the surface of the compromised wood. Drywood termite infestations are even more difficult to detect than subterranean termite infestations, as drywood termites do not leave behind mud tubes. However, drywood termites cause more damage to the surface of the structural woods that they infest. Drywood termites create what are known as “kick out holes” on the surface of wood in order to discard their excrement and provide reproductive swarming alates with an exit out of the nest. Unfortunately, these kick out holes are hard to notice due to being ⅛ of an inch in length and width.

Have you ever noticed termite damage on the surface of any natural or finished type of wood?