This kind of termite is a specific species, which is less common in the United States than the subterranean termite. They get their name because they live in wood that has very little moisture.
They are generally only found in a narrow stretch bordering the
southern part of the U.S., in the following states: California,
Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Sometimes they are encountered outside these states, mainly when an infested piece of furniture has been shipped somewhere else.
These termites often live not just in houses, but in anything made of wood. They aren't stuck living near the soil, like a subterranean termite.
They burrow into the wood, sealing it up behind them with what looks like a daub of mud. You can often tell that you have them because they will get rid of all the feces and waste from the nest in little pellets. You will find these littering the ground near an infested piece of wood. They often live in attic spaces, or outside in stumps or dead trees.
Here's a picture of the fecal pellets at the base of a wall in a home:
It's important to find out exactly which kind of termite you have because you CAN'T treat this species the same way as any others - because they do not burrow into the earth, bait systems are useless against a drywood termite. You either have to directly apply pesticides to the nest or fumigate your home (or at least the infested area). That is often a very limited area - unlike regular termites, this kind has smaller colonies and is often limited to furniture or a specific part of the house. They are considered easier to control than other species because of this. They are also less damaging, because the smaller colonies eat wood at a much slower rate.
A pest control company should be able to determine the extent of the infestation and will fumigate if it is bad enough. If not, they will do what is called a spot treatment. They will drill a hole into the infested wood, and pump insecticides into it, killing off the termites. The insecticide can be liquid, or it can be an aerosol sprayed into the nest or sometimes even a dust. They also do not make mud tubes, so you will not see that standard sign when looking for them.
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