Specializing in Termite Damage and Dry Rot Repair
Call Ben at (316)688-1436
Located near 61st N. and Woodlawn
*Serving Wichita, and surrounding areas. Call for a free estimate.
Unfortunately, most homeowners wait too long before they order a termite inspection and have their home treated. A termite infestation is typically undetected until serious damage has occurred. A thorough Termite Inspection of your residence or commercial property is the key to detecting and stopping structural damage. Industry statistics document $5 Billion in damage in the US alone, per year.
Other causes of structural wood framing damage to your dwelling can be one of or a combination of the aforementioned and fungus damage/dryrot, various wood-destroying beetle infestation, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, or moisture. That's why a lot of homes in our area have serious termite damage. Wood destroying fungus is almost like a cancer because it eats the cellulose in your wood, turns it soft like a damp kitchen sponge and it spreads and infects the wood members attached to it!
More information on Termites, and other pests, and the damage they cause.
- Termite Life Cycle
- Wood Dry Rot
- Carpenter Ants vs Termites
The life cycle of the termite begin with a mating flight, wherein established colonies experience winged reproductive males and females leaving, and swarming and then going on to procreate. After fertilization, winged termites land and shed their wings, going on to form new colonies. These insects then become the king or queen termites of their newly-established colonies. The queen and king termites are the center of the termite life cycle and are solely responsible for reproduction. After the fertilized queen lays her eggs, they hatch into pale, white larvae. Over the course of several molts, these larvae grow to assume the role of one of the three termite colony castes: workers, soldiers and reproductive termite, also known as alates. Each caste has a distinctly different physical appearance. Workers are sexually and developmentally immature insects that are responsible for constructing tunnels and chambers as well as feeding and grooming other termite castes. Soldier termites are yellow-brown in color, with dramatically-enlarged heads and mandibles. These are useful in combat but render warriors incapable of feeding themselves. The reproductive alates are black in color and are born with two pairs of wings. Although it is not clear how larvae are relegated to a certain caste, some research has indicated that maturity and the overall needs of the colony may dictate caste assignment. In fact, research has indicated that castes in the termite life cycle are not rigidly set, as termites belonging to one caste may develop into another caste if the colony requires it. Thus, a soldier termite may become a worker or a reproductive termite if the colony experiences a shortage of one or the other. Workers and soldiers live approximately one to two years. Queen termites may survive for up to 50 years under optimal climate conditions.
Dry rot (Serpula lacrymans) is a wood-destroying fungus that is found in most parts of the world. Although it affects forest timbers, dry rot is best known for its ability to destroy timbers in ships and buildings. It is important to identify whether timber decay has been caused by dry rot or another wood-destroying fungus such as one of the wet rots. This is because dry rot has the ability to travel through building materials other than timber, giving outbreaks the potential to spread quickly through a building. For this reason additional measures (e.g. masonry sterilisation) often have to be taken when treating dry rot outbreaks over and above those necessary when dealing with outbreaks of other wood-rotting fungi. Typical indications of dry rot include: Wood shrinks, darkens and cracks in a 'cuboidal' manner. A silky grey to mushroom coloured skin frequently tinged with patches of lilac and yellow often develops under less humid conditions. This 'skin' can be peeled like a mushroom. White, fluffy 'cottonwool' mycelium develops under humid conditions. 'Teardrops' may develop on the growth. Strands develop in the mycelium; these are brittle and when dry and crack when bent. Fruiting bodies are a soft, fleshy pancake or bracket with an orange-ochre surface. The surface has wide pores. Rust red coloured spore dust frequentky seen around fruiting bodies. Active decay produces a musty, damp odour. Dry rot will only affect timber that is damp, typically affecting timber with a moisture content in excess of 20%. For this reason, removing the source of moisture should form the core of any dry rot eradication strategy. Timber can become damp for a number of reasons. Among the most common causes are leaking washing machines, shower trays, baths, condensation etc... The dampness can also come from outside the building, for example, leaking roofs, rising dampness, or dampness penetrating through walls. Whatever, the source of the dampness, if it is rectified and the timber allowed to properly dry out, the dry rot will eventually be controlled. However, it is not always possible or practical to be sure that the timbers will remain dry in the long term. Therefore, it is important that secondary measures are taken to defend against re-infection. Any affected timbers should be removed and replaced with pre-treated timber. Any remaining timbers at risk of being affected by the dry rot should be treated with an effective fungicide. Where the dry rot has passed through the masonry, it should be isolated using physical containment and/or masonry sterilisation. Dry rot is often confused with carpenter ant or termite damage.
Carpenter ant damage (see What are Carpenter Ants?) is distinguished by the removal of wood and formation of clean cavities where the carpenter ants live. Subterranean termite damage is similar to dry rot in overall appearance but the presence of live termites, termite galleries and generally wetter wood will usually separate the two conditions.